Leclerc: Failing to start in Monaco ‘difficult to take’

Charles Leclerc says failing to start Sunday’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix from pole was “difficult” to take after a driveshaft issue emerged on his Ferrari shortly before the grid.

Leclerc: Failing to start in Monaco ‘difficult to take’

Leclerc had been due to start his home race from pole after topping qualifying for Ferrari on Saturday, but was concerned after the session about the condition of his gearbox following a crash at the end of Q3.

Despite Ferrari conducting checks that showed “no serious damage” to the gearbox, the team found a driveshaft issue when firing up Leclerc’s car before going to the grid.

It meant Leclerc was unable to make the start of the race, denying him a chance to fight for his first victory since the 2019 Italian Grand Prix.

“In the garage, it was very, very difficult to feel OK,” Leclerc said in the TV pen during the race.

“But yeah, I guess now I’m getting used to this feeling here [in Monaco], unfortunately. I’ve never finished a race here. This year I don’t start it, starting from pole.

“It’s a difficult one to take. But I also feel for the team to be honest, the mechanics have done such a hard job yesterday to try and check everything.

“The mechanics were finally a bit happy this morning to see that everything seems fine, and all of the parts were fine. And then this happened. It’s a shame for everyone.”

Marshals assist Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, after he crashes out of Qualifying

Marshals assist Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, after he crashes out of Qualifying

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Leclerc has never reached the chequered flag in Monaco, having retired twice in Formula 2 and in his two previous F1 starts.

The failure to start came less than 24 hours after team boss Mattia Binotto said Ferrari “will not gamble” on Leclerc’s gearbox, saying the team would take a grid penalty if deemed necessary.

But Leclerc said that analysis was ongoing to understand what the exact issue was that caused the driveshaft problem and how it related to the Q3 crash.

“I wouldn't speak too much, because for now I am not aware of everything,” Leclerc said.

“But what I know is apparently it’s not coming from the gearbox, and it’s more coming from the rear left of the car. Whether it’s correlated with the crash or not, this we’ll have to see with the investigations after the race.

“But it’s still early days to speak, I guess.”

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