Leclerc hopes for a turnaround in fortune in Monaco

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Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc hopes that he will have more luck on home turf this year after a series of misfortune had hindered his chances in his past appearances at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Following the first of two home races for his team, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc heads to his own home grand prix with the Monaco round taking place this weekend.

The Monegasque has already secured pole position twice on home turf, having set the quickest lap time for Ferrari in 2021 and 2022. However, the races never wanted to play out the way he would have liked. In 2021, he was unable to start the race due to a technical issue that arose on the reconnaissance lap while the next year saw Ferrari make a strategy error that robbed him of a potential victory.

During his first appearance in Monaco in 2018, Leclerc finished in 18th for Alfa Romeo while the next year saw him retire from the action. The coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the Monaco round in 2020. Last year, Leclerc finished the race in P6 which means that his best result is a fourth-placed finish from 2022.

Speaking about his feelings ahead of his home race, Leclerc added:: "I'm feeling good. Obviously, it's always a very special feeling, the Monaco week. I think it is for all the drivers, but for me specifically, having grown up here, it’s extra special, so I'm really looking forward to it. We've always been competitive here, so I hope it will be just the same this weekend.

"However, the finality of the weekend hasn't ever been the one I wanted, which we have worked on a lot. We've done our preparation in the best possible way. I hope that this weekend will be the good one."

Asked whether a second or third place would please him, Leclerc said: "Not much. I mean, second or third is not really something that excites me. So the win is what we need to target. We've seen in the last few races that Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves are pretty close in qualifying. And we know how important qualifying is here. So we'll have to put everything together. And if we're on pole, then that will give us good chances to get what we want, which is the win."

Having excelled in qualifying in the last two seasons, this year saw Ferrari lose its competitiveness over a single hot lap. It was a deliberate move from the Scuderia as the team chased a better tyre management with its 2024 F1 car. Despite the slightly less competitive form in qualifying trim, Leclerc hopes that his SF-24 will allow him to take on the fight against the Red Bulls and McLarens.

"I feel like in Monaco, you always start a little bit from scratch. As much as what we've seen in the last few races, I think it won't be too different. There still can be some surprises.

"We've seen it in 2021, I think, with us, where we were nowhere but then we got to Monaco and our car was working very well. So we'll have to see after Friday where we are compared to the others. But I will be surprised if we are not in the mix for pole, at least," concluded the five-time F1 race winner.