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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc reveals 'number one' motivation and childhood issues

Charles Leclerc has outlined what fuels him to push to the limits in F1 and how he has developed a key strength.

Leclerc Win Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Charles Leclerc has revealed that wanting to be "number one" in F1 and winning a title is what fuels him to work harder, whilst he has learnt from being "extremely harsh" on himself at a young age. 

Like any driver in F1, Leclerc's dream is to become world champion. To-date, 2022 was his best opportunity to turn his dream into a reality, only for driver errors and strategic mishaps to impact his chances. 

However, with Red Bull having potentially been caught by McLaren and Ferrari, Leclerc might be on the verge of his latest genuine attempt at claiming the ultimate prize. 

Whilst Leclerc is yet to win an F1 title, the Monegasque has won six races, the most recent of which was last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Towards the end of last season, Leclerc appeared on the On Purpose Podcast, in an episode which finally aired this week. 

In the episode, Leclerc explained what fuels him and the feelings that come with every victory, and how on difficult mornings, he uses the thought of becoming world champion to drag himself to training.

"Just to be the number one," Leclerc said on the podcast. "Just the feeling of the victory. I've won a few races in Formula 1, and the feeling that you get once you get that win is incredible. 

"Because you know you've done the best on track, but it depends on so many other people doing the right thing. It's such an incredible joy not only for you, but for more than 1,500 people that are back at the factory in Maranello working for the Formula 1 programme. 

"So it's crazy, there are so many people involved, and whenever you achieve that as a team it's such an incredible feeling. Victory, the taste of victory is what motivates me. 

Every morning I wake up, and I think about that. Every day that is a bit more difficult to wake up and go and train, I think about winning a world championship one day and the feeling that gives me. So yeah, this is what motivates me."

Putting himself down

For every driver error made, Leclerc has always been extraordinarily hard on himself. The Ferrari star has been heard shouting at himself over the radio before now in anger and disbelief, most notably after crashing out of the 2022 French Grand Prix.

Leclerc is not afraid of hiding his emotions, both good and bad, as proven in Monaco last Sunday where he was heard breaking down into tears after finally winning his home race. 

However, the 26-year-old has learnt to manage both his emotions and his expectations, having admitted to having been very hard on himself during the early stages of his motorsport career. 

In doing so, he hurt his self-confidence, something he insists needs to be extremely high to fight through all the setbacks and mistakes.

"I was extremely harsh on myself, which I think now is a strength because I'm super honest with myself," said Leclerc. "I don't like to be nice to myself whenever I do a mistake. I'm very harsh, and I'm very honest with myself. 

"But at the same time, I think the reaction from that is extremely important. The way you react to mistakes you've done inside the car this is where you manage to transform a mistake to something positive from learning from it. 

"And when I was younger, I didn't have the right reaction, I would put myself so much down, it also hurt my self-confidence. Now it's very different, I know that I got to a certain level because I worked hard, of course, because there is also a part of talent when you are young. 

"It's super important to keep the self-confidence super high in those difficult moments, otherwise you can lose a little bit the way, the direction, in which you need to work, and it can make things a bit more complicated. That's where I was struggling when I was younger."

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