Formula 1 Monaco GP 2022: can Charles Leclerc break the curse and other talking points ahead of race weekend
Charles Leclerc will hope to triumph in his home race for the first time in his career as F1 takes on Monaco
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One of the most iconic Grand Prix races is set to take place this weekend. The Monaco Grand Prix will be held for the 79th time, having first been held in 1929.
It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious racing events of the year and makes up the Triple Crown of motorsport along with the Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The event, called ‘an exceptional location of glamour and prestige’, is sure to be filled with exhilaration and intensity as the Drivers’ Championship heats up between Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Last weekend saw the Dutchman take the lead from his Monegasque rival for the first time this season and Verstappen will be keen to maintain the gap as he heads toward his second Championship title in two years.
With a few days to go before the race takes place, here’s what to look out for this weekend…
Can Charles Leclerc break the curse?
In the previous three races Leclerc has taken part in with Ferrari, in his native Monte Carlo, the Monegasque driver has failed to finish in every one.
In his F1 debut season back in 2018 when Leclerc was with Sauber (now Alfa Romeo), his front brakes failed him as he was trailing Toro Rosso’s (now AlphaTauri) Brendon Hartley and he crashed into his opponent’s rear.
A year later, Leclerc failed to make it to the end of qualifying after Ferrari risked only a single run in Q1, hoping to save tyres for later.
Leclerc was visibly frustrated on race day and clipped the inside barrier at Rascasse, shredding his rear right tyre which sent him back to the pits.
After 2020’s race was cancelled due to the pandemic, Leclerc was suddenly on top of the world and managed to win pole position in Q3.
But, the curse returned, and as he made his way to the grid, a left-rear driveshaft hub cracked and not only was Leclerc unable to finish his hometown race, he was unable to even start it.
During the recent Monaco Historic, Leclerc was driving a Nikki Lauda-era Ferrari and brake failure saw him crash at Rascasse, again.
If Leclerc is to become a serious contender in this season’s Championship once again, he must break this cycle and show Ferrari that he can win his home race at F1’s most iconic track.
Has Sergio Perez been relegated to ‘second driver’?
Max Verstappen won his fourth Formula 1 race of the season in Barcelona last weekend. and while he may be a skilled driver, he has to thank his teammate Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez for giving him his victory.
Red Bull told Perez to let Verstappen through into the lead, which provided a fairly clear indication of where the Mexican stands in the Red Bull garage.
While Perez might have struggled in his past two seasons in the Red Bull, he has most definitely proved he can compete with his Dutch teammate in the RB18 in 2022.
However, this was clearly not enough for Christian Horner and his crew to ask Checo to allow Verstappen through, not once, but twice.
The question then appears, will Perez be given an opportunity to compete for a World Championship title?
If Perez is able to beat his teammate in qualifying this weekend, surely Red Bull must allow him to enjoy his lead?
Can Daniel Ricciardo enjoy Monaco once again?
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has been struggling in recent years.
The Australian’s move from Red Bull to Renault (now Alpine) and then onto McLaren has been questioned but it always seemed like there would be a method behind his madness.
However, currently sitting 11th in the drivers’ standings, four places behind his teammate (who is also 10 years his junior) Ricciardo seems a million miles away from a race win.
At Monza 2021, Ricciardo enjoyed his first race win since 2018 and McLaren enjoyed the only 1-2 finish from any team of the season.
The Australian’s win in 2018 was a redemptive affair in Monaco. A pit error in 2016 saw the victory slip out of Ricciardo’s hands, but two years later, Ricciardo wasn’t going anywhere and he was able to take what should have been his two years before.
After a string of poor results this season, will the Monaco Grand Prix finally be able to bring Ricciardo back to the driver we all knew a few years ago?
With overtakes hard to achieve in Monaco, Ricciardo needs to qualify well if he is to shine on the grid once again.