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Charles Leclerc

Leclerc reveals surprise 'last-minute' change behind Monaco pole

Charles Leclerc overcame a late power unit scare before taking pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix, with Ferrari opting to change his engine as a precautionary measure.

Leclerc Monaco qualifying
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Charles Leclerc confirmed after securing pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix that his Ferrari had a late engine change before the grid-setting session.

The Monegasque driver took a third home pole around the streets of Monte Carlo, having topped both FP2 and FP3.

However, after doing so, he admitted it was a close call as to whether he would be able to take part in qualifying at all, with the Scuderia opting to strap in a new power unit into his Ferrari.

It was taken from his existing pool of engines, so will not incur any penalty - and the Italian team confirmed to RacingNews365 that is was a precautionary measure.

"There was the engine change that we had to change very last minute," Leclerc told Viaplay after the session. "And there was doubts on whether the mechanics could make it or not, but they did an incredible job.

'Everyone's looking at you'

Leclerc's 1:10.270 was over one-and-a-half tenths clear of Oscar Piastri, who will line up alongside him on the front row. Team-mate Carlos Sainz will start behind him, with the other McLaren rounding out the top four.

Leclerc felt that his prior success across the weekend put a target on his back, but was able to continue his fine form when it mattered most - something he highlighted before confirming the engine change.

"Pole's really good, and the adrenaline is so high around a track like here in Monaco. The walls are so close, it's my home race," he said, listing some of the reasons that raised the stakes of what is considered the most difficult and consequential qualifying session of the year.

"There's the tension of having done - it's a good thing to do so good in FP2 and FP3, but then you get into quali[fying] and you know you've get everything to lose, because everyone's looking at you. Everyone's thinking about you.

"So there was that, there was the fact that it's Monaco quali, which is the most important qualifying on the year, so we've got the tension of that as well.

"So, all of these [things] together, wasn't an easy run into qualifying but we managed to extract the maximum anyway, and that was very important."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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