Leclerc driving through tears at Monaco – ‘You cannot do that now!’

Charles Leclerc says he had tears in his eyes during the closing laps of the Monaco Grand Prix once he knew he was gong to win his home race for the first time.

The Ferrari driver has taken pole position three times in Monaco but on each of the previous two occasions he was unable to even finish on the podium — failing to start in 2021 and dropping to fourth due to a strategic error a year later. There was no stopping him on the third attempt, however, as Leclerc led from lights to flag but admits the enormity of the moment was setting in long before the finish.

“I think where I struggled the most to contain my emotions was during the last 10 laps of the race, more than on the podium,” Leclerc said.


“I realized…two laps to the end that I was struggling to see out of the tunnel just because I had tears in my eyes, and I was like ‘[Exlpetive] Charles, you cannot do that now; you still have two laps to finish!’ Especially on a track like Monaco, you have to be on it all the way to the end.

“[Containing those emotions] was very difficult, those thoughts again of the people that have helped me get to where I am today. It’s only a win. The season is still very, very long. It’s 25 points like any other win, however, emotionally, this one means so much.

“I think the fact as well that we’ve started twice from pole position in the past and that we couldn’t manage to get the win for one reason or another, that we couldn’t really control, not in our control, makes this one even more so special.”

Leclerc lost his father back in 2017 when he was on the way to winning the Formula 2 championship, a year before his promotion to Formula 1. Having enjoyed huge support and been close to his father, he says the importance of the win from that perspective was also on his mind.

“Obviously Monza in 2019 was extremely special, but Monaco is the grand prix that made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver,” he said. “I remember being so young and watching the race with my friends. Obviously with my father, that has done absolutely everything for me to get to where I am today. I feel like I didn’t only accomplish a dream of mine today, but also one of his.

“It’s just such a special weekend overall. It’s a street track, it’s such a difficult track to put everything together from FP1 to qualifying, to all the laps that you have to do in the race. To finally make it in front of my whole family, my friends that were watching all over the track is a very, very, very special thing.

“[My father] was very much in my mind, as I said. I think in every race I have done, there has not been one single race where I was thinking about this kind of personal stuff inside the car, because you’ve got to stay on it. Maybe Baku in 2017, obviously everything was still very fresh for me, so it was difficult to manage mentally.

“However it’s probably the first time in my career that it happened again while driving, when you’ve got these flashbacks of all these moments that we have spent together, all the sacrifices that he has done for me to get to where I am.”

Story originally appeared on Racer