E t was only a brief moment in which Charles Leclerc let himself be carried away by his emotions. “Something is wrong with the engine. What's going on? ”Said the 21-year-old lying in the lead on the radio in a hasty voice. “Keep calm,” replied his engineer - even if he couldn't help him in the end. From lap 46 to 47, the gap between Lewis Hamilton and Leclerc was suddenly reduced by around four seconds. One lap later, Hamilton had already taken the lead. Shortly afterwards, Valtteri Bottas also passed. Thanks to the safety car, Leclerc stayed in third place as a consolation - his first podium result in Formula 1.
A Buddha rests in Leclerc
Leclerc could have raged afterwards. Curse. Crying after his first win. But Monegasse stood up after the race and said: “It happens, it's part of motorsport. Today wasn't our day. But the team did a great job of catching up on Australia's lack of pace. ' It sounds a bit like a memorized racing driver phrase. But Leclerc seems to have a kind of Buddha at rest. He takes things as they come, doesn't quarrel, accepts the situation.
'Charles was the emotional winner today,' said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “That was very, very impressive. He has a great personality, is humble and very quick. And he can control his feelings in both directions. ' Wolff is alluding to the fact that Leclerc seemed quite sorted and calm even after his first pole in Bahrain. It didn't make a big deal of it, it was downright tidy.
Mental training takes him further
You might like that assee emotionless or almost robotic. But it is perhaps already one of Leclerc's great strengths - especially in mental duels. Leclerc has been working with mental trainers for several years and says that he has learned to remain calmer in difficult situations.
Interesting: to accept the ups and downs of life as they come and not ask yourself the question 'Why is this happening to me?' is a core of so-called resilience. This describes the psychological resilience of a person to recover from setbacks.
Leclerc with world champion characteristics
Leclerc has already had a few of these in his life. With Jules Bianchi, he not only lost a very close friend and mentor, but also his most important caregiver with his father in 2017. Hervé Leclerc drove Formula 3 races himself and accompanied his son from the very beginning in karting. Just four days after his death, he clinched a Formula 2 win in Baku.
Leclerc said in an interview last year when he was still driving for Sauber that his father's death definitely changed him as a person have: “I have matured a lot and now see things very differently. The pressure, I feel it, but 20 times less. ”
In the case of Leclerc, the combination of talent, ambition and the right attitude is just like a well-mixed cocktail. He is himself the greatest critic anyway. “I often tend to focus on the negatives of myself on a weekend,” he admits. “I made a lot of mistakes in Melbourne. I wasn't happy with myself then. Especially in the third qualifying stage, ”said Leclerc shortly after the race. “Today I did a good job compared to that. But there were still small mistakes that I will work on. ”
Praise from all sides
It seems like a great art that he does not feel insecure despite his self-criticism leaves. Because there is often the risk of getting further disconcerted with every further mistake. Mind you, the boy is21 years old. And is driving his first season for a team like Ferrari.
Leclerc earned applause from all sides for his brilliant performance with 41 leading laps. From Lewis Hamilton to Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean or Alex Zanardi. They all found special words for the Ferrari newcomer. Toto Wolff clearly sees him as the future world champion. Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto says: “I hope Toto is right. As long as Charles is a Ferrari driver. ”