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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Leclerc struggled to see through tears on way to Monaco GP win

Charles Leclerc admitted struggling to see through tears in the closing laps of the Monaco Grand Prix, after chalking up an emotional first Formula 1 win at his home circuit.

Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari, 1st position, celebrates on the podium

The Monegasque led every lap of this year's edition of the Monte Carlo race, ending a long quest for a home win - a venue he had never previously scored a podium finish at among much-documented ill fortune.

Recounting the final laps of the race, after ending a period of heavy pressure from runner-up Oscar Piastri by bolting into an ultimately unassailable lead, Leclerc revealed that it was a struggle to keep his emotions in check.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Ferrari driver explained that he had to give himself a brief talking to in the final "two or three laps" to bring the car to the finish before he allowed his emotions to catch up with him again once the victory was secured.

"It's an amazing feeling. Until now, I've never said that it would be a victory like others and I've always said emotionally, it will have an added value. However, I did not expect it to be that much," Leclerc said.

"Two or three laps from the end, I came out of the tunnel and I realised that actually I was struggling to see because my eyes were starting to cry a little bit and I was like, 'Charles, you cannot afford to do that now. You still have two or three laps to finish to get the win'.

"Then I was fine again but, obviously, crossing the finish line there was so much joy and I'm so incredibly happy.

"It means a lot for me. It's the race I've dreamed of winning since I was a child. I got the passion for racing from this race, together with my father who did everything for me to get there.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"Obviously, my mum was there under the podium as well which adds emotion, together with my brothers, my girlfriend, all my friends…everybody is here, so it makes it so special."

He added that, such was the gravity of the occasion, that thoughts of both his father Herve - who passed away in 2017 when Leclerc was competing in F2 - and mentor Jules Bianchi - whose life was tragically cut short by the effects of his Suzuka 2014 crash - had occupied his mind.

Leclerc said that this was atypical, and struggled to maintain focus on his driving through the final quarter of the grand prix.

"Yes, I think it's everything coming together – I thought about a lot of people today on the track, whether it's Jules (Bianchi), my father, and that doesn't happen normally in other races," he divulged.

"In other races, my mental focus is all on the driving, but today I really struggled to actually extract that and in the last 15 laps, it was just all of them in my head. Crossing the line, there was a lot of emotions because of that.

"Twice I've started on pole and haven't managed to finish it, and then everything that has happened personally. I'm overall just so incredibly happy.

"However, tonight I'm going to party like an animal. I need to have a discount for tonight."

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