Monaco Grand Prix results: Charles Leclerc finally tastes victory at home


Monaco.

Simply saying the word conjures up images of luxury, glamour, and the marquee event on the Formula 1 calendar. For decades the Monaco Grand Prix has been the crown jewel of the F1 season, with every driver dreaming of standing on the podium with royalty, having conquered the field, and those twisty and narrow streets.

But for Charles Leclerc, who grew up in Monaco and learned to drive on those very streets, the place he calls home may be his own personal playground for 51 weeks of the year, but for the 52nd week each year, those streets have been his personal nightmare. Years of heartbreak at home, as the Grand Prix held on the streets where he grew up continued to elude him.

Until today.

Finally, after years of heartbreak and so many stories about Leclerc’s “Monaco curse,” the driver broke through at home, capping off an impressive week with victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. Leclerc ended the day Friday as the fastest driver in FP2, and carried that through both FP3 and Saturday’s qualifying session when he captured pole position at his home race for the third time in his career.

But Leclerc knew Saturday evening that the job was not done.

“The feeling after a qualifying lap is always very special here. Really, really happy about the lap. The excitement is so high that it feels really good. However, I know more often than not in the past, qualifying is not everything. As much as it helps a lot for Sunday’s race, we need to put everything together coming Sunday,” said Leclerc immediately after qualifying on Saturday.

He carried that sentiment into the FIA Press Conference moments later.

“However, now we have to focus on the race and I cannot afford to start thinking about how it will feel if [I win],” said Leclerc. “I think I have more to gain in focusing on the process to get there and what can we do in what we control until tomorrow’s race to put everything together and to give us the best chances in order to win the race tomorrow.”

Well tomorrow is here, and Leclerc is finally on the top step of the podium at home.

Leclerc had to work for the victory, as the F1 g ods — and a few drivers around him — did not make it easy. The Ferrari driver stuck his launch off the line, holding the lead into Turn 1 against Oscar Piastri, who started alongside him in second. But further behind him a massive collision between Sergio Pérez, Kevin Magnussen, and Nico Hülkenberg knocked all three drivers out of the race.

Critically for Leclerc’s quest, the damage to the three cars, as well as the barrier, brought out the red flag.

He would need to stick another restart.

After a lengthy delay, Leclerc and the rest of the grid climbed back into their cars and took to the track for the second restart, which was a standing restart per race officials. Having started the Monaco Grand Prix on a set of mediums, Ferrari bolted a set of hards onto Leclerc’s SF-24, giving him the option to run the distance without a pitstop.

But he would need to hold onto the lead at the start to make that possible.

He did, fending off Piastri on the short run into Turn 1 at Sainte Devote to maintain his lead over the McLaren driver. Teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who suffered a puncture on his left front tire on the opening lap, managed to stay on Piastri’s rear wing through the restart. With Lando Norris behind Sainz, the front four was the same on the restart, albeit with hard tires instead of the mediums where they started.

Piastri would not go quietly into the Monaco afternoon, as the McLaren driver kept the pressure on Leclerc through the next dozen laps, sticking on Leclerc’s rear wing and forcing the hometown hero to hit his marks throughout each lap.

Eventually, Leclerc started to stretch his legs a bit. He pulled out of DRS range for Piastri, and was the race ticked down under 20 laps to go, Leclerc enjoyed a lead of over 1.5 seconds over his closest pursuer. And with drivers such as Lando Norris down in P4, George Russell in P5, and the ever-dangerous Max Verstappen back in P6, Leclerc just needed to bring his SF-24 home over the final laps to finally taste victory at home.

And fend off any last hurdles his personal Monaco curse could throw his way.

There would be no hurdles. No botched pit stops, no mistakes or missteps. Not on this day. After years of heartbreak, years of agony, years of wondering if he would ever reach the top step in his home race, that day finally arrived.

Charles Leclerc had won the Monaco Grand Prix.

As he crossed the line, the exclamation was simple, yet poignant, from the Ferrari driver.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”

In the hours to come there will be more winners and losers, more recaps, and more discussion of a fascinating Monaco Grand Prix. But on this day, Leclerc stands alone.

Finally.