Formula one: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc wins first home Monaco Grand Prix

AFP , Sunday 26 May 2024

Charles Leclerc finally broke his Monaco Grand Prix curse on Sunday as Red Bull had an off weekend with Max Verstappen sixth and Sergio Perez crashing out on the first lap.

Charles Leclerc
Race winner Ferrari s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc celebrates on the podium after the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, 2024 at the Circuit de Monaco. AFP


Leclerc ended years of frustration at his home race by taking the jewel in the Formula One calendar from pole at his third attempt.

A tearful Leclerc said: "No words can explain this. It means a lot, it's the race that made me dream of becoming a F1 driver.

"Tonight is going to be a big night!"

McLaren's Oscar Piastri followed the man from Monaco across the line with Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari in third.

Leclerc had started at the front of the grid at the circuit he used to travel along on the bus to school as a kid in 2021 and 2022 only for misfortune to stop him winning on both occasions.

With Ferrari now a much smoother run ship under Fred Vasseur this was a far slicker Ferrari team than then, and Leclerc dictated the pace perfectly from the front, until the end of the first lap.

That was when the red flag had to come out to stop the race after a three car pile-up with Perez's Red Bull ripped apart.

Perez spun after being hit hard from behind by Kevin Magnussen's Haas.

Nico Hulkenberg in the other Haas was a third innocent casualty.

The race on the narrow streets of the Principality was interrupted for around 30 minutes to allow debris to be cleared off the circuit.

All three crash victims were missing at the restart along with Alpine's Esteban Ocon, who joined this unhappy group of onlookers after he was forced to retire following a tangle with his team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Leclerc escaped all the drama and led for the rest of the race to claim a hugely popular success.

With three-time world champion Verstappen only sixth, Leclerc moved to within 31 points of the Dutchman ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.

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