F1 Driver of the Day: 2024 Monaco GP

The Driver of the Day award is voted by the fans as they choose the best driver on track at Monaco

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Charles Leclerc banished his Monaco demons to take his first Formula 1 win at his home race after years of heartbreak, and was also voted Driver of the Day by fans reflecting the incredible popularity of his win.

Already one of the most-loved drivers on the F1 grid, Leclerc had taken the all-important pole position twice before in Monaco but failed to convert that advantage into victory on both occasions, having also missed out on a home win in his title-winning F2 season.

But this time Leclerc couldn’t be denied. He managed a clean getaway before a red flag cancelled out that early success but also removed the danger of requiring a pit stop as Leclerc was able to change from medium to hard tyres before the restart.

Leclerc was once again perfect at lights out to hold his lead, and just needed to manage the gap behind until the end of the race to finally break his Monaco curse.

With runner-up Oscar Piastri within a few seconds of Leclerc for almost the entire afternoon, the Australian never attempted an overtake on the worst track for side-by-side racing on the F1 calendar.

Instead, Leclerc‘s biggest challenge was keeping Piastri – plus Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris in third and fourth – close enough to George Russell behind that they couldn’t attempt a pit stop.

Russell, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had started on hards in fifth, sixth and seventh and were caught out by the red flag, meaning they needed to attempt 77 laps on medium tyres or lose track position with a pit stop.

Verstappen and Hamilton pitted but Russell stayed put on his mediums to ensure an emotional victory for Leclerc.

Monaco retribution for Charles Leclerc

It’s been a long time coming for the Monegasque. As a boy, Leclerc walked and cycled the streets of his home circuit and he took pole position the first time he returned as a driver, in the 2017 F2 championship that Leclerc went on to win by 72 points.

After leading early on in the feature race, a suspension failure ended his challenge before an electrical issue forced him to retire from the sprint, and he missed out on the chequered flag on his F1 debut too.

Fast forward to 2021 and Leclerc took a surprise pole against the dominant Hamilton and Verstappen, but the qualifying crash that prevented anyone else from beating his time also dealt damage to his gearbox that was only picked up on his raceday reconnaissance lap and he was forced abandon the start.

12 months later Leclerc did get to lights out from pole position but was again cruelly denied, this time by incompetence on the Ferrari pitwall that handed Sergio Perez the win.

But in 2024 there was nothing that could go wrong for Leclerc, who took his first win in almost 700 days since the 2022 Austrian GP – a run that featured seven second-place finishes and eight pole positions in between.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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