'What are we doing': F1 world in disbelief over Ferrari blunder

A tactical error from Ferrari cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the Monaco GP.
It was an agonising day of F1 for Charles Leclerc on Sunday, losing his home GP in Monaco to a Ferrari pitstop error. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images) (Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Ferrari blew its chance to win a rain-soaked F1 Monaco GP on Sunday night, bungling their pitstop strategy and handing the race to Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Perez wouldn't have believed his luck after emerging back on track ahead of Charles Leclerc on lap 23, who had been leading the race comfortably before Ferrari's error.

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The start of the race had to be delayed by an hour as rain bucketed down on Monaco before the race, with cars eventually able to get racing on extreme wet tyres.

Leclerc lead comfortably from the start, but as the track began to dry it out was clear there would be a tactical game to be played in the pits, as some drivers began to switch over to the faster intermediate tyre.

The first signs of trouble emerged here, when Red Bull pitted Perez for intermediates, only calling Leclerc in to do the same two laps later.

Ferrari made a bold call to fit slicks to Sainz's car a short time later, with Sainz having inherited the race lead by remaining on track, but erred by calling Leclerc in to stop directly behind him, or 'double stack' their pitstop.

The team tried too late to reverse their call and keep Leclerc on track, but it was too late - the Monegasque was already coming down pit lane, and was about to lose out to both Red Bulls, who were quick on slicks as Leclerc was agonisingly forced to wait behind his teammate.

"F***, why?! What are we doing?!” a furious Leclerc hollered down the radio as his championship defecit to rival Verstappen became larger.

It was not the afternoon Ferrari were hoping for, and a frustrated Leclerc said after the race that these were the errors Ferrari had to clean up in order to mount a true title challenge.

“Mistakes can happen but there’s been too many mistakes today,” Leclerc added after the race, clearly unimpressed at his own team.

“I’ve been asked questions if I wanted to go from the extreme wets to the slicks and I said, ‘yes but not now, a bit later on in the race’, but I don’t understand what made us change our minds and go on the intermediates.

“We got undercut then I stopped behind Carlos. There have been a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that.

“It is hard as it has been in the other years here, so I am getting use to it and getting back home feeling disappointed but we cannot do that, especially in a moment that we are in now."

Ferrari give away Monaco GP as Sergio Perez claims third F1 win

Following a frenetic climax, Perez finished just 1.1sec ahead of Sainz and the top four were separated by less than three seconds.

There was to be an intriguing post-script to the race, with Ferrari lodging a protest with the stewards that both Red Bulls had crossed the pit-lane exit line when rejoining the track - an offence which would earn a driver a five second time penalty.

Perez's victory was confirmed after stewards rejected Ferrari protests that he and Verstappen had failed to obey pit-lane exit rules.

On lap 28, the TV cameras dramatically cut to a picture ofHaas driver Mick Schumacher's car torn in two pieces at the high-speed swimming pool chicane.

Sergio Perez claimed his third F1 victory at Monaco, holding Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at bay ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/FilmMagic)
Sergio Perez claimed his third F1 victory at Monaco, holding Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at bay ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/FilmMagic) (FilmMagic)

The German veered into the barrier on the right, before pirouetting across the track and slamming into the armco barrier on the opposite side.

"I am OK," the 23-year-old said. "I just don't understand it."

A virtual safety car and proper safety car were then deployed before a full red flag to remove the two parts of Schumacher's wrecked machine and repair the barrier.

The drivers returned to the pits and Leclerc was visibly furious as he stomped off to the Ferrari garage.

After a 20-minute delay, the race was under way again, but with a three-hour time limit, only 64 of the allocated 77 laps were completed.

Despite a late charge from Sainz, Perez held his nerve to win for a first time in Monte Carlo.

With AAP

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