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Leclerc: I was losing concentration with all the emotions

Leclerc: I was losing concentration with all the emotions

Leclerc: I was losing concentration with all the emotions

Charles Leclerc admitted the final few laps of the Monaco Grand Prix were difficult, as he fought off a cascade of emotions and a chasing pack to win his home race.

The Monegasque finally won his home race at the sixth time of asking, following two unconverted pole positions and a previous best of fourth position back in 2022. He had also failed to finish the historic race on his first three attempts, leading many to believe he was cursed and destined to never win on the streets of Monaco.

Instead, much like Ayrton Senna at the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix, Leclerc made the most of an impressive pole position in Saturday’s Qualifying and led every lap to cross the finish line first in front of a delighted principality crowd. Albert II, Prince of Monaco joined Leclerc in celebrating a Monegasque winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, 93 years in the making.

In a report after the race, the Ferrari driver was lost for words to describe his feelings. He said: “I can’t really explain how I feel. The race seemed to go on for ever, but maybe that made it even nicer.

“Winning here means so much to me, because it’s the race that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver when I was little.

“So I want to thank the people of Monaco, on the lap of honour I saw so many people on the balconies and I thank all of them for their incredible support,” stated Leclerc.

The 26-year-old admitted that he found it hard to see out the closing stages of the Grand Prix, owing to the barrage of emotions that started to wash over him as victory drew ever nearer.

He continued: “Over the last few laps it was difficult because you start to pray nothing’s going to happen and I could feel the emotion growing in me and I realised I was almost losing concentration on my driving.

“I was thinking a lot about my father, about everything he did to ensure that I was here today and I was also thinking of Jules. Winning this race was a dream we all had and I dedicate the win to them,” added Leclerc.

Focus on Canada

Leclerc: I was losing concentration with all the emotions

Ferrari Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur was evidently overjoyed for Leclerc: “It was the perfect weekend and one to remember for Charles, having had a couple of tough races in the past here in Monaco. He was flying from lap 1 in FP1 and he did the perfect job.

“He was always in control of the situation and a couple of times, he asked us if he could push more, but we couldn’t give him green light.”

The Maranello-based outfit’s focus will shift to the next race in Canada after they no doubt celebrate an iconic Monaco win. On this, Vasseur added: “At the moment, we are all pushing very hard, there is a very good dynamic in the whole team with everyone working in the right direction.

“We mustn’t get carried away, we have to stay focused, but this win is a huge motivation for everyone, at the track and also of course at the factory where everyone has done a great job.

“This was a very special day, you could see the emotion from all the team members around the podium. Now we must already think about doing a good job again, a better one even, in Canada,” concluded Vasseur.

The Canadian Grand Prix will begin at 19:00 BST (14:00 local time) on Sunday 9 June 2024.