Monaco Takeaways: Ferrari soap opera on the Côte d’Azur

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The Monaco Grand Prix weekend was dramatic and in some ways a sequel to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona as the Italian soap opera kicked up a notch on the Côte d’ Azure.

Some people tell us their opinions on whether or not Monaco is relevant to modern Formula 1, but after our beloved sport last visited the Principality on the Mediterranean coast, we were left with some interesting thoughts.

Yes, there weren’t many overtakes during the race, but overall the weekend was pretty dramatic, and guess what… The marina was real this time.

Before the race, the big question was: how will F1 2022 go around Monaco?

Well they went pretty fast, as Charles Leclerc’s timed pole lap was 1:11.376, down from 1:10.346 in 2021 also thanks to the Ferrari ace, and if he had been able to complete his second run in Q3 – many thanks Checo – chances are it would have been even closer.

With that out of the way, the new cars with their stiff suspension setups were a handful for the drivers, a murderous experience for a seven-time F1 world champion and a humiliating experience for the reigning champ.

The obesity of this generation of F1 cars meant braking on the streets of Monaco was tricky business, the only good thing to come from this atrocity that is tarnishing this generation of F1 machinery.

Qualifying remained king, and what a joy it was to see the on-board footage of Leclerc’s pole lap, and what a shame we were robbed of his second attempt – thanks again, Checo.

However, Ferrari was back to its old ways and its shenanigans gave us our first takeaway among a few other Monaco Grand Prix takeaways.

Ferrari fired back, oh my God…

In my previous takeaway column from Barcelona, ​​I said that Ferrari had to fight back from Monaco. Instead, the Reds simply shot themselves in the foot, yet again.

With Max Verstappen on course, Ferrari and Charles Leclerc needed to halt the Dutchman’s momentum, and the Monegasque was on course, dominating the weekend from the start, and capping it all off with a majestic pole position on Saturday.

Unlike 2021, Leclerc stayed away from the barriers and was leading the race mostly on Sunday, but then we had these pesky conditions during the race, with rain at the start and the track gradually drying out, which the Ferrari strategists don’t really like it. .

Without going into details, it was another prank by Red, and Leclerc dropped three more points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, as luckily the Red Bull ace was not on his A-game.

Again, a fast car is no guarantee of winning the championship, and hopefully Ferrari doesn’t end up frustrating its last hope of its first F1 drivers’ crown since 2007.

They already have an engine related DNF, strategy error and driver error – yes Charles, we haven’t forgotten Imola – and that’s all they have if they really want to win this year .

Checo wins, so what?

First of all, a big congratulations to Sergio Perez for his victory in Monaco. What an achievement!

Red Bull employed team orders in Barcelona to get Perez out of the way of Max Verstappen, with the former reluctantly complying and playing team play.

At Monaco, however, Checo was the better driver, and you could feel his Barcelona anger driving the RB18, while Verstappen couldn’t come to terms with where he won in 2021.

In the race, the team pitted Perez first, probably to experiment with him, but that turned out to be the right move at the right time, as he ended up skipping the Ferraris, while Verstappen could only overtake Charles Leclerc.

Jos Verstappen wasn’t happy with the strategy assigned to his son in Monaco, but I don’t think Red Bull did it on purpose as Max remains their winning horse who they will support all the time.

I’ve said before that Perez shouldn’t expect preference over Verstappen, and I stand by that, but with Red Bull renewing the Mexican’s contract for two more seasons, he may think he can. fight for the titles, and that should make things between the pair quite interesting.

As it stands, Checo is a stone’s throw away from the title, but let’s be real here; Red Bull won’t support him unless Max has weekends more frequently, which I highly doubt that is the case.

On his way to the Monaco podium, Perez was heard chatting with his boss Christian Horner as part of his contract negotiations. Maybe he wanted to remove the clause that says he has to support Verstappen and accept team orders?

But he was probably saying he should have asked for more money.

The race directors

Looking at the way things were going at the start of the race, I was really worried that we were headed for another “Spa 2021” situation.

I would understand that if the rain was heavy before the race started, the race directors would postpone it and send the safety car to check the track conditions before giving the go-ahead for the race, but just sitting there waiting for the rain to start was… quite stupid.

Then they send the cars behind the safety car when the rain starts and intensifies, to return to the pits after two formation laps.

First, what’s the use of having the top 20 race cars in the world, driven by the top 20 or 15 drivers in the world if they can’t race in wet conditions?

Secondly, while being very careful on a track like Spa due to its high speed nature can be understandable, why be very diligent around the slow Monaco track, especially since it is a circuit urban, so it should be provided with a suitable rainwater drainage system ensuring that it dries out fairly quickly.

This is the first blip of the newly installed race steering scheme. Hopefully we won’t have more.

A Quick Monegasque Kick

A nice tweet that I captioned: This is how you take pole in Monaco.

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