Perfect opportunity or nightmare


Leclerc, who has not finished a single race at home, among others Sainz or Alonso, are looking with equal hope and suspicion at the appointment to the Principality

When you talk about Formula 1, there is one Grand Prix that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Monaco has always occupied a prime place on the world motorsport calendar and while it does not meet the acceptable standards of safety, visibility or even spectacle that sport has currently required for years, it is an inevitable event apart from a global pandemic. They may now include Las Vegas, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia or wherever, going to Monaco is something that is not going to change… at least in the short term.

For all drivers, past and present, the appointment on the streets of the Principality is marked in red. Not so much because it can be a title-deciding race, far from it, but because it is essential in proposing a hypothetically unexpected result. It has not happened for a long time because the participants are very careful, but in the past Monte Carlo was a place where it was possible to see a ninth or tenth in another circuit fighting for the podium (which is not the case, due to to protocol that requires the princes to always be above pilots) or even for victory.

It is also a perfect place to justify yourself. Carlos Sainz did it in 2021, when his second-place finish here took his first podium at Ferrari and began to establish himself as the leader of the Scuderia. The situation has changed significantly in 2022. The man from Madrid cannot keep up with Charles Leclerc who was in first place in the general classification until this Sunday in Montmeló. The Monegask races at home, but he has a special curse here: he has never finished in the race that literally passes in front of his house. From Maranello, they are concerned about how Red Bull has eaten their toast in recent races and what seemed like a season of wine and roses is turning into vinegar and thorns.

Max Verstappen is aware that anything can happen in Monaco, including that particular curse. Winning again in what is his adopted country (he has lived there for some time with his partner, Kelly Piquet, daughter of the legendary three-time champion Nelson Piquet) would be confirmation that the current king of Formula 1 has rediscovered the path of success to try the reissue of the title. He will have to keep a close eye on the Ferraris, seeking revenge, but also on his own team-mate Sergio Perez, who reluctantly accepted team discipline in Barcelona and wants to take his justifiable satisfaction.

If expectations are fulfilled, the men of Mercedes may also be in the fray. After a start to the season in which it didn’t run, let alone as expected, George Russell (who is holding his full ‘top 5’ this year, the regularity is undeniable) and Lewis Hamilton aiming to prove themselves in the fighting, especially in a twisty layout where the W13’s notable (though less and less) shortcomings are blurred.

Fernando Alonso is one of the drivers on the starting grid to have won in Monaco, as he well recalled when he fashioned the battle for motorsport’s triple crown. He did it in 2006 and 2007, in both cases as the current World Champion. Those times are far away.

The scene is radically different. He has added just 4 points in the opening rounds of the year, and while the last two have been with a spectacular comeback from 11 positions from 20th to ninth in Montmeló, it feels like his future is at stake. In Alpine, they no longer keep track and publicly place him with the same options as the tester Oscar Piastri to get one of the seats for the next campaign together with Esteban Ocon.

There could be no better setting to remind those in charge of the Anglo-French team that at nearly 41 he is still one of the best on the grid, however promising the Australian is. Now there is a double reading: a mistake, a bad result, a bad general feeling… and perhaps this will be Fernando Alonso’s last visit to Monaco as a Formula 1 driver.

Source: La Verdad


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