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Leclerc makes promise as battle with Verstappen develops

With Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto backing him to be able to fight for the championship, Charles Leclerc hopes to help the squad in return by continuing to work on his own performance.

Charles Leclerc has vowed to "unlock more performance" as he and Ferrari look to remain competitive in the title battle. The Monegasque racer is leading the standings after two races of the 2022 F1 season. After winning the Bahrain Grand Prix following an epic fight at the front with Max Verstappen, Leclerc came home P2 in Saudi Arabia, only half a second behind his championship rival. That has left him with a 12-point lead in the Drivers' Championship - and a 20-point advantage over Verstappen - heading into round three.

Leclerc: There's definitely more to come

Leclerc is leading the F1 World Championship for the first time in his career. The last time he found himself leading a championship at any level was back in 2017, during his maiden Formula 2 season, at the end of which he was crowned the winner. He is also the fifth Ferrari driver in history to take both pole position and the race victory at a season-opening Grand Prix, with the four to have preceded him all going on to lead the team to the title. When asked if he feels he is hitting a level of performance good enough to take him to the World Championship, Leclerc told media including RacingNews365.com : "I feel good in general, but there's definitely more to come. "The thing I'm happy about is not really the performance but that I know exactly where I still need to work, and what I need to improve to unlock more performance. "Whether it will be enough or not to win the World Championship, I have no idea. It's still very early on in the season, but let's say that it's a very good start to the season. "As I said many times, I think development will be key, and we as drivers need to help the team in the best way possible to keep this competitiveness."

Binotto: No doubt, he's got the talent

The season is long and promises to hold plenty of twists and turns, during which development will be key for all teams involved in the fight at the front. But when it comes to driver talent, Ferrari are confident that Leclerc has the fight to go toe-to-toe with World Champion driver Verstappen. The Scuderia's team boss, Mattia Binotto, believes that Leclerc's form in the opening two races of the campaign proves his ability. "I think he is [ready to fight for the title], I think he is," Binotto said. "But [it's] something I was expecting when renewing with him in the last year, up to 2024, because we know what he is capable of, and I think that is simply demonstrating that he's capable of fighting for the championship. "No doubt, he's got the talent, he's got the capacity, he is a very good racer and I am very happy with what he is proving during these two races."

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