#ups #downs #failures #questions #Monaco #Grand #Prix
After each Grand Prix, Nextgen-Auto.com invites you to find the tops and flops identified by the editorial staff. Who deserves to be applauded? Who, on the contrary, should be criticized? Finally, what are the question marks or ambiguities that should be followed with interest during the next Grands Prix? Check it out below!
Top n°1: Pérez owes his victory (and his extension) not only to heaven
Sergio Pérez’s victory is not only due to the exceptional circumstances and strategic vision of Red Bull (and Checo for that matter) that upset the course of the Monaco Grand Prix (we are thinking here, of course, of the rain). not even in towers “amazing” (dixit Christian Horner) Mexican exit in intermediate, during the strategic change on lap 16.
If the performance of the Mexican must be underlined so much, it is also because he built himself throughout the weekend and finally throughout the season. Victory built throughout the weekend first: because Sergio Pérez was the most comfortable of the Red Bull drivers in free practice; maybe he might or might not have narrowly beaten Max Verstappen in qualifying, of course, if the Dutchman had been able to finish his lap and Checo hadn’t crashed, but who knows? Sergio Pérez had not stolen his 3rd place after having already dominated EL3. The next day, in addition to his impressive lap starts, his other notable merit was his resistance to pressure from Carlos Sainz at the end of the race, despite the fact that the tires were already on early retirement.
Victory built throughout the year thanks to this: because Sergio Pérez is decidedly more comfortable in this Red Bull, thanks to the new aerodynamic regulations for 2022. His victory comes that far, perhaps from the winter tests in Bahrain; and not since the start of the downpour on the Côte d’Azur. This is a well-deserved contract extension for Checo!
Top n°2: Leclerc cursed but grown
Before the event, Charles Leclerc did not tell himself. “superstitious”, the one that seems to be the victim of a curse on the Rock (he hadn’t finished a race here since GP3). Be that as it may, if an evil genius existed, Sainte-Dévote would apparently be hard-pressed to exorcise it… given the new misfortune that the Ferrari driver has suffered this weekend in Monaco.
What else could I do? Not much, except maybe forcing more to wear before intermissions, but that wasn’t her role. Unlike 2021, where he was blamed for his retirement (fall in qualifying), Charles Leclerc had nothing to be ashamed of during this princely weekend. Free practice, qualifying, start of the event: the Ferrari driver had flown over the debates and without rain, without also the strategic error of Ferrari, 25 or 26 well-deserved points were promised. Not superstitious perhaps, unlucky surely.
Top n°3: Consolation prizes for Pierre Gasly
It is perhaps strange to see a driver outside the top 10 (he finished 11th) in these tops, but nevertheless: Pierre Gasly almost managed to eliminate one by one the pitfalls sown by his own team, AlphaTauri, against him and the success of his end of week. Everything seemed to finally smile on the Frenchman at the start of the weekend: fast, certainly faster than his teammate, Pierre Gasly consistently finished in the top 7 in free practice. And yet… he was eliminated in Q1, without being able to do anything about it. Two mistakes by his team precipitated this early elimination: Yuki Tsunoda, guilty of a mistake that caused a red flag; then that of his own team, guilty of not having revived Pierre Gasly in time.
In the race, Pierre Gasly had nothing to lose and was logically one of the first riders to wear intermediate shoes. At a more favorable pace, he delighted the crowd twice by overtaking Guanyu Zhou in Mirabeau and once, impressively, poor Daniel Ricciardo in the “S” de la Piscina. It certainly wasn’t enough to move up in the points. Top 7 in free practice, two overtakes in Monaco… What else could Pierre Gasly do? At least the confidence, if not the luck, he’s back.
Failure n ° 1: Ferrari falls again in its strategic failures
Ferrari has been widely mocked in recent years for the “strategic circus” it put on at big events. However, there have been better ones for two years, but it is clear that the Scuderia has fallen back on its faults in Monaco. It was thus a real lesson in strategy, which Red Bull’s Hannah Schmitz inflicted on her Ferrari teammates. Charles Leclerc was the main victim of this: Ferrari misanticipated around lap 15 the time saved by the intermediaries, in particular at the Red Bulls; the confusion came to light when Charles Leclerc’s engineer asked him, in the space of a few seconds, to come back and then not to come back. Too late, it was already too late.
“We made strategic mistakes and when you are leading and you find yourself fourth, something has gone wrong” laconically recognized Mattia Binotto after the ordeal. If the Scuderia wants to show that it is capable of withstanding pressure and making the right strategic decisions when playing for a title, if it does not want to pass off a cliché as a truth, it is time to react.
Failure #2: Daniel Ricciardo, again and again…
The sequence is brutal for Daniel Ricciardo. Within a week he was enduring another very disappointing weekend in Monaco, clear pressure from Zak Brown and a crash and another hungry weekend in Monaco. The first and third points certainly justify the second…
In Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo was unlucky enough to start Friday afternoon with a heavy crash in EL2, passing too aggressively on a curb. It is said that the drivers with less confidence in their car accident in Monaco: we are probably right. In terms of pure performance from him, especially in qualifying, it was largely subpar: Lando Norris edged out Daniel Ricciardo by 8 tenths in Q2. The observation is therefore harsh but implacable for Daniel Ricciardo … who now sees in Pat O’Ward and Colton Herta not only IndyCar drivers, but possible successors to him.
Failure 3: Where have Alfa Romeo’s podium hopes gone?
Before the Monaco Grand Prix, there was great confidence in Alfa Romeo. “We are closer to the best teams. We will probably have a bigger gap with the middle of the group in Monaco. [en notre faveur]a little more margin » announced Xevi Pujolar, director of track engineering for the team. “We were fighting for fourth place and we finished sixth in Barcelona, so I mean why not aim for that fourth place or better? ». The reality was a brutal wake-up call for Alfa because the sector 3 of Barcelona is not the three sectors of Monaco. Valtteri Bottas even had to admit that he didn’t understand why his Alfa Romeo was so slow, and it wasn’t just a lack of performance in free practice due to a new reliability issue.
Without benefits, Alfa Romeo had to go for the strategy and, again, it was very disappointing. The team almost got caught out in Q1 by firing both of its cars too late: Guanyu Zhou paid the price, not Bottas in extremis. Valtteri Bottas, who started 12th, could certainly move up to 9th place, but far from the excessive hopes shown by the team.
We want to see…
What if Perez…?
More comfortable at Red Bull since the beginning of the year, Sergio Pérez is making his way up the standings. There is some logic in finding him in such a good position (despite Red Bull’s race instructions in Barcelona), just 6 points behind Charles Leclerc and 15 behind Sergio Pérez. What if the fight for the title was played at 3, and not at 2? The hypothesis could hardly become implausible, especially if the reliability problems affected the two Red Bulls in an indiscriminate and random way, that of the Dutchman.
Pérez “unfortunately” and momentarily ahead of Max Verstappen in the standings? There are plenty of migraines here, but happy migraines, in the offing for Christian Horner. However, two safe points remain, one that is good news, the other bad news for Checo. The good news: it was extended at Red Bull for two years. The bad: as driver number 2.