The Grand Prix is traditionally held on May. The Monte Carlo circuit has always hosted the event, on different configurations, since the first edition in 1950, and is behind only the Monza circuit with 71, home to the Italian Grand Prix, for the largest number of disputed editions. The Ferrari team made its debut in the category on this track during the first season of the World Championship in 1950, while the McLaren team, which holds the record for 15 Grand Prix victories, between 1984 and 2008, made its debut in the 1966 edition of this Grand Prix. In addition, it is to say that the Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu is the only one to race in Monaco for the first time. Usually, the race takes place in the presence of the members of the Grimaldi family and the driver's record of victories still belongs to Ayrton Senna, on the first step of the podium for 6 times. For the first time since the 2019 edition of the Grand Prix, it sees the maximum capacity allowed for spectators. In 2020, for the first time since the 1954 season, Formula 1 did not stop in Monte-Carlo, while the 2021 edition, which returned to be part of the world calendar, represented the second race of the season, after the inaugural race in Bahrain, with the presence of spectators on the stands, but between 40 and 50% of the total capacity.
The event had a limit of 7.500 spectators for qualifying and the race, and 3.000 for free practice. It was therefore one of the many Grand Prixes that were not disputed behind closed doors, as the ones which took place in the early part of the season. In this edition, two of the three free practice sessions, previously scheduled for Thursday, have been moved to Friday. The rest of the programme is not affected. The decision to eliminate Thursday’s free practice was taken to shorten the weekends due to the many races scheduled on the calendar. This choice allows the teams a better organization, given that for the third time in history, after 2010 and 2011, the race takes place just one week after the previous one, held in Spain. The action on the track on Thursdays took place as the Monaco Grand Prix was organized on the Ascension weekend to allow a greater influx of public to the circuit, taking advantage of the holiday date. The contract to hold the Monaco Grand Prix on the Formula One World Championship calendar, also at the Monte Carlo circuit, is valid until the current season. In the weeks leading up to the race, however, doubts arose as to whether the Grand Prix would remain on the calendar for subsequent seasons. The Grand Prix sees its run on the season's calendar in the traditional month of May, for its sixty-eighth edition. The Monte Carlo circuit, home of the race, has always hosted the event, on different configurations, since the first edition in 1950, and is behind only the Monza circuit with 71, home of the Italian Grand Prix, for most editions held.
The Italian team Ferrari made its debut in the category on this track during the first season of the world championship, in 1950, while the British team McLaren, which holds the record of Grand Prix victories, 15, obtained between 1984 and 2008, debuted at this Grand Prix in the 1966 edition. Alfa Romeo's Chinese driver, Zhou Guanyu, is the only one among all drivers participating in the championship to race in the current category in the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time. In Formula 2 he achieved two podiums, finishing third in the 2019 sprint race and winning the one in 2021. For the first time as of the 2019 edition of the Grand Prix, it sees the maximum capacity allowed for spectators. After the 2020 edition of the race was canceled due to issues dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the timing of building the circuit on the streets of Monaco in a short timeframe, for the first time since the 1954 season, in fact, the top category did not stop in Monte Carlo, the 2021 edition, which returned to the world calendar, again placed in May, represented the second race of the season, after the inaugural one run in Bahrain, with spectator attendance in the grandstands but between 40 and 50 percent of the total capacity. The event had a limit of 7.500 spectators for qualifying and the race and 3.000 for free practice. It was thus one of the many Grand Prix not to be among those few held behind closed doors, run in the early part of the season.
Mercedes claims that its driver did not touch any car. During the first edition of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix run in 2021, the Federation fined world champion Dutch driver Max Verstappen 50.000 euros, guilty of touching Hamilton's Mercedes, also during the parc fermé regime, at the end of qualifying. After a break due to Covid, the traditional charity match returns to the Louis II stadium on Tuesday 24 May. On the pitch for the 29th edition of the World Stars Football Match, as always on the eve of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, there will be the Nazionale Piloti and the Star Team. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Max Biaggi and Nico Rosberg will join the match. The collected funds will be donated to the Star Team for the Children Foundation. During the 239 disputed matches, of which 122 won, 87 drew and for a total of 619 goals scored, the Nazionale Piloti has collected 16.156.023 euros. One week after using the hardest tires in the range for the Spanish Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tire supplier, selects the softer compounds for this Grand Prix. The C3 will be the P Zero White hard, the C4 the P Zero Yellow medium and the C5 the P Zero Red soft. Like Barcelona, Monaco is an extremely well-known track to the teams: unlike Spa and Silverstone, it does not have still changed layout significantly keeping the average speed lower than any other track and few escape routes, which is why overtaking is notoriously difficult.
Due to the slippery asphalt of the roads of the circuit (which are open to traffic every evening) and the low speeds that are reached, the tires are not particularly stressed and degradation is minimal, but there is a high degree of wear of evolution of the track every day. For these reasons, the one stop strategy is usually the norm in Monaco, but there is a rather large pit stop window and the stop times can be affected by safety cars which come into action very often at this circuit due to the limited escape. In Monaco the cars adopt a special set-up with high aerodynamic load to maximize grip at low speeds, with grip guaranteed mechanically by the tires and aerodynamically by the load. This Grand Prix obviously represents the debut in Monaco for the new generation of Formula 1 cars with 18-inch tires; therefore, teams will need to understand how they react in these unique conditions, also considering that the weather on the Mediterranean coast is sometimes difficult to predict at this time of year. Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director declares:
"Monaco is often described as one of the most unpredictable races of the year, but the truth is that qualifying takes on a particular significance as track position is key here. As a result of that, understanding how to maximise the softest C5 compound - which has only raced at one event so far this year, in Australia - will be a vital part of free practice. With the previous rule requiring drivers to start the race on their fastest Q2 tire now abolished, we might see some different strategies this year, with some drivers picking harder compounds to begin the race to target running a long first stint, given the difficultly of overtaking. Others may choose a more traditional approach by starting on the softest compound, at a race where strategy can make a real difference".
The Federation establishes the traditional area in which the drivers can activate the DRS, that is the one located along the main straight of the pits. The detection point, that is the point for determining the gap between the drivers, necessary to allow the use of the device, is established after turn 16. Since the introduction of the mobile device in Formula 1, in 2011, the circuit of Monte Carlo is one of the five tracks where it is used at least once in the Formula 1 World Championship calendar, together with that of Suzuka, home to the Japanese Grand Prix, and that of Mugello, home to the only edition of the Tuscan Grand Prix. During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the mobile device, according to the technical regulations, could be open on the entire track in free practice sessions and in qualifying, but in the case of the Monte Carlo circuit, the Federation prohibited its use in points that can be risky, as the tunnel. The Federation establishes at turn 10 the limits of the track that the drivers are forced to follow, under penalty of cancellation of the lap time. If the corner is not navigated correctly, the drivers see their lap times canceled by the stewards. Any driver who uses the escape route must do so safely by returning to the track after receiving the green light. Due to the logistics presented by the Grand Prix, the curfew on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays is extended from a period of three hours to a maximum of six.
Starting from this Grand Prix, the Federation specifies that the air temperature, communicated two hours before the race, is calibrated to the tenth and is no longer rounded up or down to the nearest whole degree, to avoid situations happened in the previous Grand Prixes. Before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the fifth unit relating to the exhaust system is installed on Pierre Gasly's car. The French AlphaTauri driver is not penalized on the starting grid as the new component installed is one of those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The second gearbox and transmission are installed on Yuki Tsunoda’s car. Neither is he penalized on the starting grid as the new components are among those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. Analyzing the regulation once again, On the eve of the first Miami Grand Prix, the race director appointed for the race, the German Niels Wittich, forwards to the teams a note specifying what a driver can or cannot wear to the driving a Formula 1 single-seater. For the first violation, the driver caught red-handed is fined 50.000 euros, the second 100.000 euros and the third 250.000 euros and, above all, the deduction of points in the standings, both for the driver and for the team.
For this Grand Prix the FIA appoints the Portuguese Eduardo Freitas as race director. The British Derek Warwick is appointed as assistant commissioner; he is a former Formula 1 driver and World Sportscar Champion, vice-president of the FIA Driver's Commision, and raced 146 Grand Prixes (from 1981 to 1993) for Toleman, Renault, Brabham, Arrows and Lotus. He scored 71 points and achieved 4 podium finishes, with two fastest laps. He was World Sportscar Champion in 1992 for Peugeot and also won Le Mans in the same year. He raced for Jaguar Sportscars in 1986 and 1991 and competed in the BTCC between 1995 and 1998 as well as a futher appearance at the Le Mans in 1996, driving for the Courage Competition team. Warwick is a frequent FIA steward and has also been President of the British Racing Drivers'Club. Other races stewards is Garry Connelly Chairman, form the Australian Institute of Motorsport Safety. He is a FIA WMSC member and a FIA Scientific Advisory Committee member. Garry was instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to Australia in 1988 and served as Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Board member and Clerk of Course of Rally Australia until December 2002. He has been an FIA Steward and FIA Observer since 1989, covering the FIA WRC, the FIA WTCC and the FIA Formula One World Championship. He is Chairman of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safely and director of the Australian Road Safety Foundation. He is a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, a member of the FIA Scientific Advisory Committee and FIA Environmental Delegate.
Andrew Mallalieu's 30-year plus involvement in motor sport ecompasses rallying, hill climbs and circuit racing in Barbados and the greater Caribbean region. He is President of the Barbados Motoring Federation. Andrew has served as a steward at a wide variety of events including rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship and the FIA European F3 Championship. A Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Surveyor his non-motorsport activities include ownership of the Terra Caribbean Group where he is the Chief Executive. He has also been an advisor to the Barbados Government on real estate development issues. Finally, Jean-Francois, he began his stewarding career in 2007. Between 2009 and 2015 he was a steward for World Series by Renault, and also has a wealth of experience as Chairman of the Stewards at Monaco for the Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 events , as well as for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. He was appointed as the ASN Steward in Monaco for the GP2 Series in 2018, and the Porsche Supercup races around the Principality in 2019 and 2021. He will make his debut as the ASN Steward for the FIA Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix in 2022. Starting with this Grand Prix, the Federation specifies that the air temperature, communicated two hours before the race, is calibrated to the nearest tenth and is no longer rounded up or down to the nearest whole degree, to avoid situations like in the previous Spanish Grand Prix where Max Verstappen's Red Bull Racing and Pierre Gasly's AlphaTauri came out at the last moment before lining up on the grid to wait for the fuel temperature to reach the set minimum.
Before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the fifth unit related to the exhaust system is installed on Pierre Gasly's car. The French AlphaTauri driver is not penalized on the starting grid as the newly installed component is among those that can be used in the maximum number set by the technical regulations. On Yuki Tsunoda's car, the second gearbox and transmission are installed. The other Japanese AlphaTauri driver is not penalized on the starting grid because the new components are among those that can be used in the maximum number set by the technical regulations. On the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc concedes various statements to the microphones of the journalists. He talks about his approach for this weekend:
"The attitude is always the same and the approach is always the same, regardless of whether or not we are leading the championship. Every point is valuable. Our competitors are very strong and we all know that even the smallest mistake can make a big difference. Since the beginning of this season, the team that did everything perfectly was the one to win. We will do everything to be that team. We have the confidence that we can make it, which is a good starting point, but at the same time, we are aware that it will not be easy to achieve our goals".
About the new format of this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, the monegasque driver says:
"It's the first time that we will see a standard race weekend format in Monaco, with practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. In the past, we used to have practice on Thursday and no racing action on Friday, at least for Formula 1. I think it puts us into the rhythm of all the other races which could be good, so I'm looking forward to giving it a go".
Then, he talks about his favorite part of the circuit:
"My favorite part of the track is definitely the Piscine, which is the corner combination of two esses by the swimming pool. It just feels amazing, I really enjoy driving there. It's also where I learned how to swim as a child, so I have an emotional attachment to it, making it even more meaningful".
"It was great to see so many people around the track today, considering that it is only Friday. It really makes me look forward to the next two days and hopefully we can give our fans a good result. We had consistent running and completed a good number of laps. We still have to fine tune the balance but, all in all, it wasn't too bad and we just need to make the usual step from Friday to Saturday now".
Leclerc’s statements are followed by the words of his teammate, Carlos Sainz:
"An encouraging day after completing our program and performing well on track. Monaco is always a demanding track, but also a very exciting and fun circuit to push the car. Qualifying will be tight tomorrow by the looks of today, but so far we're happy with the job we've done and the way we've been improving every time we went out on track. Now it's all about the small details and finding the perfect balance for qualifying tomorrow".
The chase for good race placement continues for the Williams team. Dave Robson for this new race weekend declares:
"Monaco is always a challenging circuit that requires a specific approach to setup and car management. With the new 2022 cars, this is going to be an even greater challenge as it will be necessary to move the car away from the aerodynamic optimum in order to be able to deal with the bumps and kerbs of the Monte Carlo streets. Apart from some additional brake cooling and steering options, we have no test items or upgrades for this event and so we will be free to spend the practice sessions exploring the car setup and helping the drivers to get maximum confidence in the car. The tires are the softest of the Pirelli range, including the C5 compound, which we last used in Melbourne. This very soft compound worked well at Albert Park and so it may require a different approach to get it into the best window in Monaco. Although normally warm and dry, there is always a risk that the cloud cover on the mountains can quickly move over the circuit, completely changing the character of the track. We will need to be mindful of this and look to capitalize on it if it happens".
Nicholas Latifi, which has still failed to win points since the beginning of the season, continues:
"It's always exciting to go back to Monaco. It's a track with so much history and has such a special feeling , more so than any other street circuit we race at. It'll be my second-year racing there in a Formula One car, and I'm expecting it to be more of a challenge in these new regulation cars. I'm looking forward to that challenge though, so hopefully we'll have a good weekend".
While Alex Albon is hoping for a repeat performance after excellent races in Australia and the United States:
"Monaco is one of the biggest races of the year. It's a really cool circuit and I live about a three-minute walk from the paddock, so it's an easy morning commute for me. The track itself is a proper street-circuit with a great atmosphere which means it's always special. We'll be pushing hard and hoping to finish off the double-header well".
The McLaren team comes to Monte-Carlo with definite expectations: to continue the positive momentum with Lando Norris, and to recover Daniel Ricciardo, who is not performing at his best for the moment. The McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl declares:
"I'm looking forward to this weekend! Monaco is such a historic race and one the drivers and the team love so it's shaping up to be a good weekend. Our upgrades worked as expected in Spain and the team at track and back at the factory continue to work incredibly hard to optimize the car. It will be interesting to see how the new regulation cars run on the tight streets. The circuit really puts the drivers to the test with very little margin of error so the likelihood of safety cars is a lot higher, meaning there are lots of different strategy options we can look at for qualifying and the race. Let's get out there and give everything we've got".
Lando Norris adds:
"I always look forward to the Monaco weekend. It will be nice to be racing so close to home, particularly as I can wake up in my own bed! Last year it was a fantastic race for me and whilst we're not back at that level just yet, I'm hoping we can pick up some good points here. Qualifying on Saturday is going to be key but it will be interesting to see how the race plays out on Sunday with these new cars. I'm taking these few days to rest up and to focus on getting better before diving into Monaco. Spain was incredibly tough, but I was very pleased to get some points for the team. Let's keep moving forward and ensure we ' re ready for the busy weekend ahead".
Daniel Ricciardo, who has so far disappointed expectations, hopes to return to his level soon:
"I'm bouncing back from a difficult race and looking forward to getting stuck into the Monaco weekend. I have a lot of history with this race so I'm hoping to make a mark in the MCL36 this year and score some points for the team. The atmosphere around Monaco is always exciting so it will be great to soak it all up. I'm also really looking forward to the short commute to track from my home. Off the back of Spain, I've got my head in the data with the engineers to make sure we're in the best position possible to fight for a top 10 finish. We learned a lot about the car, particularly with the good upgrades, and I have great trust in the team for us to keep improving. Hopefully we can put together a solid weekend and fight for a top 10 finish. Let's keep pushing".
Waiting for the weekend to begin in Monte-Carlo, at Aston Martin, Lance Stroll declares:
"Monaco is the race we all wait for every year, it's such a unique challenge and the purest street circuit of them all. These cars are so much more of a handful in the more tricky , tighter corners , so qualifying will be an even greater test of driver and machine. Considering how hard it is to pass in Monaco, it's also a challenge that will define the weekend".
