The Monaco Grand Prix may be the most iconic race in Formula One, but it largely depends on the glamor of the Monte Carlo location, rather than anything that happens on the track. The race has been significantly annoying in recent years, as cars have grown larger and the already narrow width of the track has become a barrier to overtaking. Honestly, there is no real place for rival drivers to pass, so Monaco is often referred to as the “procession” that qualifies as a real race. This is all true, unless it rains, which team tactically throws a wrench and opens the standings.
Well, it rained on Sunday, and immediately the violence started. Let’s look at some of the highlights of this year’s edition:
- The race started half an hour late as it started raining ahead of schedule. Sky Sports commentators weren’t happy about the decision not to start the rain when the rain was barely coming down, as it resets everyone on wet tires, canceling out some of the tactics that could make it a more exciting race.
- Instead of a normal standing start, drivers lapped two formations on the back of a safety vehicle before a planned rolling start.
- Although this did not happen, the rain became more severe, turning the race into a red-flag state, with each vehicle returning to Pitt Lane.
- After one hour and five minutes of the scheduled time, the race finally started.
- After 30 laps, Haas driver Mick Schumacher lost control of his car in the back half of his lap, turned around and hit a barrier that caused his car to break in half. Somehow, Schumacher was perfectly healthy, but another red flag came out.
- When the drivers returned, there was only 45 minutes left on the clock, which meant the race would not go its full 77-lap distance.
These are just wide strokes, and they don’t consider the biggest moment of the race for first place: Cole 21, Charles Leclerc, son of Hometown, who qualified for the pole position, was asked by his team to be beaten, only to run in the double stack, because his His teammate Carlos Sange also came in that lap. Leclerc had to wait for Sange to get out of the way before he lost enough time to drop to fourth place behind Max Verstappen and change his tires.
Leclerc’s response was as outrageous as one might expect from an out-of-control error:
In the end, the way the top four came out of the Schumacher-created red flag is how the race ended. Perez was able to hold the post-stoppage senj by running on a medium tire that was closed in the last few laps of the race compared to a Ferrari hard tire. Worstapen finished just behind Sange to complete the podium, leaving Lecler with the only consolation that he had finished a race in Monaco for the first time in his career.
I didn’t even mention that Fernando Alonso, the experienced alpine driver, kept each driver behind him for about half the race, disappointing Lewis Hamilton in the process because he couldn’t overtake the Spaniard on Monaco’s narrow roads. Alonso’s slow pace caught the back of the top four packs and Nicolas blamed Latifi’s slow pace for not allowing Sain Perez to pass.
After all, Monaco had more conspiracies than in previous years, but it still seemed more like a good race than a defeat. Under the circumstances, it could be the last race: Monaco’s contract with Formula One expires this year, and there are calls to remove the track from the calendar. I don’t believe it will happen, because Monaco is a race that even non-F1 fans know by name, but some changes in layout should be made to compensate for cars much larger and more reliable than the track came first in life. If they can add a place where overtaking is possible, or even possible, it will help shake up a race that needs enough outside help to be attractive.