Charles Leclerc says his risky approach to the Monaco Grand Prix did not pay off as he ended up dropping out with car damage incurred as he tried to fight through the field.
A strategic error from Ferrari in qualifying left Leclerc out in Q1 and starting 15th after a grid penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi. In the early laps Leclerc made up some positions — passing Lando Norris at the hairpin and Romain Grosjean at Rascasse — but an attempt to pass Nico Hulkenberg at Rascasse resulted in him hitting the wall and picking up a puncture that soon ended his race.
“It was very difficult,” Leclerc said. “As I said before the race, I had to take a lot of risks — which we did. It was fun at the beginning but unfortunately it ended in disaster. That’s the problem with Monaco when you are starting 15th, which is not our real pace position. It was difficult to come back from today.”
Leclerc made contact with the inside barrier as he tried to pass Hulkenberg, and briefly spoke to the Renault driver immediately after the race.
“I just said I think it was a racing incident. I don’t think he left much space but then I clipped the rear on the wall and I think we touched a little bit, that’s it.”
The subsequent puncture saw Leclerc complete a lap with a flailing tire and heavily damage his floor, and he says the car was impossible to handle after that point.
“No, no, no, (there was no way to continue) we lost most part of the floor. I think the engineers didn’t see it because it was on the right side and they were looking at the left side. The left side was actually not that damaged but the right side was just completed gone.
“Of course I never give up, but this time it was just not realistic to still go because we lost like I think 75 points. To normal people that’s maybe not a number they hear often but it’s like 80% of downforce we have on the car, so it was just undriveable.”