Leclerc feels part of Ferrari history after Monza win but far from a legend

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Charles Leclerc says he will always feel part of Ferrari history after winning last year's Italian Grand Prix.

The Monegasque ended the Tifosi's nine-year wait for a victory on home turf at Monza, after holding off both Mercedes' in one of the tensest races of 2019.

But while Leclerc agrees that achievement will forever put him in the same company as Michael Schumacher, Alberto Ascari and others to have won for Ferrari in Italy, he is remaining grounded.

“Yes, definitely," he said in a Q&A at the Autosport International show. "At least the fans make me feel this way and it is great to feel that way but then whenever I stand next to Mario Andretti or other legends I don’t feel at the right place.

“Now it is up to me to do the job on the track and to try to show my ability.”

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That day last September did feel like Leclerc's crowning moment as the new hero at Ferrari, much like Schumacher when he too won at Monza in his first visit with the team in 1996.

And the 22-year-old reflected on the incredible experience and emotions he went through.

“It is very, very difficult to find the words to describe what I felt during that race," he admitted.

“I had a lot of pressure, the whole team had a lot of pressure because we were in Italy and Ferrari in Italy is huge and everyone wanted us to win so there was big pressure around the whole team.

“The week started from the Monday which is quite different compared to the other Grand Prix as we usually start on the Thursday as drivers, but we started on the Monday in Milan.

“The pressure was building up and then claiming the pole position was something already but I had to focus on the race and in the race, I had no space to breathe.

“I had Lewis [Hamilton] all of the race less than two seconds [behind], so a lot of pressure and then to be on the podium and to have finally won the race and to see the red army on the podium was something extremely special.

“It gave me chills and made me realise what it is like to be a Ferrari driver. Of course, I realised a bit before, but I think you really realise when you win in Monza and see the passion.

“You can see it in the eyes of the people, the passion they have for the brand, it is unbelievable to see.”