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Leclerc completes his masterpiece

Monte Carlo – WEBWIRE

Itís been a perfect weekend for Charles Leclerc who has finally shaken off his Monaco jinx. He had been quickest in Friday free practice and in qualifying on Saturday and today, the Monegasque won his home race for the first time, to secure his sixth Formula 1 victory, his previous win dating back to the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix. This was the Maranello teamís 245th win, the tenth in this race.

Alongside Charles on the podium were Oscar Piastri, second for McLaren, thus equalling his previous best result at last yearís Qatar GP and Ferrariís Carlos Sainz, who had already finished twice on the podium in Monaco, with two second places in 2021 and 2022.


For the start, the drivers were split almost equally between the nine who had opted to run the first stint on the Medium, namely Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, Piastri, Albon, Ricciardo, Tsunoda, Zhou and Hulkenberg and the remaining eleven who went with the Hard, those being Perez, Verstappen, Russell, Hamilton, Stroll, Alonso, Ocon, Gasly, Sargeant, Bottas and Magnussen. However, the red flag on the opening lap following a collision between Perez and both Haas drivers, meant that all remaining drivers were therefore absolved of the need to make a pit stop to use two different compounds. Ocon was also unable to take the restart after colliding with his team-mate. It meant that those who had started on the C3 switched to the C4 and vice versa, all of them capable of getting to the chequered flag without stopping. The only exception was Sargeant who kept the same set of Hards that he had used for the first start. There were some pit stops but these only occurred when windows opened in the traffic, so that they could be completed without losing track position. Those who took advantage of this scenario were, in order, Bottas, Stroll, Hamilton, Verstappen and Sargeant, who went from Medium to Hard and Zhou, who switched from Hard to Soft. The only driver to make two stops was Aston Martinís Lance Stroll, but only because he sustained a puncture after hitting the barrier.


†ďFirst and foremost, congratulations to Charles Leclerc and to Scuderia Ferrari on their win. We can only begin to imagine what it means to Charles to have triumphed on the streets of the city where he grew up!

ďOn the tyre front, the Monaco race doesnít usually present many options and today, even those few possibilities were practically wiped out by the red flag on the opening lap. In fact, the race being stopped meant that a pit stop was no longer required, as explained previously. We knew that both the Hard and the Medium could go the full distance if managed properly and thatís what almost all the drivers did. Groups were formed according to what compound they were running and within these groups there were some games of cat and mouse, aimed at getting other drivers to make mistakes, but this never really created any overtaking opportunities, or chances to change strategy to mix things up. Those who did pit, did so ďfor free,Ē in other words without losing track position. They were then able to push with a clear track ahead for a little while, lapping as much as whole seconds quicker than those who were managing their tyres. But then, once back in traffic, they had to settle for having a close view of the car in front. This explains why the top ten places never changed from the first to the last lap.Ē


Zak OíSullivan could not have chosen a better way or a better place to take his maiden Formula 2 win. The ART Grand Prix driver emerged as the surprise winner of the Feature Race thanks to an unusually extreme strategy and a bit of luck. Having started from 15th on the grid, OíSullivan extended his first stint as much as possible on the Softs, coming in for his obligatory pit stop on the penultimate lap, just moments before a VSC was called. He was thus able to emerge from pit lane without losing the lead he had inherited as the others had pitted ahead of him. From then on, he simply had to fend off the final assault from Isack Hadjar (Campos Racing) who had thought the win was in his grasp, to take his first win in the category. Third was Paul Aron (Hitech Pulse-Eight) who now leads the Driversí classification on 80 points, two ahead of Hadjar and eleven ahead of the previous leader Zane Maloney (Rodin Motorsport) who could only finish tenth today.

The majority of drivers started on the Soft, with the aim of lengthening the first stint as much as possible. This compound performed very well and consistently and only in the very longest stints did it demonstrate any real drop in performance compared to the Supersoft. The purple compound had to be brought in very carefully because there was a risk of triggering graining while warming it up.


Gabriele Mini was the class of the field in the Feature Race in Monaco. Prema Racingís Italian driver led from start to finish in a race that had to be neutralised three times. Mini did a perfect job of managing all the restarts to take his third Formula 3 win, after those in 2023, in the Sprint in Budapest and here in the Feature Race in the Principality. The final result was a fairly faithful replica of the grid order with Mini joined on the podium by Christian Mansell (ART Grand Prix) and Luke Browning (Hitech Pulse-Eight). The win has promoted Mini to the top of the standings on 72 points, four more than Browning and eight more than Leonardo Fornaroli, who finished fifth today.

As for how the tyres performed, the first point to note is that the race was run in considerably cooler conditions than previous days, as it started at 8 am. That meant warm-up was inevitably slower while degradation, both front and rear, became significant after eight laps, because of the appearance of some graining, although it was pretty manageable. The many Safety Car periods and the difficulty of overtaking at this track meant that not much happened during the race.


After two races in Europe, Formula 1 crosses the Pond once more for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, in the province of Quebec, from 7 to 9 June. Itís been an historic fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since 1967. Before heading for Canada, Pirelli has two days of testing planned this coming Tuesday and Wednesday at Le Castelletís Paul Ricard circuit in France. This time, Scuderia Ferrari is the team involved, with their race drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sharing driving duties. On test will be new solutions in terms of compounds and construction for both slick and wet weather tyres.


Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelliís strategy, following the Ďrace to roadí philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 117 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

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