Charles Leclerc Squashes 'Le Curse' to Win F1 Monaco Grand Prix

f1 grand prix of monaco
Leclerc Squashes 'Le Curse' to Win F1 Monaco GPCiancaphoto Studio - Getty Images

The Formula Monaco Grand Prix was even more of a procession than usual, after a frenzied first lap, and it was hometown hero Charles Leclerc who emotionally ended his long, long wait for victory.

Autoweek rounds up the main talking points from Sunday's race:

Finally, Leclerc Does It at Home

‘Le Curse’ is no more.

Such had been Charles Leclerc’s misfortune at his home Grand Prix, stretching back to his Formula 2 days, that the phrase had crept into Formula 1 parlance in Monaco.

f1 grand prix of monaco
Charles Leclerc celebrates a home win in Monaco on Sunday.Jayce Illman - Getty Images

There was the brake failure in 2018, the shock Q1 exit and ragged race in 2019, while poles in 2021 and 2022 were squandered with a pre-race car failure and a strategy blunder.


This year nothing was going to stop Leclerc.

He flew from the outset in practice, stormed to pole position, and controlled a languid Grand Prix that was effectively a no-stop strategy after the race was halted on the opening lap following a crash at the back.

The majority of the frontrunners duly changed tires prior to the standing restart on lap three—fulfilling the requirement to change tires—and it meant a race of extreme tire management at a circuit where passing is almost impossible. The leaders lapped 10 seconds off qualifying pace, ensuring no possible pit stop window opened up for any pursuers, and completed 76 laps on the same set of tires.

All cars in the top 10 finished where they started, making it an unenergetic Grand Prix even by Monaco’s standards, as the laps dragged on by on a beautiful day in the Riviera.

But few in the Principality cared as the 26-year-old Leclerc, who took the bus to school along the roads on which he now races, and who first watched Formula 1 machinery from a friend’s balcony while dreaming of driving the red car, took to the podium. He ended the event wrapped in the red and white of Monaco’s flag to the backdrop of the blaring horns from the superyachts in the harbor.

Leclerc became the first Monegasque to win the Monaco Grand Prix since Louis Chiron in 1931, and it was also Leclerc’s first race win since Austria, in July 2022, and the sixth of his career.

“It’s such a difficult race,” said Leclerc, before taking a moment to compose himself. “I think the fact that twice I’ve been starting on pole position and we couldn’t quite make it, makes it even better in a way. It means a lot obviously. It’s a race that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day. So yeah, it was a difficult race emotionally because already 15 laps to the end, you’re just hoping that nothing happens.

"Already the emotions were coming. I have to say that I was thinking to my dad [editor’s note: Leclerc’s father passed away in 2017] a lot more than, than what I thought while driving. Obviously he’s given everything for me to be here.

“I feel like I’ve not only completed a dream of mine today, but also his. It’s only a win, the season is still very long, it’s 25 points like any other [race], but emotionally this win means so much.”

Leclerc was followed home by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who logged his first podium of the season, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz claiming third spot. Sainz and Piastri brushed wheels at the start, causing a puncture for Sainz, but the red flag saved his day as race control reinstated him to third place for the restart.

f1 grand prix of monaco
Max Verstappen was a non-factor on Sunday, staring sixth and finshing sixth.Rudy Carezzevoli - Getty Images

Red Bull Struggles in Monaco

Red Bull has mastered Formula 1’s current regulations—now into its third campaign—with a spree of victories unprecedented in history. But there have been hints of weaknesses at some venues, most notably at non-permanent circuits which feature slower corners, where bumps, camber changes, and curb riding is prevalent, and where softer tires are used.

Even in its masterful 2023 campaign, Red Bull’s dominance was less pronounced in the likes of Melbourne, Monaco, Montreal, Singapore (its sole defeat last year), and Las Vegas. This season there were also hints of limitations, in Miami and Imola, and they rose to the fore in Monaco.

“The car is like a go-kart, it’s like I’m running without suspension,” said Verstappen on Saturday. “It’s jumping around a lot, not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes. It’s also not something new, I mean we’ve had this problem since 2022, for the last years we had a car advantage and it gets masked a little bit, but with everyone catching up naturally when you’re not improving your weakest point you get found out and that’s what happened this weekend.”

Verstappen added that the difficulties were expected but towards the “worst case scenario” of the spectrum and that “it’s a fundamental problem so it’s not something that will be fixed within weeks.”

“First of all we need to understand what it is because we clearly don’t understand it,” he said, having agreed that the RB20’s design had failed in addressing the issue. “But we’ll work hard to try and find the problem and then of course try to get rid of it, I don’t know if we can do it this year but hopefully for next year.”

The grid spots were effectively locked in and such Verstappen finished the Grand Prix in sixth, his worst race result since late 2022, and he had now been defeated as many times in 2024 as in the entirety of 2023.

Verstappen retained the title lead, with a 31-point advantage, but perhaps the door has been pushed open to a championship battle that many assumed was done and dusted. In the Constructors’ Championship Red Bull Racing’s lead is now only 24 points over Ferrari.

