Charles Leclerc believes a driver’s talent remains a crucial factor around the streets of Monaco, but skills alone can’t bridge the gap to F1’s front-runners in the Principality.
Through the decades, Monaco has remained one of the most challenging and stringent tests of an F1 driver’s craft, flair and ability.
Mastering Monte Carlo’s pitfalls lap after lap requires a momentous level of precision and consistency not to mention focus and control, and the perfect blend of aggression and prudence.
As the jewel in Formula 1’s crown, the Monaco Grand Prix is the one they all want to win, but only the absolute best have earned that privilege.
Prowess remains paramount, but Leclerc insists the days when a driver could outpace his rivals around the Principality’s narrow and twisty track on talent alone are long gone.
“I think that was the case at one time, it is still a bit the case today but, unfortunately, there are so many differences and the drivers are so well prepared for circuits like Monaco,” the Ferrari charger told Codesport Monaco.
“The driver can of course make up two or three tenths, but when you talk about the gaps between Red Bull, Mercedes and the others, it is very complicated for us to make the difference.
“Especially as it’s not as if there are two bad drivers in each of these teams! Lewis [Hamilton] and Max [Verstappen] are still in better cars. But you never know.
“In qualifying, everything is decided on one lap. I’ll give it my all and hope to get a good result.
“But let’s be realistic: if Mercedes and Red Bull don’t have any problems, it will be very difficult to challenge them.”
Read also: Leclerc oblivious to mockeries towards Ferrari in 2020
Leclerc values his home race tremendously, but the Scuderia driver says the venue would still rank among his favorite tracks even if he had not been born and raised in Monaco.
“I love to drive at the limit of the car without ever being able to go beyond it because with the walls, you have no right to make mistakes,” he said.
“That’s the challenge I like as a driver and that’s why Monaco has such a special place in my heart.
“Even if I wasn’t a Monegasque, Monaco would still be my favourite track. The feeling for the driver when he drives at full speed in this city is incredible. I love it.”
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