Perez wins Monaco as Red Bull strategy pays off

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Red Bull's Sergio Perez has won the Monaco Grand Prix, having to fend off Sainz who blamed a lapped car for losing the race. Verstappen finished third while Leclerc was a disappointed fourth after communication issues with his team.

A shower just before the start of the race triggered a delay of the start by 15 minutes. Further rain during that time made race control make the decision to mandate wet weather tyres. The formation lap got going behind the safety car, but soon more rain came down, leading to a return to the pits for everyone and a red flag for another 40 minutes.

One hour after the scheduled starting time, the safety car went out again with all drivers behind it with the intention to get the race going after two laps. In the first lap out of the pits though, some already were caught out as Stroll and Latifi both hit the barriers and had to return the pits. Stroll with a right rear puncture, Latifi with a damaged front wing. Gasly pittted one lap later and switched to intermediates as Latifi did on his stop.

The safety car nonetheless left the track for a rolling start with a surprising lack of incidents. On lap 6, after some hot moments, Gasly then recorded the fastest lap, triggering Schumacher, Vettel and Tsunoda to pit and make the change as well. Gasly's pace advantage led to him passing Zhou after several laps of trying at Mirabeau. By then, Vettel had closed the 8s deficit to join this Ricciardo, Gasly, Zhou bunch in 12th to 14th position.

Two laps later, Gasly made it past Ricciardo at the swimming pool and went on to cut 1.5s in the first sector alone on Magnussen who was 6s ahead. Gasly continued that performance to set the fastest lap, slashing Magnussen's and Bottas's advantage to just 2s, a gap that was closed half a lap later.

While in first four remained reasonably close to one another, Perez was the first of them to pit, changing to intermediates on lap 16, just like what Hamilton had done the lap before. The next lap, Sainz was called in, but after an argument with the driver he was told "stay out, stay out".

One lap later, Leclerc and Verstappen pitted for a switch to intermediates. Perez meanwhile had set the fastest lap and thereby moved up into second, nearly 5s ahead of Charles Leclerc and an extra 6.5s on Verstappen.

Meanwhile Hamilton got involved in a thrilling battle for 8th with Ocon. Ocon, still on full wets was a whole lot slower and Hamilton could practically go aside of the Alpine but was unable to make it past until Ocon finally pitted on lap 21. The Alpine driver switched to hard slicks, , just like both Ferraris had just done before him. However, it wasn't without antics as some miscommunication saw Leclerc come straight in while his engineer yelled "stay out, stay out". The loss wasn't dramatic, but when both Red Bulls and Sainz pitted one lap later, Leclerc found himself fourth, behind Verstappen while Perez led just ahead of Sainz.

By lap 23, everybody but the Astons had switched to slicks. They did so in the next few laps, undoubtedly losing some time as slick runners were improving the fastest lap quickly.

In front, the gaps reduced quickly, leaving Leclerc in 4th being just 2.9s behind Perez in 1st. All four were incredible close while also very busy to get past lapped cars.

The show was brutally cut moments later when Mick Schumacher crashed heavily just past the swimming pool, somewhat similar to Ricciardo's spin and crash in free practice. Mick was unhurt and stepped out quickly, but his Haas car was again split in two with the gearbox breaking off of the rest of the car.

The safety car was quickly brought out, only to complete two more laps before red flagging the race while it was obvious from the first moment that the race would have to be stopped to clear the car and put the tecpro barrier in the right place.

At 17:15 local time everybody got rolling again with a rolling start after two laps behind the safety car. This time, about half of the field was on medium tyres, the rest on hards. In the top 10, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris and Bottas continued on used hards as the others chose for fresh medium Pirelli tyres.

Predictably there were no overtakes though Perez badly locked up his front left at Mirebeau while Hamilton seemed very eager to make it past Alonso for 7th. The latter was told to manage his pace as much as possible and was therefore focused more on keeping Hamilton behind than staying with Norris. The latter went on to set the fastest lap of the race.

The Spaniard's pace was such that Norris could pit for a fresh set of mediums 15 minutes from the end. By then, Perez clearly struggled with his tyres, allowing the cars behind him to easily follow him closely. None of them managed to make it past the Mexican though as in true Monaco style, DRS wasn't enough and the barriers were just too close to make it past.


111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt641:56:30.26525
255Carlos SainzFerrari64+1.154s18
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt64+1.491s15
416Charles LeclercFerrari64+2.922s12
563George RussellMercedes64+11.968s10
64Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes64+12.231s9
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault64+46.358s6
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes64+50.388s4
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari64+52.525s2
105Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes64+53.536s1
1110Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt64+54.289s0
1231Esteban OconAlpine Renault64+55.644s0
133Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes64+57.635s0
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes64+60.802s0
156Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes63+1 lap0
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari63+1 lap0
1722Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt63+1 lap0
NC23Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes48DNF0
NC47Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari24DNF0
NC20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari19DNF0

Ocon finished 9th but a 5s time penalty for causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton dropped him to 12th
Lando Norris gained an extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race