The Formula 1 Calendar moves to race 7 and arguably the world’s most famous race: The Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco is often called the Crown Jewel of Formula 1’s calendar and serves as one-third of Auto Racing’s Triple Crown, alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Newer Formula 1 fans will be very familiar with the streets of Monte Carlo. Monaco is a favored backdrop of Netflix’s docudrama Formula 1: Drive To Survive. The 79th running of the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, May 29th.
In the past, some have criticized the Monaco Grand Prix as being “procedural,” where the results in qualifying determine the Grand Prix’s finishing order. Modern Formula 1 cars are enormous, making the Monaco circuit even tighter and more difficult to overtake.
Will the Monaco Grand Prix have any surprises or will the race be won during qualifying?
Could Reliability Create Chaos?
Reliability has been and will continue to be a major story of the 2022 Formula 1 season. Every team has struggled with reliability in some regard. The drivers need as much track time on a street course as possible to push the limits and extract the best lap time from the car. This is all the more important on the tightest, slowest, shortest track on the F1 calendar.
Reliability issues, flags, and safety cars will play a significant role in determining who finishes in what position over the weekend. A driver’s race could be sunk by an ill-timed safety car or mid-race rain. Other drivers might not get enough laps to truly maximize the car’s potential, finishing lower than expected.
To further complicate things there is a chance of rain on Sunday in Monte Carlo. There is a much of a chance this Monaco Grand Prix could be wild and unpredictable as there is a chance that the Monaco Grand Prix is everything that people criticize it for being, all too often.
So far, Formula 1 in 2022 has not disappointed. Don’t expect the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix to not have a few twists and turns (and a little chaos) along the way.
And we’ve got an idea of who might provide a little chaos.
Leclerc on the streets of Monaco.
Did you know that Charles Leclerc has not finished a race at his home track in Monaco? Neither did I until the F1TV broadcast crew mentioned it in passing during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. Saying Leclerc has a difficult relationship with his home circuit is an understatement.
In his first Monaco Grand Prix in 2018, Leclerc Crashed on lap 70 and retired from the race.
In 2019, Leclerc was eliminated from qualifying in Q1. Leclerc tried to pass Nico Hulkenburg on lap 8, touched the wall, and spun. This caused a tire puncture, which caused significant damage to the floor. Ferrari eventually retired Leclerc’s car from the race on Lap 16.
There was no Monaco Grand Prix in 2020 for Leclerc to not finish.
After setting pole position for the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc crashed on his in-lap. This ended Verstappen’s charge for pole and did enough damage that Leclerc retired from the race, leaving pole position empty and the race win open for the taking.
In 2022, Leclerc crashed Nikki Lauda’s1974 drivers championship-winning Ferrari 312T during the Monaco Historic Grand Prix on May 15th.
Predictions and Picks
Despite this atrocious record at the Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc is the betting favorite to win qualifying and the Grand Prix. That’s not something I’d be comfortable putting my money on. Is the Ferrari going to be quick around Monaco? Likely. Can Leclerc take pole position? He did last year, so yes. Will Leclerc actually finish the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix?
The Monaco Grand Prix is often about track position. So far, Red Bull Racing has the best racing car this season. Monaco could be another strong weekend for Red Bull. How successful Red Bull’s trip to Monte Carlo will depend on reliability.
Max Verstappen’s driving over the past 2+ seasons has been incredible. If Red Bull can maintain reliability, Verstappen is our pick to qualify 1st and win the Monaco Grand Prix.
If Mercedes have finally solved the porpoising problem of the W-13, they should have another strong showing on Sunday. Aston Martin’s “Green Red Bull” should show improvement after debuting at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Potential for a Surprise?
Could someone from the midfield out-qualify a frontrunner and get a surprise result? Maybe a surprise podium? We’ve picked three drivers that could out-qualify a front runner and are likely to score points.
Valterri Bottas has been excellent in the Alfa Romero during the 2022 season. Bottas has been vocal about Alfa Romero’s chances for the Monaco Grand Prix, citing the car’s strength in slow-speed corners. If Alfa Romero can avoid further reliability woes, Bottas score a surprise podium.
Fernando Alonso is the best. Formula 1 is more fun with Alsonso on the grid. Both Alonso and Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon have shown good single-lap pace at times so far in 2022. We pick Alonso and Ocon to make it to qualifying 3. We can see a starting grid where Alonso is sandwiched between the Ferrari and Red Bull Cars.
Lano Norris is due to have a good performance. Norris is our dark horse to qualify and finish higher than you anticipate. If you are playing fantasy F1, Norris could garner more points than you anticipate.
Our Picks for the Top 3 in Qualifying and the Monaco Grand Prix Podium
Our pick for the top three qualifiers for the Monaco Grand Prix: 1. Verstappen 2. Alonso 3. Sainz
Our podium picks for the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix: 1. Verstappen 2. Russel 3. Bottas
Our random pick of the week: Nicholas Latifi in the Williams to finish last. Not retire but finish last.