Charles Leclerc Recounts Extent of Bitter Rivalry with Verstappen Early On

Published 12/26/2020, 6:13 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


If you think of future world champions in F1, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc lead the list. They are some of the first names that pop into any average F1 fanatic’s head. While they compete in the pinnacle of motorsports these days, they both go back a long way.

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When they were young, they regularly butted heads in karting. In a recently unearthed clip, they were seen crashing into each other. This left Max furious, who labeled the Monegasque ‘unfair’ while Leclerc dismissed it as just a ‘racing incident.’

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Charles Leclerc attributes their better relationship today to ‘maturity’

However, they have put most of their altercations as young drivers behind them now. Now there seems to be more respect between the two.

“When we were little we couldn’t see each other. But with time, now we are more mature, we talk and there have been great progress.

However, respect doesn’t put out the competitive fire that still burns inside them. They still engage in wheel-to-wheel combat and are not ready to give the other any extra inch.

“He is a good boy but in the end, when we put on the helmet, the competition that was already there at the time returns, to karts,” Leclerc remarked.

Who will win the Championship first – Leclerc or Verstappen?

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All of this boils down to the competitiveness of their respective cars. Formula 1 is a sport like no other; it is heavily dependent on machinery and equipment. The differences between the drivers are marginal.

Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – September 11, 2020 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice Bryn Lennon/Pool via REUTERS

Red Bull looks like the better-positioned team for now. After their season-finale win at Abu Dhabi GP, they are ready to launch an assault for the 2021 title. Which is in sharp contrast to Ferrari, whose struggles are painful to watch. They don’t look to be anywhere near Red Bull’s level next season.

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However, all of this can be turned on its head in 2021 when the new regulations kick in. Mercedes may not be as dominant of a force as they are now. So, we may see both Leclerc and Verstappen in a straight fight with Lewis Hamilton, and then we will find out who gets to the finish line first.

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Bharat Aggarwal

667 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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