Mathieu WARNIER, Media365, published Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 6:04 pm
Taking advantage of Ferrari’s strategic mistakes in a race interrupted by rain, Sergio Pérez won the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen, who widened the gap in the championship by finishing just ahead of Charles Leclerc.
Sergio Pérez will be able to thank the Ferrari strategists! While everything looked fine for Charles Leclerc to end his curse in Monaco, the Mexican was able to get the most out of his Red Bull Racing at the right time to seek his third Formula 1 win in the Principality. false start. Announced for several days for this Sunday, rain was welcome in Monaco, delaying the start given behind the safety car by more than an hour. Charles Leclerc therefore easily maintained the lead over Carlos Sainz Jr, Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen. At ease despite the far from predictable conditions of the track, the Monegasque immediately widened the gap and nothing seemed able to deprive him of his first home win. The regulation obliges, the drivers had to start with rain tires but some brave ones opted very quickly for intermediate tires. Starting at the bottom of the grid, Pierre Gasly was one of them and then offered a recital to overtake Guanyu Zhou at Massenet, then Daniel Ricciardo before the esses de la Piscine and climb to 12th place.
Leclerc still cursed in Monaco
It was on lap 17 that the leaders decided to opt for intermediate tires. However, if Sergio Pérez, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen made this choice, Carlos Sainz Jr did everything to keep his rain tires until it was time to switch to slicks. The big winner of this strategy game was … Sergio Pérez! The Mexican, who was the first to pit, took advantage of two free laps to warm up the tires and do what was then the fastest lap of the race. Two laps that have made a difference since the Red Bull Racing driver left Charles Leclerc to virtually take the lead in the race. On lap 21, Ferrari made the mistake that compromised the race of its two drivers. When Charles Leclerc started to find a good pace, the Italian team brought Carlos Sainz Jr to switch to hard tires and did the same with the Monegasque. With the counter-order arrived too late, Charles Leclerc wasted precious time awaiting the end of his team-mate’s interruption, emerging fourth behind Sergio Pérez, Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen.
Among the first to switch to slicks, Mick Schumacher sent a shiver of terror throughout the circuit. On lap 27, the Haas driver lost control of his car between the two La Piscine chicanes. The collision was violent and the rear axle of the VF-22 separated from the rest of the car. Images that immediately brought to mind the Romain Grosjean accident in 2020 in Bahrain. The German driver came out unscathed from the accident and, after three laps of neutralization by the safety car, the race direction dropped the red flag and stopped the race. After 20 minutes of waiting, the drivers managed to get back on track and the race ended on time with 35 minutes to go. While the Red Bull Racing duo opted for soft compounds, the Ferrari drivers remained on hard tires. Sergio Pérez then embarked on an exercise in resisting the pressures imposed by Carlos Sainz Jr when Max Verstappen tried to keep Charles Leclerc behind for the championship.
Those 35 minutes and a lap saw the Mexican ignore the grind his tires suffered to keep Carlos Sainz Jr behind and win for just over a second. The Spaniard, already runner-up in the Principality last year, saw victory narrowly slip away while Max Verstappen did well in the championship. By keeping up with Charles Leclerc to the checkered flag, the reigning world champion now has a nine-point lead over the Monegasque, who sees Sergio Pérez slash his deficit to just six points. Despite a poorly performing Mercedes, George Russell finished fifth in this Grand Prix ahead of Lando Norris who, left alone on the track, set the fastest lap of the race thanks to the new medium tires fitted at the end of the race. Fernando Alonso, at the center of a daring strategy to allow Esteban Ocon to finish in the points despite a penalty linked to the collision with Lewis Hamilton on lap 18, took seventh position ahead of the Briton, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. Despite a good comeback, Pierre Gasly failed at the points goal when Esteban Ocon finished twelfth. After a tense race in Monaco, F1 will now rally Baku, with Charles Leclerc no doubt wanting to end his bad streak.
FORMULA 1 / MONACO GRAND PRIX
Final classification – 64 laps (213.568 km) – Sunday 22 May 2022
1- Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull Racing) in 1h56’30”265
2- Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP / Ferrari) at 1 ” 154
3- Max Verstappen (PBS / Red Bull Racing) at 1 ” 491
4- Charles Leclerc (MCO / Ferrari) at 2 ” 922
5- George Russell (GBR / Mercedes) at 11”968
6- Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren) at 12 ” 231
7- Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine) at 46 ” 358
8- Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) at 50 ” 388
9- Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Alfa Romeo) at 52.525
10- Sebastian Vettel (ALL / Aston Martin) at 53 ” 536
11- Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri) at 54 ” 289
12- Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpino) at 55”644
Best race lap (+1 point): Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren) – 1’14”693 (lap 55)
Drivers’ world rankings after 7 Grands Prix (out of 22)
1- Max Verstappen (PBS / Red Bull Racing) 125 points
2- Charles Leclerc (MCO / Ferrari) 116
3- Sergio Perez (MEX / Red Bull Racing) 110
4- George Russell (GBR / Mercedes) 84
5- Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP / Ferrari) 83
9- Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine) 30
14- Pierre Gasly (FRA / Alpha Tauri)
World constructors ranking after 7 Grands Prix (out of 22)
1- Red Bull Racing 235 points
2- Ferrari 199
3- Mercedes 134
4- McLaren 59
5- Alfa Romeo 41
6- Alpine 40