Charles LeClerc is the Ferrari rookie who made big news in F1 in 2019. Hailing from Monaco, Charles is a Monégasque who gets his own home Grand Prix, which is a fantastic event.
The first time I took photos of Charles was here back in 2017 at the Amber Lounge.
Doesn’t he look snazzy in that suit? He’s one of a handful of drivers to be up on the Amber Lounge stage for the fashion parade.
And for this shot I took here we have Charles wearing a driver Academy shirt from Ferrari.
So who’s Charles’ best mate in the paddock?
I’d suggest Pierre Gasley, given they’ve spent a lot of time in their youth growing up around racing together. I love this shot in particular of the youngsters at the back of the TV interview pen.
Often when you see Charles and Pierre come out for the driver’s parade, they’ll find each other and walk out together.
Charles is also close to his press officer, Mia Djacic, who was with him in Alfa Romeo and then moved over to Ferrari with him. They’re roughly around the same age and are a marvellous pair who are very professional and know what they’re doing.
I was very lucky to get 90 or so seconds for a one-on-one shot with Charles back in 2018, out the back in the paddock in Singapore. I quite like these night shots here where he’s showing off his new helmet.
This shot was taken was in Mexico in 2018. Charles was getting ready to do a TV interview, and up behind him come Maurizio Arrivabene and Gino Rosato from Ferrari.
Both of them grabbed his ears and gave them a fairly healthy twist while he was setting up to do this interview, and I absolutely loved the reaction on his face.
Now this photo was taken during testing. The beauty of going to testing is that there are hardly any photographers or fans around, so the drivers are much more relaxed. This means you get this unequalled access to the drivers and teams, so I was out at turn one and I saw Charles sitting on the fence with his manager who’s just out of shot. He looked at me I took this photo with a very soft-focus f/2 lens
Here’s his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.
Charles and Sebastian get along as well as any pairing of drivers in a team, because of course, your teammate is also your closest rival
I liked it in Bahrain where Charles was looking like he was going to have a win – he was on track before he had that engine problem. and Sebastian was one of the first to go over to the young fella and console him.
I thought that showed marvellous team spirit from the two Ferrari drivers.
Back here with Andrea Ferrari. Andrea is his trainer, and he does some interesting exercises with Charles prior to the start of a race or any session.
This image was taken back in the Alfa Romeo days outside the Media Centre in Germany. It looks like they’re doing some neck strengthening stuff and they also play soccer.
Here is Charles in some Ferrari kit doing skipping.
And this was outside of the Ferrari garage.
Charles is one of the only drivers to do a track walk at each race.
And he’s one of few drivers to sit next to his car on the grid.
He will do this even though there could be a gaggle of photographers and interviewers and TV cameramen around him.
Another funny moment was during testing in Barcelona.
I knew he was in the engineering caravan or the motorhome, and I thought, “I’m just going to hang around for this shot.” I was the only photographer there and I must have waited for 20 to 25 minutes, then you’ve got to be ready, because you don’t get a second chance, and he walked out and held up his knife and forks for me!
There’s no smile – just this little quirky, wry grin. I love this picture as it’s so unique, so I ended up giving him a couple of copies of this picture along with one for him to sign for me, which he duly did, and I was thankful.
There was also this great moment in the paddock, where Mattia Binotto comes up and tickles Charles, and I got to capture a rare smile from him.
Charles is very professional in the paddock; he often has his head down and knows what he’s doing, and you don’t often get any sort of real laugh from him. I’ve been there for his highs when he won his first race in Spa, all the way through to the lows, such as when he crashed in Germany.
The saddest time, I think you’d all agree, was after Anthoine Hubert’s death. On the Sunday well before the race, they had a ceremony out on the track. Charles was a good friend of Anthoine’s, and this lovely moment here shows Anthoine’s mother giving Charles a hug.
He’s not much of a cricketer, but he did give it a go out here on the track in Silverstone.
And it’s quite unusual to see him running, as he’s normally on time. On the other hand he’s completely the opposite, and you’ll find him he’s off and running here or there.
So hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about Charles LeClerc! He’s a bright talent in Formula One and I think he’s on his way to a world championship.