Sergio Perez won a rain-drenched Monaco Grand Prix, in which Red Bull outwitted Ferrari, after a one-hour delay at the beginning of the race due to rain. Perez, who started in third position, moved to the lead during a segment of the race in wet conditions.
Max Verstappen’s impressive driving vaulted him from fourth to third behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz but in front of his title rival Charles Leclerc in the race. This result put nine points between himself and Leclerc.
Perez’s strong weekend, in which he beat Verstappen in qualifying and drove brilliantly in the race to fulfil Red Bull’s inventive strategy calls, has just six points separating him from Leclerc.
Ferrari’s poor strategy decisions turned a comfortable lead for Leclerc into a fourth-place finish in just four laps.
In the end, the top four were stuck together, but Sergio Perez kept Sainz, Verstappen, and Leclerc behind him. Time limits on the rules forced officials to call off the race after 64 of the scheduled 77 laps.
A Fight To The End
Race director Eduardo Freitas took one hour and five minutes to convince himself that it was safe to release the cars, which were forced to use the ‘extreme’ wet tyres for two laps, behind the safety car.
At the end of the first 10 laps, Leclerc had a four-second advantage over Sainz, Perez, and Verstappen, and by the end of the 16th lap, he had an advantage of 5.3 seconds as Perez pitted for intermediate tyres.
Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri got a pitstop early in the race but ran into slower cars for several laps. Once he it was clear on the track, Gasly began setting the fastest times, demonstrating that the course was ready.
On the next lap after Perez pitted, Ferrari requested Sainz to go to inters, but the Spaniard declined, opting to remain on wets and immediately switch to dry-weather slicks.
Leclerc and Verstappen also pitted two laps later, but Perez’s pace was so impressive that Leclerc left the pits behind the Red Bull, who was still ahead of Verstappen.
After stopping for fresh hard-compound tyres three laps after pitting for intermediates, Leclerc was back on the track, with both Ferrari cars having made the same switch. Sainz, however, was still in front when Sainz pitted, as Perez was just 3.9 seconds behind him.
Right after getting off the pit lane, Leclerc experienced difficulties with tyre temperature as he completed his out lap, allowing Verstappen to move in front of him into third place.
Five laps later, Schumacher crashed and the race was stopped. It was restarted, but the outcome was essentially already determined.
In the last part of the race, Sainz began to pressure Perez, with Verstappen and Leclerc close behind him, as the leader struggled with worn tyres that had skidded on the first bend after the restart, which was also graining – having been damaged by surface tearing and lost grip.
However, Monaco’s track is notoriously hard for drivers to overtake each other and so the lead drivers all stayed in their positions to the flag.
George Russell finished fifth in the Mercedes after a great weekend, finishing ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin finished in the last two points positions, thanks to a five-second penalty for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon for colliding with Lewis Hamilton early on the track.
Rain Delays Cause Some Issues
Due to a downpour just prior to the scheduled start time, the race began one hour and five minutes late. Questions were asked about whether the conditions were suitable for the race’s scheduled start time.
The FIA, however, was powerless to do anything once the race had been postponed, as a downpour began soon afterwards and made the track impassable. There was also debate as to whether the FIA took too long to restart the race and if the second red flag for Schumacher’s crash was required.
There’s a two-week break before two demanding races – Baku in Azerbaijan and Montreal in Canada, both in quick succession.
Williams Racing Performance
Nicholas Latifi finished 15th in the Monaco Grand Prix whilst Alex Albon was forced to retire on lap 50.
What they said:
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
It was a long race today with the delayed start and then a red flag interruption. With Alex we opted to play the long game on the Full Wet tyres and run it until the track was ready for slicks. We timed the transition pretty well and he found some good pace on Prime until he went straight on at T1 and then punctured the tyre. His pace on the Option after the red flag was again strong, but as he was now out of position, he couldn’t make any places. We retired the car when Alex reported some unexpected bouncing on the straights. Nicholas damaged his front wing early in the race, which forced an early switch to Intermediates and set his race back. Although he made some progress later in the race and battled well with Zhou and Tsunoda, P15 was the best that we could achieve today.
It was a tough race, but we learnt quite a lot about the FW44 this weekend, some of which will be relevant to the next race in Baku.
It was a tricky day out there and a bit of a scruffy performance from my side, too. The conditions meant that getting the brakes in the right window was really challenging, especially with all the variation that a drying track brings and the red flags. The car felt good whenever we had clean air though and I did feel competitive at points, so there are some positives to take away from today.
Unfortunately, towards the end of the race I had an issue with the car which meant I had to retire. I think it’s probably a weekend to forget for us, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Wet conditions are always tricky and even more so on a street track like Monaco! It was a very challenging race and after pitting early on, we were detached from the back of the pack but we did have good pace on the intermediate tyre to catch the field back up. The last stint on the medium tyre proved quite tricky as I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the balance. However, we managed to bring it home, which isn’t easy in these conditions, and also picked up two places from the guys we were racing around which is a positive.
Monaco Grand Prix Results
|Track: Circuit de Monaco, Monaco||Weather: Mixed conditions|
|Lap Length: 3.337 km||Temperature: Air: 20-23 °C Track: 26-32°C|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time/Gap (Fastest Lap)||Grid||Tyre Changes|
|1.||S. Perez||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:56:30.265|
|3||3 (16, 22, 30)|
|2.||C. Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||+1.154|
|2||2 (21, 30)|
|3.||M. Verstappen||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+1.491|
|4||3 (18, 22, 30)|
|15.||N. Latifi||Williams Racing||+1 LAP|
|19||4 (1, 2, 19, 29)|
|DNF||A. Albon||Williams Racing||DNF||16||3 (18, 22, 29)|
2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule
|1||20-Mar-22||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain IC, Sakhir|
|2||27-Mar-22||Saudi Arabia Grand Prix||Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah|
|3||10-Apr-22||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|4||24-Apr-22||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola|
|5||08-May-22||Miami Grand Prix||Miami International Autodrome, Miami|
|6||22-May-22||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|7||29-May-22||Monaco Grand Prix||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|8||12-Jun-22||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku|
|9||19-Jun-22||Canadian Grand Prix||Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|10||03-Jul-22||British Grand Prix||Silverstone|
|11||10-Jul-22||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg|
|12||24-Jul-22||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet|
|13||31-Jul-22||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyorod|
|14||28-Aug-22||Belgian Grand Prix||Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps|
|15||04-Sep-22||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort|
|16||11-Sep-22||Italian Grand Prix||Monza|
|17||02-Oct-22||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay, Singapore|
|18||09-Oct-22||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka|
|19||23-Oct-22||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|20||30-Oct-22||Mexican Grand Prix||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City|
|21||13-Nov-22||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos, Sao Paulo|
|22||20-Nov-22||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi|