BBC F1 commentators Jack Nicholls and Jolyon Palmer have speculated about Charles Leclerc’s bad luck in Monaco being down to “witchcraft”.
Charles Leclerc’s infamous bad luck on the streets of Monte Carlo continued over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, with the polesitter only finishing fourth at the chequered flag as Ferrari were caught out by an aggressive Red Bull overcut strategy.
Leclerc, who had never finished a Monaco GP during his F1 career up until Sunday’s race, warmed up for the weekend by crashing a Niki Lauda-era Ferrari during the Historic Grand Prix after a brake issue caught him out – seemingly continuing the ‘curse’ that has haunted him since his days in Formula 2 in 2017, when he retired from the lead of the feature race.
Addressing Leclerc’s misfortune after dominating the early stages of the Monaco GP, Palmer speculated about the effects of pressure on the Scuderia after assuming such a strong position early on.
“I wonder if Ferrari were feeling pressure, leading in Monaco, one-two in Monaco,” he said on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“Red Bull had nothing to lose, so they could do the [Sergio] Perez pitstop, and maybe Perez finishes fifth if he can’t get past Norris.
“Red Bull could throw caution to the wind, whereas Ferrari were under a lot more pressure in a one-two position, and I wonder if they just didn’t respond well under pressure.”
Palmer pointed out that the loss will particularly sting the Scuderia, as Monaco was one of the tracks that should have suited the more nimble F1-75 over Red Bull’s RB18.
“Championship-wise, Ferrari could have done with a win here,” he said.
“This is a real Ferrari track and we knew it. It’s all about qualifying, which they’re good at. The tyre degradation is not a big thing, which they’re not so good at.
“This was a Ferrari track, and Leclerc actually losing points to [Max] Verstappen, in the grand scheme of things, they might regret that in the long run.”
Nicholls agreed with Palmer’s assessment, but made the case for Leclerc’s misfortune that he didn’t get a straightforward dry race that likely would have seen him sprint off into the distance based on his weekend pace.
“All of these things, it’s just sort of bad luck or whatever – it’s not Monaco specific luck,” he said.
“But then, when you’re on pole in Monaco… Jarno Trulli has won from pole in Monaco (in 2004)! It’s the first wet Monaco race in six years, the second wet Monaco race in 12 years – wet Monaco races don’t come along very often!
“The chances…when he’s on pole, and then he does the job still – he’s still nailing it. Even the ones where he’s been leading in F2 and the car fails. I don’t believe in [the curse], but the case for witchcraft is getting stronger and stronger!”