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Ferrari Dominates Monaco Leclerc Leads

Leclerc Claims Monaco Victory; Top Spot for Ferrari

26/05/2024

Leclerc wins in Monaco with a strategic masterclass, leading Ferrari to dominate the podium positions alongside McLaren.

For the first time this year, it appears that Max Verstappen stands no chance of victory this Sunday in Monaco, barring any extraordinary circumstances. Indeed, the championship leader only qualified sixth, after clinching pole position in every race prior to this one.

It was Charles Leclerc who clinched pole position, his third at home, having dominated the Free Practices and shown remarkable speed. He is joined on the front row by Oscar Piastri, who underscores McLaren F1’s advancements for the third race with the new updates.

On the second row, the same two teams are in the same order, with Carlos Sainz in third for Ferrari followed by Lando Norris. George Russell starts fifth, while Lewis Hamilton has placed the other Mercedes in seventh position, with both Britons flanking Verstappen on the grid.

Yuki Tsunoda lines up alongside Hamilton on the fourth row, ahead of Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly. Esteban Ocon is 11th, in front of Daniel Ricciardo. Lance Stroll is ahead of Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Pérez, Valtteri Bottas, and Guanyu Zhou. The Haas drivers had qualified 12th and 15th but were disqualified for a non-compliant DRS. Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen will share the last row.

14:40: If Piastri wins, car number 81 will claim victory in the 81st edition of the Monaco Grand Prix. This race marks precisely the 70th edition that counts towards the World Championship.

14:51: Pirelli predicts a single stop for the optimal strategy, whether it be medium/hard, hard/medium, or soft/hard. A two-stop strategy will only occur under exceptional circumstances during the race.

14:57: Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz, Norris, Tsunoda, Albon, Ricciardo, Zhou, and Hülkenberg are on medium tyres, while Russell, Verstappen, Hamilton, Gasly, Ocon, Stroll, Alonso, Sargeant, Pérez, Bottas, and Magnussen start on hard tyres.

Start: Leclerc gets off to an excellent start and holds the lead, while Sainz slips beside Piastri at the first turn but encounters something scraping underneath his car!

Lap 1: And Sainz goes straight at Massenet, leaving the two McLarens behind Leclerc! Meanwhile, there’s a massive crash involving Pérez and the two Haas cars. The Red Bull is wrecked but Pérez is unharmed, as are the Haas drivers. A red flag is deployed.

15:10: The replay shows that Magnussen attempted a pass even though Pérez was clearly ahead. The stewards may call him in and award him two penalty points which could lead to a one-race suspension.

15:13: The race will resume with a standing start once the track is clean and ready for use.

15:14: The two Haas drivers tangled at Portier, Ocon attacked Gasly, and the two collided, sending Ocon airborne.

15:22: Race direction announces the starting grid for the restart, accounting for the previous lap, which will save Carlos Sainz: Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz, Norris, Russell, Verstappen, Hamilton, Tsunoda, Albon, Gasly, Ocon, Stroll, Ricciardo, Alonso, Sargeant, Bottas, Zhou.

15:30: The FIA announces that the race will restart at 15:44.

15:32: Ocon may not restart as his car has suffered significant damage. Bruno Famin spoke out on Canal+ and is furious: “We will make decisive cuts,” stated the Frenchman. No doubt, the already tense relationship between Ocon and his team will not improve, with the driver being responsible for the collision.

15:35: The stewards will not take any action on the crash at the start, so Magnussen escapes a penalty.

15:37: Hamilton expressed frustration over the radio upon learning of the red flag: “I told you so, guys. I told you so.” The Briton had wanted to start on mediums to switch to hard tyres if the race was interrupted.

15:43: Esteban Ocon’s retirement is confirmed; he is now outside his car, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. Thus, 16 cars will line up for the restart.

15:44: For the restart, Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz, and Norris have switched to hard tyres, while Russell, Verstappen, and Hamilton have opted for mediums. Tsunoda and Albon are on hards, Gasly and Stroll on mediums, Ricciardo on hards, Alonso on mediums, Sargeant on hards, Bottas on mediums, and Zhou on hards.

