Leclerc looks to take F1 lead at home track
Monaco, May 27: Charles Leclerc has a problem to solve this weekend at his home track.
After losing the Formula One championship lead last week, Leclerc is determined to claim it back from world champion Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
The problem? Leclerc has never finished an F1 race on the famed street circuit in the tiny Principality.
That’s even more frustrating given that he grew up in an apartment overlooking the circuit and actually learned to swim on part of it.
“It’s not been the luckiest track for me overall, but it’s part of motorsport and sometimes things just don’t go your way. Hopefully this year they will,” Leclerc told reporters on Thursday.
Leclerc has a unique bond with the street circuit, which passes by a swimming pool. “My favorite part of the track is definitely the Piscine, which is the corner combination of two esses by the swimming pool,” he said.
Last year felt particularly cruel for Leclerc. He was in pole position when he crashed his Ferrari on his final timed lap in qualifying, with Verstappen pressuring his leading time. The team worked hard to fix his car overnight but he pulled out just before the start of the race with a gearbox problem.
The crash moved Verstappen up to pole, and he won to claim the lead from Lewis Hamilton and top the leaderboard for the first time.
Leclerc first raced here for Sauber in 2018, crashing into the back of another car late in the race. Then in his first season with Ferrari in 2019, Leclerc retired early because of damage to the car’s floor. All engines were off in 2020 when the race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)