Ferrari Star Charles Leclerc Once Took a Smoking Car to Victory After Bizarrely Not Realizing the Fire at Silverstone

Published 01/16/2022, 11:47 AM EST
Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 2, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the press conference Hassan Ammar/Pool via REUTERS

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc burst onto the scene as the next big thing in F1. The relentless, strong-minded wunderkind has outperformed at every level before entering F1. He won the 2016 GP3 championship and 2017 GP2 series, competing against the finest talents in single-seater motorsports. Leclerc got the Ferrari contract at a very young age, something this sport has seen rarely in the past.

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After an impressive rookie season with the team, Leclerc entered a multi-season contract with Ferrari which bound the Monegasque to drive for the Red Team till 2024. But this road to excellence was not an easy one for Leclerc. An interesting event happened with Leclerc in his F2 days when he was a part of the Ferrari junior program.

Leclerc’s 2017 F2 series saw a dominant performance with 7 wins to his name. Interestingly, the Silverstone win back then was a highly intense one for the Monegasque.

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN: Third placed finisher Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks dejected in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc had a thrilling experience in an F2 car

2017 Silverstone was Leclerc’s 6th back-to-back pole, equalling Stoffel Vandoorne’s record back then. On a circuit dominated by British drivers, Leclerc was happy to get a pole. But the race proved to be an arduous one for the young gun. His Ferrari-linked Prema racing car caught smoke a few laps before the end and he was unaware of it.

It was only after he saw it on the big screen that he realized that smoke was coming out of his car. The team could not diagnose the immediate reason for it. “Towards the end of that stint, I was driving on the straight when I saw, on a big screen to my left, that somebody’s car was smoking.

“Initially, I was worried about a safety car, as you need to react and pit as soon as possible if it’s called out—and then I saw the smoke was actually coming from my car,” said the Monegasque.

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He continued with the race and the smoke kept on decreasing as he reached the top speeds. He came to know about the reason later on. “The whole situation was because some oil had leaked into the exhaust. The flames picked up a bit when I pitted, but they were gone once I was back up to racing speed.”

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He pushed again and saw the smoke disappear after two laps. Leclerc came home to take the chequered flag, but he admits, it was a stressful one. F1 fans are waiting for Leclerc’s return behind the wheel for the winter testing. Ferrari has returned to the top 3 in the standings and fans are hoping the Red Team fights for regular wins in 2022. What are your predictions for Leclerc this season?

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Rituraj Tripathi

370 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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