Still Formula One’s youngest ever world champion at just 23 years old, by 26 he had won more than all but two drivers with four championships. Nicknamed as “Baby Schumi”, in the early days his trademark was pure pace, Vettel and the Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 was an unstoppable partnership - his 15 pole positions during 2011 remains the most ever in a season.
However the arrival of new regulations in 2014 presented its challenges. He struggled in his final season with Red Bull before securing a childhood dream move to Ferrari in 2015 which intensified his fight with Lewis Hamilton.
The pair went head-to-head for the 2017 and ‘18 title before Hamilton just narrowly beat him, but now it is Leclerc that gives Vettel his biggest challenge. The four-time world champion struggled with the arrival of his young, hotshot team-mate but maybe 2020 will be the resurgence of Vettel as he continues to fight for that fifth world title.
With just two seasons under his belt, Leclerc has already made his presence as a future champion known out-scoring Sebastian Vettel in just his first year at Ferrari.
Now as Ferrari’s youngest ever race winner and having recently signed a new contract until 2024, it’s clear that Leclerc is the future of the team as he looks set to fight for his maiden world championship in 2020. Scoring seven pole positions in 2019, the most of any driver that season, the speed is clearly there but he will need the support from his team to dethrone Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
However it hasn’t always been straightforward for Leclerc up to this point, perhaps the most impressive action of all is when he won the F2 race in Baku just days after his father had died - the youngster showed tremendous maturity to win in those conditions.
Yet his first win in Formula One, too, came with mixed emotions due to the death of his friend, Anthoine Hubert, just a day before. It was a fantastic drive from Leclerc in which he then dedicated the win to his friend afterwards. The road hasn’t been easy for him, but the future looks promising - it’s surely only a matter of time before Leclerc has a Formula One world title of his own.