Charles Leclerc Breaks Curse with Victory in Monaco

Charles Leclerc won the F1 Monaco Grand Prix for the first time in 2024

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For years, Charles Leclerc has only known pain at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monagasque star had to endure failure after failure on the streets of his hometown, but that all came to an end on one glorious May afternoon when he was head and shoulders above the rest of the field. He did much of the hard work in qualifying, putting his Ferrari on pole for the third time around the streets of Monte Carlo, and he knew that he would never have a better chance to secure victory in his home race. 

When the lights went out, he got off to the perfect start, heading Oscar Pastri’s Mclaren into the first few corners. However, a huge accident between the Red Bull of Sergio Perez and both Haas cars brought about a red flag that stopped the race for around 40 minutes. The race leader opted to change from medium to hard tyres, as did all the front four, meaning that they wouldn’t have to complete a pitstop throughout the 78-lap race. 

When the action was restarted, Leclerc led again from Piastri, with Carlos Sainz in third. And from there on, the result was a formality. The 26-year-old was in complete control and he duly picked up the victory. However, despite his sixth-placed finish, Max Verstappen still holds a huge lead in the championship and online F1 betting providers make him a massive -10000 favourite to pick up his fourth straight world title. 

But now, with the Monaco curse successfully snapped, Leclerc has climbed up to second place in the standings, just 31 points behind the Flying Dutchman. But speaking of the curse, what exactly is it? And how did it come to be? Let’s find out. 

Origins

Leclerc – a native of Monaco – has always had a special connection with the most famous Grand Prix on the planet. The race through the tight streets of Monte Carlo is one of the most prestigious events in all of sport, and winning it would be the pinnacle for any driver, let alone a Monegasque. However, despite his undeniable talent, the Ferrari man’s journey on home turf has been fraught with misfortune.

His troubles in the city-state date all the way back to his F2 days. Back in 2017, he qualified on pole and was expected to secure the victory, but he had to retire when leading with a suspension problem. The following year was much more fruitful, however. 

In his rookie season with Sauber, Leclerc became the second Monegasque driver in history to score points in Monte Carlo, belying his lowly car to secure a sixth-place finish. That was as good as it would get. 

The following year, he made the step up to Ferrari, and he had an impressive start to the season. However, a shocking stake from the pit wall meant that he qualified way down in the 15th, before ultimately crashing out. That was a sign of things to come. 

Pole Position Hex

One of the most painful chapters in Leclerc’s Monaco saga came in 2021. Securing pole position should have been a cause for celebration, but instead, it turned into a nightmare. During his final qualifying lap, the home favourite crashed, damaging his car significantly. Although he retained pole position, the damage was too severe for him to start the race, leading to yet another heartbreaking exit.

The following year, the curse struck again. Despite securing another pole position, a strategic blunder by the Scuderia cost him the lead, with not only eventual winner Sergio Perez passing him, but also his teammate Carlos Sainz and world champion Max Verstappen. That left him to watch on in frustration as victory slipped away, ultimately having to settle for a fourth-place finish. 

Breaking the Curse

Fast forward to May 26th and the stage was once again set for Leclerc to confront his demons. Starting from the pole position, the pressure was immense, but this time, everything aligned perfectly. The six-time race winner drove a flawless race, maintaining his lead and fending off challenges from rival teams. He led from start to finish, and when he crossed the finish line to see the chequered flag – waved by none other than Paris Saint-Germain and France hitman Kylian Mbappe –  the elation was palpable. Everyone in the paddock and the world over revelled in his success, and he will be hoping that the triumph can revitalise his title charge. 

In securing the victory, Ferrari’s leading light became the first Monegasque driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix since 1931. The emotional weight of the victory was evident and wasn’t lost on the race winner as he paid tribute to his late father, who had been a significant influence in his career. Now, with the ghost successfully laid to rest, the 26-year-old will be hoping to take the fight to Max Verstappen. 

The Dutch triple world champion has been in a league of his own over the last three years. However, now, both Lando Norris and Leclerc have beaten him in the same month, and the gap between his Red Bull and the rest of the grid could well be narrowing. 

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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