Second Start: Leclerc gets off to another strong start and Piastri remains in second, with Sainz slotting into third ahead of Norris, and the top 10 standings remain unchanged.

Lap 3: This time, the start is clean from all 16 drivers, as is the following lap.

Lap 4: Leclerc sets the fastest lap at 1’24″624, but the gap is less than a second. The top six are tightly bunched, with only Hamilton slightly behind.

Lap 5: Piastri sets a new fastest lap at 1’22″314, but the Monégasque is pacing himself to preserve his hard tyres. Behind, Verstappen and Hamilton have put some distance between themselves and the preceding drivers.

Lap 6: Leclerc reclaims the fastest lap of the race at 1’21″795, pushing Piastri back to a second behind. Sainz is closely following the McLaren, and Norris has dropped back slightly. All 16 drivers are currently within 13 seconds of each other.

Lap 7: Leclerc further accelerates to a lap time of 1’21″145, while Russell’s engineer advises him not to stay too close to Norris to keep the tyres in good shape. Indeed, the Briton has allowed Norris a 3.5-second lead! We are witnessing a race of management.

Lap 8: Piastri, despite some damage to his floor, sets the fastest lap at 1’20″808. Sainz remains close behind, also pushing his tyres.

Lap 9: Sainz improves and closes the gap on Piastri with a time of 1’20″272. The stewards impose a 10-second penalty on Ocon for the collision with Gasly, despite the Frenchman having already retired.

Lap 10: Piastri accelerates to 1’19″906. No investigation is being launched into the initial contact between Piastri and Sainz at the start.

Lap 11: This is the first lap where the fastest lap is not beaten. Piastri is within a second of Leclerc, Sainz is eight-tenths behind the Australian, and Norris is 1.7 seconds back. Russell has fallen back considerably, managing his tires with a 6-second deficit.

Lap 12: Sainz remains glued to Piastri’s rear. Verstappen’s engineer is puzzled by Russell’s significant gap to the leaders, and Russell considers stabilizing the gap at 3 seconds. His engineer advises there’s “nothing to gain by going faster.”

Lap 13: Piastri has closed up on Leclerc, and the top three are separated by just 1.5 seconds.

Lap 14: Piastri speeds up to 1’18″745 but remains stuck behind Leclerc.

Lap 15: Russell is now 8.5 seconds behind Norris. The Mercedes driver aims to avoid losing further positions by aiming for a one-stop strategy and extending his stint in case of another neutralization.

Lap 16: Bottas is the first to pit. He re-joins last with hard tires. At the front, eight-tenths separate the top three, while Leclerc continues to maintain a maximum management pace.

Lap 18: To illustrate how much the leaders are conserving, Bottas sets the fastest lap in clean air with the Stake, clocking 1’16″561. This is 3.5 seconds faster than Leclerc and Piastri.

Lap 19: Bottas has already caught up to the back of the pack. A very good strategy from Stake as he will run to the end on his hard tires and could move up into the points.

Lap 21: Leclerc speeds up but Piastri remains within a second. Sainz is 1.3 seconds behind, with Norris closely following, while Russell holds up Verstappen and is 11 seconds off Norris.

Lap 22: Leclerc continues to push, and the top four have each set their personal best laps on the last circuit.

Lap 24: Leclerc has a 1.4-second lead over Piastri, with Sainz 2.5 seconds behind the Australian. Norris is 1.3 seconds back with a 12.8-second gap over Russell. Verstappen leads ahead of Hamilton, who has a 3.7-second gap, with Tsunoda 7 seconds behind. Albon and Gasly are ahead of Stroll and Alonso, followed by Ricciardo, Sargeant, Zhou, and Bottas, who is tucked into the tail of the pack.

Lap 25: Verstappen is not enjoying the race: “It’s boring, I should have brought my pillow.”

Lap 26: The gaps at the front remain stable, still quite off the benchmark pace.

Lap 28: If everyone ahead of Bottas pits, the Finn could aim for eighth place. This is currently the only point of interest in an otherwise very calm race.

Lap 30: Sainz tries to speed up to push Piastri, but to no avail as the Australian remains closely behind Leclerc.

