News : Formula 1 in Monaco: Charles Leclerc finds consolation from Albert II, Max Verstappen takes over the World Championship leadership
It’s not the nicest at home: Formula 1 in Monaco means 50 gear changes per lap for drivers traveling up to 290 kilometers per hour through the narrow streets of the principality, while fans cheer them on from yachts and pools. Even the nobility comes to see, Bundesliga professionals fly in *. This year, the illustrious audience could also expect to be served a touching heroic story with a cocktail, because despite a crash in qualifying with the Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, who was born in Monegas, was to start his home race from pole in his home race, in which he was in his entire formula- 2 and Formula 1 careers had never seen the checkered flag.
The curse of Monaco: Instead, the whole thing fizzled out in a dramatic finale before the race had even started. Leclerc’s car was apparently more seriously damaged than the Scuderia had hoped. There were already problems with the left drive shaft in the introductory lap, and shortly afterwards the racing team reported that Leclerc would not compete. “It’s really hard to digest,” he said. The pole remained empty, Prince Albert II had to console. And now?
The result: “It’s the most beautiful place where we race. But you know beforehand that it will never be exciting for the fans, ”Lewis Hamilton had said before the race. On the one hand, the world champion was right: rival Max Verstappen, who started from the front row in the Red Bull, scored a sure start-to-finish victory, ahead of Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari and Lando Norris – but at least for Mercedes the Monaco Grand Prix was complete and not boring at all. Read the race report here.
Hamilton scolds: For Mercedes, the racing day started with a setback. For Hamilton it only started from seventh on the grid – a grievance, because overtaking maneuvers are rare in Monaco. A good strategy opens up opportunities, but that’s where the team failed. In lap 30, an undercut attempt by Hamilton, who was in sixth place against Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), failed, as a result of which he lost further places to Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin and to Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. “Guys, we’ve lost two positions, how do you do that?” Angry Hamilton over the radio.
Charles Coates / imago images / Motorsport Images
Bottas has a wheel on it: Answer? The stop was too slow. With 2.2 seconds but nothing against the disaster that overtook teammate Valtteri Bottas a few laps later in the pits: The right front wheel could not be released, the Finn had to give up. Team boss Toto Wolff told Sky after the race that it had still not been possible to remove the wheel from the car. It was 5.30 p.m. “I’d like to cry, but that wouldn’t be productive,” said Wolff.
The new number one: For Verstappen, the worst competitor was out of the way. In the fight for the world championship, the team had to take advantage of the Mercedes weakness – and delivered: After Verstappen narrowly prevailed against Bottas at the start and was able to pull away a little, the team showed a faultless stop. After 78 laps, Verstappen drove to his first victory on the Côte d’Azur and took the championship lead with 105 points from Hamilton (101). For the first time since 2013, the racing team is leading not only the drivers ‘but also the constructors’ championship.
Also Vettel in front of the world champion: With fifth place, Vettel got his first championship points for his new racing team. “Somehow we knew that you could get more out of Monaco than usual,” he said: “We had a very small update, that certainly didn’t hurt. If you go out and have a good feeling straight away, you can build on that «.
* The sensational suit of the Erling Haaland: After the race in Monte Carlo was canceled last year due to the corona pandemic, they were now allowed again up to 7500 spectators to the track. Including celebrities like tennis superstar Serena Williams and Bundesliga professional Haaland. The Borussia Dortmund striker had previously announced his arrival: via a tweet from the plane.
“On the way to Monaco” is written above a picture of Haaland lounging in his armchair in a red-and-white-striped suit – a choice of colors that many fans have once again speculated about a club change for the coveted goal-scorer let. But maybe Haaland is just a Ferrari fan.