Leclerc: Flat-out Raidillon still ‘demanding physically’
Drivers will rush through Spa’s legendary Raidillon flat-out these days, but Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says the daunting uphill sweep is still a physically demanding proposition.
Leclerc heads to Belgium hoping for a less eventful race than last year when the Monegasque’s Alfa Romeo was hit on the Halo at the start by the airborne McLaren of Fernando Alonso, fortunately with no dire consequences for either driver.
Despite the bad experience, Leclerc is a big fan of Spa’s spectacular layout, its elevation changes and blend of fast and slow corners.
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“Spa-Francorchamps is one of the greatest race tracks in the world and one of the most beautiful that we race on in Formula 1,” the Ferrari driver said ahead of this weekend’s thirteenth round of the F1 world championship.
“So it makes starting racing again after the summer break even more enjoyable.
“It’s always impressive when you realise just how fast the current Formula 1 cars can go through the corners and at no other track is that perception so obvious.”
The Ardennes track’s run down to Eau Rouge and up through Raidillon is one of the most exhilarating sequences on the F1 calendar, and one that still requires absolute precision and focus.
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“I’m thinking particularly of the uphill esses at Eau Rouge,” added Leclerc. “The first time you get a look at it, you realise how narrow and steep it is.
“Well, in the dry, it’s flat, despite the compression and other aspects making it particularly demanding physically, especially in the first few laps.
“With each passing lap, your neck gets used to it, your brain takes it all on board and it becomes a corner like any other, trying to get the most out of it to help with the rest of the lap.
“But it is still a unique section of track. And there are plenty of others key points at Spa, which is why it is so important to get all the key sections absolutely right to produce the best possible performance on the first qualifying lap.
“That’s also because it is a particularly long lap and having to abort one can upset your timetable for that part of the session.”
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