Charles Leclerc drives last Monaco laps in tears: The biggest dream comes true

This victory is a real relief for Charles Leclerc. The negative series that he ended with it are numerous. Almost two years without a win. Twelve Formula 1 poles in a row without a win. Two Monaco poles without a win. 2024 is the year in which he finally puts an end to the talk about the Leclerc curse at his home GP. So it is not surprising that his sixth victory in Formula 1 is the most emotional.

It was an extremely long race for Leclerc, who, having started from pole position, had to complete 76 of the 78 laps at race speed on the same set of hard tires due to an early interruption. Failure to concentrate was his biggest enemy. But it was precisely the emotions that threatened to become too overwhelming in the last ten laps.

Leclerc: With Monaco victory, father’s dream also fulfilled

“With two laps to go, I realised I was having trouble seeing out of the tunnel because I had tears in my eyes,” Leclerc revealed. “I just thought ‘Fuck, Charles, you can’t do that now! You’ve got two laps to go, and especially on a track like Monaco you have to stay with it until the end.'”

For Monegasque Leclerc, however, the dream of Formula 1 began here, and no race has greater significance for him. Not least because of his father Herve, who died in 2017. On the final laps, Leclerc saw him in front of him again. The last time he felt like this was in Baku in 2017. That was his first Formula 2 weekend after Herve Leclerc’s death.

“This is the first time since then that it has happened to me again while driving,” said Leclerc. “These flashbacks, of all the moments we shared together, all the sacrifices he made for me so that I could get here.” From his balcony in Monaco, his father turned him into an F1 fan: “It feels like today I have not only fulfilled my dream, but also his.”

Leclerc must not make any mistakes in Monaco

Past failures made Leclerc’s hunger for victory even stronger in 2024. Much has been written about his Monaco curse, how he had not even been able to finish his first seven home races: “Today I really wanted to win. There was a bit of tension in it, but as soon as I put on the helmet and get in the car, I don’t feel any of it anymore.”

He needed his nerves in the race, in which he was constantly under pressure from McLaren driver Oscar Piastri, but at the same time had to keep the tires alive for 76 laps. Piastri tried everything, even hinting at an attack in Portier. Finding the right balance between tire management and defensive pushing was an immense challenge: “I didn’t want Oscar to push straight away and then I wouldn’t have any references.”

“I was so slow towards the middle of the race that when you start pushing, you don’t really know where to brake and that’s when the mistakes happen,” Leclerc explains the dilemma. That’s why he didn’t always want to heed his pit’s requests to slow down: “I just wanted to get into the rhythm.” He managed to successfully maintain his balance until the end: “On the last few laps, I felt like I could still drive a race!”

Leclerc wants nothing to do with the F1 World Championship after Monaco

Emotionally, the victory means more to Leclerc than any other: “The fact that we started from pole twice and missed the win for reasons that were not really within our control makes it even more special.” But there is also a dry mathematical component. 25 more points for the second-placed driver, who has made up his deficit in the 2024 F1 World Championship gap to Max Verstappen reduced to 31 points.

It was also Ferrari’s second victory this year. And Leclerc remains the only driver to have finished every race in fourth place or better. And just a week ago, the Scuderia introduced a major update. How far ahead are they really? “We shouldn’t overestimate it,” Leclerc said, curbing the euphoria. “Monaco is obviously a very special circuit and we had a really good car here. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way until the end.”

“I’m not thinking about the championship at the moment anyway,” says Leclerc. “It’s still too early in the season. I think the updates from Imola, we still have to see how well they work and what they bring us.”

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