Perez shows he’s no number two by mastering treacherous Monaco

2022 Monaco Grand Prix review

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Family means everything to Sergio Perez.

Following the Spanish Grand Prix, where he had obeyed team orders to prioritise his team mate three separate times, Perez arrived in Monaco with his status within his own team under question from media commentators and hot take artists on social media alike.

When Perez departs Monte-Carlo to return to his wife, family and new-born son after this weekend, he will do so having shown both his family and the motorsport world that he is far more than just a number two driver.

After consistently out-pacing his world champion team mate Max Verstappen across the three practice sessions, Perez secured third on the grid through unconventional means – spinning at Portier and blocking the track, bringing an end to qualifying.

FIA F1 Safety Car, Monaco, 2022
Various delays meant it took over an hour to start the race
With hometown hero Charles Leclerc leading a Ferrari front-row lockout, Verstappen admitted on Saturday evening that Red Bull might have to do “a little rain dance” to give themselves a chance of beating Ferrari to the victory. Whatever moves Verstappen pulled in the privacy of his seaside apartment that night, they proved just the trick.

The downpour that hit the grid ten minutes before the field was scheduled to pull away for the formation lap was so well timed it could have been almost divine intervention. But while the teams seemed prepared to react to the rain they had been anticipating since before track action for the weekend had begun, FIA race director Eduardo Freitas seemed reluctant to send 20 Formula 1 cars charging into Sainte Devote in wet conditions without any prior wet tyre running in only his second weekend in the role.

A 16-minute delay led to two formation laps behind the Safety Car, but that did not bring the race start any closer. “It needs to be stopped like this,” assessed Lando Norris from his fifth-placed McLaren. “It’s too wet.”

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Sure enough the race was almost immediately red-flagged and Norris and his 19 fellow drivers returned to the pits. After a delay of 40 minutes, due not only to the treacherous track but also problems with the starting gantry due to a power cut, Leclerc finally got to live his childhood dream of starting his home race from pole position when the race officially began under the Safety Car.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Monaco, 2022
Latifi was in the wall immediately, but continued
The question of whether the track was in a good enough condition for intermediates appeared to be answered fairly quickly when both Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi both slid into the barriers under the Safety Car, sheepishly recovering to the pits for repairs. But as the field bunched up to prepare for racing to finally get underway, Pierre Gasly in 17th had other ideas.

“I’m wondering about boxing,” he told race engineer Pierre Hamelin. “Having a gamble.”

As Leclerc led the field away under green flag conditions, Gasly made his team’s choice for him as he rounded Rascasse. “Yeah, let’s try to gamble. Box, box.” However AlphaTauri weren’t quite ready for him and scrambled to get his intermediate tyres ready, leaving him stranded in the pit box for 13 seconds before he could be sent on his way.

Leclerc headed the field on the full wet weather tyres, leading Sainz, Perez and Verstappen. But it wasn’t long before Gasly was lapping faster than anyone towards the back of the field. He passed Mick Schumacher for 17th before eating up a more than 10-second gap to Zhou Guanyu, as Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda followed him by making the switch to intermediates.

By the time Gasly had passed Zhou and then Daniel Ricciardo, the leaders were finally considering whether they should follow suit and rid themselves of their wet tyres. “It’s definitely inters now,” Perez warned Red Bull from third. But Sainz ahead insisted to Ferrari the track was improving so quickly that by the time they made the switch, they would be better off jumping straight to slick tyres.

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Perez was the first of the leaders to break ranks at the end of lap 16. With the front four already 10 seconds ahead of Norris and George Russell’s Mercedes in the following two positions, Red Bull found a perfect slot between the pair for Perez to fit into on his way out of the pits.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2022
Report: Ferrari threw Monaco GP win away with “too many mistakes” – Leclerc
Given Perez’s first full lap after stopping was six seconds faster than what Leclerc and Verstappen had been running, there was no a dilemma for the pair – do they pit and take advantage of the superior pace, or wait it out until they can make the switch directly to slicks?

“Inters would be much quicker, for sure,” Leclerc mused after being informed of Perez’s switch. Agreeing with their driver, Ferrari called the race leader in at the end of lap 18 to switch to intermediates, with Verstappen following him in and dropping the pair behind their respective team mates, with Sainz now in the lead having stayed out.

Leclerc set about chasing Perez, but was caught out by Alexander Albon, who was one of the first drivers to make the bolder switch to slicks. Despite blue flags waving, Albon appeared to have just as much speed on his new hard tyres as Leclerc had on his new intermediates, and opted not to allow the Ferrari past him. Leclerc was livid, but he was about to get much angrier.

As it was now clear that a move to the dry-weather compounds was viable, Ferrari called for first Sainz, then Leclerc to return to the pits, just three laps after Leclerc had first stopped. Then it dawned on them Leclerc would lose vital time behind his team mate.

The realisation took only a matter of seconds, but the delay enough to badly compromise Leclerc’s race. He got the call to “box now for hard” as he rounded Rascasse, then as he reached pit entry Xavier Padros tried to warn his driver: “Stay out! Stay out!”

It was too late. Leclerc was already on full lock turning into the pits. “Fuck! Fuck!” he screamed. “Why? What are we doing!”

Ferrari reacted quickly enough to get Leclerc back out onto a fresh set of slicks, but the damage was done. He had now lost the lead and track position to his team mate after making two pit stops to Sainz’s one.

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Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Monaco, 2022
After pitting, Sainz lost crucial time behind Albon
Now on theoretically faster tyres than the Red Bulls, Sainz knew he had to make the most of his tyres before the two RB18s followed suit. But on his way out of the pit lane, Latifi’s Williams suddenly appeared alongside him on warmed-up slick tyres and passed him up the hill to Casino Square. By the time Sainz got passed the backmarker into the tunnel, vital tenths – even seconds – had been lost.

Red Bull pitted both their cars at the end of the lap. Perez retained the lead of the race and Verstappen slipping in between the two Ferraris. Sainz still had the benefit of warmer tyres and tried to pressure a tentative Perez, tucking into the Red Bull’s slipstream on the pit straight at the start of the 24th lap. But a sudden loss of traction on the still damp surface saw his car suddenly jerk violently, Sainz having to react instantly to avoid his race ending in the barrier.

Having evaded an attack from Sainz, Perez began to start pulling a gap to the Ferrari that was only halted by having to navigate lapped traffic. But on lap 27, a frantic race was suddenly brought to a sudden and violent pause when Schumacher lost his car exiting the first part of the Swimming Pool and slammed into the TecPro barrier, ripping the rear of his Haas completely off his car and prompting a Safety Car intervention.

As all the field were now on hard slicks, there was no need for anyone in contention to consider pitting. But it would not matter anyway as the race was soon red flagged to allow for much-needed repairs to the barrier. Perez headed the queue that formed in the pit lane, with Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc behind.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Monaco, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Monaco Grand Prix in pictures
With teams free to change tyres, around half the remaining drivers did. By this stage, it was increasingly clear that race would be time-limited. Red Bull opted to switch to fresh mediums on their cars, but Ferrari kept their used hard compound tyres on.

Perez would have been all too aware of the need to balance his speed from his tyres and making them last long enough to not expire before time would elapse. Once the race resumed with a rolling start on lap 33, he used the free track in front of him to pull a gap to Sainz that steadily grew to around 3.5 seconds over the next 15 laps of racing.

Behind the leaders, a bizarre split was emerging in the pack which separated the six race leaders and the rest of the field. Seventh-place Fernando Alonso was running severely off the pace – clocking laps up to six seconds a lap slower than leader Perez. But despite the painfully slow pace, not even Lewis Hamilton behind him could find a way by the Alpine.

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Alonso later claimed he was made to trying to ensure his mediums would last to the end of the race by running far off the pace and taking full advantage of just how hard it is to pass around this famous street circuit to keep Hamilton at bay. Eventually, the gap got so large to Norris ahead that McLaren managed to put on a new set of mediums and re-join without losing his position to Alonso.

Out front, Perez was appearing to enjoy the unique sense of power and control that comes from being the leader in the late stages of the Monaco Grand Prix, controlling the pace and simply trying to check off the laps until the finish. But with just under 20 minutes of racing time remaining, Perez’s front tyres began to start losing their lustre. What had been a 3.5 second gap now began to shrink steadily as visible graining was now present on the leaders’ medium tyres.

