Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2024

Can Leclerc emulate Chiron, or will Piastri spoil his party at home?

2024 Monaco GP pre-race analysis

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The Monaco Grand Prix has only ever been won by a driver from the principality once before in its long, storied history – and never as a round of the world championship.

But Sunday could be the day that changes. For the third time, Charles Leclerc will start his home grand prix from pole position – and this is his best chance yet to finally convert that to victory.

“The qualifying in Monaco is a big part of the job,” the pole winner said. “It is true that in the past we didn’t have the success that we wanted, but I don’t want to think about that any more. And I’m pretty sure that it will be a good one this weekend.”

With a dry race virtually guaranteed, Leclerc is the overwhelming favourite to finally achieve his childhood dream on Sunday, and with it emulate Louis Chiron by winning his home race in Monaco. However, Oscar Piastri will be starting alongside him on the front row in a very fast McLaren and is no less hungry to take his first career victory and spoil the party.


Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Monaco, 2023
A repeat of last year’s rain is not on the cards
Although recent race days have arrived with very minor risks of rain, there are no such concerns on Sunday in Monaco. The glorious sunny skies that teams were treated to for Saturday’s qualifying day are expected to be repeated for the race, with very little in the way of cloud cover.

Not only with the Monaco Grand Prix be Instagram-worthy thanks to its conditions, the warm track temperatures mean that drivers will have to be careful about not putting too much energy into their tyres and overheating them when the entire field will almost certainly be running a single-stop strategy and needing to keep their tyres in a good condition.

As there is no risk of rain affecting proceedings during the race, this should be the first fully dry Monaco race since 2021, where Verstappen led every lap of the race from pole to win his first grand prix in the Principality.

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Start, Monaco, 2023
Little room to gain positions – or lose them
Monaco has always been considered the most important pole position to have of the entire season for a simple reason. Whoever tends to lead into Sainte Devote most often than not wins the race. Over the last 10 Monaco Grands Prix held going back to 2013, the driver leading up the hill to Massenet on the opening lap has been the driver on the top step of the podium later that afternoon on six occasions.

At just over 200 metres, this is the shortest sprint to the first corner on the calendar – not much room at all for anyone to leap out in front of a car ahead at the start unless anyone makes an especially poor start. Piastri knows that if he manages to leap out ahead of Leclerc and into the first corner first, he will be 95% of the way towards a maiden grand prix victory already. And given his strong launch off the line last weekend in Imola, where he was then boxed in by cars ahead, he will be itching for those lights to go out on Sunday.

However, history is very much on Leclerc’s side. Over the last 22 years, the only pole-winner not to reach Sainte Devote with their lead intact was Leclerc himself, back in 2021, when he failed to take the start due to a technical failure. Juan Pablo Montoya was the last pole winner to fail to convert back in 2002, when he lost out to David Coulthard.


Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2024
Pit stops offer the likeliest chance to gain places
Nowhere in Formula 1 is track position as important as in Monaco. As overtaking is not a viable option, there is no benefit from attempting aggressive strategies that require drivers getting by rivals on old tyres to catch a target ahead.

Monaco is a one-stop race. Nothing more, nothing less. With most of the field having burned through their softs by the end of qualifying, the most popular strategy will likely once again be to start on the mediums before switching to the hards later in the race.

The only question is when to make that stop. While Pirelli predict that those starting on mediums will look to pit between laps 25 and 35, that could change dramatically depending on if and when the race is impacted by a Safety Car. Those near the back of the field may gamble on hards and run as long as possible in the hope of a Safety Car to appear and allow them to minimise time loss, but if that does happen, they will likely already be well behind their rivals ahead.



Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Monaco, 2024
Expect to see few changes of position on-track
Having a section on ‘overtaking’ in a preview for a Monaco Grand Prix may feel superfluous considering these are Formula 1’s biggest ever cars racing around its shortest and most narrow circuit. However, there are always a handful of moves that managed to be pulled off over the 78-lap race.

Over the last ten races in Monte Carlo, there have been an average of eight on-track overtakes per race. But rarely have they ever involved positions towards the front of the field and especially not for the lead.

Even in the modern DRS dominated world, the only real opportunities for drivers to pass are through mistakes by rivals, wet weather helping to provide greater grip deltas between rivals or drivers getting by through the pit cycle. As Piastri himself observed:

“You can try something with the strategy, because unless there’s a massive pace difference – which I’m pretty sure there won’t be – then overtaking is impossible here. So it’ll be won or lost in the pits, probably.”

Safety Cars

It goes without saying, but teams face one of the highest chances of a Safety Car on Sunday that they will have all season. The proximity of the barriers and limited run off can turn any minor accident into one where an intervention is a necessity.

Over the last 10 races in Monaco, only two have run without any Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car appearance: 2021 and last year – both occasions where Verstappen won. The vast majority of Monaco races feature just a single Safety Car period, but surprisingly the start of the race does not tend to produce many incidents.

There is a much higher risk of a red flag in the modern age, as demonstrated by the Formula 2 sprint race on Saturday. That could transform a race depending on when one was to hit as it will offer teams a free pit stop to change tyres. However, the last Monaco Race to be stopped in that way was all the way back in 2013, when Pastor Maldonado ripped the TecPro barrier off the outside of Tabac following contact with Max Chilton.

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One to watch

Alexander Albon, Williams, Monaco, 2024
Albon pulled off a superb qualifying result
Typically, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez starting well out of position in 16th on the grid would be an obvious candidate to watch, but given how little progress he was able to make through the race here last year despite starting towards the back and how problematic the Red Bull has been this weekend it does not bode well for him.

Instead, keep an eye on Alexander Albon. Starting from ninth – Williams’ best grid position at Monaco for 13 years – Albon was thrilled with his qualifying performance, knowing that he has the best chance his team has had all season to score their first points of the championship. But It’s not all good for the Williams driver, who has been struggling all weekend with his front tyres giving up earlier than their rivals.

If stuck in dirty air, Albon could suffer from graining in his first stint and become a cork in the bottle, falling away from the pack ahead and holding up all the cars behind. If so, the teams at the front of the field could end up looking to try and pit their cars to come out ahead of him, which could end up playing into the strategy battle at the top of the order.

Over to you

Will it finally be third time lucky for Leclerc starting from pole at his home race? Share your views on the Monaco Grand Prix in the comments.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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5 comments on “Can Leclerc emulate Chiron, or will Piastri spoil his party at home?”

  1. Will it finally be third time lucky for Leclerc starting from pole at his home race?
    – I truly hope so, & as several places feature high cranes, VSC can be enough, although the 2022 race is the most recent to feature an in-race suspension, a few laps following Mick’s crash in the swimming pool section.

  2. I hope Piastri does it. Really want him winning!

    1. Could you imagine? In the green and gold too! Can’t see it happening but if it does that’ll be epic.

  3. This is driving me mad, why does my login still not work and I’m getting adds?

    1. Yeah not sure deleting comments on this is the right tack by the site… Not sure what purpose that serves it’ll just increase the spam

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