2022 Monaco Grand Prix Blog
It was great to be back in Monaco with capacity crowds for the weekend. The 2022 renewal was a complete sell out and the Principality was buzzing. This may be as much to do with two years of covid and lockdowns as anything else, but it really did feel like people were finally free to celebrate and enjoy themselves. The parties on the yachts and at La Rascasse went on long into the night…
Let’s get to the action on track and everyone was excited for Qualifying. Charles Leclerc fans were packed in everywhere around the tight circuit and their local hero did not let them down, recording a time of 1:11.376 on Saturday to take pole position. Ferrari looked firmly in control as Carlos Sainz filled 2nd spot. A 1-2 grid position in Monaco and you are pretty much guaranteed to win the race aren’t you?
Wrong! A torrential downpour on Sunday delayed the start of the race by 15 minutes. The teams were not helped at this time by some confusing messages from race control. But even so the two Ferrari’s still got away in the lead, and as the track dried Leclerc started to put distance between himself and the chasing pack. It looked like there could only be one winner.
Tactical mistakes by Ferrari are not a new phenomenon though and, on this occasion, it cost them the race. The teams know it is pretty much impossible to overtake in Monaco. Therefore, the sensible play for anyone in Ferrari’s position would have been to stick with extreme wet tyres until it was time to switch to slicks. What happened in practice was Red Bull started to put pressure on when they pitted Perez for Intermediate tyres. Checo set some impressive lap times and it seems Ferrari panicked and pitted Leclerc two laps later. The problem with this is they were too late! Leclerc emerged from the pit lane behind the Red Bull.
What about Carlos Sainz? The Spaniard was now leading the race and, with a different race strategy to his teammate, looked to have an excellent chance of taking the chequered flag. This time simple bad luck was Ferrari’s undoing. Sainz pitted for slick tyres five laps after Perez had opted for inters but he re-joined the race behind Nicholas Latifi, who slowed the Ferrari down to the tune of 1.5 seconds before Sainz could get past. Fine margins are what can win and lose a race, and so it proved on this occasion because when Perez stopped again on the next lap, he came out of the pits leading the race by just 0.8 seconds.
And that was pretty much that. Try as they might, Ferrari could not regain the lead and the race finished: 1) Perez; 2) Sainz; 3) Verstappen; 4) Leclerc, with a gap back to George Russell (P5) and Lando Norris (P6).
Leclerc was blunt when asked to summarise his team’s performance: “Let down is not the word,” he said. “Sometimes mistakes can happen – but there have been too many mistakes today. I’m used to getting back home disappointed but we cannot do that, especially in a moment now where we are extremely strong… We cannot afford to lose so many points like this. It’s not even from first to second, it’s from first to fourth because after the first mistakes we’ve done another one.”
One man’s loss is another man’s gain though and nobody (aside from Ferrari) would begrudge Perez’s victory. The Mexican was understandably delighted, saying: “Once I heard my national anthem on the podium here it hit me, it is a dream come true for any driver in the world to tick that box in Monaco and I can just be extremely happy.”
Mercedes had another lacklustre weekend. Perhaps it was sour grapes, but Toto Wolff was less than complimentary about how the race panned out. He said afterwards: “That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco – and once again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit layout, so people can’t drive round five seconds off the pace in a procession.” He has a point but with the size of modern F1 cars it is difficult to imagine where more overtaking opportunities could be implemented.
This was a race to forget for Haas. Kevin Magnussen retired early with a PU issue. Worse was to come though when Mich Schumacher crashed at the Swimming Pool complex. The German’s car was torn in half and it was a relief for everyone to see him walk away. Schumacher said afterwards: “I’m feeling alright, it’s very annoying. In terms of pace, we were definitely there and it’s just a matter of keeping it on track – unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that. The pace felt strong and it felt like we were able to attack and push. Unfortunately, I went a bit too wide, probably about 10cm at the end, and that’s enough to lose all grip that you thought you had and the result is what happened.” If anyone needed it, this is a perfect reminder of how tight Monaco circuit is and the level of concentration required from the drivers over the course of 78 laps.
Finally, Fernando Alonso deserves credit for driving a solid race which saw his Alpine come home in seventh place. He said of his performance: “It was a very difficult race today with the conditions, so we can be pleased with a seventh-place finish and more points added to the championship.” Fernando has had a quiet start to the season, but he utilised all his experience to finish where he did.
We have a double header of races coming up with first Azerbaijan and then the Canadian Grand Prix. These are two notoriously tough circuits, and at a distance of 8,924km apart, there will be little rest bite for the teams.
The race in Montreal has proved particularly popular this year and the team at Edge are looking forward to welcoming our guests in Canada. If you would like to join us at a race later this year, please call +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.