By the time there was only 12 minutes remaining, the second-placed Ferrari was now within DRS range of the leader. Meanwhile, Sainz was pulling Verstappen up with him, while Leclerc was hanging onto the three of them in fourth. Even if Sainz was unlikely to be able to find a way past, he was going to make the final ten minutes as uncomfortable to Perez as possible.

“I felt I had the race under control pretty, pretty easy,” Perez later explained. “I felt like I was not really pushing.

Perez stayed cool as Sainz piled on the pressure
“And then all of a sudden, I started to have a lot of understeer into [turn] three and four, lap-after-lap and I could see that Carlos just was next to me. So Carlos was putting a lot of pressure.”

But though Sainz was trying everything he could, this was still Monaco. Even a minor opportunity to pass would be hard to come by and expecting Perez to make the mistake necessary to open the door for him was wishful thinking.

“A couple of times, I was really, really close to launching a move into [Nouvelle], but it was still a bit wet on the inside,” said Sainz. “Checo was braking quite late, so I think if I would have braked any later I would have taken him out with me.”

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Just as so many previous Monaco winners have done before him, Perez absorbed whatever pressure Sainz could throw on him, lap-after-lap, keeping both his concentration and his cool as well as his eye on the clock. In real time, Ferrari saw their hopes of their first win against Red Bull since the Australian Grand Prix slipping away by the minute.

While Perez won, Verstappen gained useful points on Leclerc
Eventually, the race clock hit zero. After his 64th and final tour of the circuit, Perez exited Anthony Noghes for the final time to join one of the most prestigious winners’ clubs in motorsport.

“When you come into Formula 1 and when you come to Monaco – when you drive it for the first time – you always dream about one day winning the race or racing here,” said Perez. “So it’s just incredible. And it’s such a big day for myself.”

Sainz, who had missed out on a potential first grand prix victory, had to accept that there is only so much a driver can do around a place like Monaco.

“Monaco is not about who is the fastest, it’s about who gets all the timing of the pit stops right and all the strategy calls right,” he said. “I think today we did the right choices – it was the timing of that lapped car really that cost us a lot today.”

Verstappen had been out-performed by a team mate for the first time across a race weekend since he was running alongside Daniel Ricciardo. However the world champion was happy to come away from the weekend extending his championship lead over Leclerc, who had missed a possible home win and even a podium through being struck by a combination of Ferrari’s slow decision-making and poor communication with their driver.

“I’m disappointed to have lost this win and it’s a tough one to take, especially at home,” he admitted. “It will be important to understand exactly what happened to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Mistakes happen, unfortunately today we made too many.”

Having passed Norris following his switch to dry tyres, George Russell claimed fifth ahead of the McLaren, who claimed fastest lap to cap off another strong weekend while, behind them, Fernando Alonso led home Lewis Hamilton.

Perez performed the traditional Red Bull pool plunge in style
But the day belonged to Perez, to Mexico – the driver was sporting a helmet dedicated to the country’s first grand prix winner Pedro Rodriguez – and to Red Bull. Once post-race protests from Ferrari against both Red Bull drivers over their pit exits were dismissed by the stewards, the celebrations could begin.

Perez didn’t get to start his first Monaco Grand Prix after a brutal crash at the chicane during qualifying in 2011. But 11 years on he had conquered the track and put the disappointment of Spain behind him immediately.

With that, Perez had demonstrated to his team and to his family that he was truly capable of being every bit the formidable driver he had always insisted he was. “This win was for my mum and all my family,” he said. “She was very sick last week so I had very good motivation going into this race to get her a victory. You don’t win Monaco many times in your life so the first one is very special.”

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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59 comments on “Perez shows he’s no number two by mastering treacherous Monaco”

  1. well…if he did not throw himself into the barriers in Q3 MV could have beaten his time, he was pretty fast in the 2nd lap and the outcome would have been different. But nevertheless well done Checo. Sometimes you have to give fate a helping hand.

