Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Monaco

Ferrari surprised themselves and rest of paddock with Monaco performance – Sainz

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr admits Ferrari didn’t see their strong Monaco form coming after finishing second in last weekend’s race.

In brief


Sainz said Ferrari didn’t believe how competitive they would be in Monaco until after practice began.

“I think we were all were a bit surprised,” he said. “I think the whole paddock in general was a bit surprised that that the car was performing at that level. But once we saw on Thursday that it was genuine, we wanted to win.”

His team mate Charles Leclerc took pole position, but was unable to start due to undetected damage incurred in his qualifying crash. Sainz took fourth on the grid and finished second.

“Unfortunately due to a few circumstances, we couldn’t get [the win]. But I’m happy to see the team making their steps forward. I think Ferrari deserves to be on the podium this weekend. I think Ferrari deserves a win this weekend, but we couldn’t get it.”

Sir Frank Williams pays tribute to Mosley

Williams worked on Mosley’s F2 cars
Williams team founder Sir Frank Williams paid tribute to former FIA president Max Mosley, who died earlier this week.

“It is with great sadness that I reflect on the passing of Max Mosley, aged 81,” said Williams. “Max had a profound impact on the wider world of motorsport, but on a personal level played an integral role in helping establish the foundations for the Williams team. He was a smart, talented man and his loss will be felt deeply by all those who knew him.

“I first met Max back in the 1960’s when he entered the world of motorsport as a driver. I prepared his car in Formula Two and, whilst he was never the quickest driver on the grid, he was always intelligent behind the wheel. After retiring from driving, I continued to work with Max through his March Engineering business, running customer cars in the early 1970’s under the Frank Williams Racing Cars banner. I would return to running a March chassis having founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977, with Patrick Nève taking the team’s first start at the Spanish Grand Prix that year.

“Max’s passing is particularly poignant for me given the role he played in the origins of Williams Racing, as the team celebrated its 750th Grand Prix last weekend in Monaco. It is fair to say that the team would not have achieved what it has achieved if it were not for the support Max gave in those early days, and I will forever be grateful to him for that.

“Despite his success as a chassis builder, Max’s political acumen was always clear and I had every confidence in the creation of The Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA) in 1974, with Max, myself, Bernie Ecclestone, Colin Chapman, Teddy Mayer, and Ken Tyrrell being founding members. This political skill led to Max having a profound impact on not only F1 but motorsport and road safety, in his role as president of the FIA.

“As a team owner, I had many dealings with him in this position and whilst we did not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, he was always willing to have a frank conversation and exchange of views. He led the sport into a new era during this period, one characterised by improved safety and technological innovation, and for that he will always be remembered fondly.

“My thoughts, and those of the Williams family, go out to his family and friends at this challenging time.”

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Comment of the day

Should we have included Lewis Hamilton as a ‘struggler’ in yesterday’s Star Performers article? On reflection, given how far he was behind his team mate in qualifying, I’m inclined to agree with David:

Agree about Norris as a star driver but I’d put Sainz up there. They were the two drivers who most impressed me over the weekend. Vettel did well.

Hamilton struggled! That’s a definite inclusion as ‘struggler’ for qualifying. In the race, both Mercedes cars struggled but, even so, his general ‘let’s get this over with’ attitude didn’t help surely. It was the polar opposite of that ‘can do’ attitude at Imola when he got lucky with the red flag and un-lapping, but still had many places to make up to second.

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On this day in F1

Buddy Lazier, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1996
Buddy Lazier won the first post-split Indianapolis 500 today in 1996, held the same day as the rival US 500
  • 25 years ago today Jimmy Vasser won the US 500, a rival race to the Indy 500 run by CART which its teams entered due to a political row. A formation lap crash involving Vasser and several others marred the race. Meanwhile Buddy Lazier won the first Indianapolis 500 held since the split between CART and the new Indy Racing League

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Ferrari surprised themselves and rest of paddock with Monaco performance – Sainz”

  1. a mclaren and a 2020 merc finished ahead of Ham so maybe Ham did struggle. Considering there was not a single yellow flag, struggling at Monaco is different this year, it is just a bad result.

    1. The lack of VSC or full SC contributed to Hamiltons misery. He is the one, usually who benefits from those. Next time he should maybe perform better in Quali instead of blaming his team. Nevertheless, I will be hamilton and mercedes fan until he retires. I hope he retires latest at the end of 2022 so that we can have the battle of the new bloods.

  2. I think calls to axe Monaco are premature, the lack of any overtaking action is just a symptom of the real problem, as far as I see it. It’s still possible to make gutsy moves around Monaco even with the bigger cars, we have seen this in previous years, even if they are few and far between.

