Leclerc topped a thrilling qualifying session at the Bahrain International Circuit to take his first pole position since Azerbaijan last year.
The Monegasque beat reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen by 0.123s to secure first place on the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Reflecting on his second career pole in Bahrain, Leclerc said: “It feels good. The last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team and we were quite hopeful that this new opportunity was an opportunity to be back in the front and we’ve done extremely well as a team to find ourself in a position to fight for better places.
“I’m very happy with today, it’s been a very tricky qualifying session, I wasn’t completely happy with my driving but managed to do that lap in Q3 and I am on pole, so very happy.”
F1 has introduced entirely new technical regulations this year with completely different aerodynamic concepts, a ground effect floor and 18-inch tyres.
As a result, the cars are significantly heavier and thus have changed how the cars work over bumps and at low-speed corners.
Despite his strong start to the season, Leclerc revealed that he’s still adjusting his driving style to get the most out of this new generation of F1 cars
“Also from the driving point, it’s completely different to last year,” Leclerc added. “Testing was very useful for this, I’ve tried many different driving styles and still need to find the perfect one. There’s definitely much more to come hopefully from us.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s race, Leclerc admitted he’s remaining “cautious” because Red Bull showed impressive long-run pace on Friday.
“We were pretty sure that Red Bull was going to be a bit quicker than us, also in qualifying,” Leclerc added. “But good surprise, it wasn’t the case. So now we need to finish the weekend on a high tomorrow, it’s not going to be easy.
“Tyre degradation here is a thing, and especially with this increase of weight this. So we need to focus on that and hopefully have a good race tomorrow.
“I would still stay cautious. The pace is there but the race is long and anything can happen, so we need to stay on it.”