Charles Leclerc reflects on his F1 Monaco GP win after years of wait thereby breaking the jinx plus addresses reactions on it.

The wait of eight years was finally over for Ferrari’s Leclerc when he crossed the chequered flag first in F1 Monaco GP to win his home grand prix. His first visit at his home circuit came in 2017 when he was driving for Prema in F2.

He retired from both the races and his bad luck continued in F1 as well. He had a DNF in 2018 and 2019 which was followed by a DNS in 2021. He scored his first points in Monaco in 2022 finishing fourth which was followed by sixth in 2023.

But come 2024, he not only secured pole but broke the curse to secure a historic and emotional first F1 win on his home soil, that too with Ferrari. He was crying even before the chequered flag as lots of memories flashed back including his late father’s.

Prince Albert of Monaco joined in the celebrations as Leclerc recollected the how the race panned out, where he did have the pressure to deliver considering the bad luck he has endured at the venue. Half the work was done on Saturday and he topped off on Sunday.

He added about Ayrton Senna, as Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur hailed Leclerc for the show he put up all-through the weekend. The Frenchman was part of the Sauber team when he endured the DNF and eventually gave him the chance to win with Ferrari.

Sweetest win –

Leclerc: “I think so. Obviously Monza in 2019 was extremely special. But Monaco is the Grand Prix that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver. Yeah, I remember being so young and watching the race with my friends, obviously with my father, that has done absolutely everything for me to get to where I am today, and I feel like I don’t only accomplish a dream of mine today, but also one of his. And yeah, it’s just such a special weekend overall. It’s a street track, it’s such a difficult track to put everything together from FP1 to qualifying to then all the laps that you have to do in the race. And to finally make it in front of my whole family, my friends that were watching all over the track is a very, very, very special feeling.

Scares anytime during the grand prix –

Leclerc: “I did see that attempt from Oscar. Like, it was optimistic! But I was managing like crazy. I don’t know, we were probably three seconds off the pace, three-and-a-half seconds off the pace. So I knew that I just had to push a little bit more. The thing that I didn’t know is how much Oscar was willing to push at this moment of the race, knowing that there were still 70 laps to go. So as soon as I saw that, I was like, ‘OK, maybe I’m not going to take it that easy in the slow part’ just to not be under too much pressure there. But after that, I felt like we had everything under control. The pace of the car was amazing. The tyres felt really, really 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. So everything felt really, really good. As I said, I think it’s more the thoughts in the last 15 laps that were very difficult to manage and a lot more than in the past in my career. But no negative thoughts. It was more, again, about the… Yeah, everything that has happened until now, but good moments in karting and dreaming of getting there and most of these moments, but none of the bad moments of the last few years.

“Regarding any worry, I think we had a target gap with Russell that we didn’t want to open too much and I wasn’t too much for that because I felt like I was a lot off the pace and what I didn’t want is that Oscar started to push straight away and then you don’t have references. I was going so slow in the middle of the race that if you start to push, then you don’t really know where to brake and that’s where mistakes can happen. So I just wanted to get into the rhythm and start to push a bit more. But obviously, the team was telling me, slow down, slow down, slow down. So I was slowing down, but it wasn’t the nicest moment of the race. Then in the last 15 laps, I could push a bit more and feel a bit more the car. And there, I enjoyed it a lot more. But yeah, I knew I had to do those things to get the win or at least to secure every possible scenario. And as much as I don’t believe in luck, I wanted to make sure that I was covering all possible scenarios. Before the race, I actually slept really well. I ate like crazy yesterday night. I actually got too late at home and I couldn’t cook, so I ordered my favourite pizza, which is not the best preparation to race normally, but I was like, ‘OK, maybe mentally it will help me to take the pressure off a little bit’. And yeah, that’s it. I slept really well.”

Approach to weekend, Monaco jinx –

Leclerc: “No, no, not at all. And I think the perception from the outside sometimes can change but at the end what I try to do and what I do is to try and keep the things as stable as possible and whenever I go in a weekend you just try and do exactly the same thing as what you’ve done In the previous weekend, learning from mistakes, obviously always striving to improve and get better, but it’s always fine-tuning and very little changes in the approach that you have, and I think it’s not specific to Monaco compared to others. I mean, there’s a different approach in free practice, but just because it’s a street track. But, yeah, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything very differently compared to the past.  I never believed in the curse. However, it always felt very difficult in the two occasions I had to win here. One, I couldn’t even start the race. The second one, we didn’t make the right choice, I think. So it was very, very frustrating to lose those wins.