And Sebastian Vettel continues:
"Every driver has special memories of Monaco and wants to create more, and we all know that some of the most famous moments in Formula One history happened here. I think this will be a physical Grand Prix where drivers will hustle the cars that bit more than they have in the past, so there will be an element of endurance too".
It is also a very important weekend for AlphaTauri, given the somewhat disappointing recent performances of its drivers, starting with Pierre Gasly:
"Barcelona was a difficult weekend for the team, I missed out on FP3 which meant we were on the backfoot for Qualifying when we tried something different that didn't really work. Honestly, we didn't have the pace all weekend and the race was one to forget, as the car was very difficult to drive after I picked up some front wing damage early on.We already have some ideas on what we can do to improve, hopefully starting this week in Monte-Carlo. Monaco is both historic and iconic in Formula 1. The whole world knows the Monaco Grand Prix, and photos from the early days of this race show how little this circuit has changed. It is famous for its setting and for the difficulties it presents the drivers. Maybe sometimes the race itself is not the most exciting of the year, but in terms of the degree of difficulty for the driver it is one of the most, if not the most, difficult race of the year. Driving right on the limit at this circuit requires maximum concentration and it's a real challenge, one that I very much appreciate. I like the super-complicated track, which evolves a lot from one session to the next. You are on the limit, just a few millimeters from the barriers, and it gives you a real adrenaline rush. This year, with these cars that are now very wide, it might be nearly impossible to pass. But, from a driving point of view, it is one of my favorites, definitely in my top three best tracks. The French Grand Prix is my real home race, but naturally there is a lot of support from the fans in Monaco and there is a magic feeling around this race and the whole event".
Not much was expected of Yuki Tsunoda, yet the Japanese driver is also asked to improve his performance:
"Spain was a tough weekend, when we never really got the car working the way we wanted, and the pace was just not there. In Qualifying, I think I got the most I could out of the car, but it wasn't enough. As for the race, it was a long, hot afternoon on Sunday, and I was quite happy to score one point, but it's not where we want to be and now, hopefully we can have a better time in Monaco. I remember that last year, I found my first Monaco weekend quite difficult, and it wasn't ideal. I didn't make it out of Q1 and I finished where I started in 16th place. This time, on my second visit, I will have a better idea of how to build up the speed over the sessions and keep concentration, with the goal of getting into Q3 and then scoring some points. The track is very unique , and you cannot afford to lose any running time through making mistakes, as errors are much more costly at this track. But I will not change my approach to the weekend massively compared to other races. Actually, I think the new format this year, with the event running Friday to Sunday like all the other races, should make it easier to stay concentrated and to keep the momentum going. You have to focus a lot on your single lap performance, as Qualifying and getting a good grid position are so important at this race. Monaco is one of the great traditional circuits and you really cannot compare it to any other track. It's never boring, even if the races can sometimes seem very different to those at the modern tracks. Overtaking is difficult, but in general is a very exciting event".
Instead, it is a special moment for Alfa Romeo. Frédéric Vasseur argues:
"Monaco is a unique race, a special occasion in which every team and every driver wants to do well. The same applies to us, of course, although we will approach the weekend in the same manner as any other event. For us, the objectives remain unchanged: we know we have the potential to lead the midfield and be in the mix with the front runners . To do so, the recipe is the same: we need to deliver a good weekend and extract the most from our package. We have been working hard to make sure our reliability matches our performance and we can be in a position to have two cars in the points. We'll be in Monaco to make sure the world notices just how well we are performing this season".
Surprise of this early season, Valtteri Bottas continues:
"I am looking forward to this weekend's race. Monaco is always an interesting weekend, it's a home weekend for a lot of the drivers and it definitely has a feeling that you don't get from any other round in the calendar. am really curious to see how the racing will be with the new generation of cars: this has been traditionally a difficult place for close racing and, should it be different this year, we could be in for something spectacular. I am confident approaching the weekend: we have been fighting with the top guys for two races in a row and I don't see any reason why we won't be able to do it again this time around. Of course, most of the weekend hinges on having a clean Friday and a good Saturday: if we're high up on the grid, we can potentially bring home a special result".
And Zhou Guanyu concludes:
"I am really looking forward to driving a Formula One car around Monaco: it's going to be an incredible challenge, but I expect it to be an incredible feeling. This is a place where you need to be at the absolute limit at all times to be competitive, even in the junior series, and it will be even more so in F1. It's a place where you need to respect the track and finding the right feeling in the practice sessions will be very important, but I know the team is behind me and I can rely on them to make the most of the weekend. We have all been working very hard to make sure reliability issues don't get in the way of our work anymore and I'm confident we can show again how competitive we can be. I have some very good memories from Monaco, where I won last year, and I am keen to make more now that I am in F1".
Also Guenther Steiner releases several statements and analyzes the possible developments of this World Championship. He talks about the lessons learnt after what happened during the Spanish Grand Prix:
"Obviously we took away some disappointment. We did a few things which weren't perfect, but we have a lot of work to do. We can't do anything about Kevin's Turn 4 incident, you can't learn a lot there and what we tried was something hoping that the safety car would come out. With Mick, we need to see why we ended up with the strategy we chose and what we can do to make it better for the future. I'm not jumping to conclusions, it wasn't completely wrong as there were a lot of unknowns, especially in his first stint with the new tires where we lost a lot of positions there, so we have to analyze that before coming to a conclusion".
Following the first race with many of the grid running upgraded packages in Spain, there is his assessment of who has found pace and how is the team’s work going:
"It's very difficult to judge who found pace but the obvious ones were Mercedes and Alfa Romeo. With the others, I don't know how much pace they found and it's a one-off race with very strange conditions - it was very hot, very unusual for Spain - so we have to wait a few races to find that one out. We obviously chose not to put upgrades on but we made our car go quicker, at least in qualifying, so I think we've found something in the set-up. We have still got something in the car which we haven't unleashed so let's work a little more on that, but we made a very good step in Spain. We are in the midfield but the midfield this year, it depends on the race. In some races one car is good, and in others, somebody else. I think that is very interesting and it's how it should be - it mixes up the field".
He then talks about Monaco:
"Monaco is obviously a classic, and it has been there forever. It's one where we enjoy going to as well but there are a lot of events that are going in different directions. I always say, different directions are better because then fans can look forward to different specialties. Monaco is one of those specialties in the calendar".
Staying in the Haas house, the interview continues with Kevin Magnussen. First, he talks about the new cars:
"I think these cars are a lot better in terms of being able to follow closely and race closely, but I still think Monaco is a tricky enough place that perhaps we won't see such a big difference there. I think Monaco is the one place where it's still an awesome race even though maybe overtaking isn't the main attraction there".
He continues by speaking of Monaco:
"I just think that it's one of the tracks that, to me, is really in Formula 1's DNA. I understand that maybe it's not the most exciting race on a Sunday, but I think the weekend as a whole has a lot of value - it's truly an exciting race weekend".
Then, he concentrates on his free day:
"I used to do some media and sponsor activities on a Friday, so I don't know how it's going to be now but I'm sure the team will find a way to keep me occupied - they always do".
About his return on the streets of Monaco, he says:
"It's hard, and that's why it's fun, it's such a crazy place to drive a Formula 1 car. I think we're very used to it - seeing Formula 1 cars in Monaco - but actually if you think about it, it's crazy. The streets are so narrow, and the cars are so fast. It's phenomenal, a lot of fun".
As we said, this is the first season that the Monaco Grand Prix follows a standard three-day event format, as previously practice sessions took place on Thursday with Friday serving as a day off. Magnussen talks about the impact that this has on him:
"If we had stuck to the old way, to run on Thursday and have the Friday off, it wouldn't have worked with the back-to-back, or it would've been very difficult. With having a 22-race calendar this year, it would be very difficult to add another date to the schedule for the people working there. I think the decision was the right one, for us we just get normality, and we don't come in late on Thursday because we are not used to that. I think it had to be done and there will be no big changes - no one will remember that we practiced on Thursday and not on Friday".
Mick Schumacher gives his impressions about racing in Monaco:
"Yes, the cars are easier to follow but Monaco is still a track where you can't overtake and these cars are heavier. They're mainly made for high-speed with the ground effect that we have so it will be interesting to see. There will definitely be new ways of approaching this weekend but it's the same for everyone so we'll just go for it and try our best, and hopefully have a good qualifying".
"It's been a part of Formula 1 for so long and it's a historic venue. It would be a shame to lose something which has been in the sport for so many years. It has always been counted as one of the big events to win. If you have the big three wins - the Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans - it would be a shame to lose that opportunity. It's something that some drivers chase, it's maybe not my number one priority, but some still might want to do that".
Then he talks about what he is used to do when he is in Monaco:
"I was usually cycling or working out and going to visit the team. Honestly, I think it's the right choice from a financial point as everything is quite expensive and reducing that does make a difference".
Monaco was a learning curve in your rookie season last year, how did you take those moments and turn them into valuable lessons and in the case of Monaco, did you have to change your approach, as many drivers have admitted to previously? Finally, he argues:
"I think Monaco was overall great up until then. We were on for a good lap and just took it a bit too far in FP3 rather than qualifying. Monaco is always unforgiving, so I won't talk too early but I'm looking forward to going back there and driving because the race was fun. I feel like you always have to adapt although it's not necessarily that I consciously change my driving style, but I adapt to the needs of the car and the track itself".
In conclusion, the French Alpine team comes to Monaco with the intention of being able to have a good race and to be able to get a good finish. Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine Team Principal, declares:
"Firstly, what an exciting race we had in Spain throughout the entire field. It was good fun with the multiple stops and overtaking, so I'm sure it was a great spectacle for all fans of Formula 1. From our point of view, considering our starting positions after a tough Saturday, we left Spain pleasantly pleased with our points collection. We're all looking forward to going to Monaco. It's an incredibly special place and a very historic and important racetrack for Formula 1, where we all enjoy racing. Clearly, with the nature of the close walls and tight corners, it's a tricky place for overtaking on race day. We need to ensure our one-lap pace is good, which, in general, it has been, apart from the anomaly in Spain where we were not as quick on Saturday as we were on Friday".
Esteban Ocon adds:
"Monaco is a special track in many respects: the average speed is the lowest of the year and the corners are so tight that power is not as important as other tracks. You need some good stability under braking and a solid engine that responds well out of the corners. And as we all know, grid position in Monaco is crucial so a better performance than in Barcelona in Qualifying from us will be important. P9 there last year so just inside the points but we'll of course be wanting to improve on that result and make sure we have a smoother weekend from start to finish".
And Fernando Alonso concludes:
"I've always enjoyed racing in Monaco. It's one of the biggest spectacles on the Formula 1 calendar. I think with this year's cars it's going to be even more challenging than normal, with all of the slow speed corners. As we know, one small mistake around the streets of Monaco and you end up in the barriers. Qualifying is also very difficult given the traffic you encounter on a lap. I'm looking forward to the challenge".
On Friday, May 27, 2022, the weather is sunny and provides the perfect conditions for motor racing. The first drivers to hit the track in the first free practice session of the weekend are Verstappen, Albon, Russell, Sainz, Perez, Vettel, Bottas, and Leclerc. The Ferrari driver is willing to perform well in is home race after dominating the Spanish Grand Prix and being forced to retire because of a Power Unit issue. Drivers start to familiarize with the track, a task complicated by the need to fully understand the handling of the new cars in such a peculiar street circuit like Monaco. After starting another flying lap, Leclerc goes wide at turn 1, the famous Sainte Devote, while there is a problem in the pits: Schumacher’s Haas VF-22 has a transmission issue and blocks the pit-lane entry, forcing Alonso to park his Alpine beside the young German’s car. The session is red-flagged with Verstappen on top with a time of 1'15"327. Lap times are going to be improved, and in fact it is home hero Charles Leclerc who sets the fastest lap at the end of the session with a time of 1'14"531 on medium tyres, after having had the chance to improve it several times with a strong first sector but then lifting in the other two. Same tactics used by Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., who is third just 0.070 seconds behind.
It is in fact Sergio Pérez who sets the second-fastest time with a gap of just 0.039 seconds from Ferrari’s Monegasque driver. Verstappen is fourth, a little further away from the leading trio with a gap of 0.181 seconds, after having locked up and run wide at Sainte Devote corner as well as Leclerc. A good performance by McLaren team sees the Anglo-Australian duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo place in fifth and seventh position respectively, separated by Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri. George Russell, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton close the top-10, all on medium tyres except for the German, who has used the soft compound. The seven-time world champion is having a hard time in Monaco, where he won three times: he is suffering tremendous bouncing again with the problem of porpoising, emphasized by the high-downforce set-up required by Circuit de Monte-Carlo. The British driver expresses his frustration on the radio with his engineer Peter Bonnington. An unlucky start for Valtteri Bottas. The Finnish driver is forced to skip the whole session due to gearbox issues, hopefully he can hit the track in FP2:
"Not an ideal Friday, but we had a good recovery in FP2. We lost the first session with a power unit failure that took two hours to fix, which is a shame as this really is a track where you need every possible lap to get fully comfortable: you don’t get to do too many clean laps either, with all the traffic, to prepare for qualifying, so it will be crucial to have a good FP3. FP2 was effectively my first session of the weekend, so I took it step by step. I know there is a lot of performance still to find, both in myself and with the setup, and I still think we have the potential to be in the top ten tomorrow. The car felt ok and I know we can be in the mix for Q3".
A slight preoccupation makes his way through the Maranello-based team’s garage, since two Ferrari power units have suffered problems: Haas mechanics have replaced Schumacher’s MGU-H and transmission, while Bottas has also had an MGU-H failure. The ‘Men in red’ will probably keep an eye on the reliability of their power units ahead of such a crucial race for the Championship. The second free practice session starts with the top teams testing the hard tyres, but after less than twenty minutes the session is interrupted by a red flag because of Daniel Ricciardo’s crash: the Aussie had a heavy shunt approaching the ‘Piscine’ (swimming pool) Chicane, but luckily walks away unhurt. However, his car is badly damaged and McLaren mechanics will have to work hard to put it back together. For the moment, his Friday is over:
"FP2 was obviously a very short session with a crash on the first lap. We had a decent running earlier in the day, I feel it was a solid FP1, and we obviously just tried to push the car more and try a few things with set-up. I think we ultimately just pushed it a bit too far and I lost the car in the high-speed Swimming Pool. I did my best to catch it but obviously this track is so unforgiving that you can’t get away with anything. It is what it is: obviously it’s a long night ahead for the mechanics which puts a bit of a downer on the day – but I’m still not going to let it affect us into tomorrow. We know where we went wrong and we’ll fix it for tomorrow. Lando’s pace looked decent, so we’ll hopefully put ourselves back up there, in a good position tomorrow".
As practice resumes, his teammate Norris and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll both use the run-off area at turn 1 after locking up and going wide at Sainte Devote. Sebastian Vettel has a moment at the fast Louis Chiron-S and miraculously saves his car by counter-steering promptly in order to avoid contact with the barrier. Another world champion in trouble: Lewis Hamilton locks up and runs wide at Mirabeau. As Tsunoda laments traffic, which is a very typical feature of the narrow streets of the Principality, his car is avoided by mere inches by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, who cuts the Nouvelle Chicane in the port section after missing his braking point. The fastest time of the day is again set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in 1'12"656 around halfway through the session. Now lap times are beginning to get closer to the ones set by the old generation of cars.
The Monegasque precedes his teammate Carlos Sainz by just 0.044 seconds, while this time the two Red Bulls of Pérez and Verstappen are more distant, with a gap of 0.379 and 0.447 seconds respectively. Towards the end of the session all the teams decide to dedicate the last minutes to the race simulation, with Ferrari working especially with soft and hard tyres and Red Bull focussing instead on medium tyres. As FP2 comes to an end, it seems clear that Ferrari will be team to beat both in qualifying and race: not only are both of their drivers in great shape, but the F1-75 has shown great speed and stability with all the tyre options available. The Italian car appeared particularly strong in the last sector of the track, where great agility and traction are needed. Another driver worth of praise is Sergio Pérez, who has displayed good consistency over the two sessions and is willing to confirm his speed with a good Saturday:
"It’s really nice to be back driving in Monaco, it’s always fun out there! It has been a good few session today for us but the long runs were a bit difficult with the traffic, I couldn’t do more than two laps consistently. All in all we seem to be lacking a bit compared to the Ferraris, they seem really strong. We will analyse the data and see what we can do but they seem to be very quick today. We were a little surprised by the gap to them today, we were expecting a gap but not such a gap as we’ve seen today. It means there is plenty of work to do and we will see tomorrow, Q3 is when it matters".
