Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019

Leclerc says he “had to take risks” in Monaco GP

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc defended his performance in the Monaco Grand Prix after retiring early following contact with Nico Hulkenberg.

The Ferrari driver started 15th on the grid after an error by his team meant he went out in the first round of qualifying. Leclerc said that meant he had to take risks. He overtook Lando Norris and Romain Grosjean early on, then collided with Hulkenberg at Rascasse.

“Starting from 15th, which was not our real pace position, I obviously had to take risks,” said Leclerc. “I passed Romain even though it was extremely tight. And the second time I just tried the same thing with Nico, he left me less space, and then I clipped the wall on the right side and I had a puncture then.”

The punctured tyre fell apart while Leclerc drove back to the pits, causing floor damage which eventually forced him to retire.

“It was very difficult to drive, I think the damage was too big. We tried to do a change with the front wing to try and compensate the lack of downforce we had because of the damage but it was not enough. Then we decided to stop because of it.”

Leclerc said he would “just get on with it” after the disappointment of failing to score in his home race. “In the end I cannot change it any more, it’s just how it is, unfortunately.

“It’s a shame it happens at home, especially on a track like Monaco starting 15th obviously means that Sunday will be a difficult day. And even more without the rain. But we knew it would be a very difficult day which it has been obviously. Now we need to look forward.”

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Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2019
Leclerc’s floor damage which put him out of the race

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46 comments on “Leclerc says he “had to take risks” in Monaco GP”

  1. Charles spent a few laps threatening a move into Rascasse so that when finally committed, Grosjean was prepared for it and yielded. The problem was Charles just went for the overtake on Hulkenberg first-time into Rascasse without prior warning. One more lap and that would have been a clean overtake I reckon.

    1. @ninjenius Exactly my thoughts. The move itself was risky but fine, it’s just that Leclerc had no idea how Hülkenberg would react (unlike in the Grosjean move)

    2. Agreed on this.
      Good analysis

    3. This boy is the most overrated driver in F1 history. People liking him because he is such a nice bloke are blind to see that he was put in the Ferrari to soon. Don’t come up with excuses like “only his second year blabla” because he has as much formula experience as Verstappen. The only difference is, he took the normal route. His experience in GP3 and GP2 and 1 year in the Alfa Romeo should have helped him to be a certainty. This guy screwed himself in Baku and yesterday he was overly agressive towards Hulkenberg. I didn’t see the calm and collected new wonderboy people rave about, I just saw a boy insecure and angry making mistake after mistake. The way he drove back to the pits after his puncture was ridiculous. He almost broke his car in half with this stupidity. Leclerc is a case of to much to soon. He would be better of at Alfa Romeo for 1 or 2 more years. This supposed to be the guy who would trash Vettel.

      If there is any truth in the stories about Leclercs management having talks with other teams, put Verstappen in the Ferrari immediately. That’s a guy who would make Schumi and the Scuderia proud.

      1. Crashtappen was no better though was he?

        1. Crashtappen, with the age of 17, was miles ahead of Leclerc right now. I know, this must be pretty hard to accept.

        2. Verstappen is and was…miles better ;)

        3. “Crashtappen was no better though was he?”

          Won his very first race in a top team but NOT the outright fastest car.

          Managed not to crash for the entire Monaco GP despite starting from a similar position last year.

          Yes he was and is better, Leclerc deserves more roasting for yesterdays performance. Entertaining yes, but for all of 15 laps!

      2. You should continue watching football mate. F1 is clearly not for you

  2. DAllein (@)
    27th May 2019, 8:21

    I really do hope it is not the “real” Leclerc, and that he can learnt to channel his frustration in positive way… and not replicate infamous meltdowns of several prior young drivers.

    I don’t say he is bad! No, he is just young, and he needs to learn to manage his aggression and frustration, and use this to beat rivals.
    And not end up with no floor.

    1. I mean, I don’t think that this was necessarily a meltdown. I think it was more the only way of trying to get points from his starting position around this track. At any other track, I doubt he’d have driven that way.

      1. But it wasn’t the only way. Didn’t he start on the hard compound? We saw how powerful late pit stop was there. Just a little patience and he would end up in points. He tried to push too much and failed. This is okay at this point of his career, I hope he learns from this.

        1. Agree with you, if he had dosed a little bit only on his agressiveness, he would be in the points later on. Monaco is always about playing the long game. It was entertaining, and these are the errors that I expect for his lack of experience, but it’s alright. He will be a better driver for next year.

