Scuderia Ferrari with Charles Leclerc made some wrong strategy decisions in Monaco, instead the one decided on the track by Carlos Sainz was perfect and would have earned the Spaniard his first career victory in the Principality had he not met on his way out of pits what now seems like an involuntary ‘secret agent’ for Red Bull. We are talking about Nicholas Latifi, who was already decisive in Abu Dhabi last December in offering Max Verstappen the chance to win the world title.
The Williams driver – who crashed behind the Safety Car at the Loews in the very early stages of the race – was among the first to mount slick tires and was decisive in ‘protecting’ the lead for Sergio Perez who later won at the race. In fact, from Carlos Sainz’s on board, you can see how Latifi overtook the Ferrari driver on the climb that leads to Massenet despite the fact that the blue flags were already waving at Sainte-Devote.
The Canadian ignored several blue flags and light panels at the Casino, at the Mirabeau until after the Portier where Latifi slowed down, giving way to Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard’s out lap time was two seconds slower than Sergio Perez’s and the fact that Checo was back on track with only a second of margin highlights how detrimental it was for the Ferrari driver to meet Latifi on his way, with the Canadian who even overtook the Ferrari driver.
At the end of the Monaco Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz did not hide his disappointment for the incident which cost him the race win: “It is easy to understand my frustration, because I knew that my race was all about in the first lap after changing the tyres. As soon as I got out of the pit lane, I had some skidding on the wet side and Latifi managed to slip in front of me. Personally, knowing that I was the leader at the time, he could have stayed behind instead of overtaking me, considering also that I was trying to stay inside the yellow line out of the pits, which others have struggled to do. He passed me on the climb to the Casino and from there I had to stay behind along curves 3, 4, 5, 6,7 and 8, up to the tunnel. At that point, however, I had lost the warm-up of the slicks and the possibility of making a difference. The slicks were as fast as the intermediates if not faster, which is why we could stay ahead of Checo. You can understand my frustration and why I shouted over the radio to let me by.” – the Ferrari driver admitted.
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