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Charles Leclerc wins FIA Rookie of the Year award

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Charles Leclerc has won the FIA Rookie of the Year award for 2018 for his performance in Formula 1. Last year, he won top honors in Formula 2, making him the first driver to win back-to-back rookie honors.

The award has only been offered since 2014.

The award is not limited to the top Formula series. Any driver competing in their first season in a FIA championship is eligible, meaning Leclerc twice beat out racers in the World Endurance Championship, the World Rally Championship and the CIK Karting KF World Championship.

Leclerc scored two top 10s in the first 14 Grand Prixs – a sixth in Azerbaijan and a ninth in Austria. He closed out the season with five top 10s in the last seven races, including three consecutive sevenths in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

“These last two years have been amazing and this first year in Formula 1 has been great,” Leclerc said at Formula1.com. “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.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen takes pole at Brazilian GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

It’s the second career pole for the Dutch driver, who beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 0.123 seconds.

Verstappen’s first pole was earlier this season at the Hungarian GP in August.

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will start from third position. The 2018 winner at Interlagos finished 0.191 seconds back.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finished in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Hamilton was fastest in final practice earlier Saturday, 0.026 quicker than Verstappen.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday is the penultimate race of the season. Hamilton secured the season title, his sixth, in the previous race in the U.S.