Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Monaco seems to be synonymous with F1, the history and the glamour, it is the race that every driver wants to win after their home grand prix. With 2022 being the last contracted year on the F1 circuit and ongoing conversations it is unclear if this historic race will continue, despite all the drivers and teams stating their wish to see it on the calendar for years to come.
The first flags of the weekend came in the closing moments of Q1 as Tsunoda’s puncture led to a red flag and 3-minute break before qualifying resumed. After both Haas’s made it out of Q1 they weren’t as fortunate in Q2 and were knocked out along with Bottas, Tsunoda and Ricciardo. The Australian is still seeming to find this year’s McLaren more challenging than teammate Norris, starting the race in 14th, just 4 years since his infamous win.
Q3 saw consistency from some teams as Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, and Alpine all had both their drivers vying for position alongside Norris and Vettel. With just 40 seconds left of Q3 Perez slid sideways into the barriers, Sainz, who was just behind him did not have the time to react to the yellow flag having already committed to the turn and made contact with the Red Bull. The two cars fully blocked the road and prevented Verstappen from trying to attempt any real challenge for pole.
Despite the close difference between the Ferraris and Red Bulls Leclerc just dominated the track, claiming pole in his home country for the second year in a row.
The downpour in Monaco meant an hour delay to the start of the race and a potential for not all 77 laps to be raced. A rolling start saw many cars throwing up water and commentators confusing Russell for Hamilton as he was in the leading Mercedes. Gasly was the first to switch to intermediate tyres set the fastest laps of the race and supplied other teams with an opportunity to assess what pit stop strategy to make. Hamilton had his race disrupted behind both Alpines throughout the day, Ocon made contact with the Brit on lap 18 before later in the race he was stuck behind Alonso.
Leclerc pit for intermediates on lap 19 to be told just 2 laps later to “box, box” as Ferrari wanted a double pit stop to put both drivers onto dry tyres. After listening to his radio and turning into the pit lane Leclerc was given the instruction to “stay out”, however it was too late for this. His second pit stop put him out at 4th, and it’s safe to say the Monegasque was fuming. The next lap saw a Red Bull strategy master class as their overcut worked wonders, a double pit stop saw Checo come out in first, in front of Sainz and Verstappen out in front of Leclerc.
Sainz made a save that Real Madrid Keeper Courtois would’ve been proud of as he went onto the wet part of the track and lost the rear slightly. A few laps later a virtual safety car and yellow flags were produced after Schumacher was in a horrible crash that saw his car tear in half. It wasn’t long until the red flag was waved so the track could be cleared. This then bunched up the grid for another rolling start. Watching the Red Bull, Ferrari, Red Bull, Ferrari train was thrilling as the cars were all so bunched up. With many time delays not all 77 laps were completed but Checo managed to stay in P1 and took home the victory with Sainz in 2nd and Verstappen in 3rd. It was more heartbreak for Leclerc in Monaco as he saw the chequered flag for the first time but missed out of not only a victory but the podium as well. Checo managed to prove himself after the frustrating team call in Spain and now sits only 15 points off teammate Verstappen in the championship standings.