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Charles Leclerc wins home Monaco Grand Prix for first time after dramatic crash in first lap mars race

Charles Leclerc celebrates after winning his home Monaco Grand Prix
Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images
Charles Leclerc celebrates after winning his home Monaco Grand Prix

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — It was a case of third time lucky for Charles Leclerc who finally won his home Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, after starting the race in pole position in two previous editions.

The Monégasque driver led from start to finish, crossing the finish-line over seven seconds ahead of second-placed Oscar Piastri.

Ferrari’s Leclerc paid an emotional tribute to his late father after the race, telling broadcaster Sky Sports that he was thinking about him as he drove towards the finish.

“He has given everything for me to be here and it was a dream of ours for me to race here and win here, so it’s unbelievable,” he said.

Leclerc also had to survive a dramatic opening lap in which a fifth of the field crashed, causing the race to be red-flagged before a lengthy delay, during which marshals cleared debris off the track and rebuilt sections of the barriers.

The chaos began when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz punctured just after the start following contact with Piastri and had to use a run-off.

Then, in a separate incident, Kevin Magnussen clipped Sergio Pérez while trying to overtake him and the Red Bull driver bounced along the walls, his car crumbling and shedding debris all over the track, before coming to a stop in a crumpled heap with just one tire left.

Magnussen’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg was also caught up in the crash from which all the drivers were able to walk away but were all forced out of the race.

There was another incident in the pack too causing Alexander Albon to retire from the race after he collided with his Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly.

The red flag offered a reprieve for Sainz who was able to retake his original position in third place on the grid when the race restarted after a lengthy delay to rebuild the barriers that Pérez crashed into.

He held onto finish in third place, with McLaren’s Piastri sandwiched between the two Ferrari drivers in second place.

They celebrated on the podium with Leclerc, who became the first Monégasque driver since 1931 to win on one of the sport’s most historic circuits. It is the race, Leclerc said afterwards, that made him “dream of becoming a Formula One driver one day.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen could only finish sixth.

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