He moved to Prema Racing for his Formula 2 (formerly GP2) graduation in 2017 and was the class-of-the-field as he became just the fourth rookie to win the title. Leclerc qualified on pole position for all-bar three race weekends and eased to the title thanks to seven victories. A convincing championship win could have been even more dominant for he lost another pole position in Hungary and the feature race win at Spa-Francorchamps to technicalities.
Formula 1 with Sauber
In addition to his successful F2 campaign, Leclerc was Sauber-Ferrari’s Friday test driver at four GP weekends during 2017 and he graduated with the Swiss team for an impressive rookie campaign in 2018. Sauber’s alliance with Ferrari resulted in an improved chassis and Leclerc showed remarkable race craft in the tight midfield. Sixth in Baku, he was a regular points scorer by the end of the campaign. He was thankful for the new “Halo” head protection system when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren crashed over the Sauber.
Grand Prix winner for Ferrari
That form earned promotion to Ferrari as Kimi Räikkönen’s replacement in 2019. The Italian team suffered another inconsistent season, but the chaos could not hide Leclerc’s promise. He regularly outpaced Vettel and qualified on pole position on seven occasions, more than any other driver. A dominant victory second time out in Bahrain was lost when his Ferrari lost power and he was eased off the road and out of the lead by Verstappen during the closing laps in Austria. But Leclerc showed increasing maturity and scored back-to-back victories in Belgium and in front of the Tifosi at Monza where he robustly held off Lewis Hamilton. There were rookie errors such as his qualifying crash in Baku but Leclerc outscored Vettel to finish fourth overall.