'Senna was an inspiration' - Leclerc on influence of Monaco's master
Charles Leclerc has revealed how his father's love of Ayrton Senna helped provide him with the inspiration to embark on a racing career that will take him to Ferrari next year. Leclerc grew up on the Monaco streets that Senna famously dominated until his death in 1994.
Senna was a six-time winner of the Monaco Grand Prix – a record to this day – and took five consecutive victories from 1989-1993.
Monegasque Leclerc has exploded onto the scene in F1 this year, impressing with Sauber to earn a promotion to Ferrari after two years in the Scuderia's junior driver programme.
Although he says he has not idolised one driver while rising through the ranks, Leclerc has explained the influence that Senna had on his formative years.
"He told me everything he achieved and I've been interested in his career, reading books and watching his movie.
"Senna was an inspiration but, at the moment, I don't really have any idols.
"At the age of 12, I changed my mind. At 12, I wanted to be someone, but then I realised that there are no two people the same, so I'm just trying to work on myself and be the best of myself."
Leclerc will become the second-youngest driver in the long and storied history of Ferrari when he lines up at the Australian Grand Prix next year.
Having earned his seat alongside Sebastian Vettel just 14 races into his F1 career, Leclerc will likely be a title candidate in 2019, but his sights will not quite be set so high right away.
"I will be going there to try to do the best job from the start," he said.
"It would be pretentious to say that [a title challenge is on] now, but this is definitely the target.
"I don't know whether I will achieve that but, one thing is for sure, I will give my absolute maximum.
"I've seen a lot of people that are doubting about this season and that is completely normal and I understand that, but I will just try to prove these people wrong and try to do the best job possible."
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