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Leclerc's Historic Home Win

Leclerc’s Momentous Monaco Triumph

27/05/2024

Charles Leclerc secures a monumental victory in Monaco, achieving a dream come true at his home Grand Prix, marking a significant milestone in his Formula 1 career.

Charles Leclerc secured his sixth Formula 1 victory, his first in Monaco, and his first in nearly two years, having never previously experienced success during his home weekend. While the Ferrari driver notably won the 2019 Italian Grand Prix in front of exuberant tifosi, this triumph seems even more special.

“I think so. Obviously, Monza in 2019 was very special. But Monaco is the Grand Prix that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver. Yes, I remember being so young and watching the race with my friends, and of course with my father, who did absolutely everything to get me where I am today. I feel like I’m fulfilling not only one of my dreams but also one of his. And yes, it’s such a special weekend overall. It’s a street circuit, a track where it’s so difficult to get everything right, from the first day to qualifying, and then in every race lap. And finally achieving this in front of all my family and friends who were watching all around the track is a very, very, very special feeling.”

“I never believed in a curse. However, the two times I had a chance to win here, it always seemed very difficult. The first time, I couldn’t even start the race. The second time, we didn’t make the right choice, I think. It was very, very frustrating to lose those victories. As a driver, you never really know when the next opportunity to win will come, especially at a home race, and even more so at Monaco, a circuit so special, so challenging, and a weekend so hard to perfect, which we did. I knew this was another opportunity. I remembered how I felt the last two times I was in this position, but I really wanted to get this victory, so there was a bit of tension. But as I said, once I put on my helmet and get in the car, I feel nothing. Then it’s about trying to maximize the car you have, thinking about the tyres and all the things I need to consider to manage the race in the best way possible. It’s more about the moments before the race and before putting on the helmet.”

It wasn’t “enjoyable” to drive so slowly

While Leclerc intentionally set a slow pace for most of the Grand Prix, his team asked him to slow down even further mid-race. The Ferrari driver explained the reasoning behind this.

“We had a target gap with Russell that we didn’t want to widen too much, and I wasn’t too keen on it because I felt I was far off the pace. What I didn’t want was for Oscar to start pushing immediately, and then you lose your references. I was going so slowly in the middle of the race that if you start pushing, you don’t really know where to brake, and that’s when mistakes can happen. So I wanted to get into a rhythm and start pushing a bit more. But obviously, the team was telling me to slow down, slow down, slow down. So I did slow down, but it wasn’t the most enjoyable part of the race. Then, in the last 15 laps, I was able to push a bit more and feel the car more. And then, I had a lot more fun. But yes, I knew I had to do these things to secure the victory or at least cover all possible scenarios. And even though I don’t believe in luck, I wanted to ensure I was covering all possible scenarios.”

The Monegasque was sometimes so slow that Oscar Piastri almost attempted an overtake, which surprised his rival!

“Yes, I saw that. It was optimistic! We were probably running three, three and a half seconds off the possible pace. So I knew I needed to push a bit more. What I didn’t know was how much Oscar was willing to push at that point in the race, knowing there were still 70 laps to go. As soon as I saw that, I thought maybe I wouldn’t go as slowly in the slow sections to avoid too much pressure. But after that, I felt we had everything under control. The car’s pace was incredible. The tyres were very, very good. Even in the last laps, I felt like I could do another race. There was a lot of tyre management, obviously, at the beginning.”

“Everything went very, very well. As I said, I think the thoughts in the last 15 laps were the hardest to manage, much more than in the past in my career. But no negative thoughts. It was more about… yes, everything that’s happened so far, but the good moments in karting and the dream of making it, and most of those moments, but none of the bad moments from recent years.”

Leclerc didn’t dwell on the bad moments during the final laps and indicated he didn’t adopt a different approach this weekend compared to previous years.

“No, no, not at all. And I think the perception from the outside can sometimes change, but ultimately, what I try to do and what I do is try to keep things as stable as possible, and every time I approach a weekend, I just try to do exactly the same thing as I did the previous weekend, learning from my mistakes, obviously always looking to improve and become better. But it’s always fine-tuning and very few changes in the approach you take, and I don’t think it’s specific to Monaco compared to other circuits. So I don’t feel like I did anything very different compared to the past.”

F1 2024 Leclerc’s Historic Home Win. F1 Leclerc’s Historic Home Win. Leclerc’s Historic Home Win

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