F1 2018 awards: Charles Leclerc named FIA Rookie of the Year
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes received their trophies at the FIA ceremony
Charles Leclerc’s stellar first season in Formula 1 has been rewarded after the youngster was named the Rookie of the Year at the FIA 2018 prize giving in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
It’s the second year in a row that the 21-year-old has claimed the rookie award after he secured the Formula 2 title in 2017.
Driving for Sauber he ended the season 13th in the 2018 standings with 39 points. Included in his tally were a sixth-place finish in Azerbaijan and seventh-placed finishes in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
That form has led to a big move for 2019 as next year the Monegasque driver will line up alongside Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.
Unable to attend the ceremony, Leclerc said via a video: “[I’m] extremely grateful to be receiving the Rookie of the Year award for the second year in a row.
“These last two years have been amazing and this first year in Formula 1 has been great. It was very difficult in the first few races to get used to these cars, but after that, it has been great, with an amazing team behind me that has pushed me all year long and that has [taught] me all the basics of Formula 1. So yeah, really looking forward to the next challenges ahead and see you soon on track.”
Lewis and Mercedes get their trophies
At the awards ceremony in Russia drivers’ champion Lewis Hamilton and constructors’ champion Mercedes officially received their trophies following their 2018 title double.
Hamilton finished the season on 408 points, 88 ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, while Mercedes won 655 points compared to Ferrari’s 571.
Picking up the constructors’ trophy, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “It was an unbelievable season. Did I enjoy the battle with Ferrari? No, I didn’t, it was really tough. But if I look back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It’s what Formula 1 is all about.
“It’s the pinnacle of motor racing and you expect your competitors to be very strong. In the end it makes the end result even more enjoyable.”
Five-time world champion Hamilton was also named the Personality of the Year while Mercedes’ non-executive director Niki Lauda won the President’s Award.