HomeFormula 1How Charles Leclerc steered the SF-23 in an otherwise...

How Charles Leclerc steered the SF-23 in an otherwise lowly 2023 season?

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Charles Leclerc may not have won a single race this season, but will it be fair to crucify the man at the back whose efforts Ferrari ended yet another work-in-progress season on a high?

A high it certainly was, wasn’t it, given the manner in which Leclerc finished the season-ended at Abu Dhabi? 

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In a year where the Scuderia family earned nine podiums collectively having had 22 opportunities to score clearly a lot more, maybe sense prevails in looking at the positives. For the damage- given the damaging form Verstappen was in for the rest of the grid- has already been done. So as dust has settled maybe a while back at the last race of the 2023 season at the Yas Marina, it’s only fair to take into conversation that Leclerc was the healing balm to Ferrari’s season of inconsistencies and as per normal, strange strategy calls. 

For instance, being mute witnesses to perhaps a self-created scenario where they were “waiting” for the safety car to be deployed for Sainz to engage in damage limitation in a weekend where little went his way. 

Make no mistake;  not that Charles Leclerc, who lest it is forgotten, 206 out of the team’s 406 points, making strange errors like impeding Lando Norris during the Q3 at Monaco earlier this year, which resulted in a three place grid drop. 

How this would’ve hurt Charles was the very fact that the local hero- and he’s one given his arduous journey into racing’s top flight- was third fastest in Q3. 

Eventually, the Monegasque collected a rather lukewarm sixth on the grid, still an effort that was better than Sainz’s P8 in the end. 

Quite frankly, in the days ahead, we’ll get to hear as we must loads of plaudits going to George Russell of Mercedes and Lando Norris of McLaren, two of Leclerc’s contemporaries and gentle rivals. They can be nasty if they want, we know that, but they conduct themselves gently despite the obvious fierce competition.  But one suspects, we shall hear ever so little about Ferrari’s main-man, if Carlos Sainz fans, one of whom I certainly am, do not take it wrong. 

That’s despite Charles, who drives with no airs about him but with the determination of a Prince, captured five pole positions this year. 

That’s one each at Baku, Spa-Francorchamps, Austin, Mexico City and Las Vegas, venues that will never be easy for any driver, especially the street tracks.   

At the same time, neither Russell nor Norris, both of whom Charles beat (in addition to his Spanish teammate who’s just as determined as the driver of the Ferrari #16), failed to claim as many poles as he. 

But then that is where it gets interesting and meaningful isn’t it that history remembers the winner, not the bloke who stood fifth on the Driver’s. 

And while Max for his smashing form must be admired, envied even, not that envy earned anyone any good, thoughts for Leclerc who battled both Red Bulls this year and often with skill and daring at venues where none on the grid, not even Alonso, had raced before. 

Chances are for as long as the 2023 Formula 1 world championship season will be viewed from a Ferrari perspective, the other image besides Carlos Sainz’s remarkable win at Singapore, would be that of Charles Marc Hervé Perceval Leclerc overtaking Checo Perez in the dying moments at Vegas to claim a mercurial podium. What happens in Vegas, they say, stays in Vegas.  

But what Leclerc achieved on that starry and quite unforgettable Nevada evening didn’t remain in Vegas; it spread like wildfire around the world. 

Don’t stop believing Charles. Don’t listen to naysayers who derive obscene pleasure in calling your adopted home at Maranello “Fail-rari!” Keep blitzing. Keep going. 

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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