Leclerc looking to avoid further Ferrari mistakes on 'special' Sunday at Monza

By Sports Desk September 10, 2022

Charles Leclerc hopes this is the "special weekend" Ferrari put their season of mishaps behind them at their home race at Monza.

Scuderia superstar Leclerc will start from pole at the Italian Grand Prix after qualifying fastest from a frantic Saturday session that saw penalties handed out to nine rival drivers.

Max Verstappen was among them, forcing him to start from seventh rather than second, but Ferrari have repeatedly squandered strong positions previously this season.

Indeed, this is a remarkable eighth pole of 2022 for Leclerc, but he has only three wins, retiring on three occasions after starting from the front of the grid.

The Monegasque is 109 points behind Verstappen in the title race, while Ferrari are 135 back on Red Bull in the constructors' championship.

The home fans will want to see those gaps cut on Sunday, with Ferrari chairman John Elkann and Italian president Sergio Mattarella set to be in the crowd.

"I think overall, after each mistake, we learned from them and we try to be better as a team," Leclerc said.

"It's not because we are here in Monza that it's more important than other races to not do any mistakes. We need to become a team that does no mistakes wherever we go.

"Yeah, it is a special weekend for us, but the target for us doesn't change. We just need to have a clean race and a good race. We'll be targeting that, and let's see."

Verstappen has never won the Italian GP, whereas Leclerc was triumphant in 2019, celebrating his second career win immediately after his first.

Leclerc is not relying on that memory to help him, though, believing he is an entirely different driver now than he was three years ago.

"I think the experience that I gained from 2019 to now will be more helpful than the experience in 2019," he explained.

"I was a very, very different driver, struggling a lot in races at the time, and now I'm in a much better place.

"In 2019, I was not so confident going into the race. This year, it's better, and honestly the feeling was really good on the high fuel.

"It's not going to be easy, because for sure Max will be extremely quick and will be coming back, but I'm sure that we can make this work."

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