[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] CHARLES LECLERC: PAINFUL START

Charles Leclerc could never have expected this amount of pain at Ferrari, his dream drive twice becoming a nightmare in just nine races with his maiden win denied, both in heartbreaking circumstances.

In Bahrain, while cruising to victory in just his second race with the squad, Leclerc’s car lost power…an engine cylinder failure ruining his golden run, dropping to third behind the Silver Arrows.

The race still his major highlight, after storming to a maiden pole position.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, FERRARI:
"I think it has to be Bahrain, Bahrain is the highlight of the year. For now, my pole position, then unfortunately in the race it didn't end like we wanted it to, but overall it was a great weekend." 

… while at Austria’s Red Bull Ring last week, Ferrari’s strategy reacted to the two Silver Arrows behind… not Verstappen, who went longer with his opening stint… after which, he hunted down Leclerc.

… passing two laps from home, in a swashbuckling manoeuvre. Leclerc, though, refused to let his emotions get the better of him.

“Second place is not what we wanted,” he said, “But, we gave it our all and made a good step forward this weekend.”

Leclerc’s restraint was impressive… but he’s always said the right things, getting the squad onside and making him a marketer’s dream…a prime example, his F1 debut with Alfa Romeo-backed Sauber.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
SAUBER, 2018:
“I really like the new livery of the car. Red is my favourite colour so obviously having it on the car feels great and it's a quite special red. It's one of the 8C, Alfa Romeo 8C, which is a car I love also. So it's a great thing to have it on the car and yeah, I like the design of it all.”

But, we’ve had a glimpse at Leclerc’s frustrations, in Azerbaijan… where he crashed at Turn 8 in Q2 during qualifying, cursing his mistake with, “I am stupid, I am stupid” - his chance at pole gone.

…and again - when the Scuderia compromised his race strategy to assist Vettel, in China, who he was ordered to let past, before being left out too long, Max Verstappen splitting the two Ferraris.

The respect between the two Prancing Horsemen is there, though.

SOUNDBITE (English) CHARLES LECLERC,
F1 DRIVER, FERRARI:
"It's good. We found the right compromise, obviously we want to beat each other, which is absolutely normal. We are also working extremely close together to try and improve the car. I think it's a good relationship for now."

There’s no doubt Leclerc is the future of Formula 1, as its rising star. One who’s still raw around the edges, much like Lewis Hamilton was when he joined McLaren as a rookie in 2007.

…and he’s had the weight of belief behind him, F1’s top guns recognising the huge talent shown in his debut season with Sauber - as his ascent to the Scuderia was announced.

SOUNDBITE: (English), LEWIS HAMILTON:
5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“He's got great potential, Leclerc. He is a great driver, he’s doing [an] amazing [job] in the team [and] in the car that he has. And [Ferrari] it's a great opportunity for him to thrive. But I think, naturally, comes a lot of pressure when you go into a top team like that. But, I think, I think he'll do well.”

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WESTACOTT,
CEO, AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX CORPORATION:
“Well... the Monégasque really did prove himself in the back end of the 2018 [last] season. He got some great results for the Alfa Romeo Racing team, formerly Sauber.”

There’s no doubt the maiden win will come for Leclerc, but after two failed attempts now, he must wonder what it will take to break the drought.