Charles Leclerc wins F1 Monaco GP in emotional home victory



MONACO — Charles Leclerc has broken the Monaco curse and won his home grand prix, marking his first victory since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix. Behind him, Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz rounded out the podium, and three drivers finished a lap down (and six finished two laps down).

As the checkered flag waved, cheers echoed throughout the principality as the Ferrari driver brought home a victory that had eluded him for years due to a variety of reasons, including car issues, driver error, and team strategy mistakes.

“I have to say that I was thinking to my dad at this moment,” Leclerc said after the win. “That was my thought while driving. Obviously, he’s given everything for me to be here. It was a dream of ours for me to race there and to win, so it’s a miracle.”

The beginning of the race was chaotic, with three separate incidents, one of which triggered a red flag. At one point, Sainz went off. At Turn 3, the gap began to narrow, and Kevin Magnussen spun Sergio Pérez (and in turn, that took out his teammate Nico Hülkenberg). It was a major shunt that led to the race being suspended. But further into the lap, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also collided into Portier when Ocon lunged down the inside of his teammate, and Ocon received a 10-second time penalty that’s converted into a five-place grid drop for the next race.

Based on how the first lap unfolded, the Monaco GP looked poised to be a thriller. However, details in the regulations caused the race to become a procession. During the red flag period, teams are allowed to change tires. As they readied in the pit lane, every remaining driver changed tire compounds. Not everyone chose the long-lasting hard tire, though. A few drivers, like George Russell and Max Verstappen, opted for mediums and faced the enormous challenge of keeping the tires alive for the remaining 70-plus laps.

And it truly became a slow race. Leclerc led at the standing start on Lap 3 and managed the pace, which was far off from his pole position time at some points. Monaco is a fairly difficult track to overtake, making it easier for Leclerc to manage the pace without much risk. But the race did drag on. Verstappen said over the radio at one point, “F— me, this is boring. Should have brought my pillow.”

The track semi-livened up as the race neared the final stages. Cars began pitting on Laps 52 and 53, and a brief double yellow flag came out during the same stretch. But it soon became processional despite a few overtakes at the back of the grid. The biggest battle to watch was Russell versus Verstappen, who had a pace advantage. With less than 20 laps to go, the gap became just four seconds between them, Verstappen lapping nearly three seconds quicker than the Mercedes driver. But given the tight confines of Monaco’s track, the Dutchman couldn’t find the right spot to make a move.

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(Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


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