F1 Today – 31/05/2022

F1 Today

Ferrari to review Monaco strategy

Ferrari is to carry out a detailed investigation into why they made strategy errors which cost them victory in the Monaco Grand Prix. The Italian team had been in a commanding position running 1-2 at Monte Carlo when a series of errors cost it the win and especially hurt Charles Leclerc.

With Red Bull going aggressive and being the first to switch Sergio Perez on to inters on the damp but drying track, Ferrari then got the timings and choices for Leclerc’s changes wrong. It pitted Leclerc too late for inters, allowing Perez to undercut him when it would have been better off waiting a bit longer for a straight change to slicks.

Leclerc’s afternoon was further compromised with a poorly timed stop on the same lap as teammate Carlos Sainz cost the Monegasque more time and resulted in him dropping behind Max Verstappen. Leclerc said after the race that Ferrari had made too many mistakes which it could not afford to do when locked in a championship fight.

Following the race, team principal Mattia Binotto admitted that the team had made significant errors, and it was now key for the team to understand why those decisions were made. He told Motorsport.com, “I think we need to admit that if you’re leading the race, and you’re finding yourself in first position, then we may have done something wrong. So we made certainly mistakes in our judgement and we made mistakes in our calls.

“Now, what’s the process which brought us to make mistakes? I think the first mistake was underestimating the pace of the intermediate and the gap we had to the other cars, in terms of track position.”

“I think we made a mistake as well, because we should have called him earlier, at least a lap earlier, or if not, as we did, we should have stayed out and simply stayed on the extreme wet protecting the position and then maybe switching directly onto the dries.”

Binotto says the team should have called Leclerc in earlier, or stayed out on the extreme wet protecting the position and then maybe switching directly onto the dries.

 

McLaren needs to reflect on strategy

Lando Norris says that McLaren will also need to reflect on its strategy after he was frustrated during the Monaco Grand Prix. Following his first stop for intermediate tyres, he made a second for hard-compound slicks but was overtaken by George Russell in the latter instance as the Mercedes driver stopped a lap earlier.

After the red flag for Mick Schumacher’s crash, Norris resumed the race with the same hard tyres still fitted, a choice also made by Ferrari. However, many others went for new mediums, including Russell ahead and the cars immediately behind him. Norris then remained in sixth for the remainder of the race.

After that stop, Norris and his engineer were debating how much he should push, McLaren believing that he should save his tyres in case a late shower made the track slippery.

Having been told that Fernando Alonso was backing up the pack behind him, Norris said: “I’m obviously under no threat from behind, right? So surely I can just push now and try and make him make a mistake ahead? If you don’t want me to push what the hell am I meant to do, just sit here?”

He was subsequently told that he could push but “the key thing would be if rain came towards the end that we had some rubber left on the tyre to deal with it”. In the closing stages as he grew frustrated, Norris asked to switch to the mediums as he had a free stop.

McLaren agreed, calling him in on lap fifty-one, a move that enabled him to bag fastest lap with the fresh rubber after he’d asked the team if he was allowed to go for the extra point. He eventually finished right on Russell’s tail, having made huge gains on his new tyres.

Norris told reporters “It was a good race. Although we lost one position to the Merc that happens sometimes in these conditions. You can take your risk of going one lap earlier. But it is a risk, sometimes you’ll lose from it, sometimes you gain, and today they gained.”

“I think we may be lacking a little bit of race pace in the tyre preservation and things, I don’t think we’re in the best position with all of this. But apart from that a good race, good points, which I’m happy with.”

He however admitted there were things the team need to talk about as they didn’t do the perfect job, and there are things McLaren can work on and improve on.

 

Perez signs new two year Red Bull contract

Sergio Perez has signed a new two-year contract which will see him stay with Red Bull until 2024. The Mexican won Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix along with teammate Max Verstappen it putting the team into the of the constructors championship. Team principal  Christian Horner said keeping Perez was a “no-brainer”.

The Mexican joined Red Bull from Racing Point, now Aston Martin, having been replaced by Sebastian Vettel. Last season was his most successful season in the sport, and the new deal was signed before last weekend’s race, where Perez took his fourth podium of the season.

He told BBC News, “For me, this has been an incredible week, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy.”

“I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now. We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more.”

Horner says over his time at Red Bull the highly experienced Perez has significantly developed and was now operating at a similar standard to Verstappen. Adding, “Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but as his level of comfort has grown he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid.”

