The 2022 Formula One Monaco GP was unusually exciting. Torrential rain followed by an electrical out in the paddock meant the start was delayed by an hour. Local boy Charles Leclerc was in pole position with his team mate behind him. Given how difficult it is to take around the streets of the Principality, a Ferrari 1-2 was a high possibility.
The cars were forced to start on full wet tyres as the race began behind a safety car. Yet as the conditions began to change, certain drivers gambled on switching to Intermediate tyres.
After just 2 laps Pierre Gasly showed the way pitting for Inters and was quickly catching and overtaking the cars ahead, but the 4 leading cars ploughed on.
Lap 16 and Sergio Perez in P3 decided to go for Inters. He was immediately quicker than the two Ferrari’s and Max Verstappen at this stage the undercut was clearly the way to go.
Ferrari wanted Carlos Sainz to cover Checo’s stop but the Spaniard refused to pit stating he wanted to stay out until he could switch to full slicks. Ss instead Ferrari called in race leader LeClerc on lap 18 for Inters with Verstappen following him into the pitlane.
Sainz was leading the race now and with Checo up to speed.
When the Spaniard pitted for slicks on lap 21, Ferrari double stacked Lerclerc behind him after the Monegasque and completed just 3 laps on his inters. LeClerc was fatally compromised.
The Red Bulls pressed on for another lap taking advantage of their warm Inter tyres, then stopped for slicks, double stacking the cars which is always risky. But then the damage was done to Ferrari’s hopes.
Ferrari had gambled on an undercut advantage by going early rot the slicks, but unlike for the inters, the overcut (staying out) was the way to go. Max and Perez stayed out on their inters and gained the advantage.
By doing one less stop and switching straight from Wets to slicks, Sainz retained his PP2, but LeClerc had fallen behind Vertsappen into P4.
Clearly Ferrari tried to overcut when they should’ve undercut. The on switching to slicks tried the undercut when the overcut was the way to go. They pitted their drivers too late for Inters and too soon for slicks.
A gutted Charles LeClerc lambasted the team over pit radio telling them after the chequered flag “I have no words”
Ferrari were culpable last week at the Spanish GP for failing to take advantage of a pitstop window under the safety car which could have seen their cars have a significant pace advantage over the leading Red Bulls. Then team a relieved boss Christian Horner revealed, “After the safety car [was deployed] we were quite lucky Ferrari didn’t pit and take on a new tyre, because they could have probably gone on the soft tyre.”
Horner was excstatic over his Mexican driver’s win in Monaco stating, “Strategically – I don’t think we had the quickest car today – but we got it right”.
When asked whether Ferrari had “handed it to them”, Horner smiled but explained it was their decisions which were correct.
Ferrari were in panic stations when Sainz refused to pit and compromised their race leader by forcing him onto the short stint on the Inter’s too late. Yet the real damage was done when they failed to cover Sergio’s first stop for Inters because in the 6 laps that followed his pace was electric and it was there he won the race.