Leclerc: Ferrari’s in-form midfield man
In a sport eternally wired in the feats and performances of the front runners, it is the midfield where non-stop action often takes place, but isn’t necessarily afforded the headline-making importance.
So, how does a midfielder stand out?
Where the ongoing championship is concerned, it could be said, a keen narrative has ensued.
Quietly going about his business
If one looks at the last five races this season, you can find that Charles Leclerc has done quite well in demonstrating the kind of consistency that his Scuderia stable so keenly needed in 2021.
Barring Sochi’s disappointing P15, Charles Leclerc has beaten Carlos Sainz in every single event. Whether it’s Zandvoort, Monza, Istanbul Park or COTA (USGP), the Monegasque has bested his teammate.
To many, this may seem like boisterous stats whose end purpose is to sanitise the image of a driver in the eyes of the audience when it’s not even the case. Charles Leclerc, the very man who garnered, at the end of seventeen races last year, merely 98 points has already collected 128 points this year.
Looking for a driver with honest improvement and that irrepressible X-factor, look nowhere but Charles Leclerc. That there are five races yet to be contested offers sufficient evidence of the large ground Ferrari and their Prince from Monaco have already covered than where they were last year where point-scoring opportunities were scant.
Points, not podiums
Charles Leclerc’s result at the recent US Grand Prix, even if it didn’t translate into top three finish, did well to tell fans and critics alike that the young driver was keen to collect whatever opportunity that came his way.
A P4 finish in the end, therefore, or twelve strong points carried their own value in that the driver hailing from the famous principality surpassed his new Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. on the standings.
This was no ordinary moment; to a driver who arrived at Ferrari with one intention and one alone; to make a space for himself, one having nothing to do with shenanigans but one with everything to do with peace and resilience then it was special. Trailing his more experienced teammate, the Spaniard is currently behind Charles by 5.5 points.
Fundamentally, Sainz may be trailing Leclerc but you’d contend that it is the Monegasque who’s struggled to finish runner-up in any race so far.
Moreover, that he’s got raw pace is fine and for all to see. But that has he been on the weaker footing thanks to heartbreaks at Monaco and Hungary establish Charles Leclerc as a solider who simply fought and is fighting without even knowing the tiniest fate of his battle.
His time will come
For as they say, good things come to those who wait and maybe it’s fate, but I’m most happy to have Charles interact with faster cars in midst of a race, think the remarkable ease with which Mercedes and Ferrari conquered the track position at Baku.
The pole-sitter, who was let down by a lack of grip and pace this year but then, did well enough to defend from Hamilton and Verstappen for the first few laps.
And in so doing, the the young Ferrari talent earned the winner of the most prestigious yet fictitious award of the FIA, perhaps the price money deny eager sure one for defying the . We can vote.
Leclerc, sadly with the only podium that he managed nearly two months ago, and that too, at Silverstone, where it’s never easy to break onto the podium places, reminded the scarlet red fans that all wasn’t over for as long as he and his teammate kept trying.
This has exactly been the case because between both drivers, there are 4 podiums and 2 pole positions. The Ferrari that was struggling to even gather points finish regularly for much of 2020 is clearly a superior unit fighting (ever so regularly) for strong finishes this season. But most importantly, through brave scraps out in the midfield in 2021. Keep fighting Ferrari; keep going Charles