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Precocious and exceptionally gifted, Charles Leclerc began his Formula 1 career at the age of just 21. A portrait of the young Monegasque prodigy.

A land of rallying since 1911 when the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo was introduced, and the country which has hosted one of the best-known Formula 1 Grand Prix events since 1929, the Principality of Monaco has inspired generations of racing drivers.

Today, Charles Leclerc occupies a special place among them. Raised in Monaco, he has watched as, year after year, his city is transformed into a paddock, the streets becoming a track, the pavements into terraces. As a wide-eyed spectator behind the safety barriers, the young Charles was already imagining himself carving his own path around the winding Monegasque circuit.

Moving up, like many of his illustrious predecessors, through karting, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3, Charles Leclerc distinguished himself by winning the GP3 Series (2016) and Formula 2 (2017) championships when he was barely 20.

Recruited by the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the 2018 championship, he became the third Monegasque driver to compete in Formula 1, following in the footsteps of Louis Chiron and Olivier Beretta.

The Rocher native finished his first season among the motor racing elite in thirteenth place overall, and on the back of this promising result, he joined the prestigious Scuderia Ferrari in September 2018.

© Michael Alesi et Manuel Vitali
© Scuderia Ferrari

In 2019, he became the first Monegasque driver to secure a pole position, to lead a race and to set a lap record. With his second race for Ferrari in Bahrain, he became the second Monegasque (after Louis Chiron in 1950) to reach the podium. At just 21, he becomes the youngest driver to win a race with Ferrari in Spa, and the third youngest in F1 history (after Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel).

Having been very close to Jules Bianchi, the Formula 1 driver from Nice, when he was younger, Charles Leclerc lost a godfather, role model and friend when Bianchi suffered a fatal accident during the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

This tragedy was followed in 2017 by the death of his father, Hervé Leclerc, a Formula 3 driver during the 1990s.

Hervé Leclerc and Jules Bianchi: two motor racing personalities who passed on their passion to Charles from his first laps around the karting track to his debut driving single-seater cars, and who remain on his mind in every race.

 

The loss of my father and of Jules. Two incredibly tough moments in my life which made me stronger as a person and as a driver.

© Michael Alesi et Manuel Vitali
© Charles Leclerc

I am lucky to have the world’s best Grand Prix right here at home. Driving in Formula 1 in Monaco is just unbelievable.

Charles Leclerc

© Michael Alesi et Manuel Vitali
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