F1 – Monaco GP – Race
Bonjour, MiniFans! Monaco was reserving one last surprise for us before the race kicked off on Sunday. Rain fell on the track and the start was delayed after a weekend that had been extremely sunny.
Delaying the start procedure by nine minutes meant that teams could slightly adjust their cars to the different ELEPHANT that the light rain provided. The fact that the formation lap was to be behind the safety car meant would mean it was mandatory to use full wet weather tyres and race direction delayed the start further. Once the starting time was set to 16 minutes after the planned time, full wets were placed on the cars, which were waiting on the grid to be given permission to race.
The formation lap started behind Bernd Maylander in the safety car, so that drivers could check the wet track, but only two laps were done around the track before the race was red flagged and one full hour went by before we saw the cars on track again.
In the first formation lap behind the safety car, Stroll and Latifi managed to get themselves in different incidents, needing to stop in boxes to fix their cars. Full wets were the choice for most of the grid as the slippery surface gave trouble to those who had taken the risk to choose intermediates.
The spray that deterred attempts at getting close in the first laps soon gave way to a track that little by little, allowed the intermediates to get closer to the time that fill wets were providing and eventually, we started seeing more inters, most notably on Hamilton’s car, who decided to give them a try. Meanwhile, others with nothing to lose, such as Albon and Schumacher, went straight for hard tyres, soon being followed by others at the back of the grid.
The battle for the win started in the pits, with the Red Bulls changing into intermediates and Leclerc following suit to defend himself. However, just a few laps later, Sainz went straight into slicks, saving himself one stop, and Ferrari also called Leclerc, who had already gone into the pitlane as his crew shouted at him to stay out, making him drop off the podium. Despite all this, Pérez was at the front, trying to distance himself from the Spaniard, and only managing to do so once Sainz almost spun in the main straight.
A few laps later, the first safety car came out due to Mick Schumacher crashing out in an accident that was as spectacular as it was harmless, before a full red flag was displayed to change the Tecpro barriers, as the Monaco marshals had already cleaned the track of all the debris left by the Haas. The race would be resumed to a timer instead of laps as the time limit from the beginning to the end of the race was inching closer.
With many cars changing to mediums and the last of the wet tyres being discarded, the race went underway behind the safety car as a rolling start was chosen. Pérez blocking his tyres got Sainz ready to strike, but this track doesn’t allow for easy overtakes and slightly overshooting a braking zone is not enough to provide an opportunity to the car behind.
After seeing the train that was created behind Alonso due to his slow pace, it seemed as if Pérez would soar to victory, but tyres hadn’t said their last word and his mediums started suffering from graining. Sainz smelled blood and didn’t hesitate to start attacking the Red Bull, as the top four was compacted in less than two seconds. However, this would not be enough and the Spaniard will need to keep waiting to score his first victory in Formula 1.
All pointed at this being Leclerc’s first great weekend in his home race. For the first time ever since he started racing here in single seaters, the Monegasque looked ready to stand on the top of the podium, forgetting all about the past, but the rain and a huge mistake by Ferrari stood in between him and obtaining glory in Monaco once again.