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Formula 1: Leclerc celebrated first home victory in Monaco

Formula 1: Leclerc celebrated first home victory in Monaco

Leclerc celebrated first home victory in Monaco

The Monegasque triumphed safely on Sunday in a largely unspectacular Grand Prix ahead of McLaren driver Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari. Leclerc celebrated his first victory in the principality since Spielberg 2022 and reduced his deficit to world championship leader Max Verstappen, who finished sixth, to 31 points.

Leclerc, who was born and lives in Monaco, won from pole position on the iconic street circuit on the Côte d’Azur, after already starting from the front in 2021 and 2022. So far, however, he had only managed fourth place at home, but now the 26-year-old has fulfilled a dream with his sixth GP victory in the premier class of motorsport.

The start phase was overshadowed by a serious accident. Red Bull driver Sergio Perez started the race from 16th place and was spun into the barriers at full speed after the first corner by Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. The Red Bull car came to a complete stop, completely destroyed, but Perez survived the crash unharmed. Magnussen and his German team-mate Nico Hülkenberg were also unable to continue, as was Esteban Ocon after an over-motivated overtaking maneuver against his Alpine colleague Pierre Gasly.

“I relied on him to leave room”

Magnussen did not see the blame solely on himself. “I relied on him to give me space. I don’t know how that could be my fault. Normally you should look at what is happening around you,” said the Dane. “Both of them could have prevented it,” stressed Hülkenberg. The race was interrupted for three quarters of an hour due to repair work on the barrier, and the strategies were thrown overboard. All of the top drivers used the free pit stop during the interruption to change tires.

At the restart, Leclerc also took advantage of the advantage of first place on the grid and defended his lead. Behind him, everyone was disciplined and there were no further accidents. Sainz was lucky, as he had damaged his car at the first start and had fallen back, but was placed third again after the restart. In front of the eyes of the dream ski couple Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Leclerc led the race safely and tried to use his hard set of tires without taking any risks over the full distance of 78 laps.

The drivers were accordingly slow, not least because overtaking maneuvers were practically impossible on the narrow street circuit. The celebrities at the track saw a boring race without any highlights, in which braking was also tactical. “You have to drive a little slower if you can,” Leclerc was told on the pit radio. The reason for this was a possible pit stop window for the fourth-placed McLaren driver Lando Norris, who had a big lead over George Russell in the Mercedes at one point and could therefore have put on softer and faster tires under certain circumstances.

Last year’s winner Verstappen was stuck in sixth place behind Russell. The first ten drivers on the starting grid also crossed the finish line in this order. Football superstar Kylian Mbappé waved the checkered flag. In two weeks’ time, a large number of overtaking maneuvers are expected again at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

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