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

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

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur reckons Charles Leclerc will find another step in performance following his Monaco Grand Prix victory – and was full of praise for how his driver handled the pressure of competing at his home race.

Leclerc looked to be in good form when the opening practice session got under way on Friday, before going on to top the timesheets in second and third practice. He followed this up with pole position in front of his local fans, despite losing out on putting some laps in during Q1, and then took that well-earned victory on race day.

READ MORE: Leclerc overjoyed with breakthrough Monaco win as he says previous heartache made success ‘even better’

The Ferrari driver has previously had plenty of bad luck at his home event, having twice started on pole prior to 2024 without ever claiming a win or even a podium result. With this in mind, Vasseur was asked whether he had engaged in any kind of mind management to ensure that Leclerc did not lose focus ahead of the race.

“No. Last year I think he was a bit nervous, and from the beginning of the weekend he was a bit under tension,” Vasseur explained.

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Leclerc crosses the line to win his home Grand Prix for the first time

“This year he was much more relaxed from the beginning. From Lap 1 of FP1 he did a fantastic weekend, he was always flying. Even when we had the issue in Q1 with a plastic bag [going] into the front wing and we had to pit, we lost two or three laps in a row with this.

“But he was able to stay very calm – we could have been out in Q1. He was very in control from the beginning. Today in the race I think that it was perhaps not from an outside point of view the most exciting race of the season, but we knew after the red flag we had to do 76 laps with the same set of tyres.

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

“We asked him to slow down and he was perhaps three or four seconds on the pace at this stage. But he was always able to manage the situation.”

Vasseur also had words of praise for Leclerc’s team mate Carlos Sainz, who crossed the line in third after similarly spending much of the race trying to manage his pace.

“Carlos did exactly the same job, and that was even more difficult because we asked him to stay not too far away off [Oscar] Piastri to cover a potential Safety Car, but to also slow down [Lando] Norris for [George] Russell,” said Vasseur.

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

Vasseur celebrated with his drivers on the podium in Monaco

“It was more controlling the race than pushing. It was a bit frustrating for them and a couple of times they asked on the radio, ‘can I push?’ I’m more than pleased with the job that they did today.”

With Leclerc having now clinched his first Monaco win – which also marked his first victory since 2022 – Vasseur believes that, as well as lessening the pressure on him at his home event, it will also add to the 26-year-old’s confidence going forwards.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive all the race action as Leclerc wins at home following a chaotic start in Monaco

“First it will stop [people] asking each year what could happen next year, what will happen this week… It’s behind us,” the team boss said. “But I think it was an important one. He had a kind of weight on the shoulders for years now about the win in Monaco.

“It was not in doubt that he was under pressure with this. But it’s not just about Monaco, I think probably for his own self-confidence and for the approach he has at all the other events, Charles will do a step forward for sure.”

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