The Monaco Grand Prix Is Why We Follow Racing
The world of motorsport holds many races, but few would argue that the lord of all races is the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. There is no race with a more magisterial reputation than F1’s Monaco Grand Prix, as Monaco tends to flip all expectations right up on its head.
The track located on the French Riviera’s picturesque Mediterranean coast conjures images of some of the greatest moments and characters of automotive racing, full stop. In terms of ranking with some of the best in recent history, the 2022 event did not disappoint.
The main story of the May 29th event was of course Red Bull Racing’s number two driver Sergio Perez. Perez has been quietly rising as a central contender in this season’s F1, tracking closely behind his World Champion teammate Max Verstappen, so while his win during last weekend’s race wasn’t too much of a surprise, it was absolutely a pivotal moment for the driver from Guadalajara, Mexico. Coming into the race Perez qualified in 6th place – a decent place to start but not the kind of placement on the grid to align for an easy win.
Whatever the case, however, Perez made the best of it rain or shine, and there was definitely more rain than shine. The rain made the roads slick - even the most cunning in the pack can fumble on Monaco’s infamous hairpins. Traditionally the Monaco track has proven to challenging when it comes to overtaking opportunities, and with the rain, maintaining position without losing traction was more than problematic. Perez, however, was up to the challenge as was his team, with a key and confident strategy to take on new tires, while clutching to the slicks might have put him in a slightly more dangerous position, his skill nonetheless soon saw him overtaking Ferrari’s Sainz. The last race, the Spanish Grand Prix, found friction between Perez and the team’s strategy when they pulled him from a leading position to turn it over to his World Champion teammate Verstappen. “It’s unfair but okay,” Perez was heard saying, reacting through the team radio for all viewers to hear.
Perez maintained his number one slot the entire back half of the race, despite best and aggressive efforts by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. at every single one of the legendary turns. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Perez’ potential, talent, and skill in controlling racers at his tail – Perez was adoringly labeled the “Mexican Minister of Defense” after his incredible performance-defending position ahead of Lewis Hamilton during last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Since the end of last season, it’s been looking like Hamilton’s primacy is fast coming to an end, and the showing at Barcelona and Monaco has not done anything to dispel that notion. Finishing eighth in Monaco and fifth in Barcelona does not bode well for Mercedes and team.
You live and you learn, and you move on,” Hamilton said afterwards, going on to apologize for ‘the lack of results.’ That’s Hamilton in a nutshell, cool and level-headed. The Spanish Grand Prix, the previous race, found Hamilton trying to retire the car early after a poor start to the race, "I would save this engine guys if I was you. I'm sorry.” At the contest of his team, Hamilton stayed in the race to come through the grid in redemption with a P5 finish with points. There are a lot who may want to write him off and usher in a new era dominated by Red Bull and Ferrari, and one can’t really blame them. But there is fight in the 7-time world champion, despite ongoing issues in the Mercedes car – he’s a contender never to truly be written off.
And that’s really what Monaco is all about. Well before the start in Texas or Abu Dhabi, Monaco makes us question preconceived notions, providing what race enthusiasts love more than anything else: fresh perspectives on the season-in-play. If you need a validating data point, all one has to do is take a backward glance at last year, when Verstappen finished first at Monaco and took the podium at Abu Dhabi. Something to think about.
It's what we love about F1. Don’t blink – you might miss something.
Your discussion thread is live & published @ theTUNDRA.