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Perez wins as Red Bull delivers race strategy blow to Ferrari

May 31, 2022

MEXICO’S Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez scored a brilliant win for Red Bull Racing around the streets of Monte Carlo on a day when Ferrari’s race strategy robbed their Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc of victory.  The top four cars in the race were covered by less than 3 seconds at the finish, Perez being followed home by the lead Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr, World Championship leader Max Verstappen and a disappointed Charles Leclerc.

Starting from pole position Leclerc dominated the opening stages of the race until a pit stop on lap 18 dropped him to 3rd and a second stop only three laps later left him in 4th place behind World Championship rival Max Verstappen.  Team mate Carlos Sainz elected to stay out, taking the lead and making his single pit stop on lap 21 before finishing in 2nd.

Conditions during the Grand Prix were treacherous, a heavy rain shower causing a delayed start and the race itself being red flagged due to a serious accident which saw Mick Schumacher’s Haas car severely damaged.  Due to the delay the race ran to a time-limited 64 laps.

“Winning in Monaco is a very special experience for any driver and Checo Perez has really done something special,” says Mika Hakkinen. “He drove brilliantly all weekend. He made a small mistake hitting the barrier at the end of qualifying and that definitely played a part in setting up the race as it delayed Max while he was on a qualifying run. However Checo was quick on Friday and fastest in final practice so it was clear that the car was working well for him.”

“In the race Ferrari hesitated at the key moment, calling Charles in, then pitting him again and also leaving Carlos out longer than was necessary.  Red Bull got the strategy right, jumping their cars from 3rd and 4th up to 1st and 3rd.  I know Ferrari have said they are going to analyse the reasons why their strategy went so badly wrong, but I think the technical analysis will be less important than the human factors.  What makes one team have the confidence to make the right call, and another team to hesitate and get it wrong?  That’s down to people and the confidence which they have in each other when under pressure.”

One of the major talking points at the weekend was the future of the Monaco Grand Prix itself.

“Monaco has been holding Grands Prix since 1929 and is a very special race which should remain on the calendar in the long term,” says Mika.  “I drove in 10 Monaco Grands Prix and won one of them, so I can confirm that’s a tough race to win even when you have a quick car.”

“It is a very good test for the driver because of the precision needed. One small mistake and you are out.  On many of the modern circuits you can drive off the track and there is no problem – you can just come back on again!  Monaco punishes mistakes.”

“It also rewards teams who have the ability to make fast decisions and change strategy in just a few seconds. The circuit is very short in length, so the teams have no time to hesitate, which we saw this weekend. There is more pressure to react quickly and, as we again saw on Sunday, the weather can change in Monaco. When you have a wet/dry race it becomes much more of a lottery in terms of results.”

“Formula 1 has of course changed and developed a lot in recent years with many new race circuits and countries joining the World Championship, but it is important to protect the heritage of our sport. Monaco has always developed too, so I hope that together Formula 1 and Monaco will have a very bright future.  Each is good for the other.”

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