As always, Charles Leclerc is looking forward to the Monaco Grand Prix. No wonder, since it is his home race for the native of Monegasque. So far, however, there has always been a disappointment for the Ferrari driver. A year ago, he was unable to start the race after a crash at the end of qualifying, in which he had secured first place. There was no Monaco race in 2020, he retired in 2019 and 2018 and even in 2017 in Formula 2 he did not finish two races. The Grand Prix in the Principality should finally bring luck to the Ferrari driver this year.
Normally, many Formula 1 drivers choose Monaco as their place of residence because of the tax advantages. But for Leclerc it’s more than just that. For the Ferrari driver, childhood memories always come to life when he does his laps on the street circuit. The memories also come up when he walks past the swimming pool: “I learned to swim there as a child, I already have an emotional bond there,” he says. His racing team Ferrari headlined the race preview: “Welcome to Leclerc.”
But just before the Grand Prix in his home country, he had to hand over the championship lead to Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. A year ago, Leclerc had to watch idly because of a defect in his car as the Dutchman triumphed for the first time in the small city-state on the Côte d’Azur. Just recently, the Formula 1 title contender crashed Niki Lauda’s Ferrari into the crash barriers at the historic Grand Prix. Since 2017 he has been “cursed in his garden”, the newspaper “Monaco Matin” said in the introduction to an interview with Leclerc and asked: “Will little Prince Charles finally reach the checkered flag?”
Before the seventh race of the season, Leclerc is six points behind. The Monegasque has won two races so far, four World Championship races went to Verstappen. After three successes by the rival in the Red Bull in a row, Leclerc now wants to counter again. Retiring from an engine problem in Barcelona hit him and the Maranello team hard. “The title is the most important thing. I want the title,” said Leclerc. Since Kimi Raikkonen’s triumph in 2007, Ferrari has been waiting for the next coup.
Leclerc would like to play to his great strength, qualifying. The Ferrari driver has been able to start from pole position four times, but Verstappen only once. If he can do that in Monaco too, that would be an advantage that should not be underestimated, because overtaking on the shortest race track on the current Formula 1 calendar is extremely difficult. The race takes place on Sunday at 3 p.m. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.