 

Mercedes defend Hamilton’s actions in Monaco

Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff has defended Lewis Hamilton after the seven-time champion was held up by Fernando Alonso, also saying that Hamilton and his teammate George Russell were “very much on the same pace.”

Hamilton only finished eighth not gaining positions from where his qualified, and finished behind Russell for the sixth race in a row.  He was left frustrated by both Alpine’s, following contact with Esteban Ocon earning the Frenchman a penalty before Alonso held up Hamilton around the narrow streets.

The seven-time champion has been caught out by bad luck all season and in Monaco  the safety car, the Alpine’s holding him up and then the red flag all once again cost the Mercedes diver. Wolff told Sky Sports, “He could have been right there and could have closed Lando [Norris, sixth] or even fight with George [fifth] and Lando at the front because that was his pace.

“When you look at the bad spells Lewis had, stuck behind Fernando today, the contact with Esteban, the red flag in qualifying yesterday think the pendulum will swing and this unlucky situation will stop with Lewis as they are very much on the same pace.”

Hamilton is currently sixth in the drivers championship, seventy-five or three race wins behind championship leader Max Verstappen. Following the race on Sunday he posted an apology to fans on Instagram, saying “I’m sorry I haven’t given you any great results this year but I won’t give up, we win and lose together.”

Monaco followed an encouraging weekend in Barcelona, however the porpoising returned that wasn’t because of the floor. Hamilton is hoping that doesn’t continue in Baku.

Wolff, meanwhile, admitted Monaco presented more “lessons” for the struggling world champions. he added, “At the moment, I don’t want anything for us gifted. Our team is only third on the road and that is why the positions of fifth and sixth are where we belong to.”

 

Schumacher “alright” after car splits in half

Mick Schumacher say he was “feeling alright” after a heavy crash at the Monaco Grand Prix left his car split in half. The German walked away from the crash, which did initially look distressing after his crash saw his Haas split in half for the second time this season.

Schumacher later brushed off concerns and described the incident as “very annoying” for his team. He told BBC News “I’m feeling alright, obviously it’s very annoying. I think in terms of pace we were definitely there, it’s just a matter of keeping it on track, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.”

“We just ended up being a little too wide, which is maybe a matter of  ten cementers at the end, and that was enough to lose all grip that you thought you had. And unfortunately, the result is as it happened.”

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner added: “We obviously saw what happened. It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again. We need to see how we move forward from here.”

Schumacher’s accident brought out the red flag as the rear of the Haas was ripped away from the floor sparking memories of Romain Grosjean’s crash in Sakhir in 2020, where his car split in half and set on fire.

But the car while it looked like a dramatic accident the car did what it was designed to do, and the German walked away uninjured.

 

Drivers shocked by Schumacher’s crash

Following that crash which saw Mick Schumacher’s Haas split in two several drivers have described it as “shocking.” Schumacher lost control of his Haas F1 car coming through the Swimming Pool chicane after switching to dry tyres in the Monaco Grand Prix, sending him into a spin.

After hitting the Armco on the right-hand side of the track, Schumacher’s car slammed into the Tecpro barrier on the exit of the corner. The rear-end of his Haas F1 car broke away from the rest of the chassis, including the suspension and the gearbox, but Schumacher himself quickly reported that he was OK.

Schumacher got out of the car unaided, he was taken to the medical centre as a precaution before quickly being cleared and released. He later explained that the accident felt “super weird”.

Race director Eduardo Freitas initially called for a Virtual Safety Car before upgrading to a full safety car. The race was subsequently red-flagged to allow for the barriers to be repaired. Several drivers expressed their shock upon seeing the crash site after the race.

Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly said it looked “bad” and that he was worried for Schumacher, making it the right decision to throw a red flag. He told Motorsport.com “When I saw the gearbox completely out, it was quite shocking. For the red flag, they took some time, but it was the right thing to do. I was a bit surprised we had VSC and not a safety car straight away. But I need to review the race, it was quite long, quite a lot happened.”

Fernando Alonso described the crash as “Massive” saying he hoped something could be learned from the accident. Adding “these cars, they are very heavy, more than 800kg, so the inertia you go into the wall is a lot higher than in the past. As I said, probably we learned something from today as well.”

Schumacher’s mentor, Sebastian Vettel said he was “happy to hear on the radio that he was fine before I got to the incident”, and called for Schumacher to be cut some slack

Jack

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