Charles Leclerc out of Monaco Grand Prix before start after Ferrari mechanical problems

The Monegasque was set to start his home race from the front row

Ben Burrows
Sunday 23 May 2021 17:05
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Charles Leclerc is out of the Monaco Grand Prix before it began after more mechanical problems on his pole-sitting Ferrari, it has been confirmed.

The Monegasque was set to start his home race from the front row despite a heavy crash in qualifying following his fastest lap.

The team did not believe Leclerc’s gearbox had been damaged following the incident, and elected not to replace it in order to avoid a grid penalty.

But Leclerc hit trouble on his way to the grid for Sunday’s race, and parked up in his Ferrari garage with his head in his hands.

“We have an issue and we will not make it to the grid,” a member of the Ferrari team confirmed to FIA director Michael Masi.

Leclerc sat in his cockpit for several minutes before his Ferrari team told him his race was over before it had started. He then left his cockpit before heading to the back of the garage to speak to Ferrari chairman John Elkann.

A Ferrari spokesperson said: “Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time for the start of the race.”

Leclerc crashed in qualifying after his front-right tyre brushed the Armco on the entry to the swimming pool chicane, destabilising his Ferrari and sending him over the kerb and into the barrier on the opposing side of the track.

A Ferrari statement two hours before the race read: “Following further in-depth checks this morning, no apparent defects were found on Charles Leclerc’s gearbox, therefore the Monegasque driver will start today’s race from pole position, as per the qualifying result.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen started at the front with championship rival and current leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes down in sixth.

Additional reporting by PA

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