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Leclerc On Pole But Still Haunted By The Past

  • SPORT
  • 3 min read

Charles Leclerc celebrated a dream pole position at his home Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday without taking anything for granted.

History has been cruel to the Ferrari driver, who has twice before taken pole for his home race only to have his hopes of victory dashed.

Qualifying is usually the most important and thrilling part of the Monaco weekend, with overtaking extremely difficult on a slow and winding street circuit which often produces processional racing.

For Leclerc, with the weight of expectation of a principality hoping for a first home winner since 1931, the Saturday session in Monte Carlo is where the pressure really comes on strong.

“I think the tension, the peak of the tension actually of the whole season, I would say, is in qualifying in Monaco,” he told reporters.

“It is true that in the past we didn’t have the success that we wanted (in the race), but I don’t want to think about that anymore. And I’m pretty sure that it will be a good one this weekend.”

In 2021 Leclerc was on pole but was unable to start due to a driveshaft failure and in 2022 he secured the top slot again but finished fourth.

Sunday could be third time lucky but he could barely dare to dream about what that might feel like to be first to the chequered flag.

“I had lots of other things to think of until now. And my priority was to have the right qualifying position, which now is done,” he said.

“However, now we have to focus on the race and I cannot afford to start thinking about how it will feel if this (the win) happens.”

Leclerc, who was fastest in Friday practice and again in Saturday afternoon’s final session, revealed that Ferrari swapped out his engine without penalty before qualifying after discovering an issue.

He also reported a strange feeling with the pedals, which was resolved.

Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz, who starts third, said he would do all he could to help Leclerc win.

“Obviously, we all want to win, but at the same time, I feel like Charles deserves to win in Monaco after his unlucky run,” said the Spaniard.

“He’s been extremely strong all week, all weekend, and here in the past. So, yeah, tomorrow is a day to kind of wish that nothing happens and see if we can win with Charles.”

Reuters