Leclerc says he ‘struggled to see’ in closing laps of dream Monaco victory after fighting back tears

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

Charles Leclerc has admitted that his emotions almost took over en route to a breakthrough Monaco Grand Prix win, describing the final few laps of last Sunday’s race as “very, very difficult” to manage.

Leclerc made it third time lucky at the prestigious event after twice claiming pole position but then failing to win around the streets he grew up on, having experienced his fair share of misfortune on home soil over the years.

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Following some rapturous celebrations, Leclerc took a moment to reflect on what he had achieved, while thanking the many family members and friends who had lined the circuit in support – as well as paying tribute to his late father Herve.

“I think there’s a lot of things adding to this weekend,” he said. “First of all, it’s my home Grand Prix. Second, I’ve had two opportunities in the past that I’ve lost with things that weren’t really in my control, and that was extremely difficult to manage those very difficult moments.

“Also, you don’t really know whether you are going to get another opportunity to win this race. It’s such a difficult race that you don’t know, [but] I knew there was an opportunity this weekend.

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“Then last, it’s the race that made me dream of becoming an F1 driver one day. It’s the race that I used to watch with my dad, who’s done absolutely everything for me to get to where I am today. Our dream was to race here in Monaco in F1.”

Leclerc continued: “I wouldn’t have imagined when I was younger that I would race with Ferrari one day, in Monaco, and win this race. That was obviously the ultimate dream, right before being world champion of course, but the ultimate dream.

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“The fact that I managed to do that, I feel like I did not only accomplish my own dream but also the one of my father, the one of my mother as well, who has sustained me in everything I have done since then, and has been an incredibly strong woman when we all lost my dad.

“My brothers, who have always been so supportive with my, my girlfriend, all my family, all my friends. The special thing about this race is that it’s such a small country that I’ve got everybody here. Everybody was around the track.

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“I had so many thoughts of the people I have mentioned already, in the last 10 laps, and that was very difficult to manage. Even though I knew the pace was extremely good, you have to stay on it on a track like this, and it was very, very difficult.”

Leclerc expanded on those comments in the post-race drivers’ press conference, conceding that there were some tears as he completed the final few miles of a momentous race.

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Asked how emotional he was when the winner’s trophy came his way, Leclerc countered: “I think where I struggled the most to actually contain my emotions was during the last 10 laps of the race, more than on the podium.

“I realised actually 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, ‘***** 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. It was very difficult to contain those emotions, those thoughts again, of the people that have helped me to get to where I am today.”


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