Charles Leclerc’s emotional tribute to late father after breaking Monaco GP curse

Thomas Maher
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc became the first Monegasque F1 driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix since Louis Chiron in 1931.

Charles Leclerc said the enormity of his Monaco Grand Prix victory achievement began to hit him with two laps to go in the race.

The Ferrari driver finally put an end to his Monaco Grand Prix ‘curse’ as he dominated the 2024 edition of the race, leading from start to finish in what was a non-stop race due to a first-lap red flag.

Charles Leclerc wins home Monaco Grand Prix

The Monegasque driver became the first driver in almost a century to win his home race at the Monaco Grand Prix, with Louis Chiron having won the race back in 1931.

But, having taken an emphatic pole position on Saturday, Leclerc didn’t put a wheel wrong during what was a processional 78-lap affair on the streets of Monte Carlo.

With the drivers having changed tyres under the red flag on the first lap, the importance of holding onto track position resulted in none of the leading drivers making a pit stop – Leclerc duly controlling the gap up front to win from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by over seven seconds.

Speaking after the chequered flag, Leclerc revealed in the cooldown room that he had started to struggle with his emotions with two laps to go in the race – to the point where he had to talk himself out of getting distracted as his misty eyes started to obstruct his view.

Expanding on his emotions at the podium interviews as he held back tears, Leclerc said he was thinking about his late father Hervé Leclerc, who passed away in 2017 during Charles’ Formula 2 campaign before making it to F1 – Hervé was just 54 years old at the time of his death.

Having earned pole position for his home race on two previous occasions, only for events outside his control taking away his chances of wins, Leclerc said the difficult days had played a part in his emotions hitting him hard as he closed in on the elusive home win.

“It’s such a difficult race,” he said.

“I think the fact that, twice, I’ve been starting on pole position and we couldn’t quite make it makes it even better in a way.

“It means a lot, obviously – it’s the race that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

“It was a difficult race emotionally because, 15 laps before the end, you’re just hoping that nothing happens.

“The emotions were coming already. I have to say I was thinking [about] my dad, a lot more than what I thought while driving.

“He’s given everything for me to be here. It was a dream of ours for me to race here and to win, so it’s unbelievable.”

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Leclerc’s brother Arthur, also a racing driver and part of Ferrari’s driver academy, said he wished Hervé could have seen the realisation of the Leclerc family dream.

“I’m so happy, that’s the first time I’ve cried seeing my brother win,” he told Sky F1.

“I just wish my father was here as well to see this moment.

“It’s incredible. The weekend has been perfect since the first practice. An amazing lap in Q3 and then, in the race, he managed the tyres really well. I think we’ll have a party tonight!”

With the risk of a strategy mistake reduced as a result of the first lap red flag, Leclerc said the difficulty for the race had been in keeping his hard tyres alive for the full race distance.

“At first, I thought we had quite a lot of margin,” he said.

“But we knew there were 78 laps to do on the same tyres, which was very, very difficult.

“But we did great management of the tyres. There was a big part of the race where we had to manage the gap with George and then, in the last 10 laps, I could push a bit more and the car felt amazing.

“I just want to thank the team for having done such incredible work over the last few months and giving me the opportunity to finally win this race is, again, a very special feeling.”

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