Azerbaijan GP is the most discussed event in the country these past days. Motorsport world’s attention was also on the race that was held in our country. It’s natural that most of the fans were waiting for the F1 race but there was one man who turned the whole attention of motorsport world to himself that weekend – the leader of the F2 championship Charles Leclerc.
F-1.az wrote many articles about this driver from Monaco. But firstly, I’d like to talk about his life and career.
Charles was born on 16th of October 1997 in Monaco. Leclerc was a childhood friend of Jules Bianchi and began his karting career at the track managed by Bianchi’s father. His driver career started in 2005. From that very debut in 2005, he became the winner in several go-kart races in France. He participated in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2014. The next year he raced in FIA European Formula 3 Championship and finished the season in 4th place. At the same time he crossed the finish line being second in Macao GP.
2016 was lucky for him – Charles made his first steps in Formula 1. In last year’s March, Charles who is in Ferrari’s Driver Academy was the developing driver in Ferrari and Haas F1 Teams. He drove for Haas Team at the first practice session in Silverstone last year and won three races in GP3, getting the championship with 202 points. Many people predicted that he’ll come to F1 right after being a champion in GP3 as Daniil Kvyat or Valtteri Bottas but Haas’s principal Guenter Steiner wanted him to develop even more in Formula 2 in 2017.
Charles is unstoppable in Formula 2 this year – was on podium 5 times, three times winning and being on the first step out of 8 races. His last two races were in Baku’s streets. But trip to Baku was very hard for him because his father passed on 20th of June. He shared a picture on Instagram with the description saying ” I will try to be as strong as I possibly can… For you. ”
He didn’t let us down. He claimed the Pole Position and dedicated it to his dad. He won the first race in Formula 2 on Sunday but the second race was dramatic. I was working at the Media Center in Hilton Hotel where everyone was doing their job and impatiently waiting for the Azerbaijan GP. When I looked on the screen I looked for his surname – he was starting from the 8th place. I continued doing my work as the others but checked the screen every 10 minutes.
From the very first minutes the situation changed. Leclerc started to pass his rivals one by one. Everybody’s eyes were on him. Even the Russian journalists were watching him and not the other two Russian drivers. It was undeniable that he was faster than all of them, while completing one whole lap he managed to pass one driver. But at the end of the race he was given a 10 second penalty to his final result . He became the leader but he couldn’t get a bigger gap to the second place holder Norman Nato. Even if he passed the finish line being first, the 10 second penalty made it’s work and he dropped to second place.
But please, don’t be sad Charles. You’re the Winner no matter what. Because no one was faster than you in Baku. The pole position, your performance at both races and your fastest laps speaks for themselves. You didn’t leave your dad alone on his way to his last destination with your achievements! Be sure that, he’s very proud of you and is keeping you safe by being your Guardian Angel. He’s sure that you’ll be a Champion and hopefully very soon. These are small wins because we wait for you in F1. All your fans are sure that your biggest achievements will be there. If you could sit in your race car and drive professionally throughout these hard times, there won’t be anything that hold you back in the future. You’re unstoppable, Charles. Stay safe, drive fast and Good Luck in everything, future champ!
I express my gratitude towards Fidan Abdullayeva, who helped me writing and translating this article into English.