Lap 31: Norris’s engineer informs him that Sainz is experiencing graining on his tyres, while McLaren’s wear is only “slight abrasion,” according to Will Joseph.

Lap 33: Sainz has dropped back 2.5 seconds to manage his tyres, and lap times are still between 1’19” and 1’20” among the leaders. Tsunoda has let a significant gap develop, as he is now 21 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 36: Piastri is one second behind Leclerc, with Sainz 2.6 seconds behind McLaren. There is a 1.4-second gap between Sainz and Norris, and Russell is 14.2 seconds behind his compatriot. Verstappen remains close behind the Mercedes, with Hamilton 1.9 seconds behind the Red Bull. Tsunoda continues to lose time, with only Albon close behind since Gasly is 7.7 seconds behind the Williams. Stroll is 1.2 seconds away, and Alonso is also 7 seconds behind his teammate. The rest of the drivers are bunched together.

Lap 38: Ocon will receive a 5-place grid penalty in Canada, as a conversion of his time penalties.

Lap 39: Russell continues to lose time, now 18 seconds behind Norris. The leaders continue their waiting game.

Lap 40: Ferrari instructs Leclerc to slow down to prevent McLaren from having a free pit stop against Russell. Leclerc is not happy: “I don’t understand. It makes me very slow and I don’t like it.”

Lap 41: Piastri is also confused: “It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down; they must be worried about something because otherwise, he would slow down.” The two leaders are now back in traffic.

Lap 43: Natural gaps form among the leaders as they overtake backmarkers. Leclerc has gained a 2.5-second lead, while Sainz and Norris have closed in on Piastri. Russell has caught up to 15 seconds behind Norris. However, Tsunoda continues to lose time and is now 28.8 seconds behind Hamilton. Alonso has also lost time to Stroll, who pits.

Lap 44: Stroll rejoins the track 19 seconds behind Gasly on fresh hard tyres. The Canadian had a free pit stop and has a clear track ahead to catch up to his rival.

Lap 45: Leclerc has a 2.1-second lead over Piastri, who is 2.5 seconds ahead of Sainz. Norris is 1.5 seconds behind, and Russell is 13.9 seconds away. Verstappen and Hamilton are closely following, while Tsunoda is 33.8 seconds behind the Briton. Albon is 1.5 seconds back, Gasly is 7.8 seconds behind, and Stroll is picking up the pace, running as fast as the leaders, which is two seconds quicker than Gasly.

Lap 47: The gaps remain stable, while Stroll is 16.5 seconds behind Gasly, who has picked up the pace in the last lap.

Lap 48: Leclerc asks if he should create a gap, and his engineer tells him it’s not beneficial. The Monégasque didn’t hear and Bryan Bozzi responds, “No Charles, we’re not interested.” The driver sounds disappointed: “That’s not nice.”

Lap 49: McLaren informs Norris that he has a free pit stop behind Sainz if there’s a safety car. The Briton pressures the Ferrari.

Lap 51: Stroll has a puncture and returns to the pits. The tread is in the pit entry but off the racing line.

Lap 52: Hamilton pits thanks to the gap Tsunoda left (44 seconds). The replay shows that Stroll hit the barrier with his left rear. Hamilton re-enters on hard tires, while Verstappen starts to pressure Russell.

Lap 53: Verstappen pits in response to Hamilton’s stop. Russell might need to do the same to stay out of reach of both drivers in case of a neutralization.

Lap 54: Russell stays out, and Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race at 1’16″458. Meanwhile, Norris continues to pressure Sainz. Bottas overtakes Sargeant on track… the first overtake of the race?

Lap 55: Verstappen claims the fastest lap at 1’15″815, quickly gaining a 12-second lead over Russell, who can no longer pit and must defend his position towards the end of the race.

Lap 56: Verstappen continues to push, clocking a lap at 1’15″398, two seconds per lap faster than Russell. Norris attacks Sainz but fails to overtake, staying close behind the Ferrari.

Lap 57: Hamilton speeds up and sets the fastest lap at 1’14″423, three seconds quicker than the leaders. He is now 3.8 seconds behind Verstappen.

