Charles Leclerc battled the tears during emotional Monaco Grand Prix win

Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc competes during the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, 2024 at the Circuit de Monaco. (Photo by CLAUDIA GRECO / POOL / AFP)

Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc competes during the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on May 26, 2024 at the Circuit de Monaco. (Photo by CLAUDIA GRECO / POOL / AFP)

Published May 27, 2024


Charles Leclerc admitted he was fighting back tears and struggling to see as he raced to an emotional victory for Ferrari in his home Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

His win prompted a standing ovation and unbridled celebrations from a huge crowd as he ended his run of wretched luck on home soil and a sequence of 39 races without a win since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix.

Leclerc won comfortably ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz as Red Bull suffered another weekend of disappointment with series leader Max Verstappen finishing sixth and Sergio Perez crashed out on the opening lap,

His flawless triumph in a dull and processional race was the first by a Monegasque driver on the famous Mediterranean street circuit since the start of the Formula One world championship in 1950.

The last Monegasque to win a Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo was Louis Chiron in 1931.

In six previous attempts, including two when he started on pole, the luckless Leclerc had never managed a podium finish.

"It’s the race that made me dream of becoming a Formula One driver one day,” he said.

"And it was such a difficult race emotionally because already 15 laps to the end you are just hoping nothing happens, already the emotions were coming.

"I was thinking of my dad a lot more than I thought usually while driving - obviously he's given everything for me to be here. It was our dream for me to race here and to win and so it's unbelievable."

He added that he had difficulty seeing clearly because of tears during the closing laps. "Not now, Charles, I said to myself. Not now. I could feel it when I came out of the tunnel near the end and I was struggling to see because I was crying a little bit," he revealed.

His father Herve died in 2017.

"No words can explain. It’s such a difficult race, I think the fact that twice I’ve started in pole position and we couldn’t quite make it makes it even better in a way, it means a lot obviously.

"It’s really difficult, at first, I thought we had quite a lot of margin, but we knew there was 78 laps to do on the same tyre which was very difficult.

“We did a great management of the tyres, there was a big part of the race where we had to manage the gap with George and in the last ten laps I called to push a bit more and the car felt amazing.

“I want to thank the team who have done incredible work over the last few months and for giving me the opportunity to finally win this race is a very special feeling.”

He added that he had been given encouragement before the race by the support from the crowd.

"A huge thank you to the fans, the parade laps were special and seeing so many of my friends and people I know in the balcony, it was just very special. This one means a lot."

During his slow-down lap, he told Ferrari: "Tonight – this is going to be a big night!"

He revealed to a global tv audience that he would be partying at Jimmy’z night club and wanted a discount. "I am going to party like an animal," he added.