By contrast, reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is a little unhappier than his teammate, struggling to find a good balance to properly attack the streets of Monaco:
"We tried quite a few different things with our set up today to see how the car is behaving, I was happier with the car in FP1 than in FP2. If we get better balance we can attack the corners a bit more, then of course our lap times will improve. Clearly compared to Ferrari we still need to find more pace, so now it’s all about fine tuning and finding a better balance. The track feels different this year with the new cars, the cars are a bit heavier and slower and a bit more bumpy because they are stiffer. It’s still very hectic to drive around here and I can’t wait for qualifying tomorrow".
Behind the four top drivers wearing red and blue, the classification appears as follows: Norris, Russell, Gasly, Alonso, Vettel, Tsunoda, Magnussen, Hamilton, Bottas, Albon, Zhou, Stroll, Schumacher, Ocon, Latifi, and Ricciardo, unable to complete a valid lap before his accident. Despite the visible improvements shown in Barcelona, it is again nightmare for Mercedes, with the W13 giving its drivers a hard time. Given the current state of affairs, George Russell tries to find some positive aspects and aims at the best result possible:
"It's been a relatively good day I think but it's clear we're not yet where we want to be in terms of performance. Monaco is a very tricky circuit with these cars - they are set up very stiff for the aero to work, so it's not easy to put the car on the limit on a bumpy street circuit like this. You've got to give the circuit a little bit more respect than you normally would, and there are parts of the circuit where we're almost doing a wheelie with both front tyres off the ground! We've got some work to do overnight to see how we can make it a bit easier to drive. At the front, Ferrari are flourishing again - we saw in Imola how good they were over the kerbs, and this is playing to their strength here, too. We now need to get our heads down and see what we can do for tomorrow, so that we're at least best of the rest behind Ferrari and Red Bull".
Lewis Hamilton (12th with a gap of 1.6 seconds from the leader) is concerned with the bouncing and indicates that as one of the main causes of Mercedes’s struggle in the streets of the Principality:
"I was fighting to put a lap together out there today and it's a very different experience to previous years here in Monaco. Back in the day, I remember coming here with lighter and more nimble cars, but they are now a lot heavier, and that changes the driving experience quite a lot. The track's been resurfaced but it's probably the bumpiest circuit I've ever driven - at points, it feels like my eyeballs are coming out of their sockets with the bumps! The car was bouncing quite a lot today on the bumps, not the aerodynamic bouncing like we've had so far this year, but just because we're running it low to the ground and stiff as well, so we're bottoming out quite a lot. We improved the car for FP2, and we've got some studying to do tonight to find the right mix between ultimate performance and a driveable balance. I haven't put my best sectors together yet, and actually the grip feels pretty good when we're pushing. Ultimately, I think we've got the potential to be up there in the mix; maybe not quite on the speed of Ferrari and Red Bull, but I hope we can be ahead of everybody else tomorrow and on Sunday".
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’s trackside engineering director, gives a thorough explanation of the situation the Anglo-German team is facing on this weekend on the French riviera:
"We're struggling with the ride here and that's preventing us attacking the lap, especially on low fuel. We made a bit of progress between the sessions, but we need to pick through the data and understand whether we can achieve more. The tyres are behaving reasonably well: they are coming in quite easily which is no doubt helped by the hot conditions we have this weekend. We didn't get the most out of the Soft tyre, it was difficult with traffic and Lewis had few occasions where he was blocked so there's more to come but everyone will be finding a bit of time overnight so we'll work to make sure we can move forward. The long run pace was encouraging, at least the consistency was good and seemed to have less degradation than some others but it's Monaco where long run doesn't count for much if you are stuck in a traffic jam. So, plenty for us to work on overnight but if we can make progress on a few of these issues, we should be able to find quite a bit of pace".
Very close to the Mercedes and yet in a very different mood is Pierre Gasly, who can only express satisfaction with the car, as Alpha Tauri closes a solid Saturday, with the Frenchman being able to climb the ranks up to 6th position in FP1 and 7th in FP2:
"I’m really happy with my performance this Friday here in Monaco, of course it’s always difficult here, but the pace of the car has been there, and we’ve been near the top of the midfield all day. So far, we’ve shown a lot of positives; we’ve managed many clean laps, put everything together and been competitive. I’m not saying I’m feeling 100% happy still, but I’m pretty pleased and we’ll try to take another step forward for tomorrow. Qualifying is obviously never easy here, it’s a short track, so we’ll have to find the right spot, as there are a lot of cars and strong drivers. We’ve got the pace to be competitive, so we’ve just got to keep it clean and move through the sessions".
Yuki Tsunoda cannot be as happy as his teammate: the Japanese is yet to find the perfect lap, although he has managed to enter the top-10 in the second free practice session:
"Today has been quite a difficult day, almost every push lap in both sessions I had traffic, so I didn’t get a clean run that I was happy with. On top of that, I made a mistake on the first set of new tyres in FP2 and had a huge flat spot, meaning I had to finish my first stint earlier than planned. Hopefully tomorrow things will be better, but now I know what to expect and everyone is facing the same situation, so I need to focus on myself and the things I need to improve ahead of Qualifying".
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer at AlphaTauri, sums up the Friday of the Italian team based in Faenza:
"It was a typically intense Friday session here in Monaco, where the target was to keep the car on track as long as possible and give the drivers a stable platform. With this generation of cars there are many unknowns, like the setups required for a street track. For sure they are not easy to drive, but overall the setup we have showed a good potential in both practice sessions. Braking for T1 is always a challenge, especially when trying to warm up the tyres, and Yuki snatched a front tyre early on with the Mediums in FP2, and the vibrations were too big to continue, so he missed a number of laps while we waited to run in sync with the others on the Soft. This meant he was a bit on the backfoot, but was still able to set a good lap time. It’s all about Qualifying here, so to have both cars end up inside the top 10 is positive and our task now will be to monitor the changing track conditions tomorrow".
Lando Norris says he had good feeling with the car:
"It was a decent day I would say and I’m feeling better. I think the initial feeling in the car was good in terms of it giving me some good confidence. It was a car that I felt like I could push on and find the limit quite quickly, which is a very important thing here in Monaco. We worked our way through our programme, and took it step-by-step, trying to find some small improvements here and there, wherever we could, which was good learning. We need to look at it overnight and put what we learnt into the usual plan for tomorrow but I'm happy with today".
Andrea Stella hopes things will be better on Saturday:
"Monaco is always a challenge for drivers and for teams and, this year, that challenge seems even greater with a new generation of cars which seem quite temperamental. Lando’s sessions today were relatively clean, while Daniel lost most of FP2 with a crash at the Swimming Pool, the causes of which we are still investigating. The most important thing is that Daniel is okay, and the team are now working hard to ensure we are ready to go for FP3. Overall, it seems like the car has decent potential this weekend, and our job this evening is to make sure we can exploit that pace and be competitive in qualifying and the race".
Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer for Alpine, analyses a difficult Friday for the French team, which is absolutely in need of improvement in such a unique track like Monaco:
"The Monaco Grand Prix weekend always presents some unique challenges for the cars, drivers and engineers. Today’s practice was certainly a challenging one especially for the new 2022 cars where it’s a fine balance in setting up the car in a small optimal window. Fernando was slightly happier with his car today than Esteban, so we have some data to work through there to understand the differences. We, like all teams, have some further learning to do on the tyres on high fuel. Overall, it’s not all been plain sailing but we’re confident that we can delve through the data and find improvements tomorrow ahead of Qualifying as we know grid position here is often key to a successful weekend".
Fry is echoed by Esteban Ocon, who wants to move from the lower part of the classification as overtaking in Monaco is notoriously difficult. However, this will require a huge effort, as the Frenchman has seen his gap from Leclerc increasing by around 0.8 seconds over the two practice sessions, making him drop from 16th to 18th position:
"It’s good to be back driving in Monaco and discover the challenges that these new cars bring on such a specific track like this. It’s clear there are some improvements we need to make to be where we want to be this weekend with regards to performance. We learned a lot today with different set-ups between the cars and now there is plenty of work to do overnight in order for us to be in a better position for tomorrow. It will be important to get it right as we know how crucial qualifying is in Monaco. There’s more to come from me, so I’m looking forward to more practice tomorrow afternoon".
Double world champion Fernando Alonso has shown again his class by placing his Alpine A522 in eighth position, compensating for a car that needs some adjusting in a track where the Spaniard has won two times:
"Monaco is always different to other tracks as you need to find confidence in the car. FP1 was a little bit messy for us, but in FP2 we started to dial in my car. There is still more to come as we experienced some inconsistent balance here and there that we need to fix, as well as trying to understand the tyres a bit more for qualifying as getting a good position on the grid is obviously the main subject of the weekend. There’s some work to do, but it’s always special to drive here with a lot of adrenaline every lap".
Similar to Alpine, it is a two-faced Aston Martin the one that comes out at the end of the day. Sebastian Vettel has had a strong Friday, being able to close both practice sessions in the top ten: a remarkable achievement, especially when compared to his teammate’s performance:
"Although I have raced here many times, this circuit feels a lot different in these new cars. The main difference is that the tyres are much bigger so it is more difficult to see the track around you. The cars are also much stiffer and going through the tunnel is not as easy as it used to be. I was lucky to save the car during a mistake at the Swimming Pool, despite my heart rate definitely going up! We tried some new things today, so we need to see what worked well and learn how to fine-tune the set-up more. Tomorrow the key will be making sure we have a clean lap in qualifying, especially during Q1 when the track will be busy".
However, Lance Stroll does not lose his smile and faith in his team for an improvement on Saturday:
"It is great to be back in Monaco. Regardless of the car regulations, it is still the same track with the same corners and challenges. Today was a good opportunity to continue understanding the latest car developments and build on our experience in Barcelona. The tyres were overheating a bit in the hot weather, so managing the degradation will be a key part of the race on Sunday. As always, there are still a few things to work on, but I am confident we will make progress before qualifying".
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen reminds the press all the pitfalls that characterize the Monaco circuit, some of which have become more evident with the particularly rigid set-up required by the new ground-effect cars:
"It’s tough. Monaco has become an even greater challenge it seems this year with these cars. It’s just all the bumps, many bumps which I didn’t know were there, you feel them now. On many of the entries to corners, the car is so twitchy, so if you hit a bump in the wrong way you lose the rear. It’s very intense and it’s still great. It’s very tough out there, it’s a small track - we already know that - and it’s the same thing every year but you’ve got to really try hard not to get in people’s way because it’s very difficult".
Mick Schumacher’s statement is on the same line of his Danish teammate, as the German driver highlights the low points of a Friday which has been very far from ideal:
"We had a few issues, especially this morning, so I didn’t get to run for most of FP1 unfortunately, so still catching up. Nonetheless we got a good amount of running in during FP2 so it’s now a matter of finding out what we need from the car to go quicker. It’s definitely different compared to last year, it’s a lot bouncier, and the bumps are not filtered so you feel it straight away in your body which has an effect, not only on the car but in terms of driving. The approach will be different, and the overall feel is a bit different compared to last year".
Team Principal Guenther Steiner praises the work done by his men and raises the bar for Saturday, convinced there is still performance that can be extracted from their car:
"A solid day for the most part - with the exception of Mick’s MGU-K issue in FP1, unfortunately that cost some valuable early laps. The team worked hard between sessions to get him ready and out again in FP2 and he enjoyed a trouble-free second session. The positives are we’ve got a decent number of laps in, and Kevin, in finishing P11 in FP2, has shown there’s pace there in the VF-22. Hopefully we can unlock more from both cars tomorrow. It’s critical to get everything set-up for qualifying so we’ve got to maximize final practice and give ourselves a shot later in the day".
Alex Albon is satisfied about today:
"It felt good out there today. We were feeling fairly optimistic heading into the FP1 as the track is similar to the Miami circuit which seemed to suit our car’s characteristics slightly more, so I’d say that we aren’t too far off where we want to be. There are a few corners in the second sector where we should be able to find some more lap time, so that’s what we’ll be working on tonight. I’m feeling positive; I think we’ll be pushing for Q2 tomorrow".
Nicholas Latifi talks about the behavior oft he new cars on this particular circuit:
"It was very tricky today. I think in general these new generation cars are trickier around here, the ride on the bumps is very harsh and visibility is tricky, meaning that on a few corners here you’re sort of guessing where to turn. I’m sure a lot of other people are going through similar things. In terms of the car, we’re not quite there with optimising it, but we have a clear direction of where we need to go overnight on my side".
Dave Robson hopes to make further progress:
"It was good day with no damage to either car and plenty of laps completed by both drivers. Alex was reasonably happy with the car straightaway and we were able to address his minor issues ahead of FP2. Nicholas has struggled a little bit more, but he improved during the day and has a direction to look at overnight. We know that this circuit is tricky and unpredictable and that a lot can change as the weekend progresses. Usually there is an extra day before we return to the track and so it will be interesting to see how conditions are tomorrow. We have made a solid start to the weekend and have given ourselves the best possible chance of making further progress overnight. We will need to keep ahead of the changing track and weather conditions, but if we can do that then we can have a good weekend".
Pirelli has brought the three softest compounds of his range to a racing track that fully fits in the proper street-circuit category, which is characterized by the lack of grip due to the surface made of regular tarmac. As always, Mario Isola provides his analysis on the tyre situation after Friday practice:
"Free practice went very much as we expected; perhaps the only surprise was the weather, which was the warmest that we’ve seen in Monaco recently, with track temperatures around 15 degrees hotter than this time last year. The weather might spring a further surprise this weekend too, as it seems that there’s a risk of rain on Sunday. We saw a bit of graining this morning, which was no real surprise on the slippery ‘green’ surface, and we expect the track to continue to evolve this weekend. Today was important for the drivers to establish their reference points here with the new 18-inch tyres, which of course give quite a different perspective on this tight and twisty circuit, where precision is key".
At the end of Friday's second free practice session, Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen are summoned by the stewards as the Japanese driver obstructed the Danish one at Turn 10. Tsunoda receives a reprimand, his fourth of the season. On the car of Valtteri Bottas, transmission assembly is performed outside the first free practice session. The Finnish Alfa Romeo driver is not penalized on the starting grid as this operation is among those that can be performed within the maximum number allowed by the technical regulations. The AlphaTauri was fined 1.000 euros by the Federation as Yuki Tsunoda exceeded the set speed limit in the pit lane. On the night of Friday-Saturday, McLaren used the second of the two covers allowed during the season to carry out operations on its cars. The British team receives no penalties. Before the start of the third free practice session on Saturday, the third gearbox and transmission is installed on Daniel Ricciardo's car. The Australian driver is not penalized on the starting grid as the new components are among those that can be used in the maximum number set by the technical regulations. As the first day of the Monaco weekend comes to an end, the tension rises for Saturday qualifying, where a good lap is pivotal to place on the grid as high as possible, since overtaking during the race is almost impossible trough the narrow and twisty streets of Monte-Carlo.
At the end of Saturday's third free practice session, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lance Stroll are summoned by the stewards as the Spanish driver obstructed the Canadian driver at Turn 19. Sainz Jr. receives a reprimand, his third of the season, while Ferrari is fined 25.000 euros by the Federation. Zhou Guanyu and Max Verstappen are summoned as the Chinese driver obstructed the Dutch one at turns 15 and 16. Zhou receives a warning, while Alfa Romeo is fined 10.000 euros by the Federation. Sergio Pérez and George Russell are summoned as the Mexican driver obstructed the British driver at Turn 18. Pérez receives a warning, while Red Bull Racing is fined 10.000 euros by the Federation. Aston Martin is fined 200 euros twice by the Federation as Sebastian Vettel exceeded the speed limit set in the pit lane. On Saturday, May 28, 2022, all the teams are getting ready for the last session of the free practices and the qualifying. It is 1:00 p.m., the weather is 26 °C with 45% of humidity and the track temperature is 58 °C. Therefore, the soft tyres will be the key ones and the teams must manage effectively the tyres’ temperature to save them for the qualifying and tomorrow’s race. The drivers will need to discover and understand their limits and the limits of cars’ performance during this FP3 but no mistakes are allowed, as FP3 is so close to the qualifying.
