PostedMay 30, 2022, 8:55 AM
Starting from pole position and driving the fastest car on the track, Charles Leclerc only finished fourth in the Monaco Grand Prix. Too many mistakes have been made by his team.
Charles Leclerc had everything he needed in his hands to claim his first victory in the Principality… Until the rain appeared for the first time this weekend, just before the race.
If the Monegasque actually led the first 17 laps of the race, even widening a lead of several seconds over Carlos Sainz, behind him, everything went wrong when switching from “extreme rain” tires to “intermediate” tires and then to rubbers. slicks for dry track.
The moment to change from one type of tire to another is always decisive, and the Red Bull team proved to be formidable in this little game, managing to place Sergio Perez in the lead despite two pit stops, while Carlos Sainz, he went straight from rain to slicks – a choice that could have allowed him to win the race if he had not stumbled on a retard after putting on his new tires.
For Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, everything went wrong: when switching from intermediate tires to slick tires, his engineer called him back to the pits at the precise moment when Carlos Sainz also stopped.
The engineer immediately corrected his instruction, to ask Charles Leclerc to stay on track, but it was too late… and the Monegasque had to wait a few seconds for the Ferrari mechanics to first change Carlos Sainz’s tires before to change his own… a few lost seconds which were fatal, since they threw the leader from first to fourth place…
“We can’t afford that”
“You can always make mistakes, of course, conceded Charles Leclerc last night. But today, we overdid it! In such conditions, the driver relies on his team, which has a better view of the race as a whole. The pilot does not see when the others are putting on slicks and at what pace they are turning. I was asked if I wanted to go straight from rains to slicks, and I said yes, but later. So I don’t know why they changed their minds and put me in middlemen. Result: Red Bull managed the undercut (note: the strategy of stopping first to take advantage of new tires and overtaking in the pits), and then I found myself stuck behind Carlos in the pits! It makes too many mistakes, we can’t afford that. Our car is excellent at the moment, we must take advantage of it to score as many points as possible during this phase of the season…”
Especially since the previous week, the Monegasque retired with an engine problem when he had, there too, practically won the race. Or two victories flown away without him being in any way responsible…
After the race, Scuderia Ferrari lodged a protest against the two Red Bulls for crossing the yellow pit exit line during the race.
The Monegasque stewards examined this complaint, but rejected it, both in the case of Max Verstappen and that of Sergio Perez: for the first, his left front wheel did not completely cross the line (which would mean that the tire would have been entirely on the other side of the line), but just rolled over it.
In the case of Sergio Perez, Ferrari representatives admitted that the Mexican had in fact not even driven on the yellow line. The two complaints were therefore rejected last night at 9:30 p.m., and the result of the race confirmed.
Two flying starts
When the rain started to fall on the Principality, the race management decided to delay the start by nine minutes to give it to 3:09 p.m., before delaying it again to 3:16 p.m.
Finally, after two laps behind the safety car, interrupted by the force of the storm, the real start was given more than an hour later, but still behind the safety car, in the form of a rolling start.
When Mick Schumacher’s accident on lap 25 forced race management to stop him again at the red flag, the start was again given behind the safety car, and again as a rolling start.
Power failure on the grid
However, since 2020, it has become regulation to give new starts in the classic way, i.e. “stopped” on the grid. If this was not the case in Monaco, it was first thought that it was because of the wet track, which would have made a classic start more difficult.
In reality, the organizers suffered a total power outage on the starting grid which made lighting the lights uncertain! This is the reason why they first postponed the start to 3:16 p.m., the time to repair the breakdown. They then decided that all the starts of the day would be done in a rolling way, which avoided turning on the red lights on the grid.
A “super bizarre” accident
On lap 31, Mick Schumacher’s Haas went sideways to violently hit the barriers at the exit of the swimming pool. A terrible side impact that cut the single-seater in two at the height of the gearbox.
After the shock, the German driver went to the circuit hospital for a check-up. Back in the paddock, he explained that he didn’t understand anything when he left the road: “Everything was fine, and I may have put my left wheels ten centimeters off the trajectory. The tires went in the wet, I lost the front, it slipped from the rear and I couldn’t do anything. It all happened so fast…it was a super weird feeling…”