    1. He needs to start regularly being up there with Lerc and Max – not 1/7 to be considered a championship contender… this race was a outlier.

      Over a season, Perez unfortunately is to often is scrapping with Sianz and the leading “best if the rest” contenders to be considered a serious Championship contender.

    2. no, Verstappen was slower all weekend

    3. Apart from that incident I think it is way too early to state he is not the nr 2. This is the first time or maybe there was another I forgot but the score amongst Max and himself is incredibly one sided ever since he joined RB. Let’s see if he can keep it up. Strange headline as he surely is a nr 2 so far, comparable to Bottas who also occasionally had his wins. Same goes for Sainz. I know most deny it but he is also hired for a supporting role. Nothing new and nothing different amongst the top team. Equality only exists temporarily when there is a change of generations as we saw with Charles and Vettel and now with Lewis and George

  2. A brilliant drive by Sergio Perez. It’s great to see the supposed number two driver triumph. It reminded me of the 2005 Australian Grand Prix, where tricky wet/dry conditions saw Giancarlo Fisichella take pole and win the race. He made teammate Fernando Alonso look slow and clumsy all weekend, and it’s not often that happens.

    1. @fitzroyalty Big Fisi fan here who enjoyed that race greatly. But that weekend Fisi didn’t make Alonso look slow and clumsy at all… he lucked into pole, and Alonso was 5 seconds away from him at the flag after starting almost last.

      If we were to draw similarities, it looked like the 2010 Monaco GP with Webber being faster than Seb all weekend.

      1. You had to be there to see Fisichella’s incredible car control, especially through the fast turn 11-12 chicane. He had precision and delicacy that could not be equalled the whole weekend.

  3. Nice report. Essential reading for anyone who watched the channel 4 highlights – I for one found it very difficult to follow what was going on. I don’t know if it was because the delays meant they had less time to put the package together or what but so many things were missed. The highlights weren’t that great for Spain either. Part of the problem is that the commentary is obviously done live meaning there are no opportunities to fill in the gaps that the highlighting leaves (or they refer to things that were left out, though to be fair that doesn’t happen much apart from yesterday). I quite like the channel 4 commentators (way better than the wailing dufus on sky) but it feels like the quality has been squeezed the longer they’ve been highlights only.

    1. The race direction live also left a lot of guesswork for us @frood19, they tended to miss more than that they showed us. We never even got replays of Russel passing Norris for example and it took ages before they gave us footage of Mick Schumacher crashing even after we had already seen the broken car and Mick getting out.

      1. Monaco’s famously shocking TV direction strikes again.

        The sooner they lose the right to direct it themselves, the better. Absolute shambles, again.

    2. @frood19, Exactly, I have given up complaining and watching, invariably a change of lap shown is not highlighted and the commentators are discussing something we have not seen and we are left to wonder how the positions changed. How hard would it be to add a dedicated commentary to the highlights?

      1. @hohum I am trying to think of a sport where they do this and I’m struggling. Maybe match of the day? Timing wise it’s probably not possible given they try and show the highlights programme reasonably close to the end of the live race (for the most part). Maybe it’s just bad luck recently but it has been a noticeably worse watching experience than previous years.

        Still, never getting sky. Murdoch can do one.

        1. @frood19, Here it’s shown late Mon. night, same with Sky.

  4. Webber, Massa, Bottas managed a win every now and then, too.

    So far, Perez is as much a number two as all of them.

    1. Massa caught up to be equal to Schumacher or slightly better though by the end of 2006 and was number faster than supposed numner one Kimi as teammates, though Kimi lucked into the 2007 championship because of Hamilton’s last 2 race struggles. Number 2 drivers can be great. You have to be as good as a number one driver to win Monaco.

      1. Nah, massa didn’t catch up with schumacher by the end of 2006, there was still quite some deficit! Just look at japan, schumacher without the engine failure was very likely to win, where was massa compared to alonso? Nowhere, no threat.

        I think massa was however the best ferrari team mate schumacher had.

