Leclerc brands Monaco race ‘a freaking disaster’ after dropping from pole to P4 in first finish at home
Yes, Charles Leclerc made it to the chequered flag at Monaco for the first time in his Formula 1 career. But that was scant consolation, after the home hero pole-sitter fell to P4 by the chequered flag – with the Monegasque blaming a confused Ferrari strategy call for the drop, as he called on the team to “get better”.
With the start of the race proper delayed following an hour-long red flag period caused by heavy rainfall, Leclerc led away from team mate Carlos Sainz in the early phase of the Grand Prix, before pitting to go from wet to intermediate tyres on Lap 18.
But with Sainz then brought in for dry hard tyres three laps later, Leclerc was initially called in as well – only to then be told to stay out. But that call came too late, Leclerc’s total time in the pits four seconds longer than his team mate's as Ferrari double-stacked the pair, which saw him fall to P4 behind eventual winner Sergio Perez, Sainz and the second Red Bull of title rival Max Verstappen.
“No words – the season is long but we cannot do that,” said Leclerc over team radio on his cool-down lap, Team Principal Mattia Binotto quickly agreeing. But for Leclerc, there weren’t enough cool-down laps in the world to contain his wrath as he faced the media after the race.
“It was a freaking disaster today,” fumed Leclerc, who had pulled a 5s lead over Sainz in the early stages of the race. “The win was clearly in our hands: we had the performance, we had everything. I just don’t really understand the call that I had and I need explanations for now.
“I couldn’t do much, I was called just before the last corner, so I couldn’t react or ask for any information, but that was clearly the wrong choice… We need to get better.”
Despite Leclerc having had a sizeable pause during a red-flag period caused by Mick Schumacher’s heavy crash into the Piscine barriers, meanwhile, the Monegasque revealed that he had “used the in-between time just to calm myself down – because as you may have seen, I was pretty angry.”
To cap it all, Leclerc finishing behind Verstappen saw the Dutchman increase his title lead by three points to nine – with Leclerc’s first-ever finish at home in any racing series in his career set to do little to alleviate his dark mood this evening.