With hardly any time to recover from the Spanish GP, the Continental Circus entourage arrives at the Côte d’Azur this weekend (27-29 of May) for the most classical and glamorous appointment of the season. The Monaco F1 GP 2022, and seventh round of an ever so equalled championship, has arrived!
In just a few hours the luxurious streets of the Principality will turn into a battlefield for the lead of the World Championship. Red Bull arrives in Monaco at the head of both standings for the first time in the season, following its 1-2 in Barcelona, led by Max Verstappen.
His teammate Checo Pérez has also taken a leap in performance. In Barcelona, team orders prevented him from fighting for victory. This time around, the Mexican driver will want to get rid of that bitter taste in his mouth with a great performance.
This is their only chance to revitalize their title bid, which is getting weaker as the season progresses. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari’s best asset, really needs to assert his authority. He must, however, break the curse that hangs over him at his home race.
Clash of the titans
The Dutchman and the Monegasque arrive in Monaco separated by just six points, their trajectories, however, have followed the opposite direction. Whereas the former has won every single time he has managed to finish this year, the latter hasn’t conquered the top of the podium since Australia.
Things, however, are not as straightforward as these stats might suggest, as the team from Milton Keynes continues to battle with reliability issues. In Montmeló, for instance, a fault in the DRS system prevented Verstappen from fighting for the pole and from overtaking during the race.
Leclerc, on the contrary, dominated last Sunday, exhibiting a much greater superiority … until his car broke down. Despite that setback, the red missile has come very close to its blue rival thanks to improvements introduced in Spain which have reduced tire degradation and alleviated porpoising, its Achilles heels.
The F1-75 also remains the king at one lap, an essential quality to rule in the Principality. Saturday’s classification is key on this track, given the difficulty of overtaking during the race.
A good deal of the attention in Ferrari will focus on Carlos Sainz. Maladapted to the red car, the Spaniard has lacked regularity and stringed error after error in a grey and unexpected start to the season.
Mercedes: The alternative
One step below Red Bull and Ferrari, but still dangerously close, is Mercedes, awaiting any mistakes from its rivals to hunt them down. Thanks to the mechanical updates introduced in Montmeló, the German team has also considerably reduced its own porpoising problems.
The improvements on their W13 have allowed them to raise its performance and get it closer to that of the Italian and Austrian cars. Their results in Spain with George Russell taking his second podium of the season and Lewis Hamilton performing a sensational comeback are reason enough to be optimistic.
The engineers now plan to fix Hamilton’s car with the same settings that Russel’s had in Barcelona’s qualifying. There is no denying that the Germans have improved considerably, but they will still have to sweat out a victory.
The end of a tradition
One of the long-standing traditions of the Monaco F1 GP 2022 will be no more In this 68th edition. This year, the action has not started on Thursday, but rather adopt the conventional format of the rest of the GPs, all of which start on Friday. The race will consist of 78 laps of the 3,337-meter track – the shortest in the calendar -and 260.286 km.
Whatever happens, the slowest and most challenging race of the season is upon us. In a track where the barriers are so close they nearly brush the cars as they race through, the skill and confidence of the pilot will make the ultimate difference. Let the show begin!
Images of Monaco F1 GP 2022: F1.com