F1 Monaco GP: “He averted fate”… after so much waiting, Charles Leclerc finally master at home

He certainly did the hardest part by winning qualifying on Saturday, on a circuit where overtaking is difficult. But Charles Leclerc’s setbacks in recent years in Monaco did not allow him to believe the victory had already been achieved. And when he crossed the line as winner this Sunday afternoon, after leading the race from start to finish, the emotion and relief were palpable for the Monegasque driver.

Leclerc waved the red and white flag of the Principality with pride on the podium. Then the local superhero turned it into a cape on his shoulders, where so much pressure rested before this historic race. For the first time, the Monegasque anthem rang out on the Rock at the end of the legendary Formula 1 event. The words hummed by the native son quickly gave way to a broad smile on his lips.

“I think of my father”

In the princely box, emotion was shared around the 26-year-old pilot. Frédéric Vasseur, the boss of Ferrari, could not hold back his tears. No more than Prince Albert II of Monaco who celebrated his compatriot’s victory with a warm hug.

Charles Leclerc himself had moist eyes when reacting to the organization’s microphone, just after the race: “There are no words to express what I feel. It means a lot to me. It was emotionally difficult. From the last fifteen laps, I was hoping nothing bad happened. Emotions rose. I think of my father, he gave everything for me, for me to be here. It was our dream that I would drive here and win this race. It’s incredible ! »

“We’ve been waiting for this victory for years”

“We had an incredible day,” confides Thierry Manni, the pilot’s uncle. We’ve been waiting for this victory for years! When I saw the live broadcast on TV and the emotion that invaded Charles, the royal family and all of Monaco, I found it just great. It really is a perfect day. It was a bit of a way of warding off fate. No one ever doubted his qualities as a driver but it’s true that Monaco had become a bit of his pet peeve. He was able to turn the page on recent years. »

It must be said that this home victory, the Ferrari driver had been chasing for a long time. In five appearances, he had never even been on the podium. In Formula 2, he had already been forced to retire. Then in 2019, for his debut with Ferrari, a strategic error by his team in the pit led to his premature elimination in qualifying. Starting in sixteenth position, he had to retire shortly after the start of the race.

He takes 17 points from Verstappen

By taking pole two years later, victory seemed promised to him but the engine of his car decided otherwise and let him go on the formation lap. Rebelote the following year: starting in first position, Leclerc made a mistake in the rain and finished just off the podium. Sanctioned by three places in qualifying last year, he failed in sixth position. Failed again.

We had to wait for his sixth participation to see Leclerc finally win in Monaco. And this long wait only makes his victory even more beautiful. “It’s such a tough race. The fact of having had pole twice without transforming it into victory makes this victory today even better,” he readily admitted after this much-hoped-for success.

The Monegasque driver took 17 points from Max Verstappen in the championship, but the main thing was surely elsewhere this Sunday: he broke the curse.

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