Charles Leclerc admits one thing stopped 2018 being a 'very difficult season'

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Charles Leclerc was easily the breakout star of 2018 in Formula 1 but he admits his successful rookie year could have been very different.

The Monegasque arrived at Sauber after dominating F2 but there was concern that is talent could be hidden at a team that been one of the weakest on the grid in recent seasons.

A steady start seemed to back up those fears but, after a strong weekend in Baku, his rise would be echoed by a similar improvement from the Swiss outfit.

"I think it could have been a very difficult season mentally if obviously myself and the car would have kept the level we had at the beginning of the season," Leclerc was quoted by

"For me, it made things it a lot more interesting once we started to evolve as a car and also myself as a driver, fighting for points and things like this, it gave me a lot of motivation."

The 21-year-old would go on to score 39 points, the most by a single Sauber driver in a year since Nico Hulkenberg's 51 in 2015, earning himself a promotion to Ferrari for this coming season.

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Leclerc though doesn't think that would have happened without the team's progress following a tie-up with Alfa Romeo.

"I believe that if you are in a position like where we were for the first few races for the whole year, the motivation is quite difficult," he continued.

"Probably I was thinking in the first three races [that] we were not so competitive so obviously after 20 laps we were alone in 19th position and then it gets quite boring as you are just waiting for the end of the race."