Formula 1 Racing

The road to Leclerc’s Monaco F1 triumph

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

How as a young child growing up in the principality, he would take the bus to school up the winding climb to Casino Square, dreaming how he would one day tear up the same roads in a scarlet Ferrari F1 car.

How his late father Herve made every possible sacrifice to get him there but would pass away in 2017 before he ever got to see his son realise his dreams.

How his late friend Jules Bianchi became not just a godfather but a mentor to him, a shining light to follow on the journey from karting together at the Brignoles track, through the Ferrari academy and into F1.

“I realised actually two laps to the end that I was struggling to see out of the tunnel just because I had tears in my eyes,” Leclerc admitted. “And I was like, ‘f**k, Charles, you cannot do that now. You still have two laps to finish’.

“I have to say that I was thinking to my dad a lot more. Monaco is the Grand Prix that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver.

“I remember being so young and watching the race with my friends, obviously with my father, that has done absolutely everything for me to get to where I am today, and I feel like I don’t only accomplish a dream of mine today, but also one of his.”

Leclerc’s home race had never been kind to him in the past, which only made his desire to banish those demons even stronger.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

The dominant driver in 2017’s Formula 2 championship, Leclerc was leading the feature race from pole until his race unravelled through mechanical issues.

His next chance arrived in his first Ferrari F1 season in 2019, but he was eliminated in Q1 due to a wrong decision to stay in the garage for the final minutes, going on to retire from the race due to damage from a mid-pack collision with Nico Hulkenberg.

In 2021 he crashed in qualifying after securing pole, with an undiagnosed driveshaft issue surfacing on the laps to the grid and leaving him unable to start the race at all.

Despite knowing he wouldn’t make the start, he walked to the grid to meet with the other drivers and wave to the red-tinged grandstands, as his best opportunity yet to score that elusive maiden win on home soil had once again passed him by.

“In the garage, it was very, very difficult to feel okay,” he said at the time. “I guess now I’m getting used to this feeling here, unfortunately. I’ve never finished a race here. This year I don’t start it, starting from pole…”

Determined to make things right, he…

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