Charles Leclerc calls his first home race at the Monaco Grand Prix with Scuderia Ferrari like be a ‘dream come true’.
Leclerc’s debut season with Ferrari has been a bumpy ride. He has claimed his first pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but lost out on taking the win due to an engine related issue. Despite the loss of his first win, he was able to capture his first podium in F1 with third place.
But the twenty-one year old has had his fair share of low moments, crashing out of Azerbaijan qualifying when he was on course for a strong result in the session. He ended the race in fifth place, having started from tenth.
Leclerc has also been involved in Ferrari’s recent use of team orders alongside veteran team-mate Sebastian Vettel. The two have been given orders to allow the other car pass in a bid to improve their result, but Ferrari have been criticised for leaving their order too late, hindering their overall results.
Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, two-time Ferrari champion and F1 legend Niki Lauda passed away at the age of 70 years old. Leclerc took the time to pay his respects to the former Ferrari champion ahead of the weekend.
“The news about Niki Lauda came as a shock to me and to everyone. Whenever we met in the paddock, he was always kind, always willing to talk. He was a great champion and his personality will be much missed in our sport,” commented Leclerc.
The Monegasque driver will race in his second home race in Formula 1, having raced in last year’s Monaco Grand Prix with Alfa Romeo Sauber. Leclerc retired due to a brake failure, after crashing into the back of Brendon Hartley‘s Toro Rosso.
But representing Ferrari in front of his home crowd will be a special moment for the local driver, having watched the races from his friends’ flat within the circuit and dreaming one day that he will be driving the Ferrari in his home city. Now, Leclerc will be living the dream.
“It’s my first home GP as a Ferrari driver and it’s bound to be a special weekend.
“I remember as a kid, I would spend the afternoon with a friend who lived in a flat with a balcony overlooking the Ste. Devote corner.
“We used to play with toy cars while the real ones rushed past beneath us. I always told myself that one day, it would be great to be driving in this race.
“And yes, that did happen and the fact I’m taking part in a Ferrari this year means I can honestly talk about a dream come true.”
Outside of F1, Leclerc has raced around the infamous Circuit de Monaco circuit in the 2017 FIA Formula 2 championship. The Monegasque driver claimed pole position, but retired in both races due to a mechanical issue and an incident whilst making his way up in the Sprint race.
The twisty nature of the Monaco street circuit makes it one of hardest tracks on the F1 calendar. Leclerc hopes that he can deliver his best shot in front of the home fans this weekend.
“To do well in Monaco, you need everything in place, from courage to bravura, from luck to having a competitive car. I hope I can put on a good show in front of my own people and I will definitely be giving it my best shot.”