Despite the 2023 season’s challenges, Charles Leclerc has achieved a remarkable milestone in his Formula 1 career, accumulating a total of 1000 points. This significant feat unfolded during the Japanese Grand Prix, where Leclerc secured a respectable fourth-place finish. While this achievement is undoubtedly commendable, it’s worth delving into the details of this race to understand the dynamics at play.
During the Japanese Grand Prix, Ferrari faced a notable setback due to tire degradation issues with their SF-23. This unexpected challenge resulted in a discernible drop in the car’s pace, which ultimately led to Leclerc finishing in the fourth position. However, this setback should not overshadow the progress Ferrari has made in recent races.
Prior to the Japanese Grand Prix, Ferrari secured their first victory of the season in Singapore. Although this victory didn’t come from Leclerc, it signified a significant improvement in the SF-23’s performance following recent upgrades. This enhanced pace suggests that the car has become considerably faster, raising hopes for better results in the remaining races of the season.
Charles Leclerc’s journey in Formula 1 has been a remarkable one. He embarked on his F1 career with Sauber in 2018, partnering with Marcus Ericsson. Notably, Leclerc became the first F1 driver from Monaco since Olivier Beretta in 1994. His dream move to Ferrari materialized in 2019 when he replaced Kimi Raikkonen. In that same season, Leclerc secured an impressive 10 podium finishes, recorded four fastest laps, clinched two victories, and achieved the most pole positions among all drivers.
Fast forward to the end of September 2023, and Charles Leclerc currently holds the sixth position in the drivers’ standings with 135 points. However, he trails his teammate, Carlos Sainz, by 15 points, who occupies the fifth position. While Leclerc has secured three podium finishes in the 2023 season, his hopes for a higher standing have been hampered by three Did-Not-Finish (DNF) instances in Bahrain, Australia, and the Netherlands, which deprived him of a substantial points haul.
The dominance of Max Verstappen and his RB19 has made winning races this season an immense challenge. Leclerc’s last Grand Prix victory dates back to Austria the previous year. Nevertheless, in the unpredictable world of Formula 1, one can never rule out the possibility of unexpected triumphs.
Ferrari’s recent victory in Singapore, courtesy of Carlos Sainz, demonstrated that the SF-23 is competitive, especially on high downforce tracks like the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Furthermore, Leclerc’s second-place finish in Austria this season provides a glimmer of hope that he might still have a shot at securing a race win in 2023. As the season progresses, Charles Leclerc and the entire Ferrari team are undoubtedly keeping their fingers crossed, hoping for that elusive victory.