On Friday, Leclerc took the lead. Sainz pushed a lot and arrived gradually to Leclerc’s times. Verstappen complained about the car and remained beyond Perez. In the night, they changed the set-up locations. The car will have more understeer but more balance in the back. Ricciardo arrives at McLaren’s garage, listening to music as he usually does before getting in the car. The mechanics are working on his car after yesterday’s incident. Luckily, the damages are not serious and expensive so he will manage to take part in FP3 and qualifying. The mechanics had reshaped the mounts of the mirrors, to allow him to see better on this track with limited vision. The green light turns on and it is time to simulate the qualifying. Each team has seven sets of soft tires available, which can guarantee faster laps. Latifi on medium tyres is the first to start and scores 1'17"323. Alonso starts his lap and scores a purple in the first sector, -2.803 compared to Latifi’s 58.560 in the second, and closes in the first position with 1'15"809. Ricciardo on soft tyres scores +0.106 in the first sector, +0.262 in the second, and finishes in 1'16"232 in the second position at +0.423 to Alonso. Bottas on soft tyres scores -0.148 in the second sector, +0.501 compared to Alonso’s time, and closes in 1'15"921, taking the second position. In contrast, his teammate Zhou closes fourth. Alonso tries again and crosses the finish line in 1'14"747, in first position. Sainz, who seemed to have started his race, raises his foot from the pedal and decides to prepare his tyres with one more warm lap.
Then, he starts his lap: he drives aggressively and scores a purple in the first sector (19.608), -0.459 in the second, and closes in 1'14"114 and takes the lead before Alonso. Ricciardo tries again and takes the third position for a few instants as Bottas steals it from him. Leclerc scores a purple in the second sector and closes in 1'14"008, one-tenth less than the Spanish driver did (-0.106), overthrowing Sainz. Hamilton is going out of the box and getting on track for his first lap. It is Verstappen’s turn: on soft tyres, he scores +0.156 in the first sector, +0.423 in the second, and closes in 1'14"455, taking the fourth, followed by Perez (+0.464). Meanwhile, Bottas scores 1.14.811 and places himself in the sixth position. Leclerc tries again. Although he does not improve in the second sector, he takes a purple in the third, reducing his previous time (-0.361) and finishing in 1'13"647. Verstappen improves and places himself at thirteen eight thousandths to Leclerc in the second position (+0.038). Magnussen finishes in 1'14"756 in the sixth position, while Sainz approaches the finish line and takes the third (1'13"784). Hamilton starts his lap and scores 20.101 in the first sector, +0.841 in the second, and finishes in third position in 1'14"808 at +1.161 to Leclerc. His teammate Russell closes his lap in 1'15"013 and takes the thirteenth position.
Perez scores a new time (1'13"875) and takes the fourth position. Leclerc tries again and pushes a little more. He scores 1'13"434 and is currently leading the FP3, followed by Verstappen, Sainz, Perez, Norris, Gasly and Ricciardo. Vettel crosses the line and places himself in nineteenth position. Perez tries again and closes in 1'13"297, overthrowing Leclerc, with his teammate at +0.125 in second position. However, Leclerc finishes a new lap a few instants later in 1'13"297, making the same score as Perez. Therefore, he takes the second position according to the F1 Regulation. An announcement arrives from the FIA Stewards, as they noticed and will investigate after the session an incident between Sainz and Stroll in Turn 18. Meanwhile, Hamilton takes the eighth position (+1.230) and Russell finishes in 1'14"671 in ninth position, behind Hamilton. Suddenly the yellow flag starts to wave in the first sector at 34 minutes to FP3’s end because Stroll touched the barriers. However, the green flag comes back a few instants later as he did not make serious damages, so the track is clear. Leclerc tries again and scores -0.047 in the first sector, a purple in the second, and closes his lap in -0.412 in 1'12"885, with Perez at four thousandths from him. Verstappen scores a purple in the first sector, +0.135 in the second, and finishes in the third position (1'13"299) at two-thousandths to Perez.
At 29 minutes to the end, the yellow flag appears again in the first sector because Sainz blocked the left front tyre and went long close to the barriers. However, he stopped the car on time so he can get back to the track without damage. Perez tries again and remains in the second position at +0.318 to Leclerc. Gasly is in sixth position. Norris starts his lap, scores +0.020 in the first sector, +0.271 in the second, and finishes in +0.341 and takes the third position before Verstappen. Tsunoda is improving in time but not in the rank position and remains in sixth position. Magnussen finishes in 1'13"436 in fifth position before Sainz. His teammate Schumacher is ninth before Russell. Latifi climbs the rank and takes the sixteenth position (+2.025) while his teammate the eighth (+0.997). Gasly improves in the first sector and finishes in third position (1'13"210). Verstappen slips into the fifth position while Norris does not improve in the first sector and closes in fourth position (+0.341). With the new set of soft tyres, Gasly is improving and scores in 1'13"349, taking the third position. The FIA stewards notice a new impeding incident involving Verstappen and Zhou in turn 14. Meanwhile, Verstappen tries again and takes the second position (+0.316).
"What was that? He can’t do that. That was close man".
Says Vettel about an alleged impeding accident between him and Sainz in Turn 3 that has been noticed by the FIA Stewards. Leclerc and Sainz are back on the track. The Monegasque driver does not improve and closes his lap in 1'13"068. Hamilton tries again and finishes at +1.087 in fourteenth position. Sainz scores a purple in the first sector, -0.025 in the second, finishes with -0.039 less than his teammate does and takes the lead in 1'12"846. Ricciardo is in the fifteenth position. Verstappen tries again: he scores a purple in the first sector, -0-081 in the second and takes the second position (1'21"881) at +0.035 to Sainz’s time. While, at 10 minutes to the end, Checo takes the lead in 1'12"770 before Sainz. Meanwhile, the FIA Stewards communicate that impeding between Zhou and Verstappen in Turn 14 will not be further investigated. Leclerc tries again and improves his time. He scores 19.180 in the first sector, -0.162 in the second, and -0.075 in the third, finishing in 1'12"702. Verstappen scores a purple in the first sector, +0.030 in the second, and closes his lap in 1'12"977 in the fourth position behind Sainz.
"Crikey that was very dangerous by Checo. Almost crashed into the back of him".
Russell complains about an alleged impeding in Turn 18. Alonso is ninth and decides to try again. He scores 1'14"361 but does not improves and remains in the same position. At five minutes to the end, Russell tries again but remains in the ninth (+0.922) before Alonso (+1.031). Sainz tries one last time and scores 1'12"872, remaining in third position. Vettel takes the thirteenth while Verstappen remains in fourth (1'12"933). Leclerc drives one more lap: he scores a purple in the second sector and finishes in 1'12"517 at thirty-seven thousandths from his previous performance. At two minutes to the end of the FP3 the FIA Stewards decide that the incident between Sainz and Vettel will not further be investigated. Hamilton and Perez are among the last drivers to finish their lap. Hamilton scores 1'13"375 while Checo 1.12.476, overthrowing Leclerc (+0.041). The third session of Monaco’s free practices stops and Perez leads the rank, followed by Leclerc (1.12.517), Sainz (+0.370), Verstappen (+0.405), and Gasly (+0.734). Norris is sixth (+0.750), followed by Hamilton (+0.899), Magnussen (+0.960), and Russell (+1.000). Alonso is in the tenth position (+1.109), followed by Tsunoda (+1.169), Schumacher (+1.351), Vettel (+1.362), and Bottas (+1.373).
Albon is fifteenth (+1.406), at his back there are Ricciardo (+1.628), Ocon (+1.784), Stroll (+2.163), Zhou (+2.385) and Latifi (+2.434). Two hours later the Q1 starts and the drivers have 18 minutes to take a place in Q2. Magnussen, who finished in the eighth position in FP3, is the first to start. He scores a purple in the second sector and closes in 1'17"061, taking the lead. However, his teammate, who was twelfth, steals it from him in 1'16"977. Albon takes the third position at +0.337. Norris scores 20.454 in the first sector, 56.200 in the second, and finishes 1'15"800 taking the first position, followed by Bottas, who scored a purple in the second sector and closed in 1'15"856. Hamilton is approaching the finish line with Russell. The seven-time World Champion places himself in the first position in 1'15"391, while his teammate is fourth with 1'16"628. It is Reb Bull’s turn and Perez scores two purples in the first and second sector, putting a -1.022 gap between him and Hamilton and taking the lead (1'14"369). His teammate closes in -0.074 compared to Perez’s time and takes the lead with (1'14"295), followed by Perez (+0.074) Hamilton (+1.096), Ricciardo (1.266), Tsunoda (+1.451), Norris (+1.505), Bottas (+1.562) and Russell (+2.333).
"I have no grip whatsoever, I really really struggle".
Says Russell to his radio team. Vettel is ninth (+2.649), followed by Schumacher (+2.702), Magnussen (+2.766), Latifi (+2.870), Albon (+3.039), Zhou (+3.475) and Gasly (+13.294). It is Leclerc’s turn. He scores +0.042 in the first sector, -1.993 in the second, and takes the third position at +0.596. However, it lasts a few instants because Magnussen scores 1'14"743 and makes Leclerc slip down of one position. Alonso scores a purple in the first sector, -2.213 in the second, and finishes in -0.147 from Verstappen’s time, taking the lead with 1'14"148. Perez and Verstappen are completing the second sector, Checo in -0.573 and Max in -0.598. Perez takes the lead with 1'13"292 and Verstappen takes the second position (1'13"402) at +0.110 to his teammate’s time. Sainz manages to score +0.000 and takes the second position behind Perez. From the thirteenth position, a worried Leclerc says to his team radio:
"We’re out of sequence with the other".
So he tries again and scores a purple in the first sector, -0.453 in the second, and -0.353 in the third, taking the first position with 1'12"939. Gasly finishes in fourth position in 1'13"660 while Norris climbs the rank of just one position, from eighth to seventh (1'12"939). Starting ninth, Russell improves a bit and takes the eighth position, followed by Ricciardo (1'14"062). Perez finishes his lap in second position, at +0.385 to Leclerc, until Max steals it with 1'12"993. Currently, there is a tiny gap between Leclerc, Verstappen, and Perez. Hamilton improves much: from the fourteenth position, he scores 1'23"484 and takes the sixth. Leclerc tries again and scores two purple sectors, closing in -0.370 less (1'12"569). While Sainz takes P2 in 1'12"616. From the fourth position, Perez tries again but without improving (+0.435) and maintains P4 behind Verstappen. At 5 minutes to the end of the Q1, the driver at risk is Albon (1'14"798), while Vettel (+0.147), Zhou, Latifi, Bottas, and Schumacher are in the drop zone. However, Mick finishes his lap and scores 1'13"469, improving considerably and taking the seventh position. Albon finishes in P8, putting Stroll in the drop zone. Magnussen finishes in fifth position, making Tsunoda slip into the elimination zone (P16). Stroll tries again and scores -0.754, compared to Tsunoda’s time, and manages to take temporarily P11 in 1'13"678. Latifi scores +0.377 compared to Ocon’s time, which gradually slipped into P15. Nicolas improves a bit and finishes in 1'14"750 but still remains in the drop zone (P16). Vettel manages to take the twelfth position (+1.220) before Norris, and Bottas closes his lap in 1'13"541 in P9. With a -0.246 in the second sector, Russell takes the third position (1'12"787) with a 0.218’s gap to Leclerc. At 2 minutes and 25 seconds to the end of Q1, the red flag starts to wave.
"I hit the barriers".
Says Tsunoda to his team but he manages to come back to the pit lane. Therefore, the session will resume at 16.20. Leclerc gets off from his car, as he will no longer drive through the last instants of the Q1. Session starts again and Albon (P11) starts his lap. He scores +0.344 in the first sector, +1.012 in the second, and +1.042 but he does not improve and remains in P11. Hamilton missed the chance to try a new lap because he could not make it before the checkered flag started to wave. Latifi does not improve and remains eighteenth, in contrast to Vettel who manages to take the seventh position while Stroll remains in P17. Norris really improves from P15 to P4 with 1'12"927. His teammate Ricciardo manages to save from the drop zone and takes the ninth position (1'13"338). Ocon does a kind of magic and takes the fourth position with 1'12"040, putting Gasly within the elimination zone, while Tsunoda qualifies for Q2 in P9 (1'13"110). The countdown stops and Q1 finishes. Leclerc is in P1 (1'12"569), followed by Sainz (+0.047), Russell (+0.210), Ocon (+0.279), Norris (+0.358), Verstappen (+0.424), and Perez (+0.435). Magnussen is eighth (+0.500) and at his back there are Tsunoda (+0.541), Vettel (+0.744), Ricciardo (+0.769), Alonso (+0.825), and Hamilton (+0.875). The last driver to qualify for Q2 are Schumacher (+0.900) and Bottas (+0.972). The drivers who do not drive in Q2 are Albon (+1.042), Gasly (+1.091), Stroll (+1.109) Latifi (+1.834), and Zhou (+3.037).
Says Zhou. Alex Albon gets off his car and looks disappointed, as he was in a very good position:
"It’s a very frustrating result; I feel like we had much more to offer today. It’s such a tight window to get the tyres in the right place, and something like a red flag really disrupts our progress as everything cools down. I was happy with the laps that I did put in and the car felt good, so from that perspective it’s an even more frustrating day. These street tracks do seem to suit our car, so I think we were all hoping for more, but we’ll go again tomorrow and it’s possible that the weather may present some opportunities".
Nicholas Latifi complains about the car balance during all the three sessions of the free practices, which made difficult to have smooth free practice sessions, and finally found a good balance during the qualifying:
"In the free practice sessions I was never comfortable with the car balance and only by qualifying did I get what I needed. That meant that I went into qualifying with a different car from FP1, FP2 and FP3, and it was a case of starting again to find the limits of a car. The car was much better in qualifying, and I was discovering a car that I felt had much more potential in and a lot more lap time but at the end, we had the red flag. It’s frustrating, I know I need to do better, and we also need to understand these issues with the car and reduce compromising our qualifying".
Williams Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, explains that the team has made some improvements on the car overnight, which had positive results, especially for Alex in FP3. However, the red flag frustrated their efforts:
"We managed to improve the car again overnight and Alex particularly was very comfortable in FP3. We had a good plan for Q1 and both drivers had good opportunities on a clear track. The late red flag was very frustrating as it cost us the chance of setting our final lap when the track and tyres were in the best possible state. We led the pack out for the final lap scramble after the flag, but we couldn’t get the tyres back into the ideal state and although both drivers improved, it wasn’t quite enough to qualify for Q2. It is going to be hard to race from 16th and 19th on the grid, however, with a risk of showers tomorrow, anything may yet happen".
Pierre Gasly is disappointed to have wasted the opportunity to get through Q2 today as they were fast all the weekend. He complains about the team’s strategy in particular:
"I’m extremely frustrated today. We’ve been fast all weekend up until Quali, so it’s disappointing to have thrown this opportunity away. I’m not happy with the strategic calls we made today, and then we left the pitlane too late in Q1 and didn’t manage to cross the line before the red light came out. We need to go away and look at everything, as we had the pace to fight for top six and, in the end, we’re not starting in the position we deserve to be in".
Lance Stroll thanks his team for the huge effort to have repaired his car after the practice and says:
"First of all, I want to say thank you and well done to everyone in the garage for repairing my car after practice. It was a big push to get everything fixed in time for qualifying. Unfortunately, qualifying was frustrating: I went off the track at Turn 13 after taking too much of the kerb and my lap was over. It is a shame because I was four tenths up on my best time up to that point. The car has potential, so it is disappointing to qualify 18th".
Finally, Zhou Guanyu is sad because he could not set a time with the second set of tyres because the red flag started to wave a few seconds before he completed his lap:
"It’s a very frustrating and disappointing result: the red flag coming out just seconds before I finished my lap meant I was the only one who couldn’t set a time with the second set of tyres and, on a street circuit like Monaco, with strong track evolution, I never stood a chance with the first lap. The slow exit from the pit lane of the cars in front of me when we got a green flag again meant I couldn’t get another attempt and that was it. It hasn’t been the smoothest weekend so far, but I am confident we can get together and figure out a way forward with the team. We’re going to put our heads down and do our best for tomorrow’s race. The weather could play a part, so we’ll go out and try to salvage a good result".
