Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, foreground, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the Bahrain Grand Prix. (AFP via Getty Images)
It took three laps in Bahrain for Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc to show why he is a potential Formula One title contender, heading into this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Sure, the slick driver from Monaco won the season-opener last Sunday in style: from pole position and with the fastest lap.
But what really stood out was the way he went toe-to-toe with world champion Max Verstappen — his former teen rival from their karting days — and came out on top.
Verstappen overtook him three times on Laps 17-19, only for Leclerc to show poise, control and aggression to win his place back on each occasion.
There wasn’t a hint of panic, despite who he was up against. Leclerc now tops the driver standings on 26 points, with teammate Carlos Sainz