Home Featured Arthur Leclerc suffers home weekend to forget after qualifying crash

Arthur Leclerc suffers home weekend to forget after qualifying crash

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Despite the “amazing” feeling of racing for the first time in Monaco, Arthur Leclerc ended up following his older brother’s tradition of things going wrong on home soil last weekend.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has twice claimed pole for the Monaco Grand Prix, but from six years competing in Monaco has never made the podiumm primarily due to misfortune.

Arthur, a Ferrari junior, got a taste of such woe in his home Formula 2 round following a hefty qualifying crash which he admitted “compromised the whole weekend”.

“A tough weekend but it’s on me,” he told Formula Scout. “I can only blame myself. We should not hide ourselves.”

After going fourth fastest in a “positive” practice session, Leclerc went into qualifying with the car “feeling really good”.

But a crash into the barriers on the exit of the final corner, before bouncing across the track into the pit wall, ended his session early and left him 20th on the grid for both races. The DAMS driver put his hand up to take full responsibility.

“I thought my first lap was not too bad but actually it was 1.4 seconds from P1, so I started to push quite a lot from push two to get in a good rhythm and just to set a decent lap because otherwise you have a small amount of laps and I knew that red flag could come.

“We know the track improvement is quite huge as well and I just pushed and through the lap I had rear degradation and obviously it was getting most through the last corner.

“But I did a mistake and within half a second or even less I was in the wall and couldn’t restart for the other laps.”

Leclerc described his lowly grid position as “really painful”, as “we have the pace but the frustrating bit is that you cannot overtake on this track”.

He finished 14th in Saturday’s sprint race, having been an innocent victim of contact between two other drivers at the Nouvelle Chicane which blocked the track and left him with nowhere to go.

Before the feature race, Leclerc told Formula Scout that “the target will be to do a completely different strategy, to try as much as possible to get some free air and just to push and try to overtake people out of the sequence”.

In the end, he did not have a chance to mount a charge as he retired on lap eight, complaining over the radio that he had “lost the brakes completely” as he entered the pits.

Nevertheless, racing at home had been “special because I see even in the buildings a massive amount of support, my friends that are supporting me quite a lot, my family that is here; when I go to the track I know most of the faces I see”.

To have raced in Monaco on the same weekend as Charles felt “amazing”, and understandably with plenty of supporters “it’s a bit painful to do a bad weekend here”.