The Q2 starts at 16.30. Verstappen gets into the track and scores 19.236 in the first sector, 53.571 in the second, and takes P1 temporarily with 1'12"551. However, Sainz overthrows him as he scores 1'12"074, (-0.477). Sainz’s lead lasts few as Checo with -0.015, takes P1 (1'12"059) while Norris with 1'12"911 is in fourth. Leclerc approaches the finish line and scores +0.33, taking the third position. Hamilton seemed to have started his first fast lap but he scores +9.693 so he raises his foot from the pedal to try it again. Vettel scores 1'13"134 and takes the sixth position, followed by Bottas. Ricciardo is ninth at +2.485. Hamilton tries again and finishes in P5 with -11.178 from Schumacher’s 1'24"021. Russell scores -6.881 in the second sector, compared to Schumacher’s 1.00.417, and takes the P7 in 1'22"917. with a +0.858 gap to Perez. At ten minutes to the end of Q2 and the two Haas are back on track. Magnussen, starting from P12, climbs to the top 10 in P9, scoring -0.697 compared to Tsunoda’s time. In contrast, his teammate does not complete his lap and raises his foot. Alonso tries again: from P15, he finishes in P5 beating both Hamilton and Norris. His teammate Ocon scores +0.633 in the second sector,-0.089, and takes the ninth position, putting Vettel at risk. Bottas tries again and improves his time but not his position, therefore remaining in P12. Meanwhile, Verstappen, Sainz, and Leclerc try again. Max scores +0.233 in the second sector and finishes in P4 with a +0.294 gap to Perez. Sainz finishes the second sector in +2.348 and raises his foot before completing the lap. Leclerc scores a purple in the first sector, -0.244 compared to Perez’s 53.079 in the second, and takes the lead with -0.195
"I told you rears are not ready".
Says Hamilton complaining about his tyres high temperature. Five minutes remain before the end of Q2. He tries again and finishes the first sector in +0.269. However, he raises his foot and does not complete his lap. Ricciardo scores -0.048 in the second sector, compared to Vettel’s time, and finishes in -0.067 in P10, putting Vettel into the drop zone. Norris climbs into the P4. However, it lasts a few, as Tsunoda takes the fourth position and makes Ricciardo slip again into the drop zone. At two minutes to the end of Q2, Verstappen gets back to the track. Russell does the same, and scores +0.593 in the second sector, finishing in 1'12"617 and climbing the rank from P9 to P6. Magnussen takes the tenth position and puts Ocon into the elimination zone.
Mick Schumacher does not improve and remains in P13. Esteban Ocon tries again, scores -0.065 in the second sector, and he finishes in sixth position (1'12"528), putting Kevin Magnussen into the drop zone. With 1'12"595, Lewis Hamilton climbs from P9 to P7. From P14, Sebastian Vettel takes P8 with -0.184, compared to Yuki Tsunoda’s time, making the AlphaTauri’s driver slip in P11. Valtteri Bottas improves but not enough to save himself from the elimination zone, as he goes up from P15 to P12 in 1'12"909. Tsunoda tries to save from the drop zone but does not improve. Max Verstappen is one of the last driver to cross the finish line. He completes his last Q2 lap in 1'12"117 in fourth position. The Q2 stops and Leclerc is in P1 (1'21"864), followed by Perez (+0.090), Sainz (+0.210), Verstappen (+0.253), Lando Norris (+0.402), and Esteban Ocon (+0.664). Lewis Hamilton is in P7 (+0.731). At his back, the last drivers to qualify for Q3 are Sebastian Vettel (+0.749), George Russell (+0.753), and Fernando Alonso (1.12.688). Well done, says Sebastian Vettel to his radio team. Yuki Tsunoda is in P11 (+0.109), Valtteri Bottas (+0.221), Kevin Magnussen (+0.233), Daniel Ricciardo (+0.276), and Mick Schumacher (+0.393) did not manage to make it through the Q3. Yuki Tsunoda is sad about today’s performance, as he damaged the front left of his car and compromised also Pierre’s qualifying:
"I’m disappointed with today. I touched the barriers in Q1 and damaged the front left of the car. The red flag allowed us to get back to the garage, however there was still some damage on the car and that impacted my performance I believe. Unfortunately, this also compromised Pierre’s Quali and he was unable to get through Q1 - it’s a real shame as I think both cars had the potential to be in Q3 today. I think our best chances of scoring points tomorrow with both cars is to have a wet race, so let’s see what happens".
Jody Egginton, Alpha Tauri’s Technical Director, explains that the cars were working well and the drivers were building solid performances before Yuki touched the barriers:
"Until Qualifying, we’d been having a good weekend, the car was working well, the drivers were taking it step-by-step and putting in strong performances. Unfortunately, in Q1 we had a red flag late on, due to Yuki touching a barrier, which meant that everyone came into the pits for one final push lap before the end of the session. The problem was that we were not out close enough to the front of this pack. This meant that we were tight on margin for getting both drivers across the line before the chequered flag and Pierre missed it by one second. At the end of the day, we just needed to get him out slightly earlier. Now, we need to go away and look at why this was, because in a midfield this competitive we can’t be throwing away any advantages. We’ve missed a really good opportunity today to get both cars into the top 10. The drivers and the team definitely deserved that today, and the car was good enough. If you’d asked me before Quali I would’ve said that I wanted a dry, clean race with both cars coming home in the points, but now I have mixed emotions and might prefer a wet race. However, if Yuki gets a good start tomorrow, he can move up into the points, it’s difficult to overtake round here but we’ll make sure we’re in a position to take every opportunity we can. For Pierre, we need something different to happen and hope we can take advantage of it".
Valtteri Bottas think that he had a good rhythm and the car was well balanced during the quali even if he missed a session yesterday:
"We did not expect to miss out on Q3, but we turned out to be not as competitive as we expected. Despite missing a session yesterday, I feel I managed to get into a good rhythm: the car was balanced and felt good, the last lap in Q2 was really good as well. I think we probably got as much as we could: we lacked a bit of pace, not in any particular corner but overall. It’s disappointing as we thought this would be a strong track for us, but we’re still not far off the points: it’s going to be a long day tomorrow, with the threat of rain as well, so everything can happen. Hopefully we can put up a good fight and bring home another top ten finish".
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, says that the team has to understand what happened today, as their expectations for this weekend do not match with the reality:
"Today’s result falls short of our expectations, and our first objective will be to understand the reasons for it. Qualifying was a messy session in which some episodes went against us, but at the same time we were not as competitive as we hoped we would be. Zhou was meters away from setting a really good time in Q1 when the red flag was thrown, invalidating his lap; at the restart, we were bottled behind a queue of cars and that prevented him from having another attempt. Valtteri suffered the same situation, but was able to clear Q1: in Q2, he delivered a good lap, but P12 was the maximum we could achieve. Of course, these are not ideal places to start, especially in Monaco, but it’s going to be a long race tomorrow and we’ll give everything to move up".
Kevin Magnussen hopes that it will rain during tomorrow’s race:
"It’s been looking good, and the car felt good but it just didn’t happen in Q2. I would like some rain from this position as it would be nice to have some spice and a bit more of an eventful race so we can have the chance to come forward. I think the pace is there in the car - fingers crossed for a wet day tomorrow".
Mick Schumacher says that he missed Q3 just for a few tenths because of the tiny gap between the car in the group his teammate and him were:
"It’s very unfortunate that the group which we were in was very tight together. I think we were like three or fourth tenths off Q3 in that case, so I think if from my side I nailed that second sector, for sure we would’ve got close to it, but there are those days where it just seems that there’s a little bit missing, but it’s a lot of fun. We missed a lot of FP1, which meant we were always on the backfoot, but I felt especially for qualifying we didn’t move on the set-up and personally for me it felt like it was the right direction and it paid off in the sense that it will definitely help for the race set-up. We’ll see where we end up - tomorrow’s weather conditions look interesting which can help us make that step into the points".
Haas Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, explains that they hoped to qualify for Q3 after seeing the perfomance of both drivers in FP3 but:
"Following our FP3 performance we were hoping to get into Q3 with both cars and then a few unfortunate things happened, a few little mistakes on track and we were out in Q2. We know we’ve got the speed in the car, the drivers are convinced of that and the whole team is convinced. Tomorrow, we will still be fighting, as much as we know it will be very difficult here as there’s very little overtaking, but there’s a chance of rain and there’s always a chance of a red flag at some stage, hopefully not involving us".
Daniel Ricciardo is disappointed with his result:
"It’s not the result I wanted. I was just trying to get back into the flow of it in FP3, and then we made a few set-up changes for qualifying. Q1 felt a bit more competitive, and I think we did some decent laps. There were a couple of mistakes here and there, but I felt like the pace was in it at the time. And then Q2, when everyone was able to make that step, I struggled to get more out of the car and felt I was at the limit. We’ll keep at it and hopefully it rains tomorrow".
At 4:53 p.m., the green light turns on for the third and last time in this qualifying. The drivers have 12 minutes to take the best position within the top ten. The team radio says to Carlos Sainz that he must push as much as possible to prepare the tyres for his best lap. Charles Leclerc is the first to start and scores 18.872 in the first sector, 52.610 in the second, and finishes in 1'11"376. His teammate closes his lap at +0.255 gap to Charles Leclerc, in the second position. Max Verstappen goes third in 1.11.666 until Sergio Perez manages to take it from him (+0.253) and makes Max Verstappen slip of one position. Hamilton scores in the second sector +0.762 compared to Leclerc’s time, and finishes in +1.184 in sixth position. George Russell takes P7, at Lewis Hamilton’s back (+1.259). Sebastian Vettel takes P8 in 1'12"732 while the two Alpine try again. Fernando Alonso finishes in 1'22"247, taking P5, while Esteban Ocon scores +0.929 in the second sector, and finishes in 1'23"047 in tenth position. Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen try again. Sergio Perez closes the second sector in +0.578, and finishes in P3 (+2.811) at five minutes to the end of this qualifying. Max Verstappen starts his lap at 3.50 to the end: he scores +0.257 in the first sector and +0.361 in the second, without improving his position. Lando Norris climbs from P6 to P5 (+0.473). Russell gets +0.387 in the second sector, and finishes in P6 (+0.736) before Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Esteban Ocon.
At 1 minute to the end, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez start their final laps. Charles Leclerc scores -0.165 in the first sector, while Sergio Perez +0.046. Suddenly the yellow flag starts to wave in the second sector: before entering the tunnel, Sergio Perez crashed into the left barriers. Carlos Sainz did not see the yellow flag in time, so when he noticed Sergio Perez it was late and he crashed into him, hitting his front right tire. Thus, the yellow flag turns into a red flag at 30 seconds to the end and the FIA stewards announce that the session will not be resumed. Sorry, says Sergio Perez to his team with a sad voice. A few instants after, Fernando Alonso also crashes into the wall in the first sector. The Q3 ends and Charles Leclerc is in pole position (1.21.376), followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz (+0.225), Sergio Perez (+0.253), and Max Verstappen (+0.290). Lando Norris gets P5 (+0.473), followed by George Russell (+0.736), Fernando Alonso (+0.871), Lewis Hamilton (+1.184) Sebastian Vettel (+1.356), and Esteban Ocon in P10 (+1.671). At the end of the qualyfing, Charles Leclerc is happy with this weekend’s performance so he pushed a bit more in Q3:
"I am very pleased with our overall performance so far this weekend. I felt confident in the car and started pushing a bit more in Q3. The first lap was good. I think that the second was one of the best laps I have ever done in qualifying. It was so much fun to drive and I was really on the limit. I had a lot of oversteer, so the rear was quite loose. Still, I knew that the lap was coming together nicely and that felt particularly good. It’s a shame that I couldn’t finish it, but this is Monaco and we know that the final attempt is always at risk of yellow or red flags. We secured pole anyway, so I am really happy. Whatever the conditions are tomorrow, we will start from the best place possible and will do everything to finish the weekend as smoothly as it has gone so far".
Carlos Sainz is happy with his P2, especially because of the traffic he met in his flying lap:
"It was a great build up throughout qualifying today, especially up until Q3 when unfortunately things got a bit messier. On my first attempt I had to overtake both Mercedes during my flying lap and I left a couple of tenths on the table, especially overtaking Hamilton at the swimming pool. However, I was confident for the second attempt until obviously Perez crashed in front of me. I did all I could to react quickly and avoid the crash, but it was too late. Things like this can happen in Monaco and unfortunately I was caught up in it again. Overall, P2 is a decent position to start on Sunday and it’s a good day for the team with another front row lock-out and a good opportunity to score solid points tomorrow. Let’s race".
The fact that both cars are on the pole and were on the pace the Monaco’s circuit show that Ferrari has produced a good car, and Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Racing Director, says:
"We are very pleased with how qualifying went. The Monaco circuit is one of a kind and the fact that, even here the F1-75 was very much on the pace, shows that Maranello has produced a really good car. Congratulations to all the team and the drivers who were excellent. The Monaco weekend is always particularly tricky and Charles and Carlos dealt well with the pressure and the traffic, managing to make the car and tyres work at their best. Once again, Charles produced a superlative performance and, but for the red flag, could have gone even quicker. Right from the start of free practice, Carlos demonstrated that he had a great feeling for the car which allowed him to qualify on the front row, which will be very important for tomorrow. Unfortunately, on his second run in Q3, he spun to avoid Sergio Perez who had crashed just before the tunnel. There’s no denying we got a fright seeing the two cars stuck across the track and we hoped the red flags would come out as soon as possible. Fortunately, neither driver was hurt and now we will give the F1-75 a thorough check to ascertain the extent of the damage. We can expect a very long race tomorrow, which could be particularly tricky if it rains. Tonight, we will work on preparing for every eventuality. There are a lot of fans here supporting us and Charles in particular and we want to give them something to cheer about".
Sergio Perez is disappointed with how he ended the Q3, although he manages to remain in P3:
"I knew the timed lap in Q3 was very important but the outlap was even more so, with people not respecting the delta and so I ended up in the final sector with tyres that were too cold and I nearly lost it in turn one. I was thinking the tyre would pick up grip and warm up but it just didn’t and it’s a big shame what happened. I was losing lap time in turn eight so I tried to anticipate the corner very early but it just didn’t work and while, it is frustrating to end the day like this, we have still qualified in the top three in Monaco. I am very sorry for my Team, it is going to be a long night for them but hopefully we can recover and be back tomorrow. It was just a precautionary check in the medical centre, I am all ok and now I am looking forward to tomorrow. I am on the good side of the grid so I would like to gain one or two positions, it will be tricky but I am up for the fight. It could be a wet track tomorrow so anything can really happen".
Max Verstappen complains about his pace during the weekend and the lack of perfect balance. In Q3, he could have done better but he did not manage to set a better time because he found traffic jam:
"In general my pace this weekend has been a bit of a struggle, I never really found the perfect balance. We were on for a good final lap in Q3, I was pushing to the limit on the last lap until I got to the corner where I hit a little traffic jam! It was very unfortunate as I think we could have done better than fourth, not pole position, because I think that Charles is too far ahead, but I think we could have at least got second place. That’s Monaco for you though, it’s completely unpredictable and there’s always a risk of a red flag when everyone is trying to risk it all. I think I need to do a little rain dance tonight, shake it up a bit for the race tomorrow because in the dry you cannot pass around here".
The final moments of Q3 were interrupted by a red flag when Perez crashed into the barrier at Portier. Carlos Sainz hit into the stricken Red Bull seconds later, but the incident also impacted Verstappen's lap. The Dutchman was brought to a complete stop as the red flags were thrown to clear the blocked road. Verstappen added that improvements were possible thanks to a different approach to the final run, but the crash ended his hopes of improving on a fourth-place grid start. The Netherlands driver came to a stop at the scene of the crash and exclaimed in frustration on his radio, then told his team:
"This shouldn’t be allowed. Otherwise it’s just better to do your lap and then just bin it into the wall".
