Sergio Perez Is Now A Serious World Champion Contender After Monaco Grand Prix Win

Formula One / 11 Comments

After a stunning Monaco Grand Prix win, he's just six points behind Leclerc.

The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix is done and dusted, and we're still not sure whether it was good.

Monaco's lack of overtaking opportunities was evident, and only one person managed to overtake during the race. Pierre Gasly was the first to pit for intermediate tires, acting as a guinea pig for the rest of the pack. Thanks to the additional grip, he managed to overtake Guanyu Zhou and Daniel Ricciardo. And those were the only overtakes we recall.

Every other overtake resulted from pitting strategy, and while we understand that strategy is part of any good race, we prefer overtakes to happen on the track.

Following this race, the Principality of Monaco has to renegotiate a contract with the FIA. Will we miss it when it's gone? Not really, but if the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix happens to be the last, at least it went out with a bang.

Or a splash, in the case of Red Bull.

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Charles's Curse Is Lifted

Well, sort of. He may not have finished first, but, for the first time in his F1 career, the young Monegasque driver finished the race.

He finished a mere 2.922 seconds behind the winner, but just shy of the podium. Still, fourth place netted him 12 points. He remains in second place, just nine points behind Max Verstappen. But the battle is no longer between just the two of them. More on that later.

Leclerc is still semi-cursed, however. One has to wonder whether 12-year-old Charles painted rude graffiti on the Prince's Palace of Monaco because this bad juju keeps on following him around.

This time, he lost out due to no fault of his own. Scuderia Ferrari made a critical error by calling him into the pits. Realizing their mistake, it tried to backtrack, but Charles was already on his way in. Much swearing ensued. And with no room to pass, Charles was relegated to fourth place.

Carlos Sainz drove beautifully, however. His second-place finish pushed him up to fourth overall, and it kept Red Bull from widening the gap in the constructor's championship.

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Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
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Checo Is World Championship Material

The Mexican Minister of Defence, Sergio Perez, is officially the most successful Mexican F1 driver of all time. It's a pity the Mexican Grand Prix is only scheduled for October because Checo would have received a hero's welcome.

To us, it also seems fair after he was robbed of his win in Barcelona by his very own team. Thankfully, there was a car between him and Max Verstappen during this race, so Red Bull had no chance but to let him go at it with badly worn medium-compound tires.

Thanks to Checo's second place in Barcelona and his victory at Monaco, he's now officially in third place in the driver's championship. Even more impressive is that Sergio is just six points behind Charles Leclerc and less than one race win behind his championship-leading teammate.

Here's an idea, Red Bull. Let Checo race like the potential champion he is.

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Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes Still In The Midfield

We had high hopes for Mercedes after the Spanish Grand Prix where George Russell finished in third place, and Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth after starting right at the back. It seemed as if Mercedes had done enough to compete with the top-tier cars, but the Monaco Grand Prix proved that it's not quite there yet.

George Russell finished in fourth, netting ten points. But the lead cars pulled nearly 12 seconds ahead in the latter half of the race. It's fairly obvious that Mercedes is still nowhere near winning pace.

Still, it is a vast improvement over the 20-second gaps we saw earlier in the season. At least Mercedes is on the right path.

Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG

Fernando Controlled The Race

Fernando Alonso is a shrewd operator. The two-time world champion qualified in seventh place, a good result for a midfield car. He knew he didn't have the speed to compete with George Russell in fifth and Lando Norris in sixth.

So he drove at a leisurely pace and built a massive gap between himself and the six cars in front. By the end of the race, that gap was nearly 50 seconds. In doing so, he set himself up nicely to claim the fastest lap. Once the gap was big enough, he did just that. Unfortunately, that fastest lap meant nothing.

You see, Norris, in sixth place, realized that Alonso was so far behind that he could pit for the softest possible compound without worrying about an overtake. So he did, taking home that extra point for the fastest lap.

Fernando also pushed the field so far back that it affected the frontrunners. Near the end of the race, the top four started catching up, but thankfully everyone played nice. Sainz complained about a backmarker, but we didn't see anything on the screen, and we haven't heard about it since.

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And So The Politics Start

Red Bull's Helmut Marko threw the first stone at Ferrari. Charles Leclerc missed the weigh-bridge area by a few yards after being called there randomly. The Ferrari team pushed him back. Small mistake. No harm, no foul. Still, Herr Helmut wanted Charles stripped of his pole position.

Ferrari hit back after the race, stating that both Perez and Verstappen crossed the yellow line at the pit exit to gain an advantage. If you look at the footage, you'll see that the Red Bulls put their wheels on or slightly over the line, but the cars never crossed the line. And even if they did, neither car would have gained an advantage. The Ferrari's were too far back, so the FIA found in favor of Red Bull.

Still, this didn't keep Red Bull haters from suddenly becoming pit exit experts. Once again, the FIA has been accused of favoring Red Bull, even though it kicked Michael Masi to the curb.

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Why Two Race Directors Is A Bad Idea

The race started around an hour late, and nobody knew why. As we found out later, it was because the two race directors could not decide whether the race should start. So the cars went out, completed a few procession laps, and came back in.

And then we waited. Following Mick Schumacher's crash, the race was further delayed. The race eventually ran out of time, plus one lap.

The race should have been started so the water could be cleared using the wet weather tires. It was properly wet, however. The F1 cars struggled to keep up with the Mercedes-AMG Black Series.

You know something's wrong when even Martin Brundle is confused.

The next round of the 2022 F1 season takes place in Azerbaijan on 12 June.

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