  3. Leclerc reminds me of Verstappen a few years ago. He’ll do just fine, he just has to iron out some mistakes.

    1. Sorry, but Verstappen never ever in his career did the things Leclerc summed up this weekend…

      1. Why dont you watch what Ver(oops crash)tappen did to Grosjean in Monaco in 2015 or how he crashed into Lewis in Bahrain 2018 or China 2018.

        1. Forgot about another stupid divebomb at Chinese GP 2018 in hairpin.

          1. The crash with Grosjean was in his first year…nitpicking are you? I also seem to remember he overtook Bottas during the 2016 race in Monaco…in the wake of Vettel he passed Bottas on pure talent. Something I haven’t seen Leclerc doing atm. Also his pass on Nasr during the Belgium GP comes to mind..the way he overtook him outside of Blanchimont was something no one else could or would have pulled of. So you can bash Verstappen as much as you want, but pls stop nitpicking. But hey, I think that’s the only thing Vestappen bashers can do…I do understand you though, because he is THE guy in F1 allready at only 21 years young…outperforming your hero’s in the sport. Must be pretty hard to swallow.

          2. JI, what I find interesting is that it feels like a lot of hardcore Verstappen fans seem to show a particular hostility towards Leclerc, and seem to be especially keen to attack and criticise him more than any other driver.

            Incidentally, in those particular cases, those cases you are highlighting sound more like cases of a driver who had a vastly superior car that he could use to literally drive round his rivals as if they weren’t there. Indeed, in a lot of cases over the past few years, whenever any driver in the top three teams has fallen near the back of the field in a situation like that, usually you’ve seen them go on to finish in the top six anyway.

            To me, that doesn’t speak so much about the skill of the drivers in the top three teams as it does about the sheer difference in performance between the top three teams and the rest.

      2. exactly…Verstappen made some errors, but never ever in this kinda way. Verstappen, IMHO, is a full tier more talented then Leclerc or any other youngster in Formula racing.

    2. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      27th May 2019, 13:38

      Verstappen has more raw speed than Leclerc does.

      1. Verstappen simply has more talent and speed then anyone else in the sport

        1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
          27th May 2019, 15:13

          At the moment probably. Hamilton and Vettel were both much like Max when they came into F1 in terms of potential talent.

        2. Not as much as Hamilton, who showed much better spatial awareness and judgement as Verstappen at the same stage. Most of Hamilton’s earlier infringements were down to overestimating over drivers (Massa in particular) and doing stuff that FIA decided wasn’t really on, his penalty for outbraking himself at the start of Japan 2008 being a case in point, despite nothing actually happening (no collisions). Verstappens are down to misjudging distances. The collision with Hamilton on Sunday being an example. I still can’t tell if Verstappen is faster than Hamilton or not. He sometimes looks it, but it may just be he’s a shade more reckless. For example, Hamilton has never been into the walls at Monaco, whereas Verstappen has. These things add up.

          1. Dude, remember how old Hamilton was back then? Just look how old Verstappen is right now. Verstappen iscway more talented then Hamilton was at this age Its not even a contest really

          2. Hamilton has certainly been in the walls at Monaco – more than once- quali 2009 comes to mind – actually even in his Pagani….

          3. Cronies @ “actually even in his Pagani….”
            I robbed that observation from Brundell, I think! maybe he meant the race, did seem a bit improbable…

  4. its 1 thing to attempt passes and ruin your own race. but when you attemp a move or pass at the expense of another driver is unacceptable. but i did enjoy leclercs driving.

  5. He ruined hulk’s race too.

  6. Leclerc seems to me to have showed his immaturity.
    He could have scored valuable points, but throwed the race away because of his frustration.
    His behaviour gives a valid point to those people suggesting Ferrari was right to prioritise Vettel.

  7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    27th May 2019, 9:44

    I think it was fine taking risks like he did on grosjean. But Even Hulkenberg was worth trying, but once he knew he had a puncture, he should have been careful. He 100% ruined his own race. And in a very silly way. It was more silly than a brief, but careless incident as he had time to prevent bad damage. But at the speed he was going, he wrecked his car making it too hard to drive.

    The other interesting thing is that if it wasn’t for Leclerc’s decision to go that fast and wreck his car, it would have been the first time ever in 64 years that all drivers finished this race. I looked through on the official site thinking that all but 1 drivers finishing was unusual. And i think the next best after that was all but 3. Virtually every other time, it was 5 or over and often a lot more than that.

