What is it with Charles Leclerc and Azerbaijan? Last year he captured a brilliant and emotional victory in the Formula 2 feature race in Baku, just days after the death of his father. And this year he produced the best performance of his fledgling F1 career to finish a superb sixth on the same streets.
Sixth 'like a win' – first time points-scorer Leclerc
In normal conditions, this result is very difficult to get, if not impossible
With the result, the 20-year-old became the first driver from Monaco to score points since Louis Chiron did so on home soil in the second ever world championship race in 1950. Just 978 races on, Leclerc was understandably delighted to get his first points on the board.
“Yeah I mean it feels like a win,” he beamed afterwards. “I'm on a bit of a cloud now, it is very difficult to realise, but I mean it was an amazing race.
"The emotions are difficult to describe now. It feels a lot better than anything I’ve experienced before."
The Sauber driver - who earned the fan-voted Driver of the Day award for his performance - had started the race in P13, which was in itself a personal best grid slot. He then kept his head as others around him lost theirs in what were extremely tricky conditions.
“We obviously took the right opportunity at the right point, but I think the pace was amazing on the supersoft at the beginning. I mean we were not as quick as Ferrari but we were not like one second off so that was quite crazy. I'm over the moon with that.
“I told myself we know this result in normal conditions is very difficult to get, if not impossible. But I knew I had to be there once the occasion was given to us and I am very happy we have taken it.”
With Leclerc’s eight points added to the two that team mate Marcus Ericsson scored in Bahrain, Sauber now have 10 world championship points – twice as many as they scored in the entirety of 2017.