Leclerc never believed in Monaco GP ‘curse’ narrative

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Charles Leclerc says he never believed in the "curse" narrative that emerged following his past failures to win the Monaco Grand Prix, his all-important home race.

Last weekend in the Principality, the Monegasque finally conquered his coveted home event, the emotional milestone win marking the culmination of several seasons of near misses and heartbreak for the local hero.

The long-awaited victory goes beyond a simple podium finish for Leclerc. It represents a mental hurdle cleared and a significant turning point in the Ferrari charger’s career.

Leclerc's relationship with motorsport’s Triple Crown jewel has been a complex one.

His first two attempts in F1 ended in heartbreak – a brake failure in 2018 and damage in 2019. Even during his dominant 2017 Formula 2 title run, victory at Monaco remained out of reach.

Two consecutive pole positions in 2021 and 2022 resulted in nothing but disappointment – a mechanical failure denying him a starting chance in 2021 and a strategic misstep costing him a potential win in 2022.

And the repeated setbacks fueled the narrative of a "Monaco curse" surrounding the Monegasque. However, Leclerc himself never subscribed to the peculiar idea.

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“I never believed in the curse,” he said after Sunday’s race. “However, it always felt very difficult on the two occasions I had to win here.

“One, I couldn’t even start the race. The second one, we didn’t make the right choice, I think. So it was very, very frustrating to lose those wins.

“And the thing is that as a driver, you never really know when will be the next opportunity to win, especially when it’s your home race.

“Even more so when your home race is Monaco, that is such a special track, such a difficult track and such a difficult weekend to master and to do everything perfectly, which we did.

“So I knew that today was another opportunity. I knew how it felt the last two times I was in this position. But I obviously really wanted to get that victory today.”

Apprehension, stress or anxiety are natural feelings felt by a driver before a race and Leclerc is no exception. But the 25-year-old insists the jitters and butterflies dissipate once he is strapped into his car and heads into the zone.

“So there’s a bit of tension,” he admitted. “But as I’ve said, as soon as I put the helmet on, as soon as I get into the car, I don’t feel anything anymore.

“Then it’s all about trying to maximize the car that you have, thinking about the tyres and thinking about all the stuff that I had to think of to manage this race the best way possible.

“So it’s more the moment before the race and before putting the helmet on.”

Despite the special significance of racing in Monte Carlo for the Ferrari driver, Leclerc says he did not change his routine or approach for the event, except for some “fine tuning” specific to the race’s complexities.

“At the end, what I try to do and what I do is to try and keep things as stable as possible,” he said.

“And whenever I go on a weekend, you just try and do exactly the same thing as what you’ve done in the previous weekend, learning from mistakes.

“Obviously always striving to improve and get better. But it’s always very fine tuning and very little changes in the approach that you have.

“And I think it’s not specific to Monaco compared to others.

“It’s a different approach in free practice just because it is a street track, but yeah I don’t feel like I’ve done anything very differently compared to the past.”

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