The FIA Formula 1 World Championship certainly had a less than usual outing for its annual visit to the Principality of Monaco. As the teams were preparing the cars on the grid for the race start, rain began to fall. Today’s Monaco Grand Prix was officially declared a wet race, but it didn’t fit the traditional mold of a wet F1 race. Tire strategy was put at the forefront.
The rain was initially light, a drizzle at best. Seeing that a heavier downpour was incoming, race control decided to delay the start. The race started behind the safety car after the delay. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led the field behind the safety car as the pole-sitter, followed by his teammate Carlos Sainz. As the drivers circled the harbor-side track, the rainfall’s intensity increased. It was genuinely too wet to race with standing water around the circuit. Race control threw the red flag and halted the race.
When the rain calmed, the Monaco Grand Prix finally got underway. As per the regulations for a wet safety car start, every car had to begin on full wet tires. The big question became when would the racing surface be dry enough for intermediate tires. A few drivers followed the safety car into the pit lane for intermediates. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly was the first stopper back out on track.
When Gasly’s lap times improved and he became the fastest driver on track, some teams made the switch. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton pitted for intermediate tires on lap 16. McLaren’s Lando Norris pitted from fifth place on lap 18.
The most impactful pit stop (or stops) would happen on lap 22. Scuderia Ferrari intended on only pitting Carlos Sainz to pit from the lead for hard compound slick tires. The Spaniard had inherited the lead after his teammate pitted lap 19 for intermediates. As Sainz came in for the stop, Ferrari mistakenly told Leclerc also to stop. Leclerc’s engineer corrected himself, but it was too late, and the Monégasque driver shouted a string of expletives over the radio as he drove down pit lane.
In response, Red Bull double-stacked pit stops for both their drivers on the next lap. The double stack was successful, with the Red Bulls jumping the Ferraris in the running order. Sergio Pérez was leading, followed by Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in that order. This four-car train would cross the finish line in the same order.
The race was time-limited partly due to the rain delay at the start, but a second red flag ensured it during the race. Haas’ Mick Schumacher was involved in a massive crash on lap 27. He lost control of his car at fast left-right in the swimming pool section. His Haas slid down the track and smashed rear first into a TecPro barrier. Schumacher was fine, but his Haas was ripped in half at the gearbox.
Race Result - Top 10
- Sergio Pérez
- Carlos Sainz
- Max Verstappen
- Charles Leclerc
- George Russell
- Lando Norris
- Fernando Alonso
- Lewis Hamilton
- Valtteri Bottas
- Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen leads the World Drivers’ Championship by 9 points over Charles Leclerc. Formula 1 will return in two weeks for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.