Perez Wins Chaotic Monaco GP, Ferrari Blows It for Leclerc | Sports News

 Perez Wins Chaotic Monaco GP, Ferrari Blows It for Leclerc | Sports News

By JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Auto Racing Writer

MONACO (AP) – Sergio Perez has withdrawn from orders with the Red Bull team denying him the opportunity to race for victory a week ago to claim his first Formula One win during the devastating rain in Monaco Grand Prix.

Perez got his third F1 career win after a questionable call on Ferrari cost pole-sitter Charles Leclerc’s strategy a win on his home circuit.

Although Leclerc finished the race for the first time in four tries, he finished fourth and allowed reigning world champion Max Verstappen to extend his over -points standings. Carlos Sainz Jr. finished second for Ferrari and Verstappen third for Red Bull.

Verstappen now leads Leclerc by nine points in the standings; Leclerc has two wins this season, Verstappen and Perez combined for five wins while Red Bull and Ferrari have claimed all seven races.

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But the victory on Monaco’s slick city streets went to Verstappen’s teammate just a week after Perez was ordered to hand over the lead to Verstappen during the Spanish Grand Prix. Leclerc stopped the race due to engine failure and Red Bull chose to take advantage by maneuvering the finish to give Verstappen the win over Spain.

The team promised Perez that they would let him race for wins and keep the word on Sunday.

“You dream of winning it, and after your home race, there’s no place more special to win,” Perez said after waving the Mexican flag. He was third in the standings and just six points behind Leclerc.

Red Bull team captain Christian Horner punched Perez while walking next to the driver after the race. Perez is on a one-year contract and Red Bull and Perez say talks about an extension will escalate into the summer months.

“Checo is amazing,” Horner said. “It’s very difficult in situations like that but we get the calls right.”

Horner joined Perez on the podium and Perez struggled to hold back his tears as he rubbed his cheeks and rubbed his eyes as the Mexican anthem played.

“This is a big day for myself and my country. I was so happy. I’m wearing a Pedro Rodriguez helmet, ”Perez said.

Rodriguez, a Mexican driver who won two F1 races, died in 1971.

Verstappen celebrated with Perez, whom he considered the best partner of his career.

“Amazing result for Checo,” he said. “Very happy for him.”

Leclerc led from the post and screamed in anger when told to press for a second wheel change on Lap 22-Sainz’s time. His engineer realized the mistake and shouted “stay!” but it was too late and Leclerc was back on track in the fourth.

“What are you doing?” Leclerc shouted.

After the race, he lectured Ferrari again.

“No words, no words. We can’t do that, ”he said on the radio.

Ferrari team captain Mattia Binotto accepted the team made the wrong call for Leclerc.

“I knew he wasn’t happy. It’s normal that he’s not happy because we made a mistake. If you are the first and in the fourth, obviously nothing can be done, ”said Binotto. “We should have stayed outside. Let’s see why we made that decision. ”

Leclerc also won the post a year ago but never started because he crashed at the end of qualifying, and the car’s gearbox failed a few minutes before the start. In 2018 and 2019, Leclerc has already retired from the race with a crash injury.

The race was delayed 70 minutes due to heavy rain and started from a rolling start behind a safety car. It was then red-flagged on Lap 30 after Mick Schumacher’s heavy crash three laps earlier cut his Haas car in two. He escaped unharmed.

“I was ok, very, very upset not to finish the race,” Schumacher said. “I don’t know why the car split in two.”

George Russell finished fifth for Mercedes ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. Seven -time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton was eighth for Mercedes – extending his unbeaten run in the Silver Arrows to eight races – while Valtteri Bottas was ninth for Alfa Romeo and Sebastian Vettel 10th for Aston Martin.

“Crazy afternoon. I thought the rain would make it more exciting but we were still having a hard time with our cars, “Hamilton said.” Probably one of the worst (starting of the season). “

Non -stop rain hit the track 20 minutes before the scheduled start at 3pm local time.

The yard was initially lined up and completed a delayed lap to form the back of the safety car. But drivers got out of their cars when the rain intensified and it became clear that Sunday’s start would be delayed. They took shelter in their garages while the groups used a makeshift tent to protect the cars.

When the rain had subsided enough to start the race, Leclerc led the field on a wheel start and began to time the fastest laps.

Then came an order for the team to play straight into the hands of Red Bull and left Leclerc unhappy in Monaco.

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