Last year, Leclerc crashed into his then Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel at the start of the Styrian Grand Prix and then clashed with Sergio Perez’s Racing Point on the first lap of the Sakhir GP, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen also going off as a result of that incident.
On both occasions Leclerc retired as a result of the contact and he explained at the end of the season that he had been deliberately attempting to make aggressive race starts to make up for the deficiencies of Ferrari’s 2020 package.
When asked if he was again going to have to be willing to take risks to improve Ferrari’s chances in races in 2021 in the pre-event press conference for this weekend’s Bahrain GP, Leclerc said: “Let’s wait and see where we are again because I think there are positive signs from the test. And then we will see for sure from Saturday onwards. But I think I’ll probably choose my fights a little bit better.
“Last year, if you take here [in the Sakhir GP] for example, I was fighting with a Red Bull, which wouldn’t have been possible to keep behind for the rest of the race. So that was a bit silly to have a crash at that point of the race for these type of positions that we wouldn’t have been able to keep anyway.
“But, on many other occasions it helped us to achieve better results. So, I will choose my fights better, but if I have to be aggressive at one point to get better results I will do it.”
Leclerc reiterated his explanation that his 2020 crashes were the result of “a difficult moment for the team” and said that he was “just extremely motivated to do something special and that motivation translated in crashes on the track – which was not great”.
He added that he reflected heavily on those incidents “as I’ve done in the past with my mistakes”.
“I always try to understand why I’ve done them and try to not do them again,” added Leclerc. “So I will still be as motivated to try and do great results.
“And we’ll have to see where we are at exactly to adapt my aggressivity on track, but of course I will try not to reproduce this type of mistake.”