In his first year at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc has already outed himself as an uncompromising racer with the winning gene.
Ferrari shooting star Charles Leclerc has just turned 22 and is already considered the darling by many. His angelic face paired with the stories of the deceased dad (2017); the fatal accident of his godfather Jules Bianchi (Suzuka 2014) and his comet-like rise at Ferrari in record time provide material for a true Formula 1 fairy tale.
But the image of the “innocent child” is crumbling. Because behind the angel’s face is a real ‘Badboy.’
Evidence #1: In qualifying in Monza, he was supposed to his teammate Sebastian Vettel the important slipstream. Instead, he wasted so much time, that Vettel couldn’t even start his final qualifying lap.
Evidence #2: In a fight with Lewis Hamilton in Monza, Leclerc acted extremely uncompromising, even sending the British driver off tracks.
Evidence #3: In Singapore he complained loudly on radio over Vettel’s undercut, complaining it was “unfair”.
Evidence #4: In Sochi, he complained once again on radio about his lost position to Vettel. When the German refused to give it back, he continued to complain and even talking openly about secret internal Ferrari agreements.
Evidence #5: At the start of the Japan Grand Prix, he pushed Max Verstappen mercilessly off track, although the Red Bull star war clearly ahead of him. To make things worse, he continued to drive with a damaged car and endangering other drivers in the process – among them Lewis Hamilton. For that, he received a 15-second penalty and two penalty points. After the race, he acknowledged his guilt on social media, where he already has a bit of a reputation for being the “bad boy” of F1.
It’s obvious that some experts seem to have recognized a bonus with the race stewards because he’s managed by FIA President Jean Todt’s son Nicolas Todt.
It’s also a fact, that in Japan, at first no penalty was given. Only after strong protest by Verstappen, an official investigation was initiated by the stewards leading to the 15 seconds penalty.
For many F1 experts, that still wasn’t enough for the kind of behavior the F1 saw that Sunday. A high-ranking member of another top team:
“This leaves us with a bitter aftertaste!”
But there are also experts who defend Leclerc’s uncompromising nature:
“In good German, you have to be an asshole in Formula 1 to succeed,” former-Formula -1 driver Gerhard Berger proclaimed.
“Senna was uncompromising, Michael Schumacher was, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, too. So these critical voices should get off their high horses.”
*This article was first published in German at autobild.de/motorsport.