        1. I think Barrichello was faster than Massa, look at his years in Jordan and Stewart. He had the chance to drive for Mclaren, that would have changed his career. It was just impossible to beat Schumacher at his peak at Ferrari, not only for his speed, but all the team was centered around him, even the tyre supplier. When Rubens had a real chance in Brawn 2009, he was older (almost 40) far from his peak and he also had brake problems in the early races, where Button (who is not a bad driver at all) made a huge advantage. In the second half of the season Rubens was the only Brawn to win a race again.

          1. I have never heard about the McLaren opportunity. Could you give more details, please?

          2. @serg33, Rubens was offered a Mclaren contract ar the end of 94. However, the contract did not guarantee him a full driver status, and he could be used as a test/reserve driver, much like what they did to Mika HAkkinem in for 93. So in the end he stayed at Jordan, and the rest is history. Had he gone to McLaren , he would have ended up as Mika’s teammate throughout the second half of the 90’s. Don’t know if he would have been champion, because Mika was on par with Shumacher at that time, but he certainly would have done better than Couthard.

      2. “You have to be as good as a number one driver to win Monaco.”

        On the contrary, passing is so difficult that having a good lap, and then crashing and causing a red flag so your competition can’t improve ist enough to warrant finishing ahead. See: Perez’s crash on Saturday.

      3. Something noticeable: Massa was +12 years younger than Schumacher, PER is almost 8 years older than VER.

    2. In their best years, Webber and Massa were serious contenders of their highly-valued teammates till the final race of the season. Not something you’d expect from a No.2 driver…

      1. “Fernando is faster than you” became a meme for a reason. Massa was the poster boy of numbertwoness.

        1. Number twos never fight for the title till the final race, by definition (the only exception being Irvine in ’99 after Schumi had broken his leg). Massa’s “Fernando is faster than you”-era was after his huge accident from which he never seemed to fully recover. Massa prior his accident is the prime example when a supposed No.2 driver with dubious reputation starts to regularly outdrive his title-defender superstar teammate.

          1. Yeah, he had one good year that he wasn’t a number 2. Good for him. So did Webber. Still, poster boys for the number 2 status.

            Hell, the FIA had to extra change the team order rules to accommodate for Massa’s number two status. It was really that obvious.

  5. Thank for the write up @willwood. It added a lot of information for me about how the race enfolded since the race direction was sadly lacklustre again, not showing us quite a few of the good bits.

    Great job from Perez, this is how you win Monaco. Good job from Sainz as well, he was close to getting ahead. It will certainly have helped his confidence.

  6. He deserved that victory after the events at Barcelona, but Perez’s performance highlighted just what a formidable driver lineup Red Bull have. Also it highlights that Verstappen has a team mate now that can really challenge him in equal machinery for the first time since Riciardo left the team. Which is not a bad thing at all.

    1. Indeed, at the end of the day in order to get a decent 2nd driver, red bull had to take a driver from outside their academy.

      1. Yeah it’s really exciting to see SP come along as he has. Last year he found the car difficult and he was always going to be on his hind foot vs Max. This year he has his ‘rookie’ year at RBR behind him, and the cars are (were) new to both drivers (all drivers obviously) and here he is doing the best he ever has in F1. This is why I was suggesting patience with Checo last year. He is in the best place he has ever been in F1 right now, and is running with it. Good on him.

  7. Luke S (@joeypropane)
    30th May 2022, 8:50

    Genuinely happy for Checo – it’s good to see him comfortable in that car and he was generally at a level above Max all weekend.

    But for Charles to not even be on the podium has to rank as one of Ferrari’s biggest tactical blunders…. and that’s saying something, because they have quite the list.

    Ferrari are going to hand both championships to RBR on a plate this year.

    1. too early for that prediction. Ferrari had a car quick out of the box and has a lot of development potential. the season is long.

  8. petebaldwin (@)
    30th May 2022, 8:52

    I wouldn’t go that far yet. It feels like the “all of Mercedes problems are fixed” comments after the last race….

    Monaco throws up weird results. I’m delighted to see Checo win but Im not convinced he’ll find it as easy to out-pace Max elsewhere. Hopefully he can because it’s be great to see a close battle between the two but that’s 1 race where he looked the real deal vs almost 30 where he’s looked very much like a number 2 driver.