Lap 58: Russell accelerates, needing to last another 22 laps on mediums that have already done 56 laps. Only he, Gasly, and Alonso are still on mediums over 50 laps old. On soft tires, Stroll overtakes Zhou in the tunnel! The Canadian also passes Sargeant.

Lap 60: Norris remains close behind Sainz’s gearbox without success. The Spaniard is worried: “If Lando pits for fresh mediums, even Charles is in danger.” Hamilton improves the fastest race lap to 1’14″204.

Lap 62: Leclerc has a 1.7-second lead over Piastri, who is 5.2 seconds ahead of Sainz. Sainz continues to manage Norris’s McLaren, trying to give Leclerc some breathing room at the front. Verstappen has closed the gap to Russell with a significant performance differential.

Lap 64: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap at 1’14″165, while Verstappen remains stuck behind Russell’s other Mercedes. Hamilton is closing in at a rate of 2 seconds per lap on the two drivers.

Lap 65: Norris reasserts pressure on Sainz, while Russell has sped up, preventing the McLaren from making another pit stop. Verstappen continues to pressure Russell.

Lap 66: Tsunoda’s engineer tells him he’s in the right window to push harder, which pleases the Japanese driver: “That’s what I like to hear.”

Lap 68: Leclerc has built a 2.4-second lead over Piastri, who has the same advantage over Sainz. Norris is 1 second behind, and Russell is 15 seconds back. Sargeant clips the wall but without consequences.

Lap 69: Tsunoda fails to shake off Albon, who is matching the RB F1 driver’s pace. Up front, Leclerc extends his lead to 4 seconds, while Sainz is half a second behind Piastri.

Lap 70: Leclerc surges ahead with a 5.3-second lead, with the trio behind Piastri bunched up. Russell is 12.3 seconds behind, and Verstappen is still close by.

Lap 72: Piastri cannot match Leclerc’s pace and is now 7.6 seconds behind, with the Australian struggling for rhythm. Russell records very solid times of 1’15″8 on medium tires that are 70 laps old.

Lap 73: Piastri is out of pace and slower than all top 7 drivers.

Lap 74: Leclerc now has an 8.5-second lead. Sargeant overtakes Zhou at Mirabeau, benefiting from a McLaren lapping the Stake driver. Alonso clips the rails at the Swimming Pool but without consequences.

Lap 75: Leclerc admits he will now ease off: “I’m just going to look to make it to the finish.” A wise decision that reassures his engineer: “Thank you.”

Lap 76: The gap remains stable at 8.8 seconds, and Piastri has other concerns than chasing Leclerc, with Sainz and Norris close behind him. Russell continues to close in and is only 6.6 seconds behind Norris, with Verstappen and Hamilton close behind.

Lap 77: The gaps are stable at the front of the pack.

Final Lap: The coast is clear for Leclerc, who is set to win at home, after having had an incredible amount of bad luck and poor days at home in the past.

Finish: And it’s done for Charles Leclerc, winner at Monaco! The Monegasque driver is the first local to win the GP since Louis Chiron, and he closes in on the championship, now 31 points behind Max Verstappen. Piastri and Sainz join him on the podium, while Norris finishes fourth.

Russell takes fifth ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton, who adds the point for the fastest lap. Tsunoda adds 4 points to RB F1’s tally, and Albon opens Williams’ account with 2 points! Gasly adds a point for Alpine and starts his own score for the season. The top 10 at the finish is the same as at the start!

Alonso finishes 11th ahead of Ricciardo and Bottas, followed by Stroll, Sargeant, and Zhou.

2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – Race Results
PosDriverNat.TeamTime
1Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari78 Laps
2Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team+7.152s
3Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari+7.585s
4Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+8.650s
5George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+13.309s
6Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing+13.853s
7Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+14.908s
8Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+1 Lap
9Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing+1 Lap
10Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+1 Lap
11Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+2 Laps
12Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+2 Laps
13Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+2 Laps
14Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+2 Laps
15Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+2 Laps
16Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+2 Laps
 Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 TeamDNF
 Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull RacingDNF
 Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 TeamDNF
 Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 TeamDNF

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