Sports Desk, May 29 (EFE).- Mexico’s Sergio Perez, driving for Red Bull, benefited from his team’s race strategy on Sunday to win the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, the seventh race of the season, which was interrupted by two red flags.
Spain’s Carlos Sainz, with Ferrari, came in second and Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen, from The Netherlands, was third.
“Checo” Perez started out after a one-hour-plus rain delay behind the two Ferrari drivers – Sainz and Monaco native Charles Leclerc – the latter of whom was starting in the pole position and took charge on his home turf during the early part of the race but quickly saw his hopes of victory implode.
Perez jumped ahead of the two Ferrari drivers after an initial pit stop on Lap 16 after the rain ended and managed to stay ahead of the pack thereafter, although Sainz threatened late in the race.
Two red flags were shown during the race, delaying matters somewhat, the first one due to rain and the second after an accident involving Mick Schumacher, driving for Haas.
The contest had begun behind the safety car due to rain and when the downpour didn’t let up the red flag was shown to suspend it after just two laps, but 45 minutes later things got under way again and Leclerc was out in front, followed by Sainz, then Perez and Verstappen.
With the track drying out, Perez switched tires on Lap 16, a key move, with him notching two lightning laps thereafter as Leclerc stopped to change tires, too, but came out behind the Guadalajara native and got mixed up behind Sainz, who had also changed to slick tires, better suited to the now-drier track.
On Lap 28, Schumacher somehow veered into the barrier, whirled across the track and slammed into the opposing barrier, his car torn in two, although he emerged without injury.
After a 20-minute red flag delay to removed the wrecked car and repair the barrier, the action commenced once again, but Perez was nicely ahead – although Sainz tried to challenge but fell short – and cruised to victory, with just 64 of the planned 77 laps being completed given the race’s maximum three-hour time limit.
It was the Mexican’s first Monte Carlo win, and his third F1 first-place trophy, although – even though he finished third – Verstappen, in the lead in the rankings so far, was able to expand his point total over challenger Leclerc from six to nine points.
Coming in fifth was the UK’s George Russell, with Mercedes, followed by countryman Lando Norris, with McLaren, Spain’s Fernando Alonso with Alpine and Briton Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes machine, some 50 seconds back.
In the No.9 spot was Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, with Alfa Romeo, and in 10th place was Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, with Aston Martin.