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Leclerc struggled to keep his 'secret' under wraps

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Sauber's new recruit Charles Leclerc admits he struggled to remain mum on his future during the latter part of the 2017 season.

While pundits never had much doubt about the 2017 Formula 2 champion's agenda for next year, the 20-year-old sat on F1's worst kept secret until the very end.

"It was pretty difficult!", Leclerc told Blick.

"Of course, I heard all of the rumours too, but it was also stressful because nothing was official. I really didn't know for sure until the last day of testing in Abu Dhabi," he said.

Sauber's lackluster year is no cause for concern for Leclerc who is confident the Swiss outfit will move forward next season.

"I'm really looking forward to the first race and also that I am involved in the return of Alfa Romeo. Everyone with a passion for F1 knows that Alfa has set some milestones in the sport," he said.

The 20-year-old, who is often hailed as F1's next big talent, sees himself on an equal footing as team mate Marcus Ericsson, a man who still enjoys a close relationship with Sauber's owners on the eve of his fourth year with the team.

"I will just focus on myself and my job," says Leclerc.

"We get the new Ferrari engine, which will be a big step forward. Hopefully it's the same for the car. Then I hope we can play a role in the season."

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