By Robert Haile
A rain delayed Monaco Grand Prix was worth the wait.
After yesterday, May 28, qualifying drama where Red Bull’s Sergio Perez crashed and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz collected the front of the Mexican’s car.
Perez went on to claim his first victory of the season but had to hold off Sainz’s Ferrari in the closing stages.
Maiden Monaco winner Perez said: “It was really hard for me to think straight after the race, I was full of adrenaline and so much energy going through the race.
“Once I heard my national anthem on the podium here it hit me. It’s a dream come true for any driver in the world to tick that box in Monaco and I can just be extremely happy.
“We were quick all weekend, we kept our heads down and knew today with the right strategy that we could make things happen.
“This win was for my mum and all my family, she was very sick last week, so I had very good motivation going into this race to get her a victory.
“It’s been an incredible day, I’m super happy for the whole team and I hope my country is proud too. You don’t win Monaco many times in your life, so the first one is very special.”
The formation lap was led by the Safety Car and it was not the last time it was seen as it was out again for a rolling start due to the rain that had fallen.
After four laps of non-racing Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sped off with Sainz, Perez, Verstappen and co behind.
With a drying track Perez was the first of the front runners to put on lap 17 for intermediates with Leclerc and Verstappen coming in on 19 for the same tyre.
The Ferraris were back in the pits as Sainz and Leclerc both came in with Red Bull bring Perez and Verstappen in a lap later on 22 completing an overcut.
Perez now led with Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc the top four.
Haas’ Mick Schumacher will be thanking his lucky stars after a huge crash at Swimming Pool left his car in two pieces with him walking away unscathed on lap 27 with a red flag brought out on lap 30.
Another rolling start and this time Perez sped away keeping him in front.
Heading into the final ten minutes of the race Perez’s tyres started to slow him down with Sainz closing and attempting to pass him but the Mexican held on to win with Sainz in second, just ahead of Verstappen in third.
An unhappy Leclerc took fourth with Mercedes’ George Russell in fifth as McLaren’s Lando Norris in sixth gained an extra point for the fastest lap of the day.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished where they started in seventh and eighth as Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas was ninth with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel claiming the last point in tenth.
Finishing outside the points Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri was eleventh, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was given a five second penalty for a collision with Hamilton demoting him to twelfth.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was thirteenth, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll came in fourteenth with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda the last three finishers.
Along with Schumacher, Haas’ other driver Kevin Magnussen and Williams’ Alex Albon did not finish.
Next up is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and the streets of Jeddah on June 15-17.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 125
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 116
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 110
- George Russell (Mercedes) – 84
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 83
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 50
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 49
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 40
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 30
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 15
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 11
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 11
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 10
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 6
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 5
- Alex Albon (Williams) – 3
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 2
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
- Red Bull – 235
- Ferrari – 199
- Mercedes – 134
- McLaren – 59
- Alfa Romeo – 41
- Alpine – 40
- AlphaTauri – 17
- Haas – 15
- Aston Martin – 7
- Williams – 3