Sauber’s Charles Leclerc continues to stand out as a future world champion, following his performance in France where he scored for the fourth time in five races – taking a point for 10th from eighth on the grid.
Leclerc’s rise has been one of the biggest stories of the season – with the Monégasque delivering on his pre-season hype, outperforming teammate Marcus Ericsson almost from the outset.
Across his first eight races, Leclerc has outqualified Ericsson 6-2, six-straight up to France [and] making it to Q3 for the first time at Paul Ricard where he again scored a point, making it 11-2 in his favour.
Leclerc’s performance so far confirms he represents the future of F1, the 20-year -old rated by other drivers, such as Renault’s Carlos Sainz, who says he’s on the same level as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
SOUNDBITE (English) CARLOS SAINZ,
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“There's not only Max but there's Stoffel Vandoorne, Charles Leclerc, [and] Pierre Gasly. We are a new generation of drivers and we can all be capable of being world champions.”
And that potential is clear to see with Leclerc’s impressive talent shining in inferior equipment just like the great champions before him.
Like Ayrton Senna, driving for Toleman at a sodden Monaco in 1984. The rookie scything through the field to finish second.
Like Michael Schumacher, who qualified in seventh on debut for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.
And Like Lewis Hamilton, who passed around the outside of his 2-time F1 World Champion McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso for third, into Turn 1, on the first lap of his first race, in Australia 2007.
Leclerc’s path to greatness is also open as a Ferrari driver academy member since 2016 – with the likelihood he’ll eventually replace Kimi Räikkönen at the Scuderia. But for now, he’s staying focused on the present…
AUDIO QUOTE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, SAUBER:
“It’s an honour for me to see an article where Ferrari and Leclerc is written in the same sentence but on the other hand it doesn’t seem realistic for me. I mean, as you said, for now I first need to prove to everyone what I’m capable of in Alfa Romeo Sauber and then we’ll see after that.”