    1. Verstappen is best on Tilke tracks like most of the new generation drivers. He has never mastered Monaco, he won last year after Leclercs failure, but has crashed often at this track and not been as fast as Ricciardo when teammates here. I also dont think Checo will keep up with Verstappen, as he doesnt have the team support to do so.

      1. kpcart I disagree that he doesn’t have the team support but at the same time I just think Max is better, and that so far has made SP the natural number two on the team.

        I think on average, even if SP has found his way, and to me he is indeed doing the best he ever has in F1 in no small part to the car and the team, Max will still have the better of him even if by a small margin, akin to LH/NR and LH/VB.

      2. @kpcart
        “Verstappen is best on Tilke tracks”

        Austria 3x, Mexico 3x, Monaco, Silverstone, Imola 2x, Brazil *, Spain 2x, Germany, Miami, France, Spa….sure buddy, whatever you say.

        *Robbed by Ocon.

        Monaco 2017—faster than Ricciardo only to be screwed by team orders.
        Monaco 2015, 16, 18 — screwed by himself despite being faster.
        Monaco 2021 screwed by Charles parking his car in the wall.
        Monaco 2022 screwed by Checo parking his car in the wall.

  9. If only we had precedent for Red Bull number 2 drivers winning in Monaco.

    Oh, wait … 2010, 2012, 2018, 2022 …

    1. and should have in 2016

      1. Surely ricciardo was number 1 in 2016? Verstappen had barely even joined the team!

  10. Anyone else thought the Haas split in half rather too easily?

    It didn’t look like a shunt big enough to break a car like that…

    1. They designed the cars this year to do just that after groseans accident.

      1. Rigth, it certainly makes more sense safetywise that the car breaks between the engine and the gearbox than having the heaviest part with the engine break away and in the process possibly rupture fuel lines, I guess Wayne

      2. can you point us to any articles or info about this?? i dont remember reading about this anywhere, and it makes no sense to me, more debris on the track, more money to spend for the teams…

        1. RandomMallard
          30th May 2022, 13:22

          I don’t know about any articles, but from a safety perspective, it does make sense to encourage the car to split apart, because it dissipates the energy a lot better. The force of a crash is directly proportional to the car’s weight (well, mass), so if you have an 800kg F1 car in a 50g crash (just for simplicity), the force of the impact will be about 400,000 Newtons (I think, using Newton’s Second Law). Now if you remove, for example, 300kg from that (from the back of the car splitting off), the force is now only ~250,000 N, which results in less energy being transferred to the driver. These numbers are huge simplifications (and I’m not 100% sure on how relevant they are I’ll be honest), but they give a decent impression of how shedding weight can reduce the severity of a crash.

  11. He could have been number 3 and still won, winning means very little in Monaco when it comes to driver achievements.
    As a driver you only really need to not crash in the race and qualify well. He didn’t qualify well and crashed in quali. The win is really down to Ferrari and Redbull tacticions.

    1. Perez is number two in RedBull. He was allowed to win the race because Verstappen couldn’t get to grips with the circuit in qualifying and was never close enough behind in the race. I doubt it will happen again this season as the restricted track in Monaco makes any overtaking extremely difficult particularly for the front runners.

      1. Verstappen wasn’t close enough?! He was 2sec behind PER when he pitted on lap16 (+4sec behind SAI, +9sec behind LEC).

  12. A cynic could say he won because he crashed in qualy and kept Max behind by doing so.

    It looks all a bit opportunistic to me, yes Checo had a good weekend but he probably be a couple of tenth too slow again next GP like usual.

  13. I wonder if Redbulls strategy would have remained the same if Sainz had not been between the two.

    1. @johnrkh My question too.

      1. @johnrkh @david-br I say they would have kept the order and SP would have won anyway. I think SP earned it, as did the team for the great strategy call, and after having to talk SP through what happened in Spain I think they would not have ordered SP to let Max by. I think they were just happy that CL didn’t run away with this as it looked like he should have, and for Max to finish ahead of CL and gain more points on him in the WDC was a bonus this weekend.

