Charles Leclerc details motivational words of late father in bid for F1 title

Charles Leclerc has revealed the words of his late father Hervé are keeping him grounded in his bid for his first Formula 1 title this season.

Now in his fourth season with Ferrari, Leclerc has had to bide his time in waiting for a championship challenge as this year’s aerodynamic regulations have played into the hands of the Scuderia.

The 24-year-old Monégasque enjoyed a stunning start to this term, claiming two wins and a second place in the opening three races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, as well as the point for fastest lap in all three.

Since then, however, the tide has turned against Leclerc, initially via a mistake of his own making in Imola before retiring with a power unit issue when comfortably leading in Spain, and then falling foul of Ferrari’s woeful strategy in Monaco.

What was once a 46-point advantage over Max Verstappen has turned into a nine-point deficit to Red Bull’s reigning champion.

Leclerc, though, carries with him the comments of father Hervé, a former F3 driver, who died shortly before his son was handed his first F1 contract.

“My father prepared me from the beginning, telling me to stay humble,” said Leclerc, in an interview with this writer for The New York Times, “I think this was the first thing he ever told me whenever we started winning races.

“It was in karting, but I was seven years old, and obviously at seven years old, when you start winning, you think you are the best and he was already starting to tell me ‘Calm down, Charles’.

“I’ve never been an arrogant person, but obviously you have confidence at that time. He was always the first person to tell me to stay humble which has since been very useful.”

Leclerc trying to avoid title focus

Despite the turnaround in the drivers’ standings since the first three races, Leclerc is still firmly in the title hunt, particularly as the SF-75 appears to be a car for all tracks.

While Leclerc concedes to the fact it feels “amazing” to be in the picture, the 24-year-old is determined to keep his thoughts focused to avoid unwanted pressure. “I don’t think about it too much,” said Leclerc. “I don’t want to think about it. I just want to focus on the job.

“That’s the approach I’ve always taken in my career – to not think too much about the outside pressure, the expectations, and there are a lot at this time because it has been very difficult for the team to be back on top.

“People will finally see the potential that we have to win the championship, so there are a lot of expectations, a lot of outside pressure but I am confident if we keep working well, keep working hard, then the results will come.

“So the approach I want to maintain for the rest of the year is to not focus too much [on the title picture] and to avoid telling myself we are really fighting for the championship because this adds a lot of pressure and I don’t want that.”


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