“The thing is that as a driver you never really know when will be the next opportunity to win and especially when it’s your home race and even more so when your home race is Monaco, that is such a special track, such a difficult track and such a difficult weekend to master and to do everything perfectly which we did. So I knew that today was another opportunity. I knew how it felt the last two times I was in this position, But I obviously really wanted to get that victory today, so there’s a bit of tension. But as I’ve said., as soon as I put the helmet on and as soon as I get into the car I don’t feel anything anymore. And then it’s all about trying to maximise the car that you have thinking about the tyres and thinking about all the stuff that I had to think of to manage this race the best way possible. So it’s more the moments before the race and before putting the helmet on.”

Emotions, remembering father –

Leclerc: “I think where I struggled most to actually contain my emotions was during the last 10 laps of the race. More than on the podium. I realised actually two laps to the end that I was struggling to see out of the tunnel just because I had tears in my eyes. And I was like, ‘f**k, Charles, you cannot do that now. You still have two laps to finish’. And especially on a track like Monaco, you have to be on it all the way to the end. It was very difficult to contain those emotions, those thoughts again, of the people that have helped me to get to where I am today. It’s only a win. The season is still very, very long. It’s 25 points like any other wins. However, emotionally, this one means so much. And I think the fact as well that we started twice on pole position in the past and that we couldn’t manage to get the win for one reason or another, that we couldn’t really control, not in our control, makes this one even more so special.

“It was very much in my mind. As I said, I think in every race I have done, there’s been not one race where I was thinking about this kind of personal stuff inside the car, because you’ve got to stay on it. Maybe Baku in 2017. Obviously, everything was still very fresh for me, so it was difficult to manage mentally. However, it’s probably the first time in my career that it happened again while driving, where you’ve got these flashbacks of all these moments that we have spent together, all the sacrifices that he has done for me to get to where I am. And as I said earlier, it’s not only my dream, but it was both of our dreams to get there. And obviously, my whole family was supporting and was obviously dreaming of that moment, which makes it even more special. But yeah, that was, again, as I said earlier, probably the moment that was the most difficult to manage today.”

Getting name against Senna, reactions of Prince Albert –

Leclerc: “I mean, Ayrton has always been my idol and he was incredibly special in Monaco. And I think that probably the first time my father spoke to me about Ayrton, he told me to go and look this onboard of him driving around the streets of Monaco and I was like ‘oh my God, that’s crazy!’ And from that day onwards then obviously I knew more and more growing up, more and more about Ayrton and that added to the fact that he was just becoming more and more my idol. But the fact he was so special in Monaco was incredible to see. To win in Monaco now myself as well, is amazing.

“Also, yes, the Prince was very emotional. We know each other since a very long time. And actually, I remember when I was 12 or 13 years old, we got to the palace for the first time with my father to try and have some support with my career that was just starting to be a bit more serious. And since then he has always kept an eye on my career, has always supported me, has always had nice words in very good moments, but also in moments that were much more difficult, and I think the fact that he has seen me growing up and all the support that he has given me over the years made it quite emotional for me and also for him.”

Manage Leclerc after pole –

Vasseur: “If looking for the word even in French I don’t know but no guru, nothing special that now he came I think last year that it was my first Monaco with him in no, not true because we did 2018, but he came last year I think he was a bit nervous and from the beginning of the weekend he was a bit under tension. This year he was much more relaxed from the beginning. He did from FP1, he did a fantastic weekend. He was always flying and even when we had the issue in Q1 with the plastic bag into the front wing that we had to pit, we lost two or three laps in a row with this. He was able to stay very calm because we could have been out in Q1. And he was very in control from the beginning.

“And today in the race I think that it was perhaps not from an external point of view the most exciting race of the season, I can imagine. But we knew that starting after the red flag we had to do 76 laps with the same set of tyres and we had to slow down and he was perhaps three or four seconds out of the pace at this stage. But he was always able to manage the situation and Carlos did exactly the same job. Because Carlos it was even more difficult because we asked him to stay not too far away of Piastri to cover a potential safety car but to also to slow down Norris for Russell. And it was more controlling the race than pushing. It was a bit frustrating for them because a couple of times they asked us on the radio that can I push, can I push but it was not at all our interest and I’m more than pleased with the job that they did today.”

Important win for Leclerc –

Vasseur: “If first you will stop to ask him each year what will happen next year, what will happen this week, blah blah blah, this is over now, it’s behind us. But I think it was an important one that he had a kind of weight on the shoulders for years now about the win in Monaco, about sometimes he did small mistakes like F2, sometimes he was unlucky like F1 with me at Alfa Romeo when we had a brake failure. At the end he was not in doubt but he was a bit under pressure with this. But it’s not just about Monaco, I think probably for his own self-confidence and for the approach that he has of all the other events, Charles will do a step forward for sure.”

Here’s the winning moment for Charles Leclerc:

Here’s how F1 Monaco GP panned out

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