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Charles Leclerc is on pole, but can he finally win the Monaco GP?

Charles Leclerc is on pole, but can he finally win the Monaco GP?

MONACO — Charles Leclerc’s bad luck at his home race has become the stuff of Formula One legend, but he has the chance to turn it all around at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc, born and raised in the principality, claimed a third pole position around the streets of Monte Carlo on Saturday. But despite his strong record on his home nation’s streets Leclerc has never won or been on the podium.

The Ferrari driver, who used to catch the bus home from school at what, for one weekend every year, becomes the final corner of the Monte Carlo circuit, is looking to put that right this year.

He’s been rapid all weekend, going quickest in two of the three practice sessions ahead of qualifying, before beating out McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by 0.154 seconds when it mattered in qualifying.

Ferrari look strong, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz third on the grid, while runaway championship leader Max Verstappen will start from sixth on a circuit famous for being almost impossible to overtake on.

Leclerc’s previous run of bad results at Monaco have come down to a combination of driver error and team mistakes, but he is a clean race away from finally joining Monaco’s Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene on the podium at the country’s most famous event.

“I think the tension, the peak of the tension actually of the whole season I would say is in qualifying in Monaco,” Leclerc said after qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

“Then for the race, it’s not like you are more relaxed, but… well yeah, you are more relaxed, just because the race, you’ve got to focus on the start, you’ve got to focus around the pit stop, because obviously the laps around the pit stop are very important. But the qualifying in Monaco is a big part of the job.

“It is true in the past we didn’t have the success that we wanted. But I don’t want to think about that any more. And I’m pretty sure that it will be a good one this weekend.”

A victory on Sunday would end another unenviable streak since Leclerc has not won a race since July 2022, at that year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The story of Leclerc’s Monaco Curse

2017: Double DNF, Formula Two

Leclerc’s bad run at the principality started in what was otherwise a dominant Formula Two season in which he won the championship, which helped propel him to F1 in rapid time.

Having beaten Alex Albon to pole position, Leclerc breezed away into the distance to start…

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