Charles Leclerc reacts to fast start in quest to ‘finally get that win’ in Monaco GP

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc in Monaco practice.

Charles Leclerc got off to a fast start in his quest to earn a first Monaco Grand Prix victory.

Charles Leclerc believes there is “more pace in me”, despite having set the timing screens alight in FP2 for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver had been almost a full second clear of every other driver on the medium tyre in the first part of second practice, and remained top come the end of the session after qualifying simulations took place, almost two tenths clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc looking to keep up momentum in search for elusive first home win

Leclerc appeared to be pushing the limits of his car early on in free practice on a weekend where the unique Monaco layout requires the drivers to build up to their best times.

While he admitted that qualifying will be where everyone’s real pace comes out, his approach of risk-taking in practice “paid off” with how he was able to attack his day on Friday.

“I think on the medium we were really strong, on the soft we struggled to put everything together,” Leclerc told F1 TV after FP2.

“There was a lot of traffic all the way but all in all, we have a good car for the moment.

“I feel quite confident with the car. However, it’s super important that we keep this rhythm into FP3 because it’s the way Monaco is.

“I might have taken a bit more risk compared to the others today, which paid off. However, it’s all about tomorrow in quali when everybody starts to go on the limit.

“Until now, I think we’ve done a really, really good job, but we need to keep working, keep focusing on ourselves, but it’s a positive first day.”

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Given he had such a sizeable gap to the rest of the field on the medium tyre in particular, Max Verstappen believes Ferrari are “miles ahead” in their current state and could be favourites for pole position on Saturday.

With that grid slot being especially important around Monaco, Leclerc will do all he can to try and get there – but knows that given his bad luck at his home race in the past, nothing is guaranteed in a search for a first victory around the streets near where he grew up.

“I think there’s just more pace in me, just putting everything together,” Leclerc said.

“If you look [at] my three sectors, there was quite a bit of lap time in them when you put all of it together, so that will be the main focus for tomorrow, but let’s say that performance and feeling is there.

“I’ve had two poles in the past, but then the Sunday result wasn’t the one I wanted.

“So if we manage to do so, which is the best starting place for Sunday, we’ll have to focus well on Sunday in order to put everything together and to finally get that win.”

Read next: Monaco GP: Charles Leclerc impressively tops FP2 as Lewis Hamilton stays in the mix