Monaco GP 2022
The Monaco curse almost hit Charles Leclerc again in qualifying. Only an attentive Ferrari command center was able to slow the pilot into the FIA scales. Red Bull is still expected to kick Leclerc. But it was not there.
When Charles Leclerc walked across the pool lane on his last fast qualifying lap last season, the local champion ended up in an accident that later cost him the start of the race. This year, the 24-year-old was able to make it past the last sector with nice gear. The day’s fastest guards greeted with red flags. However, they were not waved to celebrate the Ferrari pole, but because of an accident in the porter’s bend before the tunnel entrance.
Sergio Perez lost Red Bull’s rear end in a 90-degree right bend and hit it backwards. This session ended prematurely for all ten participants in the third quarter. No one was more upset about the incident than Perez himself. “It’s really a shame what happened to me. We actually had more speed in the car today and we could have ended up in the field.”
The Mexican revealed that he started the crucial race with tyres that were very cold: “I almost lost the car in turn. Then I tried to make up for lost time. But the eighth turn was hard for me during qualifying. I wanted to stomp on the petrol early but the rear wheels didn’t find any grip. Then I lost the car.”
Sainz crash in Perez
Perez apologized to all the drivers who were unable to improve due to the driving error. The first victim of the Mexican was Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard launched his attack a few meters away from Red Bull. “On the first try, I had to overtake both Mercedes on the fast lap. It cost me some time. That’s why I was looking forward to the confrontation. But unfortunately someone crashed in front of me again, as often happens in Monaco.”
Not only did Sainz destroy his bosom, but he also destroyed part of his car. Because Madrilene could no longer brake in time, he crashed into the wrecked Red Bull. “On the seventh turn, I suddenly saw a yellow flag on my left. That was when I learned the car had crashed in front of me. Unfortunately, you can’t see it when you turn around to where the car is. I just braked and tried to take the corner as tightly as possible. In the end it wasn’t there. chance to avoid collision.”
After the session, Ferrari officials announced that they would ask the race director again why Sainz was warned so late. Charles Leclerc couldn’t be less. The demolition placed fifth in first place in the seventh race of the official season. The local champ grinned: “I wish I’d finished the lap.” “I was already more than four tenths faster than my previous best times. Although the back broke a few times, it was a good lap. I put everything in it.”
Leclerc hardly escapes punishment
On Sunday, the Monaco club will be hoping to finally overcome the home curse. Until now, a Ferrari driver had never seen the square flag on a street circuit, neither in Formula 1 nor in the junior ranks. The curse was almost repeated again in the playoffs. In the second quarter, the driver without a doubt crossed the FIA scales, although the judges were waiting for the number 16 Ferrari.
The pilot defended this, saying, “The LED panels are installed very far away here in Monaco. So you don’t look at them automatically.” Fortunately, Ferrari’s command center was attentive. Leclerc was promptly asked to stop over the radio. The mechanics started running out of the garage at lightning speed to push the pilot back and were still performing the weighing procedure.
At Red Bull, the measure has been viewed critically. Sporting director Helmut Marko explained on Sky’s microphone that the death penalty was supposed to be due here. “If I take the benchmark, it’s the beginning of a hole or the last place on the grid. That’s how it’s done in all the beginner classes. He just skipped the scales. Pushing backwards doesn’t work anymore. I don’t wish it on him, but if you stick to the regulations, you’ll be There is a penalty.”
But in this case, the FIA showed mercy. Ferrari’s director of operations, Laurent Mekes, didn’t want any discussion about the penalty: “He missed the scales at only 15 metres. We spoke to the FIA. They told us we had to push the car back. There shouldn’t be a problem.”
Red Bull is hoping for rain
A red wall was built in front of the Red Bulls at the start of the race. Breaking through this obstacle in the street circuit, which resists overtaking, will not be so easy. Helmut Marko knows it too: “Maybe the forecast rain will come. We know that Max is in his classroom on a wet track. Otherwise you can only try strategy.”
But Ferrari is no longer afraid of rain: “It hasn’t rained in recent years. But we found a good working window this year. We were also good in the rain at Imola,” Leclerc says optimistically. “But I’ve never driven on a wet track here in Monaco. The street tracks are always particularly tough in the rain. And Monaco is one of the most demanding tracks even in dry conditions.”
If conditions do not change significantly, the topic of stable management at Red Bull could return to the agenda. Perez was always a bit faster in qualifying than Verstappen, who lacked confidence on the brakes – especially on turn 1. If the two come off the first lap in that order, there is a risk that Perez will give his captain important points in a fencing championship steals.
“The whole weekend was a bit tough for me,” Verstappen admitted. “Charles was out of the way today. But I think second place was possible on the last lap. I was two or three tenths faster when the red flag came up. Then all of a sudden it was over. You can do it in Monaco it always happens.”