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Ferrari facing ‘unavoidable’ title race consideration after Leclerc’s Monaco win, says team ambassador Gene

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26:  Race winner Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari celebrates with

Ferrari ambassador Marc Gene has argued that thoughts about a championship assault are now “unavoidable” for the famous Maranello outfit, even if team boss Frederic Vasseur would prefer it not to be the case.

Charles Leclerc gave the Scuderia their second victory of the season – after team mate Carlos Sainz’s triumph in Australia – at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, with the result also marking his first win on home soil.

READ MORE: Leclerc will get even better after lifting ‘weight off his shoulders’ with Monaco victory, says Vasseur

Given Red Bull’s struggles around the tight, twisty streets of Monte Carlo, which limited Max Verstappen to a sixth-place finish, both the drivers’ and constructors’ standings are looking much closer as the campaign rolls on to Canada.

Indeed, Verstappen’s lead over Leclerc is now down to 31 points, while Ferrari, who scored a double podium in the Principality thanks to Sainz’s P3 finish, are just 24 points behind Red Bull.

In an appearance on the F1 Nation podcast, long-time Ferrari employee Gene spoke at length about Leclerc’s home win, and what it means for both the driver and team.

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Gene raced for Minardi and Williams in F1 and has been linked to Ferrari since the mid-noughties

“Already on Friday, he was extremely fast,” Gene said of home hero Leclerc’s performance. “The car was very good as well, especially in the slow-speed corners. I would even say today was meant to happen, even what happened with Carlos, that he was reinstated P3 [after the red flag].

“The fact that there was no more pit stops [for the leaders], that made the race even easier for Charles. That was so important because it looked like there was a curse in Monaco for him.

ICYMI: How social media reacted to Leclerc’s emotional win on home soil in Monaco

“I can tell you there’s so much weight out of his shoulders now. I could not have imagined going to Monaco next year and today something happening – it would have been unbearable. I’m so glad for him.

“I know we shouldn’t look, and Fred says don’t look at the championship, but it’s unavoidable. You look at the championship and 20 something points is nothing. But we enjoy that now and we’ll see what happens after.”

From heartbreak to euphoria: Charles Leclerc breaks the Monaco curse

Opening up about Leclerc’s dream result, Gene then shared the only moment that Ferrari were “a little bit worried” on an otherwise faultless weekend for the 26-year-old and his side of the garage.

“Funnily enough, the most difficult moment was Q1,” Gene continued. “He had one lap. He could have been out of Q1 – it’s incredible. The race? Both starts he was in control; he was doing pace management. He was in control all weekend.

F1 NATION: Can Leclerc’s Monaco masterclass ignite Ferrari’s title fight? It’s our Monaco GP Review

“Charles has been just so confident under braking. Into Rascasse, Sainte Devote, he was super-fast. We’ve been doing some set-up work lately and he says now the car is doing exactly what he wants it to do.

“But you could already tell from [the previous round in] Imola, the car is a lot to his liking lately and you can tell he’s very happy [about] the way the car is behaving [with] how he drives.”

Ferrari are looking to end a championship drought that now stretches back more than 15 years, with their last constructors’ triumph coming in 2008 and their most recent drivers’ crown being achieved by Kimi Raikkonen during the previous season.

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