The Monaco Grand Prix is more than one of the oldest races Grand Prix in Formula 1 it is one of the most prestigious and elusive races to win. The Monaco GP is a part of the triple crown of racing for a reason and only Graham Hill was able to win the Indianapolis 500, Le Mans, and the Monaco GP. In 2022 the triple crown was not on the line but rather had the championship battle between Ferrari and Red Bull bring some heat to the streets of Monte Carlo.
Monaco is one of the most difficult street circuits in F1 and completing the race needs absolute perfection for 78 laps from the drivers and teams if they hope to cross the finish line and not end up into a wall. The grand stage was set, and all eyes were on Monaco with hopes of an interesting race and fans worldwide were about to get what they asked for.
The hometown hero who was born and raised in the streets of Monaco, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari was primed to earn their second straight pole position in Monaco. Leclerc took over qualifying dominating every session and earned his fifth pole position of the season so far.
A red flag caused Q3 to be stopped short once again brought on by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez who spun out hitting all which subsequently led to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr spinning out and crashing into the Mexican. None of Leclerc’s rivals were able to complete their final laps frustrating the drivers looking to improve their spot on the starting grid.
Ferrari led the field with Leclerc in P1 and Sainz in P2 while the Red Bulls of Sergio Perez sat in P3 and Max Verstappen in P4. Lando Norris and his McLaren had a solid performance landing in P5 followed by his fellow Brit in Mercedes George Russel in P6. The grid was set for Sunday’s race but there were many questions about the incoming weather front and the high possibilities of rain coming into play.
All the eyes of the fans, drivers, and their teams were looking up to the sky as dark clouds ominously began to form over the circuit creating uncertainty in an already unpredictable race. For most of the drivers having some rain was a welcome sight because overtaking in Monaco is nearly impossible and adding sporadic conditions to the mix can improve results for some of the backmarkers. Verstappen was hoping for chaos and rain while Leclerc was ready for anything but would need a solid start to hold his lead position.
WILL IT RAIN?
With ten minutes remaining until the formation lap was due, raindrops began to fall adding to the drama unfolding before our eyes. As time winded down, the rain teased the teams and their drivers, which created chaos in the pit lanes and starting grid. With five minutes to the rain decided it was here to stay and began to unload on the track. Teams scrambled to put on intermediate tires on their cars only to change those into full wet tires by the time the formation lap was due.
HEAVY RAIN AND DELAYS
A safety car was ordered to lead the formation lap as the track continued to be pelted by heavy rain reducing visibility and traction on the circuit. After a couple of laps, the race was red-flagged and officially delayed for ten minutes in the hopes that rain would subside. The rain did not falter, and the race was further delayed by officials for an hour. Many fans and former drivers watching the race questioned the race stoppage and were eager for the race to start despite the rain.
LET’S RACE, FINALLY!
Eventually, the rain stopped allowing the race to begin with a rolling start which favored Ferrari and reduced the chances of multiple overtakes and incidents once the green flag was waved. During the formation lap, Williams’ Nicolas Latiffi and Aston Martins’ Lance Stroll both tapped the walls surrounding the track in a separate incident forcing them to pit and start at the back of the grid.
After a couple of extra formation laps, the race officially began on Lap 3 with Leclerc leading the way as the following nine drivers stayed in the same order they started. The track was very slick, which was evidenced by the drivers fishtailing on many turns battling to control their cars. Although the rain had stopped most of the field remained on full slicks.
BLAME IT ON THE PITS
Pit strategy was the ultimate decider in Monaco and Charles Leclerc’s curse in his hometown inevitably continued because of it. After the first round of pit stops, most teams switched to intermediates and the starting order was shuffled with Perez taking over the lead of the race.
FERRARI AND BAD DECISIONS
In the second round of pit stops, Ferrari made a terrible gaff, robbing Leclerc of his chance to regain his leadership position by asking him to pit immediately after Sainz. Leclerc was followed by Verstappen into the pit lane and after Ferrari had a slow stop not only did Leclerc lose his track position for the lead, but he also fell to fourth place. The Monegasque driver was furious and for good reason! Sainz also fell victim to bad luck due to getting stuck behind a backmarker exiting the pit lane ruining his chance to overtake Perez easily for the lead.
On Lap 27 everyone held their breath when Haas’s Mick Schumacher had his second violent crash of the season forcing a safety car onto the track which led to the race flag being red-flagged once again. Once the debris was cleared and the barriers were repaired another rolling start took place without changes in the racing order.
RACE AGAINST TIME
Due to the multiple delays completing the full lap count of 78 was ruled out. There is a two-hour time limit in F1, which meant drivers were now racing against the clock. Perez led the race for the final half-hour, managing his tires brilliantly as they slowly degraded with Sainz and Ferrari breathing down his neck.
PEREZ WINS IN MONACO
Monaco’s notorious reputation for the difficulty to overtake was made clear in their battle. Perez went on to take his first win in Monaco and third win of his F1 career. Perez’s victory allowed him to surpass Pedro Rodriguez as the most successful Mexican driver in F1 history. After the debacle of Spain and ceding his lead position to his teammate Verstappen, Perez was redeemed by his great performance in Monaco during a difficult race.
Ferrari and Sainz finished in second place and Verstappen added to Red Bull’s point total in third. An extremely disappointed Leclerc finished in P4 while the ever-consistent Russel finished in P5 for Mercedes.
Lando Norris and his McLaren not only finished in P6 but also achieved the fastest lap earning the young driver an extra point. Four veterans round out the final spots for points with Fernando Alonso and his Alpine in P7, Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes in P8, Valtteri Bottas with Alfa Romeo in P9, and Aston Martin’s Sebastien Vettel in P10.
THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Red Bull extended their lead for the constructor’s title over Ferrari by 36 points with the Austrian team standing on 235 points and Ferrari lagging behind at 199 points. The driver’s championship is really starting to heat up for Ferrari and Red Bull in different ways.
Ferrari is starting to feel the pressure about getting wins under their belts and after their poor strategy during the race, even more, pressure is on its way from fans and the la Scuderia bosses. Red bull now must face the possibility of Perez wanting to battle for the Driver’s title as he now stands 15 points behind Verstappen. If Perez had not allowed Verstappen to overtake him in Spain, he would have been one point behind his teammate after Monaco’s results.
THE AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX IS UP NEXT
Already the stage is set for the next Grand Prix in Azerbaijan at the Baku Street circuit, which is just as unpredictable as Monaco. Who will take the chequered flag, and will we see a new championship leader, or will Verstappen keep Ferrari and his teammate at bay?
2022 MONACO GRAND PRIX FINAL STANDINGS
|1||SERGIO PEREZ||MEXICO||RED BULL|
|2||CARLOS SAINZ JR||SPAIN||FERRARI|
|3||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NETHERLANDS||RED BULL|
|9||VALTERRI BOTTAS||FINLAND||ALFA ROMEO|
|10||SEBASTIEN VETTEL||GERMANY||ASTON MARTIN|
|11||PIERRE GASLY||FRANCE||ALPHA TAURI|
|14||LANCE STROLL||CANADA||ASTON MARTIN|
|16||ZHOU GUANYU||CHINA||ALFA ROMEO|
|17||YUKI TSUNDOA||JAPAN||ALPHA TAURI|
|RETIRED||ALEXANDER ALBON-LAP 48||THAILAND||WILLIAMS|
|RETIRED||MICK SCHUMACHER-LAP 24||GERMANY||HAAS|
|RETIRED||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN-LAP 29||DENMARK||HAAS|