F1: Steady Charles Leclerc takes P3 in Imola to the cheers of the tifosi

leclerc imola

What a difference a year can make. Cancelled last year due to widespread flooding in the region, the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix took place on the famous Imola Circuit under a near cloudless sky and in glorious sunshine.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc initially qualified in P4, but due to a three-place grid penalty for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who had taken P2, the Monegasque was able to advance one place to start in P3 on the second row alongside his teammate, Carlos Sainz, who began the race in P4. 

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Leclerc’s race was relatively smooth and steady, despite his attempts to chase down McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. 

The race was ultimately all about these two drivers. The latter stages saw Norris free himself of Leclerc and increase his pursuit of Verstappen, who won his third consecutive Emilia Romagna Grand Prix by just 0.725 seconds.  

The biggest cheers from the local crowds that had gathered to watch the racing at the Imola Circuit, officially known as the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, were reserved for fan favourite Leclerc, who made sure to thank the tifosi in a gracious post-race speech – in Italian.  

“Today’s race went well and we got even closer to our rivals,” he later told reporters. “If we had qualified higher up, we could have presented our fans with an even better result. Overall, there are plenty of positives to take away from this race: the upgrades worked as expected and we are more competitive. We must continue to work to close the gap, which although small, still separates us from the race winner. Obviously, we dedicate this result and our performance to the tifosi who are the best fans in the world and they always support us come what may. I’m sure we’ll soon be able to pay them back with a win.”

Leclerc will now have just one thing on his mind: the imminent Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday 26th May. Not only is it the biggest event of the year in the Principality, but Leclerc has never won on his home track. He will no doubt be hoping that will all change at the 81st edition of the Monaco Grand Prix, and he will have all the support of the Principality behind him.  

Read related:

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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre