Charles Leclerc explains why he is so protective of his brother: “I’m starting to think about all the bad scenarios that can happen”

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Charles Leclerc first rode a go-kart at the age of four and was addicted to the thrill of speed after taking his first lesson with his French godfather and driver Jules Bianchi.

But the financial support required for motorsport racing was an additional hurdle, and over the years his family was no longer able to afford the cost of the competition. That’s when manager Nicolas Todt stepped in, facing Leclerc in 2012 and paying for his next season.

These days, the 23-year-old is keeping a close eye on his younger brother Arthur Leclerc, a promising driver three years his junior, who recently joined the Ferrari Driver Academy and claimed his first F3 victory at Circuit Paul Ricard.

“I’m just very, very happy to see him do that, so well,” Leclerc told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies. “I really hope he joins me on the Formula 1 grid very soon, but it’s still a long way to go.”

Even though Leclerc celebrates his brother’s success, his protective instincts trump his ability to fully embrace his pursuit of the sport.

“I’m 10 times more stressed when he’s the one running than when I’m running, because when I have the helmet I don’t think about the danger of the sport,” he says.

“But every time I see it from the outside, I start to think about all the bad scenarios that can happen,” he adds.

Ultimately, the foundation of their relationship lies off the track. “Whenever he needs help he knows I’m there for him and he can call me anytime […] but most of the time we just talk about our lives, just like normal brothers will. ”

Charles Leclerc celebrates after his brother Arthur Leclerc won the F4 race ahead of the F1 German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 28, 2019 in Hockenheim, Germany.
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Growing up in Monaco

Leclerc was born and raised in Monte Carlo in Monaco, known for its cobbled streets, glittering harbors and gleaming white yachts.

He is one of the country’s 10,000 inhabitants and comes from more humble beginnings than the majority of the population, many of whom are millionaires drawn by the tax status of the city-state of the Côte d’Azur.

The motor racing star is not jaded by opulence, but rather exhibits a sense of gratitude and humility. “From the outside, I don’t think it gives the same image as I have of my own city.”

“I have all my friends, all my family, and there aren’t all those glamorous parts, that partying side. Of course, there is also that side of Monaco, but I don’t feel it when I go there. am, it’s more relaxing. ”

For Leclerc, under the golden plating hides a rich history of legendary racers and spectacular circuits, notably the Monaco Grand Prix.

Known for its narrow and winding layout, the circuit has been a technically difficult competition since it first appeared on the F1 calendar in 1950. Past winners include sports legends such as Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill.

Leclerc says his education in Monaco was key to his F1 career as he learned the merit of working hard and respecting others. “These two values ​​are probably the most important.”

“Monaco has given me most of the values ​​that I try to share in Formula 1. I’m just very, very proud and very happy to be born there.”

Leclerc rides during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 22, 2021 in Monte-Carlo.

Learn from other athletes

As someone who wants to reach the top of his sport, Leclerc says he admires his fellow athletes who can show their ability to excel, including Juventus and Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, who recently tied the all-time international goalscoring record at Euro 2020, met Leclerc during his visit to Ferrari’s famous headquarters in Maranello in May.

“He gave us some advice […] as an athlete. The way he’s preparing, et cetera, which was very, very interesting, “said Leclerc.

“Then we had fun driving cars. But we didn’t talk too much about work, it was more about having fun.”

When asked if Ronaldo was unfazed during his ride, Leclerc laughed. “Yeah, well, brave I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m sure he enjoyed it. I think he was pretty impressed with how fast these cars go.”

Nonetheless, he has a deep respect for the global icon. “He’s a football legend, but not only (that). I think for every athlete we are all very impressed with him […] he’s an incredible athlete. ”

Leclerc and Ferrari celebrate at Parc Fermé during qualifying ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on June 5, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Fight for victory

Leclerc is cautiously optimistic about his prospects for the remainder of the season, acknowledging that Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen are the two most vying competitors to dominate the standings in 2021.

“I’m not frustrated, but I want to be back in the fight with the best guys like we were in 2019. So there’s a lot of motivation for the whole team because we don’t want Ferrari to fight. for fifth or sixth place. place, “he said.

“But on the other hand, it’s great to finally see a two-team fight for a world title. I think people are enjoying it.”

He’s not wrong. Fans and neutrals alike relish the battle between the teams, a dynamic Leclerc will undoubtedly see itself played out at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Taking place on Sunday July 18, the race is expected to take place in front of a large crowd.

Staged behind closed doors in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Leclerc impatiently awaits the return of spectators to the event.

“It’s amazing to finally see life back to normal a little bit. It’s been a long time and it’s great to feel the passion of the fans,” he said.

“I don’t know how involved we will be with the fans and how close we will be to them because of the bubble we’re in. But we at least feel the support in the stand to see them while we drive, it’s amazing. “

Leclerc makes a pit stop during the Styrian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s future

Ferrari recorded its worst season in 40 years in 2020 and the current campaign sees the team fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. Leclerc is sixth in the Drivers’ Championship with 60 points, along with teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. with 62 points.

“We are more or less the same age, we have the same interests, we play the same sports,” he says. “We are having good times, but we also work very well with the team in difficult times. […] to try to come together. “

Leclerc says Ferrari is focused on the prospect of the 2022 season with the promise of a new car, while “trying to work as hard as possible” between races.

Carlos Sainz and Leclerc chat on the grid ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on June 27, 2021 in Spielberg, Austria.
The 2022 season sees the introduction of new rules that “will create radically different-looking cars capable of harder and closer races,” according to F1.

“A lot of the guys at home are focused on the 2022 car, which will be a huge opportunity for us, but it will be very, very important for the years to come, because it’s a whole new car,” Leclerc said.

“And so there is also a part of the team that is still focusing on this year […] it is therefore a good balance.

“These are small steps in the right direction, but they are going in the right direction, which is very, very important.”

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