Red Bull didn’t enter the Monaco Grand Prix as clear favourites. But, as they leave the famous racing venue, they’re right on top and have fired a massive hit at closest rivals, Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, in particular.
With Max topping the Drivers’ standings with 125 points, 9 clear of Leclerc and Perez making huge gains with his 110, i.e., P3- it’s all Red Bull in motorsport’s top flight for now.
So let’s dive into the key talking points from the 2022 Monaco GP
Perez shines, Ferrari whine
Implicit in Red Bull’s stunning 1 and 3, was the effort of Sergio Perez, who began the race from third on the grid only to stand on top of the podium in the end.
Making most of an unpredictable and bungled up Ferrari strategy, Perez claimed the race lead starting from lap 23. And from that point onward, he just didn’t relent; pushing hard at the front of the grid to cross the finish line 1.15 seconds clear of Sainz in second.
For someone who had to contend with relinquishing his race lead in Spain when his team ordered him to let Max through, the Dutch driver going on to the win eventually, Perez would really relish this hard-fought race at Monaco.
But none of what he did was ever easy; with just 23 laps to go, Sainz began closing in on the race-leading Red Bull, but Sergio Perez hardly cut any corners and continued to make life difficult for the Spaniard.
There was pressure but Perez was taking none of it. A great example of what it means to control the race proceedings in a clinical fashion.
Heartbreak for Leclerc
Leclerc didn’t win but the only positive he could collect on a grim Sunday was that he was finally able to end his Monaco curse, succeeding to, at least, finish his home race for the first time ever in Formula 1.
But can the P4 result bring him any sense of satisfaction? Perhaps we know the answer. Maybe, it is a debate for another day.
On the contrary, Leclerc would feel gutted and nothing else. Despite controlling the race proceedings for the first seventeen laps, he would rejoin the grid in third, but behind the Mexican, after pitting for a change in tire compounds on lap 19.
But by that time Leclerc, could do little.
Sainz, at that time, took the race lead having stayed out.
Two laps later, as Ferrari went for a double stacking (going for the harder compounds) pitting both Leclerc, the pole sitter, and Sainz, both the Red Bulls jumped their arch-rivals: Ferrari.
By then, it was too late given Monaco isn’t really the venue for executing bold and unlikely overtakes.
Sainz emerges with a brave driver
Carlos Sainz Jr. was, arguably speaking, the only light at the end of a long tunnel for his Ferrari team on a day where nothing quite went the Scuderia stable’s way.
In bagging a second successive P2 result, having also bagged second in 2021,
the Spaniard emerged as a committed driver, albeit one who couldn’t upset Red Bull’s rhythm.
Though in the closing stages, the pressure he mounted on track leader Sergio Perez was worthy of massive appreciation.
On lap 54, he was just six tenths down on Perez, the race leader. From this point onward began a close cat and mouse chase between the really pacy Red Bull and the determined Ferrari, a battle that lasted for ten very closely-contested laps.
But Perez didn’t yield even as he was pushed and left huffing and puffing by Sainz ,who looked very solid as per normal.
While the win didn’t belong to Fernando Alonso’s biggest fan on the grid, his fine drive, nonetheless, should definitely bring Carlos some relief.
Brilliant racing by Alonso
Alonso began the 2022 Monaco GP from seventh on the grid and ended it in the same track position.
And though, at the outset, it may seem like a normal and unglamorous result, in reality, it is anything but.
For starters, Alonso, a double world champion and a true icon of the sport managed to outpace his much younger Alpine teammate Ocon, who finished in twelfth.
But more importantly, that the former Renault and Ferrari driver was able to fend off Lewis Hamilton, the Briton in a pacier Mercedes, was his true achievement of the day.
From halfway stage, Hamilton began putting in some really quick lap times in an attempt to get past Alonso, then on seventh.
But not once did the famous Oviedo born relent.
There were some bold attempts made by Lewis to launch ahead of the Alpine at Mirabeau and Rascasse but Alonso neutralised the threat putting all his experience and composure into play.
More importantly, the driver nicknamed the Spanish Samurai exits Monaco having bagged 6 valuable points, which is also his best result yet in seven races.
Time to go even better, El Niño?