Inspired by Jules Bianchi at the beginning of his racing career, Charles Leclerc was recently on the Suzuka track, the same circuit where his mentor had the terrible accident that cost him his life. A course which the Monegasque felt was difficult to tackle.
Charles Leclerc took on the legendary Suzuka circuit for the first time in his career. But for the Monegasque driver, the Japanese route gave him painful memories. On 5 October 2014, Jules Bianchi had an accident and passed away from his injuries on 17 July 2015.
The Sauber driver could not hide his grief over the weekend, posting a photo on instagram with the caption: “First time for me in Japan. Impossible to not think of what happened here 4 years ago. We miss you Julio, I’ll push to make a good week-end for you of course will not be like the others.”
The race proved even more difficult for Leclerc for other reasons as well. He did not finish the race due to an accident and placed 16th. Kevin Jan Magnussen, the Danish driver for Haas, quickly moved right to block Leclerc from going down the inside of the first turn, causing Leclerc to hit the back of the Haas. Magnussen also did not finish the race.
Leclerc came off the incident with damage to the front wing of his car and punctured Magnussen’s rear tire in the hair-raising moment.
F1 fans were then treated to a many incredible overtakes from Leclerc, including a pass of Nico Hulkenberg. But all that effort was in vain and Leclerc had to pull in his car with an undiagnosed issue, telling his team that something broke. In the end, Monegasque resident Lewis Hamilton was crowned the winner of the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc, who will soon be driving for Ferrari, said that next year, he’s considering wearing a special helmet in memory of Jules Bianchi. This year, Leclerc wore a special helmet in memory of his father.