    It’s just the usual inability to follow in dirty air and the lack of any decent straights for the DRS band-aid to work. Increasing the size of the DRS flap, which was meant to at least help with this had no impact in 2019, and so it was the same last weekend.

    If the next generation of aero doesn’t help, then sure, they should look at getting rid of it. But saying get rid of it now, one year before the radical changes, it’s just daft.

    1. @skipgamer What if they did remove the chicane?

      1. @balue – Tabac approaching would be a liability, but I’m sure the chicane could be moved further ahead and the overtaking would be palpable.

        1. @niefer Insufficient space for moving chicane forward.

          1. We can chop down the damn trees of Avenue J.F.Kennedy. We need a wide straight in Monaco!!

    2. @skipgamer – spot on!
      It baffles me how governing bodies keep searching for solutions when they are the ones creating the problems. For instance, I’m not really confident with 2022 keeping those massive front wings. The remaining of the DRS is merely another symptom of what is patently wrong.

      1. Absolutely. It seems F1 is constantly sabotaging itself. If you dont fix this horrible front wing, nothing is going to be solved. This year’s move with the reduced floor / drag shows they are thinking in the wrong direction. It’s less aero, more drag that you need. Then you get rid of the tracks where you can only overtake at the end of the straight. It really is not more difficult than that. But I guess money prevails over sport, so we’ll just keep protection interest of some powerful teams and keep protecting money by going to useless tracks. There has been dominance before in F1, but Mercedes current streak tells there is something really wrong with F1 right now. And it is basically the same as we see elsewhere in the world: a bunch of not so clever, but wealthy old men not getting any pushback from the cattle we’ve become.

    3. It would be daft to ignore that actual racing hasn’t happened in Monaco F1 events for decades. The place is totally reliant on weather or ‘random/unusual’ events to make it even mildly interesting to watch.
      It’s gone way beyond time to get rid of it.

      I’d bet my house that, all other things being equal, next year will be no better. It’s not just aero that prevents actual racing at Monaco.
      The cars will still be far too long and wide, they’ll still all make their lap time in essentially the same way relative to each other, track position will still be far too beneficial to encourage anyone to risk ending their race by putting a bold move on a competitor, and strategy will still be minimised in order to maintain priority of that track position rather than outright race pace.

    4. Watch a race at Monaco before the new PUs were introduced, like 2011-2013 – there’s still generally a lack of overtaking but there’s something about the racing that’s more exciting. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the ability of cars to follow, Monaco is such a slow track that I don’t think this is as much of an issue.

      I think it’s because:

      1. The weight of the cars – they are so heavy now, but exciting cars at Monaco need to be nimble and agile. These heavy modern cars are about as exciting as garbage trucks to see in motion in comparison to what we had even 6-10 years ago, and that is emphasised at Monaco.
      2. The overengineered strategic element of F1 trumps everything else. The teams calculate that overtaking is all but impossible, so they give their drivers a target laptime to preserve tires that’s 6-7 seconds off what they could actually do and just play it safe hoping to get lucky with pitstop timimg. It’s completely sanitised the racing and in Monaco it’s just a numbers game now.

      1. I think you’re on the right track (figuratively speaking) – the cars used to look and sound more exciting on their own, everywhere.
        They used to move around a lot – especially under braking and over bumps. The cars were clearly and visibly difficult to control all the time, whereas now they just seem so easy, predictable and manageable. The drivers are driving well under their potential, which just makes it even worse.

      2. Agree, though actually both those points are exactly what’s wrong with F1 now and why races are generally less exciting than they were even just 10 years ago. But as you say, emphasised more so at a place like Monaco.

    5. @skipgamer Monaco is solely about the track itself rather than the general following difficulty caused by aero. No matter how much more followable the next generation will be, Monaco will always remain the same, regardless of cars, aero, tyres, DRS, anything.

  3. On reflection, given how far he was behind his team mate in qualifying, I’m inclined to agree with David

    Happy to see you change your opinion, Keith.

    Re: Monaco, no, it should stay on calendar. It is a unique track and adds to the diversity of the championship.

  4. Enough with the Sainz stories. Surely Norris warrants at least one. Podium on merit, lapping the team mate. Sainz wasn’t even faster than Leclerc.

    1. Let him have its day, its not like he is going to get more of these with Leclerc as his team mate.

    2. Pretty ironic statement considering for years fans have complained that Carlos never gets proper media attention or raceday coverage.

      I’d say a little public praise of his talent is overdue!

  5. Remove the chicane so drivers approach almost a dead end at Tabac but going 350+ kph?

    That’s a bright idea…

    Who writes that??

    1. @fer-no65 was writing the same but ya beat me to it.

