The Monaco Grand Prix was always going to be full of incidents and controversy. And, it was going to be the team and the driver who could handle the chaos the best who would come out on top. On the day, that happened to be Red Bull and Sergio Perez, who got the better of and managed to outfox Ferrari.
Before the race, TV coverage showed that rain was on the way, So it was no surprise that the start of the race ended up being delayed by an hour. The wet conditions saw Red Bull devise a strategy that worked across the board for their drivers, with Mexican Perez being able to climb from third into the lead. And Max Verstappen, who is the defending F1 champion, make the podium after moving from fourth to third. And with that, extending his lead at the top of the driver standings to nine points.
Perez’s victory in Monaco also sees him move within six points of Charles Leclerc in the standings. And it’s fully deserved, after he outperformed defending champion and teammate Verstappen in qualifying and on the day. However, Ferrari, who were left to rue their own mistakes, lodged complaints against both Perez and Verstappen. But they were quickly dismissed.
Their number one driver Leclerc, who hails from Monaco, had secured pole on Saturday in style. And, he was looking good and on course for a victory that would have seen him regain control of the driver standings. But blunders in the Ferrari strategy saw Leclerc slip from first to fourth in just four laps. It was a dramatic slide from being in control of the race to being out of a podium place, with Leclerc expressing his displeasure over the radio.
The final ten minutes of the race were tense, with the drivers in the top four positions attempting to hold their place while looking to see if they could improve on their standing. But, when the race was called with sixty-four of the seventy-seven laps complete due to time restrictions, Perez had managed to secure the win, with Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in second, Verstappen third and Leclerc fourth.
Heading into the two-week break, Verstappen is still in control, and he’s got his team to thank for that. Perez, who is in third and now applying serious pressure to second-placed Leclerc, will also be thankful to Red Bull for their strategy that worked so well at Monaco. But, Ferrari will be rueing the mistakes they made, as they had the chance to capitalise on their pole start.
There is a doubleheader to come following the two-week break, with races in Baku and Montreal coming in quick succession. Perez was victorious in Baku last year, so could he make it two wins from two? It will be F1’s first visit to Montreal since 2019, and it will be another race that could be pivotal where the driver standings are concerned.