MONTECARLO. Red Bull, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Alpine. These are the teams that did better than Ferrari in Monte-Carlo. We had gotten used to Verstappen and his very ostentatious superiority, we were thrilled by Alonso's return among the best, a splendid forty-one year old, but the lowest step on the podium remained the minimum wage for the Cavallino. In Montecarlo, this time, not even third place among the constructors arrived. Leclerc attempted a more extreme strategy without having the courage to complete it, Sainz got lost in the thousand mistakes of his bad days.
Verstappen won twice: the first on dry asphalt, 52 laps of pure Monegasque boredom always led, ahead of Alonso and the rest of the train in compliance with the positions obtained in qualifying. Then under the rain, in full control of the situation: second success in the Principality, 39th in his career (he's less than 2 from Senna. On the wet asphalt, the race got on. The strategies fell through, the riders postponed the tire change waiting for a safety car that did not exist, although the race had turned into a bumper car. Leclerc and Sainz are among those who came out worst: sixth for the Monegasque, eighth for the Spaniard, one minute behind the winner. : having waited one lap too long to put on intermediate tires is the admission of the protagonists. Leclerc had also made a mistake on lap 45, stopping to put on slick tyres. Had he waited a little longer, he would have switched directly to wet tires and would have avoided a stop. "It's easy to decide in hindsight - defends team principal Vasseur -. It was a somewhat chaotic race, but in the first stint I think the pace was good".
The general classification is disastrous, Sainz is 6th with 48 points, Leclerc 7th with 42. These were not the premises and promises at the beginning of the season. Even the eve of Montecarlo had been enriched by an optimism that proved to be groundless, with the drivers aiming for victory.
Leclerc leaves his home race with only one positive feeling, the third time in qualifying which was later nullified by a mistake in the pits (Charles started in sixth position on the circuit where overtaking is almost impossible). Pilots continue to complain about the driving difficulties and inconsistent performance of the SF-23s.
The technical innovations that were supposed to improve the situation were ready for Imola, useless for Monte-Carlo and will be introduced in Barcelona next weekend. "A tenth of a second per lap makes a huge difference," insists Vasseur. Ferrari could return to second or third strength in the championship, they have to be satisfied with this.
Leclerc has received an apology from the team for the mistake in qualifying. “There is a lot of work to do – he admits -. We know that tire management remains one of our weak points». And he's not the only one.