‘Formula 2 pace’: Wolff calls for changes after Alonso ruins Hamilton’s race

The Monaco Grand Prix ended up as a time limited race after two red flag periods.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that race control did a fine job considering the circumstances that were conspiring against them at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Torrential rain hit the circuit just before the race was set to get going on Sunday, leaving an enormous volume of standing water on the track, as well as a river at the Antony Nogues corner, meaning that the start was delayed by 16 minutes.

A subsequent power outage meant that the start lights had failed, and there was another delay when the drivers managed one lap of running behind the Safety Car, with race control spying a gap in the weather for green flag racing to eventually start.

READ: Leclerc tears into Ferrari for making ‘too many mistakes’

George Russell was able to jump Lando Norris in the pit stop phase to climb up to fourth, while Sir Lewis Hamilton had an eventful afternoon battling the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

Another red flag was necessitated by a nasty crash for Mick Schumacher, and Alonso put Mediums on to go to the end.

The Spaniard spent most of the second stint trying to conserve his tyres, and it left us with the amusing track map of the leaders heading up the home straight while Alonso and the massive train behind him were still at the Nouvelle chicane.

Wolff estimates that Alonso was around five seconds a lap off the pace at times, and he calls for changes to be made to the Monaco track to facilitate overtaking.

“Five seconds is like a Formula 2 car,” he said.

Article continues below

“That was the usual chaotic race in Monaco – and once again, a lesson that we need to look at this circuit layout, so people can’t drive round five seconds off the pace in a procession.

“This is a fantastic venue and spectacle – but it would be great if the racing could be at the same level.

“With the length of the race, and the delays and interruptions, it felt more like an NFL game than a Grand Prix – but I’m not sure that much else could have been done.

“We need to give the race directors credit for managing a difficult situation; the rain at the beginning was torrential, then there was an issue with the connectivity for the TV broadcast which meant we couldn’t get going.”

Russell comfortably finished ahead of Norris in fourth, before Alonso tried to speed up to give team-mate Esteban Ocon a margin to mitigate his five-second penalty incurred by an earlier incident with Hamilton.

The seven-time champion dropped back from the 40-year-old as a result, and Wolff believes that he would have been in the conversation for P4 had it not been for the time loss.

“When we finally did, it was a strong afternoon for George – and a really frustrating one for Lewis,” added the Austrian.

“There were the laps stuck with Esteban, who got penalised for the collision, then the slow pace from Alonso, without which Lewis could have been racing Lando and George.

READ: FIA punish Ferrari for ‘misleading’ Sainz in Monaco

“It was another reminder that track position is everything here – and that we are the third team on the road. We have learned some important lessons about the car this weekend, and that learning will be the basis of rebuilding our performance to fight again at the front of the field.”

Sergio Perez won the race for Red Bull ahead of Carlos Sainz and team-mate Max Verstappen.