Charles Leclerc triggered frenzied Ferrari celebrations on Sunday after holding off a race-long Mercedes challenge to take the Italian Formula One team’s first home grand prix victory since 2010.
Valtteri Bottas was second for Mercedes with five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton a distant third after tire wear took its toll in a thrilling battle with the 21-year-old Monegasque.
“What a race! I have never been so tired,” gasped Charles Leclerc as a sea of fans, starved of success at Monza since Fernando Alonso won in the red overalls, swept onto the pit straight to party below the overhanging podium with flags and flares.
“Winning here is just a dream,” continued the winner, switching to fluent Italian to address a crowd cheering a fitting triumph on the 90th anniversary of both Monza and Formula One’s most glamorous team.
“There are no words to describe the emotions I felt during the race, after the race, or on the podium. It felt ten times stronger than anything I have ever experienced in my whole career. It was very special. When I arrive at a race weekend, I usually don’t think about winning, I just try to do the best job possible and tell myself that the results will come. But to be honest, seeing all of the support from our tifosi here in Monza this weekend, the only thing I could think of was winning and that’s what we did, so I am very happy. I’d like to thank the whole team for all their hard work. Nothing would be possible without them. It was a shame for Seb, who definitely had the potential to be on the podium with me. For the next few races, we have to keep our focus, our motivation, and hopefully the results will follow.” – Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc concluded.