Updated: May 31
Leclerc's curse continues with Ferrari's strategy struggle, Sergio Perez becomes the most successful Mexican Formula 1 driver in history, and Max builds his championship lead. An eventful 2022 Monaco Grand Prix was one of the most exciting in recent years.
The rain dance worked and we had chaos at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix. With Ferrari in the all-important pole position, things were looking great for Charles Leclerc to break his curse and win his home Grand Prix. However, Ferrari's strategy department had other plans.
Ferrari started the race in with a front-row lockout, followed by a double Red Bull second row. Rain robbed the spectators of an exciting turn one, with a torrential downpour delaying the start of the race and forcing a rolling safety car start.
Both Canadian drivers struggled on their formation laps, with Latifi sliding into the wall at Lowes corner and Stroll making contact with the wall resulting in a puncture to his rear right tire. Both decided to make a premature switch to inters, nearly colliding in the pit lane after a questionable unsafe release from the Aston Martin pits.
Leclerc lead the first 17 laps with his teammate Carlos Sainz and the Red Bulls of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen following closely behind. In drying conditions, Piere Gasly made the first racing stop to switch to the inters. A bold move that paid off and his massive pace advantage allowed him to make three on-track passes in quick succession, a rarity at the Monaco circuit.
Checo was the first of the front runners to come in for inters, with Ferrari discussing over team radio that their preferred strategy was to stay out, transitioning directly to slicks from the wet tires. The move paid off and Sergio set two blistering undercut laps, shaving 12 seconds off Leclerc's lead within two laps. Ferrari responded late, bringing Leclerc in two laps later to switch to the inters, but the undercut was powerful and put Checo in the effective race lead behind Carlos Sainz who had not yet pitted waiting to transition to slicks.
Ferrari made their second strategy blunder just 4 laps later, bringing in both drivers for a double stack, effectively pitting Leclerc behind his teammate, and into 4th place where he finished the race. Both Ferrari drivers came out into Williams traffic at different points in the race costing them additional time. Latifi ignored 7 blue flags with Sainz coming out of the pits, likely due to fear of going offline in the tricky conditions, with Albon ignoring 21 blue flags costing Leclerc significant lap time. With Sergio taking the lead, followed by Sainz, Max, and Leclerc the results held for the remainder of the race as the racing line continued to dry out and off-line passes became even more difficult for the circuit where it is nearly impossible to pass in the first place.
HAAS had a horrible outing starting with an early Q1 exit on Saturday where they seemingly couldn't find the pace in the car and got caught out by yellow and red flags. Sunday's rain offered an opportunity for them to try something different, conditions that Kevin Magnussen typically excels in. However, after climbing a few positions and looking in contention to add to his 15 points this year, his race was cut short by a water leak in his ERS system, quietly retiring his car just a third of the way into the race. Mick fared even worse with a loss of traction near the swimming pool complex causing him to put it into the wall, ripping the HAAS in half and bringing out the red flag. Another extremely expensive hit to the HAAS budget for the driver still searching for his first points in F1.
Lando Norris had a great drive to finish in P6, but the struggles continued for McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo after a setup issue caused a crash in FP1, resulting in the driver missing FP2. In a track that requires as much practice running as possible to build up confidence before qualifying, missing valuable practice running was costly this weekend. An outside favorite for a podium this weekend, Valtteri Bottas, also missed time running in practice due to an issue in his Alfa Romero, likely leading to his poor qualifying performance.
Another double points finish for Mercedes. George Russell brought the Mercedes factory car home in P5 after passing rival British driver Lando Norris during the transition to slicks. He continues his streak of being the only driver to finish in P5 or above in every race this season. Proof that despite what some F1 personalities and the Mercedes PR department may say, their car is a solid third on the grid ahead of the midfield. Lewis had another difficult weekend despite finishing in P8. Unable to get his car into a higher position in qualifying, Lewis was stuck behind the Alpine of Esteban Ocon, with the tight wheel-to-wheel racing leading to a 5-second time penalty for the French driver. Lewis was once again stuck behind the Alpine of Fernando Alonso who was running extremely slow laps to manage the tires, but knew exactly how to position the car to prevent Lewis from making it past.
Final Race Classification:
Sergio Perez - Red Bull
Carlos Sainz - Ferrari
Max Verstappen - Red Bull
Charles Leclerc - Ferrari
George Russell - Mercedes
Lando Norris - McLaren
Fernando Alonso - Alpine
Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas - Alfa Romero
Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin
Pierre Gasly - Alpha Tauri
Estaban Ocon - Alpine
Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren
Lance Stroll - Aston Martin
Nicholas Latifi - Williams
Zhou Guanyu - Alfa Romero
Yuki Tsunoda - Alpha Tauri
DNF: Alex Albon - Williams
DNF: Mich Schumacher - HAAS
DNF: Kevin Magnussen - HAAS
Max Verstappen builds his lead to nine points in front of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. With the victory, Sergio Perez has closed the gap to the front, trailing his teammate by only 15 points, and Charles by only 6. Going into Baku, home of Checo's first win for Reb Bull, the World Drivers Championship is looking more and more like a three-way battle between the two Red Bull Drivers and Charles Leclerc.
2022 World Drivers Championship Standings (Through Monaco):
Max Verstappen - Red Bull: 125 Points
Charles Leclerc - Ferrari: 116 Points
Sergio Perez - Red Bull: 110 Points
Red Bull pulls even further ahead in the 2022 Constructors Championship with a the second double podium in a row. However, Ferrari is still easily within comeback distance with 15 races remaining.
2022 Constructors Championship Standings (Through Monaco):
Oracle Red Bull Racing - 235 Points
Scuderia Ferrari - 199 Points
Mercedes AMG Petronas - 134 Points
McLaren Racing - 59 Points
Alfa Romero F1 Team ORLEN - 41 Points
Alpine Renault - 40 Points
Alpha Tauri RBPT - 17 Points
HAAS - 15 Points
Aston Martin Cognizant - 7 Points
Williams - 3 Points
For a full race, breakdown join the LBHT crew as we dive into how Perez took home his first win at Monaco to become the most successful Mexican Formula 1 driver of all time. What the hell happened with Ferrari's strategy calls, the first silly season/ driver contract rumors and speculation, and more. We break down the full weekend in our race recap podcast, available on all of your favorite podcast platforms.