Charles Leclerc seeks to regain Formula One lead in Monaco

Charles Leclerc has a problem to solve this weekend on his home circuit.

After losing the Formula One championship lead last week, Leclerc is determined to take it from world champion Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

The problem? Leclerc has never been able to complete an F1 race on the small principality’s famous street circuit.

The frustration is greater because Leclerc grew up in an apartment that overlooks the circuit and even learned to swim in a pool in the area.

“It hasn’t been the luckiest track for me in general, but it’s part of motorsport and sometimes things don’t go the way you want. Hopefully this year they will,” Leclerc told reporters on Thursday. “I like being here and obviously it’s a very special race for me, because I grew up here and I know these roads very well.”

Leclerc has a unique link to the street circuit that goes through a swimming pool.

“My favorite part of the track is definitely the pool, which is the corner combination of two S’s,” he said. “It feels amazing, I enjoy driving here. It’s also where I learned to swim as a child, so I have an emotional attachment to it, which makes it even more meaningful.”

Last campaign was particularly cruel to Leclerc.

Leclerc was on pole when he crashed his Ferrari on the final lap of qualifying and Verstappen was hot on his heels. The team worked hard to fix the car overnight, but the driver was forced to retire before the race due to a gearbox problem.

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That crash allowed Red Bull’s Verstappen to take pole and win the race to take the lead from Lewis Hamilton, which he took for the first time in his career.

Leclerc first raced here with Sauber in 2018 and collided with the rear of another car before the end of the race. Then in his first campaign with Ferrari in 2019, Leclerc dropped out due to damage to the underside of his car.

All engines were shut down in 2020 due to the cancellation of the race due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Leclerc records four F1 wins among his 17 podium finishes and desperately wants to add Monaco to the list. The late Ayrton Senna experienced difficulties at his home Grand Prix in Brazil and won it by the eighth attempt.

“I would like to win (here) as soon as possible,” Leclerc said. “Ayrton was my idol and I have often seen his (cameras) of him on board him here in Monaco, which were super impressive.

Leclerc’s retirement last Sunday in Spain due to an engine failure while leading for Ferrari allowed Verstappen to clinch victory and move up six points – having trailed Leclerc by 46 points after just three races. .

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