‘Something different’ about Charles Leclerc after conference ‘chaos’ and media ‘hounding’

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc celebrates in Monaco

Curse? What Monaco curse?

Formula 1 press conference host Tom Clarkson noticed a positive shift in Monaco Grand Prix race winner Charles Leclerc, as he took everything from the Harry Potter banter to the “media hounding” in his stride.

Leclerc was seen as a leading contender for the win going into his home race, the Monaco Grand Prix, though the infamous ‘Monaco curse’ that appeared to hang over the home hero around the streets of Monte Carlo was a spectre that needed to be banished. And it was.

‘Something different’ about Charles Leclerc at 2024 Monaco GP

Step one was ticked off when Leclerc claimed his third F1 career pole around the streets of Monte Carlo, though this time he was able to convert it into that long-awaited victory, his first of the F1 2024 campaign.

And even before the on-track action began, Clarkson was noticing a different aura around Leclerc, as he remained unfazed by the drivers laughing after he revealed his apparent resemblance to Harry Potter as a youngster, confirming himself as a superfan, as well as the extreme media attention.

“I just felt there was something different about him this weekend,” said Clarkson when speaking on the F1 Nation podcast.

“Even on Thursday, in the press conference, there was a little bit of chaos actually, where all the other drivers were taking the mickey out of him for liking, I think it was Harry Potter and how he, as a kid, looked like Harry Potter.

“But the way he dealt with that was just so calm and he let them all laugh at him, but you could see… I feel there’s been something about him and everywhere he’s gone, he’s had the media hounding him, the local media in particular. I can’t imagine how many signatures he’s signed or selfies he’s taken this weekend, yet everything, he’s taken in his stride.”

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That approach was mirrored in his take on the so called ‘Monaco curse’, Leclerc saying after claiming the victory that he never believed in such a thing anyway.

“I never believed in the curse,” Leclerc responded to media including PlanetF1.com.

“However, it always felt very difficult in the two occasions I had to win here. One [2021] I couldn’t even start the race. The second one, [2022] we didn’t make the right choice, I think, so it was very, very frustrating to lose those wins.

“And the thing is that, as a driver, you never really know when will be the next opportunity to win, especially when it’s your home race and even more so when your home race is Monaco, that is such a special track, such a difficult track and such a difficult weekend to master and to do everything perfectly. Which we did.

“So I knew that today was another opportunity. I knew how it felt the last two times I was in this position, but I obviously really wanted to get that victory today and so there was a bit of tension.

“But as I’ve said, as soon as I put the helmet and then as soon as I get into the car, I don’t feel anything anymore, and then it’s all about trying to maximise the car that you have, thinking about the tyres and thinking about all this stuff that I had to think of to manage this race the best way possible.

“So it’s more the moments before the race and before putting the helmet on.”

Leclerc is now only 31 points behind Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen.

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