“We cannot dismiss the threat of Ferrari and McLaren in both championships,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

auto f1 prix mon
Nico Hulkennerg’s car is parked after a first-lap crashin Monaco. NICOLAS TUCAT - Getty Images

A Disaster for Haas

Haas endured a shocker of a Monaco Grand Prix weekend as its cars were excluded from qualifying and were then involved in a high-speed accident on the opening lap.

Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen had qualified 12th and 15th, respectively, were disqualified due to a non-conforming DRS flap. Haas was caught out by its new Monaco-spec rear wing, where the largest gap was at the extremities of the wing, rather than in the center of the wing, and Haas had not updated its protocols to set the gap per the new design. Haas held up its hands.

“There’s no performance gained, absolutely zero, but that’s not the point, the car has to be legal, we just have to accept this as a failure of the team and then learn from it and then make sure we don’t make the same mistake again,” said Haas Team Principal Ayao Komatsu.

That left Hulkenberg and Magnussen facing a difficult race but it wound up lasting just a few seconds. An assertive Magnussen tried to pass Sergio Perez on the run up Beau Rivage but the cars tangled, pitching Perez into a massive impact, which caused sizeable damage to the RB20.

f1 grand prix of monaco
Sergio Perez’s Red Bull machine suffered an early exit in Monaco.Clive Rose - Getty Images

Perez was fortunate to extricate himself uninjured from the wreckage, with debris strewn all over the track, and the trajectory of the spinning Red Bull wiped out the helpless Hulkenberg. Magnussen—who is on 10 penalty points and on the brink of a suspension—was fortunate that the incident was only noted and not investigated further.

“I was with my front alongside Perez’s rear from the exit of Turn 1, in the run up to Turn 3,” said Magnussen. “He goes towards the wall, the wall comes back a little bit towards the track, and I had nowhere to go. I don’t know if he didn’t see me, but I can’t just disappear out of the blue, so I made contact with the wall and him at the same time, and we crashed.”

Hulkenberg suggested that “it maybe looked a bit optimistic from Kevin, but Checo could’ve also seen him and left room,” while Perez unsurprisingly saw matters differently.

“If you see my onboard at no point, you see Kevin’s car not even close to me,” he said. “You could see that the wall is just getting closer and closer and to keep it flat out. There was only one way out of it. You know, and it was either contact with my car, with the barrier, there were just simply no room for both cars. And at some point he had to realize that, you know, I’ve been in that location and many times when you are the car behind, you just have to realize that it’s time to back off, you know, before things get closer to you.”

Perez described Magnussen’s driving as “dangerous” and was also perplexed by the lack of an investigation.

“We need to ask for a reason why it’s not been investigated because without an investigation we don’t get a reason why it wasn’t a penalty,” he said. “I’m really surprised. I get the ‘lap one, let them race,’ but I think this was more dangerous driving just to keep it flat out.”

Ocon’s Moment of Madness

Most of the race’s drama unfolded on the opening lap and the Alpines added a chapter to the carnage.

Esteban Ocon lunged at teammate Pierre Gasly from a preposterously long way back into the tight right-hander of Portier and the two drivers made contact. Ocon was pitched skywards before hitting the ground hard, causing terminal damage to the gearbox and suspension arms, though fortunately for Alpine an irate Gasly was able to continue.

Team principal Bruno Famin fumed at Ocon in a TV interview with French broadcaster Canal+ shortly afterwards, indicating that there would be consequences, while stewards handed Ocon a time penalty that will be converted into a five-place grid drop in Canada. It was an unnecessary move from Ocon, given Gasly was inside of the top 10 in a season where points are hard to come by, and his next event is also now compromised.

A circumspect Ocon admitted his fault after reviewing the incident, but Gasly was unimpressed.

“I was quite shocked and it was very unnecessary,” Gasly said. “We should never have such a situation, especially between teammates. I’m just sad, disappointed with the situation, and especially we had clear instructions before the race on what to do and whoever qualified ahead, the trailing car was supposed to help throughout the race with the strategy, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. We definitely need to speak because we can’t afford, especially on a season like that, a point or two that might be crucial at the end of the year. We’ve just got to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Gasly went on to score the final point, his first of the season, and only Alpine’s second, while Alexander Albon put in a mature drive to bag ninth place. That gave Williams two points—its first points of the campaign to put it in a tie with Alpine—to leave Sauber as the sole team yet to break into the top 10 this season.

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix


  1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 78 laps, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 15.554 seconds, 25 points

  2. Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +7.152 seconds, 18 points

  3. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +7.585, 15 points

  4. Lando Norris, McLaren, +8.650, 12 points

  5. George Russell, Mercedes, +13.309, 10 points

  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +13.853, 8 points

  7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +14.908, 7 points

  8. Yuki Tsunoda, RB, +1 lap, 4 points

  9. Alexander Albon, Williams, +1 lap, 2 points

  10. Pierre Gasly, Alpine, +1 lap, 1 point

  11. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +2 laps

  12. Daniel Ricciardo, RB, +2 laps

  13. Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber, +2 laps

  14. Lance Strol. Aston Martin, +2 laps

  15. Logan Sargeant, Williams, +2 laps

  16. Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber, +2 laps

  17. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +78 laps

  18. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +78 laps

  19. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, +78 laps

  20. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +78 laps