Charles Leclerc crashed through the barriers after already securing pole position in front of his home crowd in Monaco last year
Charles Leclerc returns home for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix hoping to end a series of terrible strokes of luck at the track he would most like to win.
Monaco is a place every F1 driver dreams of winning, but with Leclerc having grown up on the street where the race is contested, there is added significance for the Ferrari driver.
A remarkable streak of bad luck on the circuit saw Leclerc fail to finish a race in all three of his F1 attempts, while he also suffered a heartbreaking retirement in his only F2 appearance at the track.
Leclerc will be hoping he weathers his bad luck ahead of Monaco this year, as engine failure forced him to retire from a dominant header in last weekend’s Spanish GP, allowing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to win the race and take control of the race. the head of the Ferrari Driver’s World Championship.
Here’s a more detailed look at the series of events Leclerc went through at Monaco which led to suggestions he’s ‘cursed’ at his home circuit.
Ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix, check out some of Monaco’s best previous races
Safety cars and suspension damage prevent F2 victory
Given the difficulty of overtaking in Monaco, qualifying on pole takes on additional importance in the principality.
Leclerc did just that for Prema in the 2017 Monaco F2 GP, and when he led future F1 rival Alexander Albon off the start line he appeared in fine form for victory.
An early safety car appeared to have given those behind Leclerc a chance to get back in the race, but he showed superb pace to reestablish a lead that saw him regain control of the race.
However, another safety car would follow, with an unfortunate timing of its exit causing the rivals to lose time and join it in fourth position.
As if that weren’t enough, Leclerc would be called into the pits shortly after reporting dramatic vibrations to his left front wheel, which turned out to be caused by suspension damage that would see him retire.
Brake failure leads to significant shunt
Leclerc would overcome this blow from Monaco to dominate the 2017 F2 season, claiming the title and earning himself a seat with Alfa Romeo for the 2018 F1 campaign.
He would arrive in Monaco having made an impressive start to the season, and straight after his first two standout performances in F1, which had come at the Azerbaijan and Spanish GPs.
After qualifying 14th, Leclerc looked set to miss more points as he sat 12th with eight laps to go, but once again robbed himself of the chance to see the checkered flag.
Brake failure saw him slam into the rear of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, forcing the two to retire with the cars badly damaged.
Despite the setback, Leclerc produced a series of impressive performances throughout the season, convincing Ferrari to place him alongside Sebastian Vettel at the age of just 20.
Nightmare Ferrari’s home debut ends in retirement
Leclerc’s Ferrari spun on its own as he hit the barrier with his right-back
Leclerc would make a strong start to his career at Ferrari, finishing in the top five in each of his first five races for the team, including a podium at the Bahrain GP.
However, things would go wrong from the start for Ferrari in Monaco, with Vettel’s crash in final practice on Saturday morning being the first in a series of mistakes by the team and its drivers.
On his first flying lap attempt in Q1, Leclerc got severely blocked entering Rascasse, wasting his lap and damaging the tires in the process. Ferrari dropped him to take another hit, with which he produced a lackluster effort to finish sixth at the time.
Leclerc said he had to take risks but was ultimately unable to fight back after qualifying in 15th
Ferrari’s calculations suggested there would be enough time to see him in Q2 and opted not to send him for another race, which turned out to be a fatal decision. Leclerc sat in his garage plummeting down the standings as significantly slower cars took advantage of a rapidly improving track to relegate him to P16 and a humiliating Q1 exit.
Faced with the almost impossible task of navigating the peloton, Leclerc had acknowledged before the race that he would have to “risk an accident” to do so.
He started well, climbing three places in the first eight laps, but eventually took too much of a risk. On lap 11 he hit the wall trying to pass Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and was forced to limp back to the pits with a puncture.
Anthony Davidson’s SkyPad analysis of Leclerc’s two moves at the Monaco GP – one that went well and one that didn’t
Ferrari was going to fit him with a new set, but damage sustained on the way back to the pits would soon force his retirement, and a dreadful weekend ended prematurely.
Surprise pace spoiled by crash in qualifying
Ferrari has confirmed that Leclerc will not start the Monaco Grand Prix due to problems with his gearbox
There was no 2020 Monaco GP as the race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there was much more anticipation when the sport returned to its most famous venue in 2021.
Having failed to match Mercedes and Red Bull in the first four races of the season, Ferrari suddenly found enough rhythm to challenge for pole on Saturday.
Leclerc emerged from the early races of Q3 with the fastest time, but then came a dramatic turn. In the second and final round, Leclerc would hit the wall, ending the session and preventing his rivals from knocking him off pole.
Leclerc was devastated after gearbox problems prevented him from starting his home Grand Prix after securing pole position in Monaco
It appeared to have been a moment of fortune for Leclerc as Ferrari found no damage to the car’s gearbox on Sunday morning and insisted he was ready to start the race from pole.
However, as he left the pits and headed for the grid, a left driveshaft problem would arise which would prevent him from taking part in the race.
A brake failure on a vintage Ferrari confirms the curse
Leclerc crushed an old Niki Lauda classic Ferrari during a demonstration at the Monaco Historic event
If there was any doubt that Leclerc’s luck was on his home circuit, it has surely been confirmed as he took part in the Monaco Historique 2022 event earlier this month.
Leclerc showed up at the event to drive a three-lap demonstration in a vintage 1974 Ferrari Niki Lauda.
On his third and final lap, the brakes would fail Leclerc as he entered Rascasse, slamming him into the barrier.
Leclerc took to social media shortly after the incident with a humorous take, while the team also spoke out to clarify that the accident was caused by a mechanical error.
The only consolation Leclerc can take from his latest Monaco incident is that no points were available to him in the classic Lauda car, and is surely due to a change in fortune this weekend.
Sky Sports F1 Monaco GP live schedule
The entire Monaco GP is live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1, while viewers will also be treated to the famous Indianapolis 500 on Sunday evening.
Thursday May 26
4:05 p.m.: F2 training
Friday May 27
10:35 a.m.: F2 qualifying
12.30 p.m.: Monaco GP Practice One (start of the session at 1 p.m.)*
3:45 p.m.: Monaco GP Practice Two (start of the session at 4 p.m.)*
5:10 p.m.: The F1 Motor Show
Saturday May 28
11.45 a.m.: Monaco GP Practice Three (start of the session at 12 p.m.)*
2 p.m.: Preparation for qualifying for the Monaco GP*
3 p.m.: MONACO GP QUALIFICATIONS*
4:35 p.m.: F2 Sprint race
5:35 p.m.: Ted’s qualification notebook
Sunday May 29
8:45 a.m.: F2 cross-country race
12:30 p.m.: Grand Prix Sunday: Assembly of the Monaco GP*
2 p.m.: THE MONACO GRAND PRIX*
4 p.m.: Checkered flag: Monaco
5 p.m.: Ted’s notebook
6 p.m.: Highlights of the Monaco GP
7 p.m.: Indianapolis 500
*simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event