Monza is always special for the drivers and the team,” says Charles Leclerc.
FERRARI’S Charles Leclerc has called for the “tifosi” to generate a crazy Dutch-style atmosphere as he bids to gate-crash the championship contenders’ title scrap at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Monegasque, who won Ferrari’s home race at Italy’s “temple of speed” in 2019, wants the fans at Monza to recreate the carnival atmosphere seen at Zandvoort last weekend where 70,000 Dutch fans enjoyed a noisy beach party and roared Max Verstappen to victory.
“Monza is always special for the drivers and the team,” said Leclerc.
“It is our home and we can feel the support. I will remember 2019 for the rest of my life.”
Monza is set to allow around half-capacity crowds of 50,000 this weekend, following last year’s behind-closed-doors race won by Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, with another titanic scrap between Red Bull’s Verstappen and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes in prospect.
“It will feel good to feel the support,” said Leclerc. “And I hope we can see the same kind of craziness that we saw for Max, but this time for us!”
While Leclerc hopes to see a rampant Ferrari winning again, it is more probable that Hamilton, seeking to become the first driver to win 100 Grands Prix, will bounce back as he seeks an outright record sixth Monza triumph and first since 2018.
“I expect Monza will suit Mercedes as it hasn’t been our best track for a few years,” said Verstappen, whose wins in Belgium and the Netherlands have lifted him three points clear in the title race.
Verstappen has never won at Monza and Red Bull have not won there since 2013, but he will be seeking to complete a hat-trick of successive Sunday successes since the mid-season break to extend his lead.
“We are trying as hard as we can,” said Hamilton, who struggled to match the Red Bull’s pace last weekend. “We had a couple of races where we seemed to be on a par with them, or slightly ahead, but I think they took a big leap.
“We just have to keep our heads down, keep working, keep pushing.”