Charles Leclerc enjoyed a successful first year at Ferrari, becoming the sport’s newest winner and the youngest back-to-back race winner. Here are all the facts and statistics from Leclerc’s 2019 season!
After an impressive rookie year, Charles Leclerc stepped up to Ferrari in 2019. Big things were expected from the Monegasque driver, and it didn’t take long for him to show his potential. It was in Bahrain that Leclerc stepped to the forefront, taking his maiden pole position on his second outing with the team. He led much of the race, before a failing engine denied him his first victory. After a string of fifth place finishes, and a disappointing home race weekend, four consecutive podiums followed between the Canadian and British Grands Prix. During that time, he diced for the lead with Max Verstappen in Austria, another race which he led the majority of, but ultimately finished second.
The elusive first win would not come until the start of the second half of the season. In Belgium, Leclerc took his third pole of the season in dominant fashion, with a seven tenths margin over his team-mate. He held off a late race charge by Lewis Hamilton to secure his maiden win, dedicating victory to Anthoine Hubert, who lost his life in the F2 race the day before. While he couldn’t fully celebrate that win due to circumstance, he only had to wait another week before an emphatic victory in Ferrari’s home land, fending off both Mercedes drivers for Ferrari’s first Monza win in almost a decade. While that would be his last win of the year, a further two successive poles followed in Singapore and Russia, seeing him end the year with more pole positions than anyone else.
Team orders and Ferrari go hand in hand, and it was obvious from the first race of the year that this would be a talking point in Leclerc’s season. In the first three races, he was instructed to stay behind Vettel in Australia, instructed to do the same in Bahrain (which he defied) and instructed to let him past in China. Team orders and strategy would cause controversy again later in the season in Singapore and Russia, before Leclerc and Vettel collided in Brazil.
Leclerc finished races in the same place as he started ten times this year; more times than any other driver. You could look at this in one of two ways: one, a driver who gets the best out of his car in qualifying and the race, or two, a driver who needs to improve his racecraft to move up the field on Sundays. Whichever way you look at it, 2019 was a solid first year at the Scuderia for Charles Leclerc.
A STATISTIC FOR EVERY GRAND PRIX
Australia: In his first race for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in the first part of qualifying. It’s only the second time in the last five seasons that someone other than a Mercedes driver has set the fastest time in a qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix – the other being Sebastian Vettel in Q2 in 2018.
Bahrain: In the 999th Formula 1 qualifying session, Charles Leclerc became the sport’s 99th, and third-youngest, polesitter. On Sunday at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, Leclerc became the first Monegasque driver to finish on a Formula 1 podium since Louis Chiron at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix and the 209th driver to finish on the podium overall. The driver of car 16 took home 16 points and became the 16th different driver to finish in the top three in Bahrain.
China: At the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc recorded his seventh consecutive appearance in the final part of qualifying. It was an active streak bettered only by Valtteri Bottas (44 races), Sebastian Vettel (29 races) and Lewis Hamilton (13 races).
Azerbaijan: Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, marking the 250th fastest lap for Ferrari in Formula 1. He became the 83rd driver to set multiple fastest laps in F1. For the first time in 2019, the Lap Record was broken. Leclerc’s fastest lap was 0.432 seconds faster than the Baku record set by Sebastian Vettel in 2017.
Spain: The same five drivers finished in the top five positions at all of the first five 2019 races. The quintet included Charles Leclerc, who finished fifth in all of the first five races, aside from the Bahrain round.
Monaco: At his home Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc had a weekend to forget. He recorded Ferrari’s first Q1 exit since the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix and his own first Q1 exit since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. In the race, he recorded his first retirement at Ferrari.
Canada: At the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc took the second podium finish of his career and became the 50th different driver to finish on the podium at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Monaco became the 21st different country to be represented on the podium at the track.
France:For the first time in his career, Charles Leclerc finished on the podium in consecutive Grands Prix. It was also the first time a Monegasque driver has scored back-to-back podiums in F1 history.
Austria: With Charles Leclerc starting alongside Max Verstappen on the front row, the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix set a new record for the youngest ever front row in F1 history. The two drivers’ birthdays are separated by only 16 days, with Verstappen being the elder of the pair.
Britain: Charles Leclerc recorded the fifth podium finish of his career at the 2019 British Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver equalled the number of podium finishes of Piero Taruffi, Andrea de Cesaris and Olivier Panis. He became the 73rd different driver to have finished on the podium at Silverstone. It was the first time a Monegasque driver has finished in the top three at the track, making Monaco the 20th different country to be represented on the Silverstone podium.
Germany: Charles Leclerc recorded the eighth DNF of his career at the 2019 German Grand Prix, meaning that at that point he had failed to finish exactly one quarter of the F1 races which he’s started.
Hungary: After finishing fourth in the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc moved out of a group of 29 other drivers who have a 100% DNF rate at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Leclerc retired on the first lap of the 2018 race.
Belgium: In difficult circumstances, Charles Leclerc became the 108th Grand Prix winner in Formula 1 history. Leclerc’s maiden victory made him the fourth different driver to be victorious in 2019 and Ferrari the third different team to win during the season. He became the 39th driver to have won a race with Ferrari in F1 and the 27th driver to win a Formula 1 race at Spa. It also saw Monaco become the 23rd different nation to have won a Formula 1 race. Leclerc is the first driver to take his maiden F1 win at Spa since Michael Schumacher did so with Benetton in 1992.
Italy: Charles Leclerc won the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, becoming the 37th driver to have won at Monza and the 90th different driver to have stood on the podium at the track. He also become the youngest back-to-back winner in F1 history and the first driver since Lewis Hamilton in 2007 to score the first two wins of his career at consecutive events. Alberto Ascari, Peter Collins, Bruce McLaren, Rene Arnoux, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen are the other drivers who’ve also won the race immediately after their first victory. Leclerc won the Italian Grand Prix by 0.835 seconds. It was the first time a race at Monza has been won by less than a second since 2002, the tenth time in total at the track.
Singapore: After taking pole position at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc now has more poles than any other driver has had at the age of 21. It was Ferrari’s fifth pole in Singapore, with Leclerc becoming the sixth different driver to have taken pole position at the circuit. With his fifth career pole, Leclerc has now started from the front of the grid the same number of times as Giuseppe Farina, Chris Amon, Clay Regazzoni, Patrick Tambay and Keke Rosberg did in their careers. In the race, Leclerc became the first polesitter in Singapore to finish on the podium without winning, as well as the first polesitter to have scored points at the circuit without winning.
Russia: With his fourth consecutive pole position, Charles Leclerc made the 2019 Russian Grand Prix the 41st occasion in F1 history that a driver has taken four back-to-back poles. He’s the 21st and youngest driver to have achieved the feat and only the fourth non-champion to do it, after Juan Pablo Montoya, Stirling Moss and Ronnie Peterson. It was the first time a Ferrari driver has taken four consecutive poles since Michael Schumacher set seven in a row between the 2000 Italian Grand Prix and the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was also the first time a non-Mercedes driver has achieved the feat since Sebastian Vettel did so with Red Bull between the 2011 Hungarian and Japanese Grands Prix.
Japan: Leclerc’s sixth place finish at Suzuka made him the 76th different driver to have scored a point at the Japanese Grand Prix since it first joined the calendar in 1976.
Mexico: After Max Verstappen was given a grid penalty, Charles Leclerc became the fourteenth different polesitter at the Mexico Grand Prix. Leclerc equalled Jacques Laffite with the seventh pole position of his career.
USA: Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap of a race for the fourth time in his career at the 2019 United States Grand Prix. It was also a new lap record at the Circuit of the Americas, beating Lewis Hamilton’s former record by 1.223 seconds. Leclerc qualified in fourth place for the race, making him one of only three drivers on the current grid to have never failed to reach Q3 at the circuit.
Brazil: Charles Leclerc recorded his third DNF of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix after colliding with team-mate Sebastian Vettel. It was the fourth time in 2019 that he has failed to complete every lap of a race.
Abu Dhabi: With third place in the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc became the 76th driver to record ten podium finishes. Three other drivers have exactly ten career podiums: Maurice Trintignant, Tony Brooks and Romain Grosjean. Leclerc became the eleventh different driver to have finished on the podium at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.