Sunday, Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Charles Leclerc, 21 anni, left a deep imprint on F1 and on all Ferrari fans.
Now we care if he wins or loses.
Mr. Leclerc’s impressive debut at Ferrari is not a surprise. As a graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the Maranello Outfit has long been familiar with the generational ability of this young race driver.
His promotion to the F1 team was a part of a process that began with his signing to the junior program 3 years ago. That year he won the GP3 series with Lewis Hamilton’s former team Art Grand Prix, and followed that with the Y 2017 F2 title for Prema before his F1 debut last year with Ferrari feeder team Sauber.
Mr. Leclerc was quicker than Sebastian Vettel in Australia only to be ordered to hold course in 5th behind the 4X world champion to maintain a sense of order at the end of a difficult weekend for The Scuderia.
In Bahrain though, he out-qualified his team-mate by 3/10sec to take a 1st career Pole and, though he lost the lead, he regained it easily enough and was coasting to victory before a failing cylinder dropped off 40bhp.
One can imagine how Mr. Vettel feels as he processes what looks to be a changing of the guard at Ferrari. Having jumped his team-mate off the line in Bahrain, he only lasted 5 laps, till Mr. Leclerc was on his tail and asking the pit wall for guidance.
“I’m quicker guys,” he said, inviting the leadership to sanction the coming pass. He ignored the advice to hold for 2 laps, sweeping around the outside of Mr. Vettel through turn 1 at the start of lap 6. The move was 1 of confidence, audacity and, ultimately, the authority of talent.
Mr. Vettel had no complaints and late in the race spun out of contention while trying to defend against MercedesAMG’s Lewis Hamilton.
After marking his 1st win of the season, Mr. Hamilton praise and reminded Mr. Leclerc that he has a long career ahead of him.
How Ferrari will manage the rise of Mr. Leclerc in relation to the obligation they have to Mr Vettel may be tenuous this season. Should Mr. Vettel’s struggles endure it may be that Mr. Verstappen is racing with not against Mr. Leclerc next year no matter what it says in contracts that both expire at the end of next season.
With 2 races down to MercedesAMG they are celebrating a pair of lockout victories.
The Big Q: Why the glum faces at MBZAMG?
The Big A: The pace that Ferrari showed in testing was finally unlocked on the straights of Bahrain.
Next up is Shanghai with the longest straight on the calendar. And in Leclerc it seems Ferrari have unearthed a driver minded to make best use of the quickest engine. Mr. Hamilton said. “We have a lot of work to do to try to keep up with him.”
HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish across the board, and there is very little resistance here and none above 140.26. All of our Key indicators are Very Bullish in here.