Charles Leclerc is one of the most talented and exciting Formula 1 drivers on the planet… But it’s his attitude more than his racecraft that makes him truly impressive.
The 24-year-old Monégasque, who has emerged as Ferrari’s #1 driver and is currently in the midst of a title fight with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, might be insanely competitive – just like every F1 driver – but he brings an unusual humility and calming presence to a sport that’s usually dominated by big egos and brash comments.
Leclerc started off the 2022 season looking exceptionally strong, leading the championship fight for the first 5 races… But a series of blunders – some Ferrari’s fault, some his – have let Verstappen overtake him in the points.
Leclerc’s biggest disappointment of the season so far came at last weekend’s French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard. The young pilot was leading the race up until Lap 18, where at Turn 11 he overcooked the throttle, got a snap of oversteer and went hurtling into the barriers, ending his race.
WATCH Charles Leclerc’s crash at the 2022 French Grand Prix below.
The angry scream Leclerc let out over the radio was understandable… But it’s his reaction afterwards that’s really interesting, telling the press:
“It’s my fault and if I keep doing mistakes like this then I deserve not to win the championship.”
“I’m losing too many points, I think seven in Imola, 25 here because honestly, we were the strongest car on track today,” he added. “If we lose the championship by 32 points at the end of the season, I will know from where they are coming from. And it’s unacceptable, I just need to get on top of those things.”
It’s hard not to feel for Charles, but the way he owns his mistakes and doesn’t offer excuses is to be commended. It’s an attitude we don’t see enough in this sport.
Compare Leclerc’s attitude to Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton, who more often than not whinge about their team, teammates or the stewards rather than owning their f*ck-ups (although it must be said, those two are nowhere near as petulant as they were during the 2021 season). That’s before we start talking about F1’s badly behaved team bosses…
Maybe it’s because Leclerc races with a more personal mission than some of his rivals. Leclerc has often said he’s racing for his late father Herve, who inspired his passion for motorsports, as well as for his friend, mentor and godfather Jules Bianchi, the French F1 driver who died of his injuries in 2015 after a mammoth crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
In any case, we admire Leclerc’s personality, and we’re very glad to see him emerge as one of the sport’s top talents.