    1. Singapore 2018 all drivers finished

  8. While I do think that Leclerc started the race on Sunday in a compromised position due to no fault of his own, the way he raced on Sunday definitely showed a lot of immaturity. I remember Alonso starting from the pitlane in 2010 when he was driving for Ferrari, but it was a measured race through the field instead of overaggressive lunges and Hail Mary dive bombs. Leclerc should have adopted a similar approach.

    I like Leclerc… and based on ability and motivation, I would rate him as the better of the two Ferrari drivers… but he definitely has a lot of maturing to do if he wants to be a serious title contender. Luckily, Ferrari isn’t in the championship battle this season anyways, so he should use his time in maturing as a driver and (hopefully) fighting for the title next year.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      27th May 2019, 10:43

      Qualifying was sort of his fault. He failed to set a good early run with plenty of time to do so. And also missed the weigh bridge which cost him seem time. While it obviously was the team that stopped him going out again, he certainly didn’t make the most of the early runs which is vital for Monaco. Like Hamilton in 2017 missing out due to not doing a good first run.

  9. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    27th May 2019, 10:20

    He got impatient. Overtaking in Rascasse needs extreme precision and if it goes wrong, here we go. Even after that, we was coming into the pits way too fast. The floor was damaged way too much due to the speed.

    He is still young and he will have time to learn. He has to iron those mistakes though. He did one in Australia, crashed in Baku and here in this race.

  10. What surprised me most is that the team didn’t warn him to drive slower to prevent the tyre from destroying his floor. I recall the same thing happening when Raikkonen was too impatient going back to the pits in Baku a few years ago. He had to retire as well after completely destroying his own floor. The team should have learnt from that. Compare it to Alonso in Baku who recovered to finish in the points after getting back to the pits on two weeks, just by driving back a little more patiently.

    1. *wheels

  11. Leclerc could have watched how Max Verstappen progressed from last place to 9th on the same track last year. Instead of being patient lap after lap and picking off the drivers in front, his overtake on Hulkenberg was immature. Then the drive back to the pits again showed his inexperience.
    Leclerc is the real deal. But he needs to calm down and develop his race craft and cut out the errors. There is too much hype around him. He needs to ignore it and focus on the job.

  12. Mark in Florida
    27th May 2019, 13:51

    I guess if you feel your own team is screwing you over to benefit Vettle all the time you might start to feel like it’s all on you somewhat. Yes he was impatient and frustrated but it’s understandable. He will weary of Ferraris antics and move on to another team eventually.

  13. The only risk worth taking was to try an offset strategy and hope to profit from an SC or rain. Even if he passed five cars with Rascasse dive bombs he would still be a minute back when he was done and out of the points. Even in a dominant car passing your way to the points at Monaco is an absurd proposition.

  14. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    27th May 2019, 14:17

    He’s shown fantastic maturity in most of his drives for Ferrari but that race kinda exposed how young he really is. If he wasn’t driving a Ferrari I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelid at that performance but driving a front runner kinda gives a lens of scrutiny and pressure of expectation that he wouldn’t get in a different car. Kinda feel bad for him as every mistake is going to be analysed and punished despite him still learning.

    I think given Ferrari’s lacklustre start and even more baffling strategic choices – like Vettel has been for the last couple of years, he’s having to overdrive the car a bit and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the team. Also unlike Vettel he doesn’t have the whole ‘4-times champion’ thing going for him, so he gets the short end most of the time.

    It must be difficult for both Vettel & Leclerc, growing up idolising Ferrari and finally getting their hands on their own one but neither the team or the car seem to be as operationally successful as their competitors. I can see them wanting to make a difference and pushing themselves into stupid errors from the pressure – made worse by how far they are behind already and how desperate they are to catch back up.

  15. Overall there’s been a notable shift with Vettel looking happier and Leclerc more sullen/downcast and now making mistakes he’d been avoiding at the start of the season. It looks like he’s been tamed for now (by Vettel or Ferrari, or both). and really ever since the Baku mistake in qualifying where he pushed too hard and missed taking the escape road.

  16. Verstappen drove from Further back into P9… Leclerc should have been more patient i think.

  17. Hamilton has certainly been in the walls at Monaco – more than once- quali 2009 comes to mind – actually even in his Pagani….

    1. He even won after hitting the wall! But let’s agree it’s not the best strategy.

  18. Why was Grosjean leaving such a space on the way int Rascasse? It was a gaping Haas hole!!!

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