Leclerc aims for home win

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Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on in the garage during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, Monaco today. Photo: Eric Alonso / Getty Images
Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on in the garage during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, Monaco today. Photo: Eric Alonso / Getty Images


Today’s Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1’s most famous and prestigious race on the 2022 calendar, although it is known as the worst track when it comes to on-track action as rumours circulate that the spectacle could be axed ahead of 2023.

The principality will see its deal with Formula 1 run out at the end of 2022, its historic background and unique characteristics are one that drivers do not want to be removed despite the ongoing murmurs.

Home-grown Monegasque Charles Leclerc will be driving like it is his last as he aims to reclaim his championship lead that was lost last time out in Barcelona.

Leclerc retired from the lead of the race with an engine issue as he gifted his title protagonist Max Verstappen a further 25 points, as Verstappen overtook his old foe in the Drivers’ Championship.

Verstappen now has 110 points, six more than Leclerc. Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez is on 85.

The Circuit de Monaco has not been a happy hunting ground for the 24-year-old Leclerc thus far in Formula 1 as the Ferrari driver has never finished in the points on three separate occasions.

On home soil, Leclerc has spoken about his relationship with the circuit stating he previously took the bus around the streets on his way to school:

It is a very, very special track. Everything is so tight and there is no room for a mistake. It is all about that last lap in qualifying where you try and put everything together.

“It is so exciting to drive around this track and it has so much history too, I just love it!”

“It will be important to have a good weekend but also a clean weekend in Monaco. If I could get my first win at home, then it would be amazing.”

Verstappen made it a hat-trick of wins last time out as he claimed his third win in a row since Imola, he continues his streak of winning every race that he has finished in 2022.

The race though, could prove a tough task for the Dutchman as both Ferraris have emerged to be better suited to the slow speed, quick directional changes that occur at Monte Carlo.

It would be ridiculous to count out the current reigning champion given his exceptional form and the unpredictable nature of Monaco, although the pendulum may swing in the way of red this afternoon as Red Bull’s aim is damage limitation.

Verstappen said:

Monaco is always a hectic but very special event. Qualifying is critical, the track is very old school and narrow, your heart rate goes so high, it’s insane!

“I don’t expect it to be an easy or straightforward weekend here compared to Ferrari but it is still very early on in the season, so I am pretty relaxed at the moment.”

Merc’s improvements continue

Mercedes made good inroads in Spain, Barcelona with their heavily revitalised car as they significantly close the gap to the top two teams. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were positive after the race looking ahead to the rest of the year although Monaco does not suit the strengths of their car.

Given their drastic improvements, Mercedes cannot be counted out of the championship this year, but Monaco will really test the car’s slow speed potential: 

There’s lots of way to go in order to be in the fight.
Toto Wolff

“We’ve seen another big step, probably we’ve halved the advantage to the front-runners,” said Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. 

“Monaco in the past wasn’t our most happy place, I will be curious to see where we today. My expectations are lower than any other circuit…”

Another team to watch is Alfa Romeo, as they emerged as a real competitor in the slow speed final sector at Barcelona. This suggests that Valtteri Bottas could be within touching distance of the podium places.

Most of the driver’s work was done yesterday given Monaco’s narrow circuit, which means that it was the most important qualifying session of the season. Since 2004, 12 of the 17 Monaco Grand Prix winners have started from pole position.

That being said, there has been forecast a potential threat of rain which always keeps viewers pinned to their seats. With walls located just millimetres away, and rain a real possibility, today’s Monaco Grand Prix should not fail to entertain.

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