Charles Leclerc reveals Ferrari’s key target to beat Max Verstappen in Monaco

Leclerc will be looking to cash in on his best skill at his home circuit of Monte Carlo

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Will 2024 be the year that Charles Leclerc finally breaks his Monaco Grand Prix curse? He’s hoping so as he targets the win, which he intends to do by snatching pole away from Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

Leclerc, who was born in Monaco in 1997, has taken pole position around his home circuit twice in Formula 1 but on both occasions, it failed to translate into a pole position after a reliability issue meant he couldn’t take the start in 2021 before poor strategy saw him slip to fourth in 2022.

Now he arrives at Monte Carlo with a chance to cut Verstappen’s championship lead down to 40 points if he wins with the fastest lap and the Dutchman finishes second, and he bids to do so by taking a third pole in four seasons to give him a golden chance to control the 78-lap race.

“The win is what we need to target,” Leclerc told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com, ahead of the 2024 Monaco GP. “We’ve seen in the last few races that Red Bull, McLaren and ourselves are pretty close in qualifying, and we know how important is qualifying here.

“So, we’ll have to put everything together and if we are on pole then that will give us good chances to get what we want, which is a win.”

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in action during the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix | REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix | REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Can Leclerc make the difference in Monaco?

Ferrari have been the third best car in the last two rounds of the F1 season in Miami and in Imola, but they were never too far away from Norris and Verstappen as Leclerc watched the pair trade wins.

But Monaco is a rare circuit in the sense that drivers can make a much bigger difference with the amount of risk they decide to take and how close they would like to get to the walls, which is part of why Leclerc was able to take pole in 2021 despite his Ferrari being considerably slower than Red Bull and Mercedes on balance.

With that in mind, and Leclerc’s excellent skill and taste for qualifying as he’s been on the front row for seven of the last 10 races, does he feel he will be reliant on his car around the principality he was raised in?

“I feel like in Monaco, you always start a little bit from scratch,” Leclerc said, concerning set-ups. “As much as what we’ve seen in the last few races, I think it won’t be too different.

“There still can be some surprises, we’ve seen it in 2021 with us [Ferrari]. We were nowhere but then we got to Monaco and our car was working very well. So, we’ll have to see after Friday where we are compared to the others.

“But I will be surprised if we are not in the mix for pole at least.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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