After crossing the line fastest in qualifying and then putting it in the wall after the swimming pool chicane, Charles Leclerc did not start the Monaco Grand Prix after reporting problems in the left driveshaft during his warm-up lap.
Charles Leclerc‘s qualifying session on Saturday was one of highs and lows and came to a crashing end as he ploughed his Scuderia Ferrari into the barriers and brought the session to an end…he did however go fastest before he did that! Ferrari, before the race, reported that there was no issue with the gearbox and that Leclerc will start on Pole, much to the delight of the Monegasque’s fans. But sadly, during the warm-up lap, the Ferrari driver felt something was off with the gearbox with an agonizing “No, no, noooo” over the radio, and later it was reported that there were issues in the left driveshaft of the car. As a result, Leclerc’s home Grand Prix came to an end before it even started with Ferrari releasing a statement which said, “Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time”
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The local hero of Monaco has never seen the chequered flag in his home race since his days in Formula 2 and fans have started to term it the “Monaco Curse” for Charles Leclerc. In his previous two attempts at Monaco, Leclerc started P14 and P15 with Sauber and Ferrari respectively. In his race with the Sauber F1 team, he had to retire from the race after a collision with Brendon Hartley; and with Ferrari, he had to retire the car after suffering from a lot of damage which was mainly caused by a rear left puncture.
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Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after pulling out of the race, Charles said, “In the garage, it was very, very difficult to feel okay. But I guess now I’m getting used to this feeling here lately. I’ve never finished a race here and this year I don’t even start it from pole. It’s a difficult one to take but I also feel for the team, the mechanics have done such a hard job yesterday to check everything. It was a bit happier this morning to see everything seeming to be okay and the parts were fine, and then this happened. So, it’s a shame for everyone”
For Ferrari, it wasn’t the worst result in the end as Charles’ teammate Carlos Sainz crossed the line to finish P2 and get his third career podium and his first for Ferrari but was certainly a bitter pill to swallow and a case of what might have been, for Leclerc who was seen cheering his teammate on at the podium celebrations. The biggest positive is the pace through the weekend from Ferrari and the ability to run at the front proved that they are ready to win races again and perhaps be a decisive wedge in the battle of Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen.
[Image Credit: Charles Leclerc]