Charles Leclerc Has Outperformed Max Verstappen

Posted: June 29, 2018 at 6:50 pm   /   by   /   comments (7)

Just 8 races into the 2018 Formula 1 Season,  Charles Leclerc has gone from being a rookie to a sensation. His performances have put a question mark on Kimi Raikkonen’s expected one-year extension with Ferrari – this is despite the multiple podium finishes by the Iceman.

The last driver who went from being a rookie to a sensation was Max Verstappen. Back in his debut season in 2015, Verstappen was labelled as talent that came by ‘once in a decade’. I wonder if Leclerc’s arrival and early career performances challenge that claim already. And why not, arrivals of sensational talent is only good for Formula 1 and should help attract newer fans.

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For this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Mithila and I ran a basic check on Verstappen and Leclerc’s first 8 races. The obvious comparison were how many races did they finish and how many points were scored. But of course, the pace differential between the two cars raced (in 2015 & 2018) is something we took into account as well. And also, how well did they fare in qualifying?

First things first, both drivers have fared exceptionally well in qualifying. Verstappen had 4 appearances each in Q2 and Q3 in 2015, but was out-qualified by Carlos Sainz Jr. 5 times to 3. As for Leclerc, the start to his Formula 1 career wasn’t as electrifying as Verstappen’s, but come Baku, he has been on a roll. Four Q2 appearances followed by his maiden Q3 appearance at the 2018 French Grand Prix.

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In the races, Verstappen managed two points scoring finishes (Malaysia and Austria) scoring 10 points in total (we got that wrong in the podcast though!) while Leclerc has managed four points scoring finishes notching 11 points along the way. The variance between the Toro Rosso and Sauber between 2015 and 2018 has only become bigger (Toro Rosso being the quicker team). And of course, Verstappen was up against Sainz while Leclerc is up against Marcus Ericsson – but then again, I am not taking into account team-mate comparisons in this post.

When it comes to crashes, we all remember how Verstappen crashed out of the Monaco Grand Prix due to a driver error. Leclerc’s only retirement this season was also in Monaco, although due to a brake failure.

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All in all, Leclerc’s debut could be rated better given his consistent finishes (in a Sauber that too!) and the 1 extra point in comparison. The big area where Leclerc scores higher is probably in maturity. We are yet to see Leclerc commit a rookie error (apart from extremely apologetic radio messages!) this season, while Verstappen is still committing his. But Verstappen isn’t alone, we saw Sebastian Vettel commit an error on the first-corner-first-lap in the French Grand Prix as well. Maybe that’s how they breed some in the Red Bull Racing stables!

I know that such stories and posts create controversies, but this one is worth visit and narrating. There’s more in this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, of course.

(Season 2018, Episode 20)

Comments (7)

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  • August 9, 2018 at 12:25 pm Mark fidder

    Such a stupid article leaving out the fact Verstappen only had 1 season of formula 3 under his belt. Massivly impressed in F3 as he was driving for a sub category team plaged with reliability problems. Ocon was driving for a much better team and did not had any DNF due to reliability problems. Lecleerq is very impressive but still had 3 years more racing experience in driving proper Formula series races while Max had 1 season and made the leap from F3 to F1. Leclerc was 2nd btw in carting series CIK-FIA World KZ Championship behind winner Max verstappen. It says enough.

  • August 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm Jeroen Bons

    “Leclerc has outperformed….” Is no longer valid. Canada Verstappen 3rd., Leclerc 10th.
    France Ver. 2nd., Lec. 10th., Austria Ver. 1rst., Lec. 10th. GB no finish. Germany Ver. 4th., Lec. 15th. Hungary no finish. In the drivers standings up until today Leclerc is on position 15 with 13points while Verstappen is on position 6 with 105points.

    Herewith I added my comment on your blog: “Why Red Bull Can’t Demote Max Verstappen”…..

    “He has made six errors in the opening six races of the season,…” This remark is highly suggestive, speculative and beside the facts. Verstappen made two admitted (real) errors to date, one risky move that did not succeed and was involved in three incidents in which another driver was partly to blame as well.
    Up to this date (I am writing this comment on the 8th of august) he has collected 15pts. in Canada (3rd), 18pts in France (2nd) and 25pts in Austria (1rst), in total 58 points. In Great Bri. and Hungary he did not Finish due to technical problems while racing in a good position on the grid, but in Germany took 4th place and collected another 12 points.

  • August 8, 2018 at 8:27 am TW

    I would say the Sauber now is better than the Torro Rosso then.
    Comparing also to the teammates makes better comparissons.

  • June 30, 2018 at 4:11 am Mafllll

    Should take well in consideration that Leclerc had more years in the feeder series, GP 3, F2 compared to verstappen’s only 1 year, giving Leclerc an better edge when just comparing first races in f1

    In karting by the way, verstappen had Leclerc beaten at every championship.

    • July 2, 2018 at 1:04 pm Kunal Shah

      Yes, agreed about the 1 vs. many years in junior formulae logic. Thanks for sharing.

      As for karting, I chose not to take that into consideration 🙂 Hope you enjoy the contents of my blog, podcasts and videos.

      • August 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm Mark fidder

        Arbitrairy Leaving out facts at own will and deriving conclusions out of that is just very unproffesional. Also the titlle you chose shows you are not worth a dime in journalism. What annoys me the most is that I actually started reading this piece of rubbish.

    • August 8, 2018 at 8:28 am TW



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