Charles Leclerc says winning Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari has surpassed all the dreams he had as a child.

Leclerc resisted huge pressure from a two-pronged Mercedes attack throughout Sunday’s 53-lap race to claim Ferrari’s first victory on home soil at Monza since 2010.

The Monegasque driver said he felt enormous pressure to pull off a second consecutive victory for Ferrari but revelled in the joy of his achievement.

“It felt absolutely amazing, and the podium also,” Leclerc said.

“It’s going beyond all the dreams I’ve had since I was a child. To see so many people cheering for one team, singing all together, it’s amazing.

“It’s always an easier situation to have two cars instead of one but obviously yesterday Seb [Vettel] was extremely unlucky, he couldn’t do the lap in the second run of Q3, but I’m pretty sure it will be better in the next races.”

“I think it’s the first weekend in my life where the only thing I’ve got in my head is winning,” he added.

“Normally I focus on just the job I have to do in the car, which normally is more successful and it works better. But, since Wednesday, seeing the support we’ve had, was just, yeah, incredible.

“The only thing I wanted this weekend was to win in front of all the guys that are supporting us, for the team. So, it was very difficult because also during the race I was thinking to that win and how much it would mean to everyone in the grandstand here.

“So it was adding a bit of pressure, and as I’ve explained earlier, also I had quite a lot of pressure from lap one to the last laps.”

Leclerc admitted he found it hard not to be distracted in the final laps of the race amid increasing celebrations from the home crowd.

“I’ve never been on a podium with so many people underneath it,” Leclerc explained. “And to see that the whole straight was full of people, mostly red - 99 per cent red – was great to see. Hearing them cheering, singing was just a lot of emotions.

“On the last two laps I started to see in the grandstand that there was quite a lot of agitation, that all of the fans were jumping, so yeah I was telling myself ‘stop looking at the grandstand, look at the track, focus on what you are doing as a driver and then you can enjoy whatever there is outside.’

“But it was quite difficult to stay focused on driving, seeing how much movement there was in the grandstand.”

 

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