Leclerc: What a start!

Columns: From Kart to F1
A stunning hat-trick for the Monegasque in 1st 2022 season GP in Bahrein: don’t forget that this guy started winning the day he sat on a kart. (F.M.)

«The 2011 World Cup is by far my best karting race ever. In the final I didn’t have the best start and I was overtaken, but after I managed to take the lead back and win the title. Truly an amazing feeling.» This is what Charles told Vroom a few years ago, remembering his best karting days. CL (as he became popular, especially after the launch of his own Kart brand by Birel Art..) has been a great and winning karter before F1, even if he started karting just for fun at 5 yrs old, following his father love for Motorsport. «I did it just for the fun of it. Then we entered for the French championship and I won, then the whole thing became a snowball» he said. The snowball kept rolling we can say from the KF3 (now OKJ) to the very top of karting in 2013 where his and Max Verstappen destinies crossed on track before F1, the 2013 CIK-FIA World KZ Championship in Varennes, where the Dutch took the title and Charles was 2nd: meanwhile, ART and Nicolas Todt supported the talent of the Monegasque by his ARM scouting agency.

In 2014 he was rookie of the year in Formula Renault in his first single seater season and then in Formula 3 the following year, he raised the pace further in 2016 by winning the GP3 Series – and joined the Ferrari Driver Academy - before dominating the 2017 season of FIA Formula 2 with more than 70 points advantage: 7 wins, 10 podiums, 8 pole positions. That wonderful racing year was also terrible for CL since he lost his beloved father, just two years the death of Jules Bianchi, his racing Godfather. At his brilliant 2018 debut with Alfa Romeo in F1 (13th in the championship with 39 points), followed his contract with Ferrari, making him one of the youngest ever drivers to race for Ferrari. In 2019 he took his maiden GP in SPA which set another record: made him the youngest ever Ferrari race winner. 2020 was a disastrous season for the Ferrari Team and Charles career did not take off the way all fans expected: the car was uncompetitive but he struggled to be 8th in the final standings and he grew up in fighting in the bagarre, taking risk and gaining two podiums. In 2021, a better car and the new challenge of a fellow karter team mate as Carlos Sainz brought the monegasque again in the top 5, even if the strongest memory of the entire season remains that unlucky day at his home Grand Prix where he was unable to start from the pole position due to a technical problem just a second before taking his spot on the grid. 2022 started the best way possible for CL and more that one now think that a new era in his career is coming...

 

Created by: fmarangon - 21/03/22

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