        I just don’t buy into the over the top rhetoric that has been flying around here since Spain, particularly comments going so far as to say SP is on the same contract Barricello was with MS, which is utter nonsense. I think SP is a natural number two to Max who is simply faster, akin to LH/NR and LH/VB. SP has equal equipment and opportunity to Max and it is ‘simply’ up to Checo to outqualify and outrace Max. Do that on a regular basis like Max has been doing to him, like LH did to NR and VB, and you won’t get ordered anywhere but to the podium.

  14. Perez is number two in RedBull. He was allowed to win the race because Verstappen couldn’t get to grips with the circuit in qualifying and was never close enough behind in the race. I doubt it will happen again this season as the restricted track in Monaco makes any overtaking extremely difficult particularly for the front runners.

    1. I’m sceptical about Red Bull really allowing a fair competition – meaning allowing Perez as good a strategy and allowing him to defend properly. But Monaco had three positives for Checo: he showed he can be faster than MV over a weekend, his points tally is close enough to make him a contended in the WDC, and Red Bull have at least claimed he has equal status and equal chances. Personally I think Max is pacing himself this year, something he’s learning as a champion going into a new season, and will beat Perez easily still over the year – bar more technical issues or collisions. As lots of people have said, Monaco is an outlier. Still there’s no doubt Red Bull’s drivers are closer this season so far.

      1. @david-br This weekend showed that SP is not held back by the team at all. ‘All’ he has to do, and yes it is a tall order, is to outqualify and outrace Max. Surely SP doesn’t expect that he can continually lag behind Max in quali and still expect mid-race strategy calls to favour him enough times in enough races that he should have any sort of preference. You want preference? It starts with not qualifying 5th in Spain and thus reinforcing that you are not the go-to guy on the team. You want preference, do what all WDC level drivers try to do and often succeed at, which is to beat your teammate regularly.

        Checo has equal equipment and opportunity but on average lesser talent to that of Max. No different than LH/NR and LH/VB.

        1. Like I said @robbie I’m sceptical but not 100% certain either way. Partly because the fact Max is generally faster and/or more successful means that any favouritism would be to a certain self-justifying. I guess my scepticism is over just how much of a chance Perez will get if and win the pressure mounts (e.g. they feel that they need to back one driver against Ferrari/Leclerc). Taking the Spain GP as an example, I don’t think Mercedes during the Rosberg-Hamilton era would have told Rosberg, say, to let Lewis past the way that Red Bull told Perez to let Max through, even if Lewis was a lot faster. They’d have warned the drivers to take care, that’s all. (The counter-examples of Bottas allowing Hamilton through were later in the season, and the reverse also happened, with a faster Bottas passing Hamilton later in the season, e.g. at the US GP).

  15. This year’s car undoubtedly suiting Perez well and in Monaco he was on the pace right from Friday. But I do expect that as the session progresses, Verstappen will be on top with setups and on pace.

  16. Great job Checo!

    1. @bullmello Great job indeed. It was awesome for him, for the team, and for Max. To have taken a win (those points) away from CL and for the team strategy to have worked to put CL behind Max. Great weekend overall for RBR given the strength of Ferrari and CL in Monaco. Great for them for the Constructors too.

  17. Was a brilliant race win this.

    Difficult conditions, down to the barrier incident etc. All kinds of forces aligned for his win.

    Also he looked convincingly better than Verstappen all weekend, except for a handful of meaningless laps, where Verstappen was indeed faster, getting on top of conditions better etc.

    But position is king in Monaco, Perez was better placed in Q3, on better strategy on Sunday.. and won.

    Title contender one victory does not make.

  18. Perez has a decent amount of points, but a title contender? Charles and Max are on another level, without all the technical DNF’s, he would have been so high up in the title race. Jeddah shows why Perez isn’t a title contender, he often isn’t capable of turning arround a bad situation. While Verstappen battled Leclerc for the win, Perez, who dominated that GP until the SC, struggled behind Sainz. He obviously had a good race car, as Leclerc wasn’t able to challenge Perez.

    He’s gonna slot in behind Sainz a lot this year, while Charles and Max drive into the distance. Monaco was a great race for him, but if Red Bull decided to pull in Verstappen first, he would have won the race. Red Bull simply chose Perez this weekend, as a favor for his recent services.

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