Red Bull Racing Team Prinicipal, Christian Horner, is disappointed to see how the qualifying ended as both drivers could have improved a little:
"It was a shame at the end there as both drivers had the ability to improve a little and unfortunately Checo made a small mistake and that had a concertina effect with Max as well, but third and fourth we can still race from there. We’ll get the car back and see what the damage is, but this year of course, like engines, you have three gearboxes you can use for the year without a penalty. Naturally Checo is frustrated as he has been on it all weekend and was hoping for me today, and it was also frustrating for Max as that’s the second consecutive year he’s missed out on a final flying lap. But the race is tomorrow and there could be some rain around, also safety cars, so it will all about positioning in the first corner and I am sure Ferrari will be synchronised, so let’s see what happens tomorrow".
Lando Norris is happy with today’s result as it was the maximum he could have achieved:
"I’m happy with today. I think it was the maximum we could achieve. The car was good all weekend and I think today we showed that we extracted a lot out of the car, and we put in some good laps. It wasn’t quite enough to be ahead of the top two teams but good enough to be ahead of everyone else, which is always the next step. So, I’m happy but there is one more job to do tomorrow. The focus is to try and go forward if possible - but it’s difficult - so we will try to stay where we are as a minimum and get some good points".
McLaren team principal, Andreas Seidl, has mixed feeling regarding both drivers’ performance. He is satisfied with Norris' P5 as it is a great result:
"Mixed feelings after the Monaco qualifying for us. Starting the race tomorrow in P5 is a great result of the work the entire team has put into the development of the car with the updated package we brought to Barcelona. Lando felt comfortable around here from the first run onwards yesterday and delivered great laps when required. Unfortunately, Daniel couldn’t progress into Q3 and starts the race from P14 tomorrow. Big thank you to his crew for repairing the car overnight after the crash yesterday and having it ready again for FP3 today. The weather forecast could spice up things for tomorrow. Maximum focus now on preparation for the race as we want to be ready with both cars for any opportunities that come our way".
On Daniel Ricciardo, he says that he could not qualify in Q3 so he will start from P14 tomorrow:
"It’s not the result I wanted. I was just trying to get back into the flow of it in FP3, and then we made a few set-up changes for qualifying. Q1 felt a bit more competitive, and I think we did some decent laps. There were a couple of mistakes here and there, but I felt like the pace was in it at the time. And then Q2, when everyone was able to make that step, I struggled to get more out of the car and felt I was at the limit. We’ll keep at it and hopefully it rains tomorrow".
George Russell finds that the biggest issue was the ride of the car, so P6 is the maximum they could get with the current Mercedes’ package:
"The ride of the car has been our biggest limitation all weekend and while P6 is not a result to be celebrating, I think we pretty much maximised it out there with the package we have. The team has worked incredibly hard to give us the most compliant set-up possible, but we saw in Barcelona that our strengths were speed on the straights and the high-speed corners - and there's none of either in Monaco! So looking at it objectively, there's no reason we should be any higher up today. From my point of view, looking to tomorrow I'm thinking: bring on the rain! Nobody knows how the tyres will be in the wet, so we need to keep it out of the wall, be there at the end and roll the dice on strategy if we can".
The red flags cost me my final lap, but I don't think it was going to be much different to how it turned out anyway, says Lewis Hamilton:
"In hindsight, I needed to get lap one on the tyres and I didn't, after starting the lap in the wrong engine mode. But Monaco is just like that, and it was an unfortunate session. The car feels pretty bad out there and we're having to take some big risks to get anywhere near the times of the cars in front. We improved the car from yesterday and got a little bit closer, but even with a perfect lap I think we'd still be six tenths off, which is a decent chunk. Now we need to see what the weather does tomorrow and try to make some progress up the field".
Toto Wolff says that the way Q3 ended is not something new in Monaco and:
"That was a typically chaotic Monaco qualifying session, and at the end George got his lap done and Lewis missed out because of the red flags, which maybe cost him a position on the grid tomorrow. But I think George's result shows where the pace of the car is this weekend - Monaco has never been the easiest place for us, and that's been true again this year. The race pace looked stronger than the single lap in practice, but it's hard to make it count here, as we know. But it looks like the weather will mix things up for tomorrow, so let's see how it turns out and whether we can make the most of the opportunities that might come our way".
The trackside engineering director at the Mercedes, Andrew Shovlin finds that today was difficult for all the team, as it has been difficult to work on the cars and the ride issues made it difficult to feel confident in the car:
"A difficult day for the team and drivers; the car hasn't been easy to work with here and the ride issues that we have suffered from have made it difficult for George and Lewis to have confidence in the car. We tried most things on the tyres and in the end, we were able to switch them on okay with sector one being our best sector. By the middle of the lap though we'd drop off the pace a bit through a mixture of some overheating and the fact that the ride issues cost more in the final two sectors. 6th and 8th are not great places to be from starting tomorrow and while our race pace seemed good on Friday, it's difficult to make use of it if you are in traffic. It's rarely a straightforward race here so there may be some opportunities that come our way with the strategy and the weather forecast looks like it may bring a bit of rain which, with our grid positions, we'd be quite happy for".
Esteban Ocon is happy with today’s results, especially after having struggled during the three free practice:
"After three difficult free practice sessions where performance was lacking, it’s a great feeling to get to Q3 in Monaco. We knew qualifying was key today, so the focus was always to get the set up right after testing different things over yesterday and today. I do have mixed feelings, though, as I was on for a great final lap before the incident, which stopped the session. Nevertheless, we showed that the pace was there, and we managed to extract it when it mattered, so great job by the team. We’ve got both cars on the top ten tomorrow and we are most likely expecting some rain, so it’s going to be interesting and we know in this sport that anything can happen".
Fernando Alonso thinks that the team could have done better:
"Even though we made a big improvement with the car for today and position-wise it’s a good qualifying, we could have been even better. On the first attempt in Q3, I was fifth and with the track evolution I think we could have kept this position for tomorrow. Unfortunately, I locked up under braking for Mirabeau. In Monaco when you lose concentration, even for a second, it can have a big impact, so I apologise to the team. Nevertheless, we need to see tomorrow and if the rain comes as it could be very chaotic, with lots of safety cars and red flags. If it does rain, I’m sure it will be great to watch on TV, but very stressful inside the car".
Alpine Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, is happy to have both cars in the top ten because they have made several improvements during the free practices and qualifying:
"We’re pleased to have both our cars inside the top ten today, especially as we were able to make vast improvements from Friday, through this afternoon’s practice session, and into an important qualifying session. There was potential to be even higher up the grid than seventh and tenth, but we weren’t able to put together the laps in Q3, which ended early with the red flag. Sometimes it happens like this and we’ll review what we can do to ensure we maximise our performance potential at future races. Fernando had a small off with some damage sustained to his car. It’s fairly minor especially in comparison to how big crashes can be around Monaco, so the car will be fixed and ready for tomorrow’s race. There is some uncertainty in the forecast, which we’ll keep an eye on. Rain or dry, though, we’ve put ourselves in a strong position to score strongly with both cars".
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Principal, says he feels two different sensations:
"Mixed feelings for us today: Lance was on a good lap in Q1 when he went slightly off-line on the entry to the Swimming Pool and thereby lost the opportunity to progress through to Q2. As a result he will line up in P18 for tomorrow’s race. Sebastian did a great job to get through to Q3 and he had posted the ninth-fastest Q3 time when the session was stopped owing to the accidents that were blocking the track. Our target for tomorrow is to score solid points".
Finally, Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, explains that today’s qualifying was straightforward, as the soft tyres were the key ones due to the weather’s conditions. There were no interroputions except the red flags in Q1 and Q3:
"From our point of view, it was a straightforward qualifying, with the soft tyre used from start to finish and no significant interruptions despite the red flags at the beginning and end of the sessions. The track continued to evolve, so finding a gap in the traffic at the right time was as always the key today. Although there was a bit more cloud cover than we saw earlier, temperatures were still quite high. Now the focus switches to the race, with a chance of rain forecast and maybe cooler temperatures. Whatever happens, a variety of strategies is possible, with all three of the compounds having already showed that they have an important role to play. The soft was an essential ingredient to qualifying, but with the wear that’s been noted, the medium and hard tyres are likely to be the focus of the race tomorrow".
Sunday, May 29, 2022, is the day of the Monaco Grand Prix. Right before the start, lots of grey-flecked clouds cover the sky of the Principality, bothering Charles Leclerc who is about to start his home race from pole position. Team mate Carlos Sainz is in the front row too, while Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen are respectively second and third. Rain hits the circuit minutes before the start. The drivers initially opt to mount intermediate wet tires, but the consistency of the precipitation forces them to switch to full wets. The rain leads to an initial postponement of the start at 3:09 p.m., then at 3:16 p.m. In addition, race management schedules a reconnaissance lap behind the safety car. At the end of two formation laps the red flag is shown, which postpones the start. The Grand Prix starts about an hour later than planned due to a problem with the traffic light system on the finish line. Taking into account the double formation lap, the race is also shortened by one lap. The rain has, in the meantime, ceased but the track is still very wet, so much so that the cars mount extreme wet tires.
At 4:05 p.m. the start, without a formation lap, is given behind the safety car, which remains on the track for two laps. While under the safety car Nicholas Latifi goes long at the hairpin, while Lance Stroll hits the barriers at Massenet. Both are forced into the pits. Over an hour after it was originally scheduled, the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix starts: Leclerc takes the command, followed by team mate Sainz, Perez and Verstappen. The track is improving lap by lap, allowing drivers to lower their lap limits, and advising them to put on intermediate wet tires. So does Pierre Gasly on lap four, who is the fastest in the race, but takes several laps to pass Zhou Guanyu, in the back positions, while Mick Schumacher do it on lap 5. Vettel is in tenth position, overtaken by Esteban Ocon, and pits on lap 7. The circuit is getting dry and this gives Leclerc a choice to make. On lap 10, he is 4.5 seconds ahead of Sainz, while Perez is called to pit but stays out on the wet compounds. On lap 12, Gasly is right on Zhou Guanyu’s tail for the thirteenth position and manage to pass the Alfa Romeo driver at the inside of Mirabeau, going to attack Daniel Ricciardo for the twelfth position. Two laps later, the AlphaTauri driver passes the McLaren into Swimming Pool.
"We are going to go straight to dry [tyres]".
Says Carlos Sainz, now five seconds off his team mate on lap 15. The spaniard driver refuses the tire change, wanting to wait for the moment to switch, directly, to slicks. Lewis Hamilton, in eighth position, pits on lap 16 to switch to intermediates, and emerges ninth. Sergio Perez is the next to pit: on lap 17 he goes for the green-walled tyres and emerges fourth behind Lando Norris. Now, Max Verstappen is right behind Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris goes for intermediates and emerges from the pits in seventh position. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton tries to overtake Esteban Ocon for the eight position, but touches the inside-right of the Alpine and takes front wing damage. In the meantime, Esteban Ocon gets a five-second penalty for the collision with Lewis Hamilton. At the front, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen pit on lap 18 for intermediates, leaving Carlos Sainz in the lead ahead of Sergio Perez. The battle between Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon continues, while Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz pit for hard tyres leaving the Red Bulls in front. Carlos Sainz emerges third and Charles Leclerc fourth.
As early as lap 21, the two Ferraris switch, along with the pits, to hard compound dry tires. The Monegasque driver gets angry as he is held up in the pits and loses further time with a tough out-lap, while a call to stay out on track comes too late for the home racer. This allows Sergio Pérez to take the lead, as Carlos Sainz finds himself in a slower car, which prevents him from maintaining the first position, when, on the next lap, Sergio Pérez also switches to dry tires. Soon after the Mexican also stops Max Verstappen. So now Sergio Perez is in the lead, followed by Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. The top four are very close, however, with Leclerc just over four seconds behind the new race leader. On lap 24, Carlos Sainz is right on Sergio Perez’s rear wing on the main straight: he is forced into the wet line, and then catches a snap of oversteer. On Lap 24, Mick Schumacher spins while he enters Swimming Pool, hitting the barriers hard, while the gearbox and rear of his car fly off. He is fortunately ok and walks away. Is called a Virtual Safety Car, then Safety Car. Now there is not a Haas on track: also Kevin Magnussen has retired on lap 19 due to a water pressure problem. The red flag is shown on lap 30, because barrier repairs take place. At the same time, the Stewards have noted Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen for crossing the pit exit line after their stops. During the pause, Mercedes swaps Lewis Hamilton’s front wing after his crash with Esteban Ocon.
There are also some tyre changes: Red Bull, Mercedes, Alpine, Williams. Yuki Tsunoda and Zhou Guanyu go for mediums while the rest, including Ferrari, chooses hard tyres. The race resumed at 5:15 p.m. under the safety car regime, but as there are still many laps to complete, forty-four, it is impossible for the drivers to close on the 77 laps planned. The race restarts on lap 33 and now there are only 30 minutes remaining until the chequered flag. Sergio Pérez maintains the lead of the Grand Prix at the restart, although he is forced into a wheel lock at the high Mirabeau. Carlos Sainz tries to get closer to the Mexican, but with no chance of overtaking. Behind him approaches Max Verstappen, pressed, in turn, by Charles Leclerc. Behind them are, detached, George Russell, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso who, very slow, forms a small platoon of cars behind him. On lap 51 Lando Norris returns to the pits, to mount medium tires. On the same lap Zhou Guanyu tries to pass Yuki Tsunoda, at the exit of the tunnel, but risks losing control of his Alfa Romeo. In the final laps Sergio Pérez suffers graining in the tires, which gives some hope of overtaking Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard comes close on several occasions to the Mexican, but without being able to impeach him. The lapping also gives the Spaniard no opportunity to pass. Perez manages to mantain the lead and wins by just 1.154s over Sainz. The Ferrari ends just 0.3 seconds ahead of third-place Verstappen. Says the fourth-place finisher Leclerc.
"No words, no words... The season is long but we cannot do that. We cannot do that".
Sergio Pérez wins his third career Grand Prix, ahead of Sainz Jr. and Verstappen. The Red Bull Racing driver becomes the Mexican with the most wins in Formula 1, surpassing Pedro Rodríguez. Pérez is the first Mexican to triumph in the Monaco Grand Prix, the first North American to win it since Gilles Villeneuve's victory in the 1981 edition. Red Bull Racing, which features two cars on the podium for the first time in Monaco in the turbo-hybrid era that began in the 2014 season, triumphs in the Principality for the third time in the last four appearances by mounting a different powertrain after TAG Heuer and Honda. Carlos Sainz finishes in second place for the second consecutive Monaco Grand Prix after only four second places in his career. For Ferrari's Spanish driver, it is the tenth career podium finish without a win. Ferrari stable presents a car in second position for the fourth consecutive race in this Grand Prix. Max Verstappen finishes the first race of the season without getting the win. Charles Leclerc, fourth, finishes his home Grand Prix for the first time in any category he has raced. Mercedes finishes with both cars outside the top four positions for the second consecutive Monaco Grand Prix.
Lando Norris, sixth, scores points for the fifth time in the last six races, while Fernando Alonso, seventh, scores points in Monaco for the first time in the 2016 edition. Hamilton finishes seventh and eighth in the last two editions of the race, finishing in the same position he has started in the last four consecutive races. Bottas' ninth-place finish, scoring points for the fifth consecutive race, including the Sprint at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, represents Alfa Romeo's best result at this track since the 2015 edition with the team's name changed to Sauber thanks to Felipe Nasr's fifth-place finish. Sebastian Vettel, in 10th place, finishes lower than fifth for the first time whenever he has finished the Monaco Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly fails to score points in the Principality for the first time in four starts, while Ricciardo, winner of the 2018 edition, fails to score points for the second year in a row. For the first time, both Haas cars are retired in the Monaco Grand Prix. Fifteen times were cancelled for drivers by the stewards for exceeding the track limits at Turn 10 and Turn 11 during the race. They were given time cancellations by Alexander Albon (three times, all at Turn 10), Pierre Gasly, George Russell and Zhou Guanyu (twice, all at Turn 10, once for Zhou Guanyu at Turn 11), Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz (once, all at Turn 10, except Magnussen at Turn 11).
