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Charles Leclerc insists he will not be under pressure to deliver results when he joins Ferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Leclerc will become Scuderia's youngest driver since 1961 when he replaces Kimi Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel's team-mate next season, just a year after making his Formula 1 debut for Sauber, while he will also become the first Ferrari Driver Academy graduate to be promoted to the senior Ferrari team.
After an impressive debut season in Formula 1 much is expected of the 21-year-old but he is confident in his ability and has told Ferrari to drop him if he does not deliver for the team.
“I’m not a nervous person, there are tensions in this sport and at the start, there is adrenaline, but I would not say it is nervousness," Leclerc told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“If you ask me about the pressure, I think I can handle this because I have a mentality that I don’t feel the pressure at all. I know lots of people say, ‘yeah but the pressure in Ferrari is on another level’, but my mentality allows me to take of all the pressure.
“I don’t really take into consideration what people are expecting from me. The only thing I do is focus on myself and try to give the best possible performance on track.
“I’m also very honest. If I’m not good enough next year, I should be dropped by Ferrari and this would be completely understandable for me. This is how I see it.
“If I’m good enough, I deserve to stay there. If I’m not, I deserve to be left off and I think that takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders.”
Formula 1 heads to Texas this weekend for the United States Grand Prix from the Circuit of the Americas. Coverage of all three practices sessions, qualifying and the race itself is live on eir sport. [Race begins 7.10pm Irish time]. Subscribe here
Image: Getty Images/Charles Coates