2022 F1 Grand Prix of Monaco, Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Monte Carlo

Formula 1 arrives at an important milestone this week: the first race of the season around a real marina.

But the sport is not there simply to marvel at the novelty of the real water supporting, as if by magic, the flotation of the yachts which make their entry into the harbor of Monaco. The streets of Monte Carlo are always the main attraction as the one race every driver wants to have a chance to win.

Will Mercedes be there this season, and if so, will it be the ever-constant George Russell or the resurgent Lewis Hamilton who will lead the way? Ferrari doesn’t care who gets the nod as lead driver – the Italian team are skeptical. Mercedes is a real precursor in the first place.

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Off-track, the sport will be absorbed in the traditional glitz and glamor of Monte Carlo, although Valtteri Bottas has already had a head start, raising money for charity through an auction of a photoshoot which, clearly in the opinion of the many bidders, captured the best side of the Finn.

MERCEDES POINTS PROBLEM

After stepping onto the Spanish Grand Prix podium, George Russell said Barcelona was “the start of our season”, such was the progress Mercedes had made after a daunting five-race opener.

That’s, at best, just in time for the defending constructors’ champion.

Mercedes are third in the standings and 75 points behind Red Bull Racing, but fortunately they should be able to count on the battle with Ferrari preventing either of the two leaders from slipping away too quickly, buying them some time. valuable for catching up and getting started. bridging the gap.

But he has a potentially bigger problem that he will have to start considering if he truly sees himself as a championship contender this season.

George Russell leads Mercedes in the drivers standings with a 36-point deficit over Max Verstappen, a not insurmountable margin with 16 races still to go. Lewis Hamilton, however, is almost twice as far behind, with a gap of 64 points.

With Red Bull Racing clearly backing Max Verstappen and Ferrari bound to do the same behind Charles Leclerc, will Mercedes consider doing the same for George Russell?

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It’s not such a simple equation. Not only is Hamilton a seven-time champion, but he can rightly say bad luck contributed to the bulk of his points deficit for Russell, and team boss Toto Wolff was quick to invoke some of the former Briton’s dominant motivations to sum up his run. in Spain.

“It looked like a championship-winning race car he was driving,” he said. “It reminded me of last year and years before, the race car and the driver.”

It will clearly be a difficult discussion should the time come for a call to be made.

But if you ask Ferrari, Mercedes are getting a head start on themselves anyway, and Mattia Binotto was only too willing to bring the team back down to earth.

“They were seven tenths off the pace in the qualifying round, which is always a short circuit,” he told Sky Sports. “[In the race] they finished 30 seconds or more behind Red Bull, and it could have been maybe 40 seconds for Charles.

“Forty seconds, 66 laps is still six, seven tenths per lap. Six tenths, seven tenths per lap is still significant. It’s like Ferrari last year.

No one wants to be compared to a Ferrari from the 2020-21 era, and Mercedes needs a few more races to prove it’s better than that.

Problems for Leclerc as Verstappen wins | 01:35

BOTTAS NO BUM NOTE CHARITY AUCTION

Between the Miami and Spanish Grands Prix, Valtteri Bottas enjoyed some downtime in Colorado with his partner, Australian cyclist and Olympian Tiffany Cromwell, but it proved more profitable than it was for his fitness. and his well-being.

The Finn caused a stir on social media when he posted a photo of himself diving into a stream in Aspen, his bare buttocks jutting out above the water, and the online popularity of the publication caused him and Cromwell to come up with a plan.

“The next day we decided we’d like to print something for charity, and we decided to do it,” he said, per Sports car. “And then it went like, ‘Boom’.”

Former Mercedes photographer Paul Ripke has been hired to edit Cromwell’s photo and create a special set of prints for a charity auction.

The limited-edition bare-ass prints raised more than €40,000, which Bottas and Ripke topped up to €50,000 (AU$75,300) for German charity Stiftung LebensBlicke, a screening and awareness foundation to bowel cancer.

Speaking in Spain, Bottas said he found the popularity of his bare cheeks disconcerting.

“I was seeing pictures of people taking pictures, some have it in their living room, kitchen or bedroom,” he said.

“What’s amazing is that it’s like the power of social media. Like we got $50,000 for charity in 24 hours with a picture of someone’s ass like that.

“It’s crazy. I don’t quite understand. But, you know, we’re doing well.

JOB EXCHANGE OF LECLERC AND SAINZ

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have voiced an as-yet-unknown character for the upcoming Disney and Pixar movie Light yearbased on the character Buzz Lightyear from toy story.

Both pilots voice the same character, with Sainz’s voice being used for the film in Spanish and Leclerc getting a notice in the Italian edition.

“It was my first voice acting cameo,” Leclerc said. “It was a completely different experience than what I had done in the past. It was a bit strange and a lot more difficult than I thought.

“It was a great experience and I can’t want to see the end result.”

The Ferrari teammates are far from the first Formula 1 drivers to receive appearances in Disney films, with the Cars series featuring a band of motorsport stars in different language versions.

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Jacques Villeneuve and Vitaly Petrov have all had cameos across the franchises, some of them with the same character in different languages, as well as NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and Chase Elliot.

Light year premieres in Australia on June 16.

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