Daniel Ricciardo skipped the stop for intermediates but finishes thirteenth, while Stroll takes the fourteenth position, after tapping the barriers behind the Safety Car on lap 2. Zhou drops to sixteenth for Alfa Romeo, while Tsunoda finishes seventh and last. Nicholas Latifi, who almost crashed at Sainte Devote on lap 10 and behind the lap 2 Safety Car, ends fifteenth for Williams. Alex Albon was the third to retire after the Haas drivers. Sergio Perez emerged from his last pit stop in the lead and kept it for the rest of the race:
"It was really hard for me to think straight after the race, I was full of adrenaline and so much energy going through the race. Once I heard my national anthem on the podium here it hit me, it is a dream come true for any driver in the world to tick that box in Monaco and I can just be extremely happy. We were quick all weekend, we kept our heads down and knew today with the right strategy we could make things happen. This win was for my mum and all my family, she was very sick last week so I had very good motivation going into this race to get her a victory. It’s been an incredible day, I am super happy for the whole Team and I hope my country are proud too. You don’t win Monaco many times in your life so the first one is very special".
Max Verstappen thanks the team for the great job done and the decisions taken:
"First of all congratulations to Checo, he did an incredible job today. As a Team we did a really great job, we managed a good strategy. Of course finishing third for me is not ideal but I wasn’t able to improve my lap time yesterday so that’s just how it goes. In the heat of the battle and with the hectic start, we stayed calm as a Team, we made good decisions. The strategy paid off with Checo winning so that was the biggest positive of the day. I’m really proud of the Team effort this weekend and to get two cars onto the podium".
Christian Horner is very happy for the Red Bull drivers’ performances:
"It has been an amazing day for us and an amazing day for Checo, he’s been on it all weekend so it’s a well deserved victory. The teamwork and for both of our drivers to pick off a Ferrari was fantastic. Checo is doing a great job this year, in Jeddah he had that amazing pole and the time delta between him and Max has been a lot closer this year. To win this race is a deserved victory. Max hasn’t quite had the car where he wanted this weekend, but he’s pleased with that result, he’s beaten Charles and kept his championship lead which was the goal. Through great teamwork from the drivers, on the pit wall, in the garage and back in Milton Keynes we optimised our performance this weekend, so we are very happy".
Charles Leclerc was the leader of the first part of the race, but then he lost out to Sainz after he did not pit for the intermediates and decided to pass from the wets to the slicks. He pitted, even if the teams told him to stay out, and ended fourth, behind Verstappen:
"I’m disappointed to have lost this win and it’s a tough one to take, especially at home. It will be important to understand exactly what happened to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. In the first pit stop, we went from extreme wets to Intermediates, and got undercut by Perez. Three laps later, I stopped again, behind Carlos, and lost two more positions. It’s just impossible to overtake in Monaco without taking huge risks, so I stayed put to bring home as many points as possible and I guess that fourth is the best we could do under these circumstances. Mistakes happen, unfortunately today we made too many. I love my team and I am sure that we will come back stronger".
After the pit stop, Carlos Sainz missed the opportunity to take the lead, so he ran just behind Perez and took the second position:
"It was a tough race but overall I cannot be too disappointed. We made the right call to go from wet tyres to slicks but unfortunately a lapped car in my out-lap cost me too much time and we missed the opportunity to take the lead. After my pit stop I rejoined right behind Perez and that was it. Overtaking here is extremely challenging and with some wet patches off the racing line it was even more difficult today. It is a tough one to digest, because the win was there for the taking, but I gave it my all out there and we’ll come back stronger as a team for the next double header. When you start with your two cars on the front row and you don’t win, it means something went wrong from our side. I think we made a few poor decisions and we paid the price".
Harsh words those of Mattia Binotto, who underlines the necessity of learning form the mistakes:
"I am sorry for Charles, because it’s his home race, so it was particularly important for him, as indeed it was for all of us. There were other elements that affected today’s result, such as the traffic that both our drivers encountered when they rejoined the track after their pit stops, a factor that probably cost Carlos the win. Mistakes can happen, but it’s important to learn from them and take it as an opportunity to improve. Over the next few days, we will analyse this race in detail, as part of our preparation for the upcoming back-to-back races in Azerbaijan and Canada".
Concluding the race, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, lodged a protest against Red Bull, alleging that both cars went over the line at the pit exit, asking for a five-second penalty, in reference to the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, and a clarification of the rules.
"As Ferrari we are disappointed because we think there was clear breach of regulations on the two Red Bulls for going on the yellow line exiting the pits. I think it was not close. He was on the line and if you look at the sporting code, the wording says crossing. Then we had a clarification at Turkey in 2020 to avoid any discussions and, if you look at the race driver notes, it says staying to the right: so staying on the line is breaching the race director notes. I think that each single team has the task to follow the race directors' notes. It is clear and we are still seeking clarification with the FIA".
But the stewards dismissed both protests after Ferrari conceded that the Red Bull cars tyres' did not go over the white line. The race director's notes had been wrongly copied and pasted from 2021, and the rule had been changed from 2021 from "any part of the car" to "any tyre of the car" may not cross the line; had the rules not changed, Verstappen would have broken the rule. The FIA, underwent further criticism, including by Formula One owners and Hamilton, for delaying the start. FIA Formula 1 race director Eduardo Freitas admitted this change to the ISC had not been reflected in the pre-race Event Notes issued to teams ahead of the Monaco race.
"The race director stated that… the notes were a cut and paste from the 2021 version of the Notes and hence had not been changed to reflect the 2022 Appendix L changes".
The stewards explained. Mattia Binotto called attention to the event notes in their protest. However, the stewards noted, it is the ISC which carries force.
"Article 2.1 of the 2022 Formula One Sporting Regulations provides that All officials undertake to observe all the provisions of the Code the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations. This places an obligation on the race director - and the stewards - to comply with those regulations. Accordingly, the notes issued by the race director cannot contradict the Code or the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations".
Having clarified the fact, there remains the chronicle of the race. Which saw George Russell managed to take off Norris the fifth position and, after that, he had a lonely race and ended in the top five:
"That was a tough afternoon out there, very physical with the bumpy ride of the car, and a long afternoon across a range of conditions. It was tricky in the wet, holding onto the wet tyres for as long as possible, then I had a nice dice with Lando after the stops - and some strong pace on the hard tyre. It was tough on the medium in the second part of the race, with a lot of graining towards the end, but P5 is still a decent result. We encountered some of the limitations of our car at this track, but we've learned a lot and can put that to good use in the coming weeks to take another step forward. Overall, it's a decent result and I'm confident that we've got stronger days ahead of us".
Lewis Hamilton was right behind Ocon in the early stages of the race and, when he tried to overtake him into Sainte Devote, damaged his front wing. Then, the Alpine driver pitted and Hamilton found himself behind Alonso for the rest of the race:
"That was one of those days in Monaco - stuck behind other cars for most of the race and, in the end, just cruising but not able to overtake. I was glad when the rain came because that usually creates opportunities, unfortunately it didn't play out that way and we couldn't get past Ocon when I was running on the intermediates. It's been a tough weekend and I've had some unlucky situations, like the red flag in qualifying, so I'm looking forward now to turning the page and heading to Baku. It's a different kind of track, even though there are some similarities to the slow corners here in Monaco, but hopefully we can move forward and show a better level of performance like we saw in Barcelona".
Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, argues that the layout of circuit has to be modified, because the races in Monaco are chaotic:
"That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco - and once again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit layout, so people can't drive round five seconds off the pace in a procession. This is a fantastic venue and spectacle - but it would be great if the racing could be at the same level. With the length of the race, and the delays and interruptions, it felt more like an NFL game than a Grand Prix - but I'm not sure that much else could have been done. We need to give the race directors credit for managing a difficult situation; the rain at the beginning was torrential, then there was an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast which meant we couldn't get going. When we finally did, it was a strong afternoon for George - and a really frustrating one for Lewis. There were the laps stuck with Esteban, who got penalised for the collision, then the slow pace from Alonso, without which Lewis could have been racing Lando and George. It was another reminder that track position is everything here - and that we are the third team on the road. We have learned some important lessons about the car this weekend, and that learning will be the basis of rebuilding our performance to fight again at the front of the field".
Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin affirms that this track highlighted Mercedes’ issues:
"It's been a frustrating weekend for the team and drivers, we weren't anywhere near quick enough on one lap but even in the race we didn't have enough pace. George did a good job to take P5 from Lando on the dry transition and also to hold him behind at the end of the race; luckily, he was only there for one lap. Lewis had a tough time sandwiched between the Alpines for most of the race - we just couldn't find a way of putting him in free air without him needing to overtake which is near impossible. It also seemed that the cold conditions were making life quite difficult for the tyres and both our cars dropped off towards the end of the race. We've clearly got work to do ahead of Baku as there are a lot of similarities between the cornering sections and this track has highlighted our weaknesses".
Lando Norris was running fifth at the start, but then he pitted and was passed by Geroge Russell. Then, he stopped again for a free set of tyres, and gained the bonus point for fastest lap:
"It was a good day for me. We lost out to the Mercedes in the first pit-stops which was a close call, but you win some, you lose some, and in this case today we just lost out. I think the team did a really good job, I had a competitive car and it was an enjoyable race; it’s impossible to describe what it’s like to drive an F1 car around Monaco in the rain - it's very tough. We have a lot of things to review now as a team to try to do better for next time, but we still got some decent points and it was nice to get the fastest lap towards the end as well, so I’m satisfied with the weekend. I look forward to the next race in Baku".
Daniel Ricciardo did not make progresses up the field, having adopted the intermediates too late:
"We knew today was going to be tough, obviously being Monaco, results are heavily based on qualifying so yesterday really shaped the weekend. I think when we saw the rain come that was quite a surprise, just how quickly and heavy it came. We thought maybe there was some opportunity there - but yeah, obviously everyone kind of ended up filling into similar strategies. In any case, we ultimately just weren’t quick enough this weekend. So not much more to say. It was cool having a full crowd back. The atmosphere here was fun. I would have loved to have put a bit more of a show on- but that wraps up the weekend".
McLaren Team Principal, Andreas Seidl, thanks the entire team for the great effort:
"We’re leaving Monaco with P6 and the fastest lap for Lando. Nine points is more than our competitors for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship managed, which makes this a very positive outcome. Lando showed strong pace all weekend. In the rapidly changing conditions we had a 50:50 call which just didn’t work-out for us and he lost a position - but he didn't put a foot wrong today in challenging conditions. For Daniel, starting in P14, we were hoping for opportunities to come our way, but nothing did and we could only make up one position to finish P13. Such is the nature of racing in Monaco. Overall, it’s been very encouraging to see the pace we’ve had in the car all weekend. It’s been a very long, very hot two weeks on the road for this double-header. My thanks to the entire team, trackside and back at the factory, together with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, for the great effort. We get a weekend off now, before setting out on our next double-header. We’ll rest, reset and get ready to go again".
Fernando Alonso built a train of cars behind and ended seventh:
"It was a very difficult race today with the conditions, so we can be pleased with a seventh-place finish and more points added to the championship. It was a tricky race to manage with difficult choices on strategy at times, but we did everything well as a team and it was all well managed. At the wheel, it was not easy, and I had to be careful at times not to make any mistake to make sure we brought the car home in the points. On the dry stints, because of what we learned on Friday, we had to be careful on the tyres, especially for me after the second-red flag. We held on to seventh comfortably, so I’m pretty pleased with today’s job".
Esteban Ocon got a five-second time penalty after the contact with Hamilton and at the end he crossed the line ninth, and dropped to the twelfth position:
"Today’s result is tough to swallow, and I’m frustrated that we leave Monaco without scoring points. Inside the car it felt like a racing incident with Lewis [Hamilton], especially at a track like Monaco where any overtake attempt is likely to involve some contact. The team has worked so hard all weekend, especially in finding the gains between Friday and Saturday, and we now leave without scoring deserved double points. We’ll have to move forward and I’m looking to put it right in Baku where we race next".
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi compliments with both drivers for this race and to the team for the hard work:
"Today’s Monaco Grand Prix was very eventful and it’s always good when you come out of those races with strong points in the bag. As a team, we were expecting it to be a challenging weekend at a circuit with so many slow-speed corners, which does not tend to suit our car. We’ve had to dig deep all weekend to make improvements between Friday and Saturday, which not only helped us this weekend, but also bodes well for the future where we can take forward this knowledge in adapting our car to all types of tracks. Both drivers drove good races today to cross the line in seventh and ninth, respectively, which is probably where we deserved to be in today’s race. Esteban’s time penalty is a tough one as it was probably 50-50, so we won’t dwell too much on it and we’ll keep our heads down and look ahead to the next one. I’d like to thank everyone at the team for their hard work after a very busy two weeks across Spain and Monaco. We’ll take some rest this week before refocusing ourselves for Azerbaijan and Canada next time out where we’re hungry to add two lots of double points".
Zhou Guanyu thinks that he achieved the maximum he could get:
"Part of the race was just about surviving, defending hard in the wet - especially when we had to keep going on the wet tyres on a drying track to make our strategy work. It was a good experience to race here in these conditions, my only scare was when I had a snap fighting Tsunoda, but I saved it. The Monaco experience as a whole was tough, but I didn’t do any mistakes and I was matching the pace of the cars in the midfield, so I can be satisfied about that".
For Valtteri Bottas the race was fine:
"It’s been a pretty long race, but we can be happy we made our opportunities count as a team. It was really easy to make mistakes out there and I am glad we didn’t: gaining positions in Monaco is never easy, so to end up in the points from P12 on the grid means it wasn’t a bad day. We made the right strategic calls, which was a challenge as it was not easy to choose which tyres to pick at any time. We took some calculated risks and they paid off".
Alfa Romeo Team Principal, Frédéric Vasseur, is satisfied about the race, especially for the fact that the team earned points:
"The conditions out there were treacherous and to bring home two cars is the primary objective, and we achieved it. We knew that, after a difficult Saturday, scoring would have required a really good race are we were able to deliver one. We chose an aggressive strategy that would allow us to make up some positions, and we were able to gain ground with both cars. The two points Valtteri scored allow us to keep fifth place in the constructors’ championship and they’re a good return for the weekend".
At the start, Lance Stroll hit the barriers behind the Safety Car, but fortunately his car had not much damage. He pitted and then he did it again on the next lap to pass to intermediates:
"I knew it would be a struggle to score points when starting so far back and it was always going to be a tricky race in the wet weather, but there are positives to take. We made the right call by switching to the Intermediate tyres early on because it was clearly the best compound. Overtaking is difficult at Monaco, so getting past [Yuki] Tsunoda at Rascasse was a pleasing move and showed that the car is becoming more competitive - especially considering the slower-speed corners here. On the whole, the race gave us plenty of opportunities to continue learning about the car’s recent developments. I am confident we will be able to develop the car for both the slower and faster circuits in the near future".
Sebastian Vettel early swapped to the intermediate tyre and was then overtaken by Gasly. He managed to get the AlphaTauri driver during the stops for hard tyres, and ran in eleventh position. He ended into the points area thanks to Ocon’s time penalty:
"Today was a race in which anything could happen, but actually it was quite a clean and straightforward race for me. We managed to pick up a point, which was a good effort because it is always difficult to make progress at Monaco, especially with only one dry line. Given the way the race developed, I do not think we could have finished any higher. It was a real struggle on the Wet tyres in the early laps so that is why we went to the Intermediate as soon as we could. We learned more about the car, too, optimising the set-up with the new parts we introduced recently. All these steps are taking us in a good direction for the races to come".
Aston Martin' Team Principal, Mike Krack, describes the performace in Monaco as follows:
"Sebastian lost one place from his P9 qualifying position to finish 10th in the race, and Lance gained four places from his P18 qualifying position to finish 14th in the race. The truth was much more complex, since rain played havoc with everyone’s plans and the result was an incident-packed, time-limited race in which the weather was the key until the dry-track restart after the lap-30 red flag. Thereafter, Sebastian drove well to manage tyre wear, and was able to stay well within 5.0sec of [Esteban] Ocon, thereby converting his P11 on-track finishing position to P10 after Ocon’s 5.0sec penalty had been applied: a hard-earned World Championship point for us. Lance also did his best in difficult circumstances, but overtaking is practically impossible here so points were always going to be out of reach for him today".
