Charles Leclerc says he went “all-in” for the lap that gave him pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix but he believes he could have posted an even more special time if he’d finished his final attempt.
The hometown favorite set an impressive first flying lap in Q3 and was on provisional pole position, with a margin of over 0.2s over the rest of the field. Leclerc had already improved in the first sector when behind him Sergio Perez crashed his Red Bull at Portier, being collected by Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz and bringing out a red flag that cemented Leclerc’s pole but stopped him from improving further.
“I wouldn’t call it frustration, but I definitely wanted to finish that lap,” Leclerc said. “I was a bit more than 0.4s quicker so it was a really, really good lap. Also I think the onboard was pretty oversteering so it is a nice onboard, but it was a great lap until them. (A crash) happened to me last year and it happens in Monaco so it’s like this, no frustration.
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“It was all about building up to this Q3 lap. I knew the pace was there — I think we were in the right place with the car. 2021 was not in my head when I was doing qualifying; you just want to erase it and obviously it was also quite a long time ago so I wasn’t thinking about it and I just went all in as always in Q3 here.”
Leclerc has yet to finish his home race in Formula 1 — despite taking pole last year he didn’t manage to make the start after a crash — and failed to score in his championship-winning F2 season as well, but says he hasn’t made any changes to his approach this year and won’t do so on Sunday either.
“No, no. I’m not superstitious at all. We’ve had a smooth weekend until now and we’re starting in the best place possible for tomorrow’s race, so hopefully we have a clean race tomorrow and we finally have a good result at home.
“It is very special — I’m so incredibly happy. I knew the pace was in the car, I just had to do the job. It went perfectly — that last lap before the red flag was really, really good, but anyway it didn’t change anything for us.
While the possibility of rain on Sunday might complicate planning for the race, Leclerc said he wasn’t really concerned either way.
“I think dry is a bit more predictable but whatever (weather) comes I think we are competitive, so it will be fine,” he said.