F1: Charles Leclerc wins Driver of the Day in Japan

Charles Leclerc Driver of the Day

Charles Leclerc came close to a podium finish at the Japan Grand Prix over the weekend, but lost out in the final laps to his teammate, Carlos Sainz. Still, the Monegasque driver’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the viewing public as he picked up the Driver of the Day.

A difficult qualifying left Charles Leclerc in an uncomfortable P8 for the race on the Suzuka Circuit in Japan on 7th April. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, fared a little better, beginning from P4.

Shortly after racing began, however, the red flag went up after an incident involving Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon at Turn 3. It took a full 30 minutes for the track to be cleared and the barriers repaired before the grid could resume, but the two Ferraris were ready for action. 

Leclerc quickly overtook future teammate Lewis Hamilton to claim the seventh spot and gradually worked his way up, taking full advantage of other drivers’ pitstops.  

See more: F1: Lewis Hamilton will join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025

The 26-year-old Monegasque would, unfortunately, miss out on a podium place, despite coming very close. Sainz passed his teammate with seven laps to go and then the order was set. 

Red Bull’s indomitable Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez took first and second, with Sainz rounding out the podium and performing the fastest lap. 

Leclerc had to settle with P4, although he proved to be a crowd favourite and earned himself the title of Driver of the Day.  

This means that Scuderia Ferrari drivers have won all four Driver of the Day awards in the 2024 calendar. The accolade went to Sainz in Bahrain and Australia, while his temporary stand-in, Oliver Bearman, won acclaim from the viewing public in Saudi Arabia. 

See more: F1: Charles Leclerc earns first podium of 2024 in Saudi Arabia

“Looking just at today’s race, I’m quite happy, because there is nothing that we could have done better,” said Leclerc post-race. “Our pace, tyre management, communication and strategy were all really good. However, what prevented us from getting a better overall result mostly comes down to our qualifying yesterday. Since Australia, we’ve had some difficulties putting the tyres in the right window on the out laps in qualifying, which is something we never struggled with before, so we really have to focus on that in the next few days to make sure we can put it all together in China.”

The grid will now prepare for the upcoming Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on 21st April.


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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre