Red Bull recovered from a bad Saturday with a great Sunday in Monaco, where he won the tactical battle against Ferrari. The Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez reigned in the Principality, in the seventh round of the Formula One World Championshipunder pressure from the Spanish Carlos Sainz, who was left with a bittersweet taste because he came to see himself with his first victory.
To Pérez’s victory, the third he has achieved, was added the podium of his teammate, the Dutchman Max Verstappen, who increased his lead in the general classification to nine points compared to Charles Leclerc, who once again felt frustrated at ‘home’.
At Ferrari, Sainz averted an even bigger disaster. His bet on dry tires in Monte Carlo could have been rewarded with victory, but he found Nicholas Latifi’s Williams, as explained by his race director, and he lost a few seconds that prevented him from overtaking Pérez in a test plagued with shocks.
The seven-time world champion, the British Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) expected “something exciting” an hour before the start of the race. And Monaco did not disappoint. There was a 40 percent chance of rain. Already with the vehicles on the starting grid, with dry tires, a few drops began to fall. Nothing important. until ten minutes from the start, the rainfall increased.
Delayed start and first red flag
The departure procedure initially took nine minutes. Race direction announced that the formation lap would take place behind the safety car. Shortly after, it extended the delay by another seven minutes and specified that the vehicles would have to have extreme rain tires. After a couple of turns, the red flag was shown.
The pilots went back to the garage area, adjusted the visors of their helmets, the teams set up tents to cover the formula one. Minutes passed. A lots of. There was silence from race direction. Expectation in the pits.
Almost on time, the new departure was announced for 4:05 p.m.. Again behind the safety car and at 77 laps, one less than planned (the one that had been completed before the red flag).
So many contingencies did not seem the best for the man on pole, Charles Leclerc, who at home, in front of his family and friends, had not yet managed to complete any race. The track was complicated, Latifi, still with the safety car, went straight on the first turn, at the Gran Hotel hairpin; Stroll also starred in another one at the casino.
The start was launched on the third lap. It was a test of ability. Leclerc stepped on the accelerator and the car gave him a tremendous blow. Sainz also had a hard time taming his Ferrari.
The asphalt was slippery, but drying fast. Gasly, one of those who stopped by the pits early to change tires and test intermediates, had to block.
They all entered the tunnel crossed, with the first positions unchanged. Leclerc put the direct and opened a gap with respect to Sainz (more than five seconds in twelve laps); Pérez and Verstappen approached the man from Madrid, who pressed.
From behind, Gasly offered a show. He got past Zhou and went for Ricciardo. He overtook him at 14 laps.
The Red Bull Strategy
Pérez entered the pits on lap 17 to fit intermediates. He signed a good save (2.3 for 2.7 Hamilton). He came out ahead of Russell and Alonso, in fifth position, and made an ‘undercut’ (advance the stop) to Leclerc, who had opted for the conservative route and stayed behind the Mexican.
Sainz lengthened the stop a little more than what the team suggested and changed to dry at 22 laps; Leclerc stopped immediately. When he was heading down the road to the pits they asked him to continue in the race. Afternoon; although they would have been worse. The Monegasque, very angry on the radio with his team for a bad strategy, had to wait a few tenths for his teammate to leave the pit lane.
Checo also stopped again to put on the same rubber as Sainz, who was between him and Verstappen. Leclerc was fourth. The man from Madrid, with tires at temperature, overcame the man from Guadalajara, with a scare included and a dose of luck so as not to lose the car.
That of the German Mick Schumacher was capital after the twenty-seventh passage through the goal. He lost control of his Haas, he hit the protection barrier and his car broke in two. The seven-time champion’s son was unharmed, but the race had to be interrupted on lap 30 to repair the damaged area of the Principality street circuit.