Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz topped the bill today as the last pair of drivers to face the media in the press conference that usually takes place every Thursday of race week, except here in Monaco, as tomorrow sees the cars take to the track for free practice.
Home race. As the only Monegasque driver on the grid, Charles was very much the centre of attention, even if his results to date in the Principality are nothing to write home about. “I’ve never made it to Q3 and even in Formula 2, I never saw the chequered flag from the cockpit, but I think I’ve still shown some pretty good performances here. Let’s say that so far, I’ve not had much luck, but who knows, maybe my luck will change this year…” Leclerc was asked what it would mean to him to win at home and he clearly knows he has to keep his feet firmly on the ground. “Of course winning would be something incredible, because for a driver from Monaco, winning here really would mean winning at home,” affirmed Charles. “My country is so small that all of us know every corner of it and have memories from daily life when we go round the track. However, one has to be realistic and we cannot delude ourselves based on the third sector in Barcelona. As always, we and our rivals will be in the group behind the two teams leading the championship and it’s unthinkable that we can be in the fight for the top positions unless they encounter some problems over the weekend.”
A positive tradition. Unlike Charles, Carlos has done well in Monaco. “I have always finished in the points in Formula 1 on this track, but I have to admit the Principality has always been good to me, since 2008 when I won the Monaco Kart Cup,” said the Spaniard. “I think and hope that I can also do well on my first appearance in Ferrari colours. We are well prepared and I believe we can be competitive.” Sainz then spoke about how he is getting on with the SF21. “I think this track will provide a good idea of how my apprenticeship is going with this car. Compared to the car at my previous team, I found that the SF21 was completely different to all the cars I’d driven in my career and it has required quite an effort on my part to adapt to it. The Monaco circuit highlight’s a driver’s confidence in his car and I hope that this weekend there will be good signs on that front.”
Programme. The cars are out on track for the first time tomorrow for the two 60 minute sessions of free practice at 11.30 CET and at 15. The engines are silent on Friday, with action resuming on Saturday when a final hour of free practice at 12 is followed by qualifying at 15. The 78th Monaco Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at 3pm. It is run over 78 laps of the 3.337 kilometre track, for a total distance of 260.286 kilometres.