Charles Leclerc said he was “incredibly happy” after he secured pole position for his home Monaco Grand Prix following an eventful end to the qualifying session.
Despite the same end result, the emotions of Leclerc between this year and last year’s qualifying session in Monaco could hardly have been different.
Twelve months ago, Leclerc crashed and brought a premature end to the session having put in the quickest lap at that point. This time round though, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez spun into the wall and secured back-to-back Monaco podiums for Leclerc.
The bad luck that has plagued the Ferrari driver at his home track continued in 2021 when he was unable to start the race, but he will be more confident of his chances this time around given his car is safely back in parc ferme.
Speaking after his pole was confirmed, Leclerc said he was “incredibly happy” to be lining up first in Sunday’s race.
“It is very special,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m so incredibly happy. It’s been a very smooth weekend and so now I knew the pace was in the car I just had to do the job. It went perfectly. That last lap before the red flag was really good but anyway, it didn’t change anything for us.”
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Leclerc had also been confident he was on his way to beating his own time before the red flag.
“It was really on the limit,” he said. “I had quite a bit of oversteer, I struggled to put the tyres in the right window in the last sector because there was a bit of traffic, the rear was a bit loose but still the lap time came and I was improving quite a bit.
“I think I was four tenths faster before I stopped, so it was a good lap. But to be honest, the car felt amazing and it’s great to also have Carlos with me on the front row.”
The next task for Leclerc is converting that qualifying performance into the race and breaking his streak of no finishes in Monte Carlo. One opponent to that task may come in the form of the weather, with rain predicted for Sunday’s race. Leclerc, though, was confident Ferrari had the pace regardless of the conditions.
“I think dry is a bit more predictable,” he said when asked what weather conditions he would prefer. “But whatever comes I think we are competitive, so we’ll be fine.”