F1 2018: Leclerc v Gasly, Who's had the Better Season?
Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly have been two of the standout drivers of the midfield teams in this year's Formula 1 championship. Both are in their first full year of Grand Prix racing, both are young and have huge potential and the pair are also going to greener pastures for 2019. There's a lot of similarities there, but where do they differ? And who's had the more impressive season so far? I'm going to delve into the statistics and find out!
Charles Leclerc's best performances of the season have arguably been in qualifying, where he's dragged his Sauber into Q3 on a number of occasions. The Sauber car is far better than last year's, but it's by no means as fast as the Renault's and Haas' of this world, making it into the top 10 is a huge achievement. Despite a 6th place in Azerbaijan, Leclerc's most impressive display was probably during the previous round in Russia. For the first time this season, Leclerc finished in the "best of the rest" spot, as the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull cars all finished the race unscathed. P7 was as good as the Monegasque could realistically hope for and he fully deserved it. There were no Safety Cars, nor any special strategies on offer, this was a seventh earned on pure pace and Charles was well clear of Kevin Magnussen (P8) when he saw the chequered flag. Leclerc will be a real spectacle when he gets in the Ferrari next season.
An argument could be for Gasly's P6 in Hungary being his best drive, but I believe that came much earlier in the season at Bahrain. Max Verstappen didn't go further than Q2, so the door was open for another driver to occupy sixth on the grid.
To everyone's surprise, that was Gasly, around a power track, the type of circuit where the Honda-powered Toro Rosso should normally struggle. In the race, Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen all dropped out and left the road clear for Gasly to finish P4, a magnificent achievement.
Nobody could explain the Frenchman's pace, not even Toro Rosso or Honda. When you consider that Brendon Hartley was 17th in the same car, this was a special performance and will go down as one of the best of the season.