Formula 1: Leclerc flees full throttle from the Monaco curse

He drives away from a curse that hovers over him like a shadow. Still. Because for the second time after 2021, Charles Leclerc is starting his home race from pole position. Alone: ​​Last year he didn’t even make it onto the starting grid. After a crash in qualifying (after the best time!), his drive shaft went on strike. Leclerc was heartbroken.
In general: he has never finished at home in Monaco. Even in his master year in Formula 2 there are two failures in the principality.

Everything is supposed to get better in 2022. With a dream lap, the world championship leader circled his F1-75 through the streets of the Monegasque. “It’s something special,” he says happily. “I knew the pace was in the car and I just had to do my job.”

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After Max Verstappen’s victory in Barcelona and Leclerc’s failure with a defect in the hybrid system (MGU-H, in the lead!), Ferrari reversed the pecking order again at the highlight of the Formula 1 season. Tight curves, short straights: the track characteristics suit the red goddess.

Background: While the Red Bull has its strengths so far this season when driving straight, Ferrari apparently benefits from a smaller turbocharger that responds more quickly when accelerating. In addition, the heat generator in the hybrid drive (MGU-H) should be designed so that it runs at 100,000 revolutions per minute (instead of the permitted 125,000). This brings extra power at low revs and improves acceleration out of corners.

Charles Leclerc starts the Monaco GP from pole.

And another highlight: according to media reports from Italy, the team brought a revised front wheel suspension from Maranello to Monaco. It should allow a larger steering angle in the Fairmont hairpin and thus reduce the cornering radius.

The highly motivated pilot in the cockpit of the car with starting number 16 does the rest. “Monaco is the place where I grew up,” explains Leclerc. “This weekend my family and friends will be here to watch the race from the balconies. The win would be special.”

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But the pressure is high: As second in the table in a Ferrari, the 24-year-old comes to the most legendary GP race in the world. Even more: Leclerc is preparing to become the first Ferrari champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. In doing so, he orients himself towards the driver from whose preparatory work the flying Finn once benefited.
Leclerc in L’Equipe: “This winter Mattia (Binotto, team boss; ed.) told me about Michael Schumacher. About how he influenced the team and encouraged professionalism. You can still feel the mark he made on Ferrari. He made us all dream. I wanted to be in Formula 1 to be like him.”

A sentence that alone should set the Tifosi in collective swarming. But Leclerc is also verbally in the fast lane: “Being in Michael’s team means a lot to me. Especially if I manage to win titles like him.”

The World Cup trophy would even trump the Monaco victory. “I love Monaco, but if I had to choose, I would choose the championship,” admits Leclerc, but then strives for the maximum again: “I’ll try to do both in turn. First to win here and then the championship. That seems to be the right compromise to me.”

The prerequisites for step one are good. Red Bull are hoping for rain so that Max Verstappen even has a chance to fight his way forward from fourth place. The weather, however, should also accommodate Ferrari. The Barcelona defect is attributed to excessive temperatures. They don’t threaten on the Cote d’Azur.

Even a small mishap on the scales could not prevent Leclerc’s pole.

Even a small mishap on the scales could not prevent Leclerc’s pole. The Monegasse overlooked the request to turn towards the FIA ​​garage. But Ferrari chief engineer Laurent Mekies gives the all-clear: “Charles stopped 15, 20 meters later. We spoke to the FIA, then they said: ‘Just push the car back.’ So there is no problem there.”

One thing is certain: the (defect) devil would have to be dealt with if Leclerc cannot defeat the Monaco curse tomorrow.

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