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  • Reese Mautone

Strategy Blunders Cause Ferrari’s ‘Smooth Weekend’ To End In Disappointment At The Monaco Grand Prix

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Ferrari failed to capitalise on a dominant weekend as they were caught out by costly strategical errors and infringing backmarkers, losing both drivers a chance to take the top step in Monaco.

After five attempts in both Formula 1 and Formula 2, the Monaco curse looked set to be broken with a successful outing for homegrown hero Charles Leclerc at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, however, failed team strategies and intense weather saw both Ferrari’s races end in disappointment.

The weekend got off to a promising start for Leclerc as he topped the timing sheets in both FP1 and FP1, and was P2 in FP3, just 0.041s behind Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. His teammate Carlos Sainz followed this trend, putting in laps good enough to earn him P3, P2 and P3 respectively across the practice sessions.

The Ferrari looked a step above the Red Bull around the notoriously difficult Monaco street circuit, proving true in Saturday’s qualifying session. The Ferrari duo earned themselves a front-row lockout as Leclerc took pole position in front of his home crowd with a time of 1:11.376, beating out the Spaniard’s time of 1:11.601 in P2.

Q3 was brought to an early close as Perez spun and crashed at the entrance of the tunnel with Sainz following suit, missing the yellow flag warnings and colliding with the Mexican. This triggered a red flag, ending Leclerc’s final flying run which was set to beat his already fast pole lap. The top four grid spots were occupied by the top two teams: Leclerc in P1, Sainz in P2, Perez in P3 and Championship leader Max Verstappen in P4.

Sainz’s qualifying incident resulted in Ferrari taking precautionary action by installing a new gearbox into his car ahead of the Grand Prix. Additionally, the damage cost Ferrari around €500,000 and Red Bull around €750,000, a huge talking point in the budget cap discussion.

The race saw everything take a turn for the worst for Ferrari. A delay due to intense rain and technical issues saw the cars having to test conditions behind the safety car, followed by nearly an hour of further delays. At 4.05 pm local time, the Grand Prix got underway through a rolling start.

Up until Lap 17, Leclerc looked confident out front, however, changing conditions and tyre talk put an end to that. On Lap 19, Leclerc and Verstappen pitted for intermediates, two laps after Perez had done the same, with Sainz remaining out on track.

Team radio between Sainz and his engineers highlighted the Spaniard’s impressive level of awareness in wet conditions noting to hold off until it was dry enough to go straight onto full slicks.

“I knew from halfway through the first stint, I saw the dryline and realised it would go to slicks,” the Spaniard said in his post-race interviews.

Ultimately the correct decision, however, one Ferrari strategists had failed to consider for their front runner early enough.

Ferrari’s frantic efforts to double-stack pitstops were caused by a hastily-made call for the Monegasque to box, switching to the hard compound tyre. Leclerc lost out on positions to both Red Bulls and his teammate, leaving the home driver furious towards his engineers in a televised x-rated radio message.

"F***, f***, why?! What are you doing?!" The Monegasque unloaded on his race engineer, Xavier Marcos Padros.

On the other side of the Ferrari garage, the strategy capable of earning Sainz his maiden win in F1 was ruined by the lapped car of Nicholas Latifi in the Williams who took 12 corners to let Sainz lap him despite blue flags being waved.

“I got stuck behind a lapped car on the out lap, you can understand the frustration. A lapped car cost me the race win today,” he said in an interview with Formula 1 post-race. “We pitted for the hard tyre, I had to do 12 corners behind the lapped car, which cost me the race win."

As a result, Perez was able to complete a pitstop the following lap while remaining ahead of Ferrari.

Such pitstops continued to cause drama post-race as Ferrari protested both Perez and Verstappen for crossing over the pitlane exit line at the exit of Saint Devote. Mattia Binotto, Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal insisted that it was “not so much a protest against Red Bull” but rather that the team wanted “clarity” over pit exit rulings.

“It has been clear since Turkey 2020 that you have to stay right of the line,” Binotto said. “That was not the case with both Red Bulls. In the past, this was always a time penalty of 5 seconds.”

Both protests were dismissed as they were deemed “unfounded” by the stewards on the basis that the Red Bull pairing “did not cross the line” entirely.

Sergio Perez finished in first place, crossing the line 1.1 seconds ahead of Sainz who was closely followed by Verstappen. Home driver Leclerc missed out on a podium spot completely, admitting his familiarity with the feeling of disappointment on his home streets of Monte Carlo.

"There's been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that. It's hard, as it's been the other years here, so I'm getting used to getting back home disappointed," Leclerc said in his post-race interview with Sky Sports F1.

The Monegasque sits P2 in the Driver’s Championship on 116 points, now 9 points behind the Championship leader Max Verstappen. His teammate trails behind in P5 on 83 points, just 1 point behind Mercedes’ George Russell who has finished in the top 5 of every race this season.

Red Bull holds a 36 point lead over Ferrari’s 199 points in the Constructors’ Championship, a number that Ferrari can not afford to grow in Azerbaijan next round, as their fight for P1 in the Championship intensifies.


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