Pierre Gasly was the first driver to swap to intermediate tyres, together with Latifi and Stroll. He started seventeenth and was able to work his way up to the eleventh position:
"We started 17th and finished 11th, so considering Monaco and the track layout, I think we can be happy with this today. When I saw the rain on the grid I had a massive smile on my face, as I knew it was our opportunity to try something different and to hopefully move forward. We took some risks today, I called for Inters on lap one as we had nothing to lose. We managed to pass some cars, as the pace was there, and I must say from inside the cockpit this was really exciting. It was obviously tricky, sliding all over the place, but it was really fun, you were driving on the limit and that’s what Formula One is all about! We were fast in all the practice sessions, and even in the race today, so it’s a shame to be finishing just outside the points, as I think we deserved to be up there this weekend".
Yuki Tsunoda lost positions after being undercut by his rivals, and two visits to the run off area down at Sainte Devote did not help him. He also pitted late for softs and ended last:
"It’s been a frustrating day, I didn’t have a good start and was P16 before the red flag, I need to go away and look at what happened there. The pace of the car was ok in the race, we gambled a bit on the Medium tyre for the restart and unfortunately that strategy didn’t pay off today".
AlphaTauri Technical Director, Jody Egginton, describes the strategy that the team put in place:
"It was an eventful race today. The rain shower at the start of the race was obviously a big disturbance, but it was also a good opportunity for us with Pierre to get him moving forward. We had an aggressive strategy and got him onto the Inters early on, which worked quite well, whilst a lot of other runners stayed on the full wets and wanted to make that work until they could cross over to a dry compound. Looking at Pierre’s pace, we took a similar decision for Yuki and put him onto the Inters too, although he struggled slightly to make it work as well. We then moved both drivers onto the Hards, in theory this would’ve taken us to the end of the race, had there not been a red flag. Following that, we basically held position until the end of the race. After Ocon’s penalty we’ve come away just outside of the points, we lost some time to Vettel during the pit stop, so unfortunately that has cost us. We had a good recovery race today with Pierre but the main lesson for this weekend is that we need to have a tidier Saturday in order to make the most of the opportunities we have on Sunday".
Bad race for Haas, with its first double DNF of the season and the third race ended without points. The first to retire was Kevin Magnussen with a Power Unit issue:
"We had a power unit issue of some sort, so we had to retire the car - there was nothing we could do about that sadly. I really thought our pace in the race was good considering we were on a full wet on a dry line, I had been able to keep Gasly behind until our issue and I was closing on Bottas. It would have been really exciting around the pit stops to see what could have happened. It’s unfortunate with no points today even though I think we had the car to do it, we knew we could fight".
Mick Schumacher crashed at the Swimming Pool complex, but fortunately he was ok:
"I’m feeling alright, it’s very annoying. In terms of pace, we were definitely there and it’s just a matter of keeping it on track - unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that. The pace felt strong and it felt like we were able to attack and push. Unfortunately, I went a bit too wide, probably about 10 centimeters at the end, and that’s enough to lose all grip that you thought you had and the result is what happened".
Haas' Team principal, Guenther Steiner, talks about this disapponting day:
"Kevin’s car was really fast, we were just waiting for our opportunity to pass Bottas at the pit stop, either under or over cutting to get by him and chase the field. He could easily follow him. He then had an issue with a water leak on his ERS system. With Mick we obviously saw what happened. It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again. We need to see how we move forward from here".
Talking about Schumacher's crash, in the following days the Team Principal says:
"It's just not possible to continue like this. And he knows that. He's also crashing into a wall at some stage. It's also not healthy. Obviously he wants to score points, and if you crash into the wall, you don't score points. He knows that, so it's like putting pressure on and telling him you shouldn't go and crash. I don't do that. I never do that. Because I think they know that they shouldn't be crashing. So I think there's a lot of things going on, but there is not one simple answer. We need to see how we go forward. There's a lot of things we have to sort out now. This is a sport that's very competitive. And it's easy to overstep a little bit your mark, and you'll make a big damage, especially on this race track, like Monte Carlo, Jeddah, here, Montreal is another one, Singapore, and he just needs to adjust himself not to do what was done in Monte-Carlo. But it's not me telling him five times to make it any better, I think it's making it worse, because it's like, I get this, and then maybe you get a counter reaction. We have passed that allowance, we passed that in Jeddah. We are in front of the allowance, I would love to be in front of how many points we scored, but we are in front of the allowance for crashes".
But the team boss insisted he didn't need to give Schumacher a lecture about the cost of the damage as it was obvious that it wasn't positive for the team.
"No, we spoke about it, but I don't go into explaining him how much or how I need to run the team. He reads what you guys write, so he comes to me and asks is it really this amount of money? I said, I don't know, because I haven't said it. So you it's an estimation, but yes, it is this amount of money. The budget cap is not the problem. The budget is the problem, because we are not at the budget cap. So obviously, this is never a good thing to add, and the additional problem we have got now is just the speed to keep up to make parts is getting more and more difficult. And Dallara, they work day and night just that we have spares here, so we can keep on going. The money is always an issue because you have to pay, but actually the issue was to have enough parts made because the production can do so much. You don't have five moulds for fairings, you've got one mould, and if you keep on making them, it takes time. So it was a challenge, but Dallara do a really good job. Suspension-wise Ferrari helped us out because we are running low on suspension as well, because they cannot keep up with making it. But otherwise with the budget, just something else has to give, you cannot keep on just spending money you haven't got".
Steiner conceded that it was difficult to equate crash damage with any potential impact on getting updates to the car.
"No, you cannot quantify it like this. You just need to try to make savings somewhere else and it's not always you don't go straight from there's crash parts and there's upgrade parts, it's a mix of everything, it's not as simple as this. So you just try to do your best and try to run so that you make your budget predictions. There is not one thing which has to be sacrificed. And we are still early in the season, so you can still hope that you can make saving somewhere else, because we are this early. But if you continue like this, you run out of time and money to make the savings".
Nicholas Latifi hit the barriers behind the Safety Car on the first lap, pitting for a new front wing. Then, he went back for intermediate tyres:
"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".
Alex Albon retired with damage after running straight on at the first turn:
"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".
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance Williams Racing, comments on this hard race:
"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".
Motorsport Director Mario Isola comments on the strategies of this Monaco Grand Prix:
"This was one of those unpredictable Monaco races where strategy was dictated by who reacted best to changing circumstances, with those who took a chance sometimes rewarded. The changing weather after two days of sunshine added a number of complications to what should otherwise have been a reasonably straightforward race strategy, with the decision about when to get off the full wet tyre and which tyre to put on next being absolutely critical, on very slippery street asphalt that clearly affected the crossover point, rather than temperatures. Added to this were a number of unforeseeable factors such as the safety car and red flag, which required yet more immediate decisions - influenced also of course by which tyres the drivers had available to them. Perez’s decision to use the medium for the final stint helped him to seal the race victory, ahead of Carlos Sainz on the hard, although Perez also had to manage his tyres in the closing stages. Every tyre in our Formula 1 range was used during this race, with all performing well despite a completely unknown set of conditions and crossover points on the tightest and most unforgiving track of the season".
In the days following the Monaco Grand Prix, the controversy around Ferrari does not diminish. Numerous Italian journalists accuse Carlos Sainz of not favoring Charles Leclerc's strategy by refusing to not enter the pits (a factor, this, denied by radio communications), while others allude to improprieties on the part of the Williams drivers. After some reflection about what happened in Monaco, on Thursday, June 2, 2022, Scuderia Ferrari sporting and strategy director, Inaki Rueda, says:
"We told Carlos Sainz to stay out at the last second. In fact, we had just realized definitively that we could avoid the switch to intermediate tires by fitting dry tires right away after the first stint with full wets. Initially we wanted to cover Perez, but then we realized in time that it would be a plan that would not work. Without Latifi's blockage he would definitely have won the race".
About Charles Leclerc he says:
"If with Sainz we no longer had a chance to cover Perez, with Charles we thought we did. Leclerc had more than a ten-second lead at the beginning of lap 18, from the data we had we thought Charles would hold at least a one-second lead over Perez, but instead Perez was really really fast. So we lost the race to Charles. The time to make a double pit stop is to have a gap between the cars of six seconds, we had five and a half seconds when we considered this option and decided that even with half a second to wait the undercut on Perez might work with Leclerc. By the time the cars were near the pit entrance, however, the gap between Sainz and Leclerc had narrowed to three and a half seconds. We tried to tell Charles at the last moment to stay on track, but by then it was too late, so he also lost the position on Max Verstappen. We will use everything that happened to update our procedures and be more efficient in the future".
Nevertheless, doubts remain about what happened in Monaco on the part of the Maranello team. Not surprisingly, during practice Carlos Sainz was the victim of a reprimand and a fine of 25,000 euros for obstructing the Aston Martin of Canadian Lance Stroll on the track, due to a miscommunication by his engineers, as admitted by the FIA communiqué at the end of practice:
"The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 55 (Carlos Sainz), the driver of Car 18 (Lance Stroll) and team representatives and examined video and radio evidence. Approaching Turns 17 and 18 the driver of Car 55 was given a series of grossly incorrect messages, by radio, about the gaps to the cars behind. It is unclear to the Stewards why such misleading information was given to the driver, who was under the impression that there was no car immediately behind him. Due to the poor rear visibility at that part of the circuit, the driver was relying entirely on the team’s messages. Notwithstanding the above, it was noted that the driver of Car 55 almost came to a stop on the circuit. This is unacceptable and hence the penalty of a Reprimand is imposed. We note that similar behaviour by any driver during Qualification may involve much more severe penalties. It is also noted that a similar situation occurred in relation to the incident involving Car 5 later in the session, where once again incorrect information was passed by the team to the driver, and again the driver of Car 55 was driving slower that can be considered reasonable in view of the location and circumstances. Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits".
Not surprisingly, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, during a lengthy interview, Scuderia Ferrari's team principal Mattia Binotto specifies that the team he heads is not yet fully ready to handle a clash to win the Formula 1 World Championship:
"We set our objectives to be back competitive in 2022. So our objective is to be competitive, not to win the championship, and it would be completely wrong to turn that into: Let's try to win the championship because we are so competitive. Being competitive is one fact; becoming world champion is another level of task. [Saying] that is maybe to take off some pressure from the team, but also I think it would be wrong as management to change objectives from the ones we gave them. No doubt what we intend to do is to try to open a cycle - become world champion, and not only once; try to stay there. But I think it will take time. Our internal mindset is still we need to improve as a team to be capable of winning a championship. It doesn't mean we will not do it. Maybe we will do it as soon as possible, but we are conscious of the fact that it is more than only being competitive. The ambition is there. Each single person working for Ferrari has the ambition. I don't think I need to remind them. More important is to let them focus on our process of continuous improvement, so each race is an opportunity for lesson-learned review and to build to do something better. And it is important to stay focused on each single race. We are not looking at the classifications".
Binotto, at the end of the race, had made a complaint regarding the possibility that the two Red Bull drivers had crossed the pit exit line, going against the sporting regulations. However, Race Director Niels Wittich clarifies that the line can be stepped on, but not crossed completely. The FIA Commissioners therefore reject Ferrari's protest because the Race Director's notes are erroneously outdated and do not reflect the revised International Sporting Code for 2022 according to which any tire on a car leaving the pit lane must not cross the pit exit line. Speaking of old and obsolete procedures, on Saturday, June 4, 2022, FIA President Ben Sulayem states about the FIA and its management that:
"It’s going well, but the challenges will never end. In the first six months I would say it was a challenging task. External companies such as Deloitte and McKenzie are working on audits and will be giving us their feedback soon. As for the financial part, I inherited a weak AIF. I do not mean that someone has abused the budget, but due to negligent behavior we now have 23 million euros for our operations. I am confident that with the right team, the right approach, the right plan and a good federation, we will be drawn in less than two years. From the first data of the auditors it emerges that the FIA is old. Not in the personal, but in the thought. We cannot be old in a dynamic sport. Look at all this technology, you have to keep up and continuously update and reinvent yourself. In five years I see a healthier and more dynamic Formula 1. Now the challenges are different, we need to make some changes. There are some things that don’t satisfy me at the moment. Thankfully, F1 success is increasing. I think it also has to do with the pandemic, which has influenced people’s mentality. People want to live in the moment now. Sometimes we take things for granted, but who would have imagined that we would be closed for so long and that people would die from Covid? It was a nightmare. Part of the merit, moreover, certainly has the interest of United States. The FIA had already tried, but it didn’t go well. Now the palatability of F1 has increased again, Americans are different".
In addition, Ben Sulayem said he doesn't impose his beliefs on other people and wants the drivers to do the same:
"Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving. Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time. I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: sixteen nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities. On top, there are over 34% women and seven religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit. But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to, for example, jewellery, I didn't write that".
However, as is often the case, various journalists and the heavy use of social media transform the FIA president's thinking, cutting off parts of it and emptying it of its meaning. This prompts the FIA president, Ben Sulayem, to have to clarify, through a Tweet, his thoughts during the day on Thursday, June 9, 2022:
"As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society. That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future".
In conclusion, Max Verstappen has a nine-point lead over Leclerc, so everyone is anxiously waiting for the next stop of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, which will take place on June 10-12 on another street circuit. Will the Azerbaijan Grand Prix confirm the Red Bull domain or it will favor the Ferrari? More importantly, how will Red Bull's future unfold after it comes to light that on Friday, May 27, 2022, Mexican driver Sergio Perez signed a contract renewal for two more years, precluding the arrival of Pierre Gasly but more importantly affecting internal morale at the autro-English team?
"For me, this has been an incredible week, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy. I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now. We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more. We have built tremendous momentum as a team and this season is showing that, I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future".
These are the words of the Mexican driver, while Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner adds:
"Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but as his level of comfort has grown, he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid. This year he has taken another step and the gap to world champion Max has closed significantly, evidenced by his superb pole position in Jeddah earlier this year and by his wonderful win in Monaco just last weekend. For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer".
A renewal that comes at a particular time, since at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix Sergio Perez had complained about being forced to favor his teammate's victory. But if now, on the one hand, the Mexican driver celebrates, to the point that several users in the social world dispute the manner (on which Perez will even be forced to clarify: "I have seen the videos that have been circulating about me and I take responsibility for it. It was a bad party that I didn’t know how to control at the height of the person that I am, but it was just that, a very bad party. People close to me know my values and the type of person that I am. For those who ask me, we are more united than ever, me and my wife. And for those who just want to hurt us, I wish you the best. Thank you all for your love and I apologize to all the people who love me because those videos don’t represent me not at all. We will not talk about this topic anymore, which only makes us forget the great moment we are living as a family. Thank you"), on the other hand, Max Verstappen's father, through an editorial, expresses all his son's discontent with the outcome of the Monaco race.
"Red Bull achieved a good result, but at the same time exerted little influence to help Max to the front. That he finished third, he owes to Ferrari's mistake at that second stop of Charles Leclerc. The championship leader, Max, was not helped in that sense by the chosen strategy. It turned completely to Checo's [Perez] favour. That was disappointing to me, and I would have liked it to be different for the championship leader. I think ten points from Max have been thrown away here. Especially with the two retirements we've had, we need every points. Don't forget that Ferrari currently has a better car, especially in qualifying".
Although Jos Verstappen is leading Ferrari's Leclerc in the championship by nine points, Jos said Red Bull has still not got its car to a place which suits his son's driving style.
"Max's third place was very disappointing. We all saw that it was a difficult weekend for him. It starts with the car, which simply doesn't have the characteristics for his driving style yet. Max has far too little grip at the front axle. And especially in Monaco, with all those short corners, you need a car that turns very quickly. That was just hard".
For his part, however, Sergio Perez responds:
"We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more. We have built tremendous momentum as a team and this season is showing that, I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future".
"There was data downloaded, but I never said where that data went. That's another factor. Until we can prove something, we will not do anything against Aston Martin. At the moment we can't prove anything and so we're not making a case out of it, also because Aston Martin is not a direct competitor either. We do want clarification from the FIA. If you take Ferrari's argument [when they double protested against Red Bull after the Monaco GP], we are [also] talking about clarity on the rules. How far can you go? After all, we have a junior team AlphaTauri. If you interpret this case consistently, then AlphaTauri could also work more closely with us. It's all difficult to understand. If you look at the whole timeline, there are even more inconsistencies. But if you can't prove it in black and white, then you have to let it go. Since it's not a direct competitor of ours, we're not completely on top of it either. In short, at the moment there is no evidence that Aston Martin has actually copied us, except that the two cars are very clearly similar".
Ending yet another controversy that the Formula 1 world simply did not feel the need for.