Leclerc deserved home victory, says RB team boss Laurent Mekies

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Former Ferrari Sporting Director and Visa Cash RB team boss was happy to see Charles Leclerc take his first victory on home soil, and he also praised his team's Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda for taking further points for the Faenza-based outfit.

Starting his post-race review, Visa RB team boss Laurent Mekies said that Leclerc deserved his first win in Monaco which has slipped through his fingers on multiple occasions in the past.

“Firstly, congratulations to Charles Leclerc and to Scuderia Ferrari for Charles’ home race win. He has been deserving it for a long time and he has certainly made a few people happy today."

Expanding on his own team's performance, Mekies took delight from Yuki Tsunoda's performance as the Japanese driver finished the Monaco round in P8, scoring a further four points for the Faenza-based outfit.

“During today’s race, the tension was evident in the many strategic games of cat and mouse throughout the order. Drivers and engineers did an excellent job through the 78 laps in terms of what pace to run to manage the tyres. It was always going to be a tricky Saturday and a tricky Sunday around Monaco, and the team executed very strongly.

"Yuki is really in great form, once again putting us at the front of the midfield on the grid and then sticking to the strategy to bring home some more very valuable championship points. In what was a completely linear race, with nothing changing after the second start, it was always going to be virtually impossible for Daniel to join his team-mate in the points.

"We still have some work to do to help him deliver the performances of which we know he is capable, so we are looking forward to getting to Canada, the scene of his very first Grand Prix win ten years ago.

“Finally, a big thank you to everyone in Faenza and Bicester. The good string of results we have pocketed in the last few races is the result of their hard work, and it gives us the will to push even harder for the races to come," Mekies concluded.

Tsunoda delivered brilliant laps in Saturday's qualifying to put himself in contention for points. The Japanese driver then had an ordinary launch at the start to maintain his position. After the restart, Tsunoda concentrated on keeping his Pirelli tyres in good shape and bring his VCARB01 home.

Scoring for the fourth consecutive time, the RB man said: “It was a very long race, but I had to respect the strategy that we had planned. I was a little frustrated, but I kept my cool and managed the pace.

"I think we maximised it; we were managing tyres and pace well, making sure that we were prepared for any situation. I really enjoyed the last few laps because I got told I could push flat out while making sure I wasn’t too greedy and brought the car home. The important thing is that we keep scoring points. As a team, we had a strong race week so it’s very positive. Well done to the team, very well deserved.”

On the other side of the garage, Ricciardo was less happy as he spent the majority of the race behind the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso. The Australian, who is a previous Monaco Grand Prix winner, attempted several overtaking manoeuvres to pass the Spaniard, but he was unable to progress on the narrow streets of the Principality.

“After yesterday’s qualifying, I came into today mentally prepared for a race like that. In this case, not qualifying at the front, there’s a highly likely chance that the race here is being dictated by someone else’s pace, and this is how it was. You can always hope that things can change or something can happen in the race, and I think the first start was probably one of the best starts I had this year.

"But then after the second start, once I saw Alonso in front of me doing all he could to keep his tyres till the end, I realised soon that it would have been hard. I tried to keep pressure on him, but obviously, he’s very experienced, and Monaco is a track that requires such a big mistake to make possible some overtaking. I had two laps of clean air today, where I could push a little bit more and it was definitely enjoyable, but for the rest of the race I had to have a lot of patience.

In his post-race analysis, Ricciardo went on to praise Charles Leclerc for his first home win after the past seasons saw the Monegasque lose a possible victory in dramatic fashion.

"There are certainly some positives to take from this weekend, but at the same time, there’s also some personal disappointment. Looking at the next race, Montréal is a good track that I enjoy, so we’ll try to keep things going better. Charles got his first win here in Monaco today, in the past he’s definitely experienced some highs and lows around this track, so he deserved it and I’m very happy for him," said Ricciardo.