Charles Leclerc is hoping to triumph at his home race for the first time in his career when F1 take on Monaco
One of the most legendary Grand Prix races takes place this weekend. The Monaco Grand Prix will be held for the 79th time, having been held for the first time in 1929.
Widely regarded as one of the most prestigious racing events of the year, it forms the Triple Crown of motorsport along with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Last weekend, the Dutchman took the lead from his Monaco rivals for the first time this season and Verstappen will be keen to keep the gap as he heads towards his second league title in two years.
A few days before the race, here’s what to watch out for this weekend…
Can Charles Leclerc break the curse?
In the last three races that Leclerc has competed in with Ferrari, in his native Monte Carlo, the Monegasque driver has not finished any race.
In his debut F1 season in 2018, while Leclerc was with Sauber (now Alfa Romeo), his front brakes failed when he was lagging behind 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 just a single run in Q1 hoping to save tires for later.
Leclerc was visibly frustrated on race day and sliced through the inner barrier at Rascasse, shredding his right rear tyre, sending him back to the pits.
After the 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic, Leclerc was suddenly at the top of the world and managed to take pole position in Q3.
But the curse returned and as he made his way to the grid, a left rear driveshaft hub broke and Leclerc not only failed to finish his hometown race, he failed to even start it.
During the last Monaco Historic, Leclerc was driving a Nikki Lauda-era Ferrari and a brake failure meant he crashed again at Rascasse.
If Leclerc is to become a serious contender for this season’s championship again, he must break this vicious cycle and show Ferrari he can win his home race at F1’s most legendary circuit.
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 an experienced rider, he has teammate Sergio “Checo” Perez to thank for his victory.
Red Bull urged Perez to let Verstappen lead, giving a pretty clear indication of where the Mexican stands in the Red Bull garage.
While Perez may have struggled in his last two seasons at Red Bull, he has 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 let Verstappen through not just once, but twice.
Then the question arises, will Perez be given the opportunity to fight for a world title?
If Perez can beat his teammate in qualifying this weekend, surely Red Bull must allow him to enjoy his lead?
Can Daniel Ricciardo enjoy Monaco again?
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in recent years.
The Australian’s move from Red Bull to Renault (now Alpine) and then McLaren has been questioned, but it always seemed there was a method behind his madness.
However, Ricciardo, who currently sits 11th in the Drivers’ Championship, four spots behind his teammate (who is also 10 years his junior), appears a million miles from a race win.
At Monza 2021, Ricciardo enjoyed his first race win since 2018 and McLaren enjoyed the only one-two by a team of the season.
The Australian’s win in 2018 was a redeeming affair in Monaco. A pitting error in 2016 saw the win slip out of Ricciardo’s hands, but two years later Ricciardo was going nowhere and he was able to take what should have been his two years earlier.
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 elusive in Monaco, Ricciardo will need to qualify well if he wants to shine on the grid again.
https://www.nationalworld.com/sport/formula-1-can-charles-leclerc-break-the-curse-and-other-talking-points-ahead-of-monaco-gp-2022-3708745 Formula 1 2022: Charles Leclerc wants to break the curse of Monaco