Charles Leclerc believes a “special lap” will be required in order to prevent Red Bull from scoring victory at Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Leclerc has taken pole position for the past two Monaco races but failed to start in 2021 owing to a reconnaissance lap failure and slipped to fourth in 2022 amid a strategic blunder.
Leclerc is the only driver to interrupt Red Bull’s streak of success in 2023 by taking pole position in Azerbaijan, though the reigning champions have won all five grands prix.
Speaking ahead of his home event Leclerc tempered expectations, saying: “I mean honestly I think Red Bull is still the team to beat. With a special lap maybe we can beat them in qualifying.
“In the race they are extremely quick. But again, on a track like this overtaking is very difficult. And not only Red Bull is quick — Aston Martin will be in the mix, Mercedes arrived with a very different looking car, which I’m curious to see how it performs. We need to see where we are and what’s possible.”
Leclerc described the opportunity to compete on home soil as “very, very special” and revelled in the different technique required for the event.
“Whenever we get to this track it’s all about going step by step to the limit until qualifying, where you go all-out, and that’s such an incredible feeling,” said Leclerc.
“Just the excitement and the adrenaline that you get around this track is amazing. “It reminds me a little bit of my karting days where you don’t really have time to think, because there are no straights — it’s corners after corners. It’s just really exciting and probably is the best qualifying of the year for sure.”