Charles Leclerc accepts his Monaco Grand Prix was always compromised from starting so far down the grid following Ferrari’s qualifying mistake as he was forced to retire with damage.

After Leclerc dropped out in Q1 of qualifying when Ferrari misjudged the required cut-off lap time, the Monegasque driver started his home race a lowly 15th place and despite early progress up to 12th place he came unstuck when he clattered the wall at La Rascasse attempting to overtake Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault.

With a punctured right-rear tyre, which then badly damaged the bodywork of Leclerc’s car, he was subsequently pushed into retirement a few laps later due to an “undriveable” car.

While Leclerc accepted his retirement, the first DNF of his Ferrari career, the 21-year-old says his race was already compromised by his poor starting position which forced him into risky overtakes.

“It was very difficult. As I said before the race, I had to take a lot of risks, which we did,” Leclerc said. “It was fun at the beginning but unfortunately it ended in disaster.

“But that’s the problem with Monaco when you are starting 15th, which is not our real pace position. It was difficult to come back from today.”

Leclerc estimates he lost “80% of downforce” with his Ferrari due to hitting the wall followed by the tyre debris damage which hit his car floor and rear wing.

“We lost most part of the floor. I think the engineers didn’t see it because it was on the right side and they were looking at the left side,” he said. “The left side was actually not that damaged but the right side was just completed gone.

Of course I never give up, but this time it was just not realistic to still go because we lost like I think 75 points. To normal people that’s maybe not a number they hear often but it’s like 80% of downforce we have on the car so it was just undriveable.”

Leclerc remains fifth in the F1 drivers’ standings but has slipped to 21 points behind Max Verstappen in fourth place for Red Bull.



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