      I mean, if you demolish Cafe Milano and build the runoff into the tunnel going under JFK and Boulevard Albert…

    2. @fer-no65 But since when have we seen both brake and gear failures where cars cant slow down and just goes straight on? The only one I can remember that would be comparable is Raikkonen Monza 2007, and it wasnt an issue.

      Even after Baku’s super straight, the worst we see is someone overshooting a little bit, and Tabac is not really a dead end.

      1. @balue it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen often. It can happen. Think about Grosjean’s accident. In any case, I can remember two from the top of my head, Buemi’s accident in China 2011 when he lost both front wheels, and Mark Webber in Monza 2011 when he lost the front wing and it got wedged under his front tyres into Parabolica.

        Even so, there’s absolutely no room, and that’d never get homologated. Baku’s long straight has a big 50 meters run off and that special foam they use for barriers.

        1. @fer-no65 Like you say, Grosjean proved there’s more dangerous parts of other tracks. Since that accident, there has been no move to remove the angled unprotected walls, and hardly any calls of it anywhere. I myself felt like a lone voice about it here.

          Tabac is not a straight angled wall, it is a curve that can made even more open than now. You lose it there, it’s not a dead stop. A couple of walls of freestanding protech barriers would sort most out, but in reality there’s even room for a small run-off as well.

          Something can happen on all tracks. Like T1 Monaco for example. Lose your wheels or wings there and the angle to the wall in the run-off area is really not much different to the one in Tabac and it’s also 300+ kph. I really don’t see a revised and protected Tabac as particularly risky in this day and age compared to other acceptable parts.

  6. I gotta say, Keith: good thing you reconsidered. HAM not marked as a struggler is borderline inconceivable. He arguably was in a poorer form than RIC, if we are to consider the latter’s attenuates.

  7. For me it was just not enough for Ferrari. It’s nice they got a podium, but if only Charles didn’t mess up…

  8. HAM definitely qualifies as a struggler, but what I’m baffled about is the suggestion of axing the post-tunnel chicane, which is 100% undoable on safety grounds. Even without the grandstand, Tabac still wouldn’t have enough space for a sufficient runoff. People should think more carefully about possible unintended consequences before suggesting.

    This time a bigger image of Ferrari SF90 in an 18-inch wheel rim test. Previously, only a very small portion of the car.

  9. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
    26th May 2021, 9:05

    I think it’s time for change at Monaco to allow overtaking. The chicane could be pushed back and widened, if space allows it. It’s time to seriously consider the options.

    1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend Not many options because of limited surrounding space everywhere, something that applies to all street tracks.

  10. Personally, I think we should leave Monaco as it is. Yes, the race last Sunday wasn’t great, but the qualifying session was great, and I’m sure the race would have been a lot better had Leclerc started from pole.
    Some have said that it only provides exciting races when some random event happens, but if that is true, random events happen often enough for it to be worth keeping Monaco. 2019 was a great race, watching Hamilton hold off Verstappen, Vettel and Bottas on worn tyres. In 2018, we had Ricciardo struggling with less power and holding off Vettel and Hamilton. 2017 was interesting as it had the Ferrari swap for first place at the pitstop. 2016 was a wet race, so obviously that was action-packed. 2015 had the bizarre Hamilton pitstop at the end, but there was also some good overtaking from Verstappen that race. The 2014 race was absolutely brilliant. I don’t remember much about the lead battle, as I was entirely focussed on Bianchi attempting to take Marussia’s first points, and that provided excitement throughout the race. 2013 saw that great battle between Raikkonen and Perez that ended in disaster for both, and Sutil making some fine passes. 2012 had that train of six cars battling for the lead, and that provided excitement. 2011 was possibly the best of the lot, with overtaking and suspense, and it all built up to a grandstand finish as Vettel led from Alonso and then Button, in opposite order of tyre performance. Sadly, the red flag robbed us of that grandstand finish. So it’s not as though Monaco has been providing bad racing for years; the last ten years has provided us with plenty of excellent races, and 2021 was the anomaly, rather than the norm.
    And even ignoring this fact, Monaco still provides a unique challenge for the drivers, and it is a joy to watch the cars there. There are 23 races in a season, and one race a season is Monaco, which nobody is obliged to watch if they feel certain it will be boring (which it rarely is). There is no downside in leaving this historic race on the calendar.

    1. Interesting that you’ve taken care to find something interesting to you each year. Sadly, that isn’t the case for everyone.
      Just think how much better all of those events would have been if the cars were really capable of actual racing with each other.
      The kind of actual racing that F1 painfully rarely actually delivers. The kind that they say they want, but never really create regulations for. The kind that Monaco will never provide with F1, but had no trouble when Formula E went there.

  11. Thanks for COTD Keith, at least you achieved the unthinkable, unifying everyone commenting on this site! :oP

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