Leclerc says he’s “feeling good” about his chances as he targets elusive win on home soil at F1 Monaco GP

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari HP
Spread the love

Charles Leclerc is determined to finally secure that coveted victory on home soil at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc has a complicated history with his home race. His weekends tend to start well, but all of his efforts to secure that elusive win have so far been thwarted, be it through technical failures, egregious strategy calls or grid penalties. 

The Ferrari driver has secured two poles on this circuit in the past, yet has never even finished on the podium; his best race result to date remains the should-have-been-a-win fourth place from 2022. Leclerc hopes he will finally be able to turn his fortunes around this weekend.

“I’m feeling good,” he said on Thursday. “Obviously, it’s always a very special feeling, the Monaco week. I think it is for all the drivers, but for me specifically, having grown up here, it’s extra special, so I’m really looking forward to it. 

“We’ve always been competitive here, so I hope it will be just the same this weekend. However, the finality of the weekend hasn’t ever been the one I wanted, which we have worked on a lot. We’ve done our preparation in the best possible way. I hope that this weekend will be the good one.” 

Leclerc is aiming high, admitting that even a podium finish wouldn’t mean “much” if he feels a potential victory is within reach.

“I mean, second or third is not really something that excites me. So the win is what we need to target.

“We’ve seen in the last few races that Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves are pretty close in qualifying. And we know how important qualifying is here. So we’ll have to put everything together. And if we’re on pole, then that will give us good chances to get what we want, which is the win.”

Thrilling as some of the recent qualifying sessions have been with Ferrari and McLaren firmly in the mix, Max Verstappen has managed to secure pole at every single round so far this season. 

Asked whether he feels he could end Verstappen’s streak this Saturday, Leclerc replied, “I feel like in Monaco, you always start a little bit from scratch. As much as what we’ve seen in the last few races, I think it won’t be too different. There still can be some surprises. 

“We’ve seen it in 2021, I think, with us, where we were nowhere but then we got to Monaco and our car was working very well. So we’ll have to see after Friday where we are compared to the others. But I will be surprised if we are not in the mix for pole, at least.”

Leclerc noted that risk assessment distinguishes Monaco from other circuits, especially during qualifying, where even the slightest contact with the barriers can prove extremely costly. 

“I think what you have in Monaco that you have maybe a little bit less on other tracks, on other city tracks as well, is just a risk assessment,” he said. “And that’s where a driver can make a bit more the difference by taking more risk. It either pays off or not at all.

“But this is something that I particularly appreciate from this track. As soon as you try and go a bit more on the limit, you straight away see it on the lap time. And obviously coming into Q3, having done so many laps, you start to get pretty close with the walls. But it’s exciting. I don’t get that feeling anywhere else on the calendar. So I think risk assessment is what makes the difference here in Monaco.”