F1: Hear Charles Leclerc’s Uncensored Radio After Monaco Tire Fiasco
Charles Leclerc was fuming after Ferraris’ tire fiasco and now you can hear his uncensored mic.
Yesterday, Sergio Perez won the F1 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, a glorious moment for the veteran driver, marking his first ever Monaco GP win in his eleven-year F1 career. However, the story of the day wasn't Checo's first-ever win at Monaco. Instead, the tire mismanagement fiasco that potentially cost Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc from taking what would have been his first-ever win in his hometown was the headline story. Naturally, Leclerc was furious and some uncensored footage of his onboard mic was recently released.
After an hour rain delay, Charles Leclerc led from pole position with a comfortable enough lead that it seemed, even early on, he would not only finish his first ever Monaco GP but go home victorious. However, as the wet track dried, Ferrari was undecisive when it came to tire strategy and it proved costly. As Perez's Red Bull team instructed its drivers to pit for intermediate tires, Ferrari left Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz on wets for too long. Then Leclerc was instructed to pit for intermediate tires two laps after Red Bull.
Following Leclerc's swap to intermediate tires, he was in P2, behind Perez. However, Ferrari decided to let Sainz stay out on wets for one more lap before then quickly deciding to pit him, skip over intermediates, and go straight to slicks. That's not all, Ferrari also instructed Leclerc to pit for slicks just one lap after swapping to intermediates, which double-stacked both Ferrari drivers in the pits. Ferrari forcing Leclerc to pit twice in such quick succession caused him to fall to P4, behind Perez (P1), his teammate Carlos Sainz (P2), and Red Bull's Max Verstappen (P3). So after having a comfortable lead for most of the race's start, Leclerc found himself in fourth place, where he would stay until the end. In fact, due to Monaco's unusual overtaking difficulty, the first four positions didn't change from that point on.
What made matters worse is that, as Leclerc was pitting, he heard the team reverse their decision over the mic, telling him to stay out instead, but it was too late. It seemed as if Ferrari was panicking, which caused the indecisiveness that led to Leclerc dropping back to fourth.
“Let down is not the word, some mistakes can happen, but there have been too many mistakes today, overall. In those conditions you rely a little bit on what the team can see... I’ve been asked questions whether I wanted to go from medium wet to the slicks, and I said yes, but not now, later on in the race, I don’t understand what made us change our mind and go on the intermediates. We got undercut and I stopped behind Carlos. I mean, there’s been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that. It’s hard, as it’s been the other years here, so I’m getting used to getting back home disappointed." Leclerc told Sky TV's Natalie Pinkham after the race.
"The last message that I had wasn’t clear, because I was told to stay out, but I was already in the pit lane, and that’s where I basically let it all out on the radio and screamed, because I knew I was done.”
As unbiased as I try to be when I cover F1, it's hard to not feel at least a little bit bad for Leclerc. He qualified in pole position, started off the race in his hometown with an excellent performance that gave him a comfortable lead, and then his team's indecisiveness and panicked decision-making put him in fourth place on a track that's famous for its lack of overtaking opportunities. Sergio Perez deserves all of the praise he's getting for his performance holding off Carlos Sainz toward the end of the race but the story of the 2022 Monaco GP was one of disappointment for Charles Leclerc.