Charles Leclerc dedicates Monaco win to late father

Ferrari driver said it 'was a dream of ours for me to race here, so to win it is unbelievable'

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Charles Leclerc dedicated his win at Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix to his later father, saying he was so emotional on his final laps he struggled to see out of his Ferrari.

Leclerc, 26, became the first Monegasque in nearly a century to win a Formula One race on the sport’s most famous streets following a faultless display.

Leclerc paid tribute to his father Herve, who passed away in 2017, saying: “I was thinking about my dad when I was driving.

“He gave everything for me to be here. It was a dream of ours for me to race here so to win it is unbelievable.

“It is only a victory and the season is long. It is 25 points, just like any other win, but emotionally it means so much to me.”

Leclerc has been on pole twice before here. But he banged the barriers in the closing stages of qualifying in 2021, meaning he was unable to start the race.

Ferrari then messed up his strategy the following season and he crossed the line only fourth. Before Sunday’s race, Leclerc had never even finished on the podium at his home event.

“I struggled to maintain my emotions in the last 10 laps of the race,” said Leclerc. “I realised that with two laps to go I was struggling to see out of the tunnel because I had tears in my eyes.

“I was like, ‘oh, Charles, don’t do that now, we still have two laps until the finish’. It was very difficult to contain those emotions and those thoughts of people who have helped me get to where I am today.”

Sunday's win, Leclerc's first since the Austrian Grand Prix in 2022, meant the Ferrari man reduced championship leader Max Verstappen’s lead from 48 points to 31.

Red Bull's triple world champion dismissed Sunday's race as "a bit boring" after starting and finishing sixth.

Winner of five of the previous seven races this season, and all from pole position, the Monaco GP was the first time the Dutch driver has not finished on the podium this season. In Australia he retired after just three laps due to a brake problem.

"Overall the weekend is really cool, just the Sunday is a little bit boring unfortunately, but the scenery is still great," Verstappen told reporters.

"If we can find a way to race a bit better, why not? That would be my preferred solution."

The top 10 finishers followed grid positions, with no overtaking and an immediate red flag allowing teams to change tyres and thereby avoid further pitstops that might have shaken up the strategy.

"No one really wanted to stress their tyres too much, because you know you can’t pass around here, so not really exciting. It’s a bit of a shame," said Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver's words were supported by Mercedes' seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was seventh, as well as McLaren's fourth-placed Lando Norris.

"It was non-eventful. Everyone drove so slow. So it didn’t matter what tyre you were on. We were driving seconds off the pace," said Hamilton.

"I don’t know what it was like watching, but I am sure people were falling asleep."

Norris said the race being halted and re-started had "thrown any fun or any action out of the window".

"You are just driving round in no-man’s land doing nothing. You don’t feel like there is a lot of things to target and aim for but that is how it has always been here," said the Briton.

Updated: May 27, 2024, 9:12 AM