Monaco, May 29 (IANS) Red Bull’s Sergio Perez won his first race of 2022 by 1.1 seconds after a nail-biting finish with teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the Monaco Grand Prix here on Sunday.
The Mexican’s Red Bull teammate Verstappen was third, and Leclerc, who started the day on pole, came back in fourth. The seven-time champion Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, could only finish eighth following another frustrating outing.
Rain saw the start delayed and drivers completed one lap, heading back to the pits as a red flag was called. A shower just before the start of the race triggered a delay of the start by 15 minutes. Further rain during that time made race control make the decision to mandate wet weather tyres.
The formation lap went behind the safety car, but soon more rain came down, leading to a return to the pits for everyone and a red flag for another 40 minutes.
Mick Schumacher spun and crashed spectacularly at the Swimming Pool on Lap 27, bringing out another red flag on Lap 30. He walked away, the gearbox and rear suspension having detached from his Haas.
Resumption came with a rolling start on Lap 33, Ferrari on hards while Red Bull opted for mediums.
Perez held his lead and the mediums held their own on the restart, but began to drop off past the Lap-55 mark, with around 10 minutes remaining. It was now that Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc closed in. The Mexican almost lost out in the dying moments of the race, Sainz almost sticking his nose in front at the hairpin, but victory would be his — a huge statement after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix.
With the race timer showing zero on Lap 65, Perez’s margin of victory was just 1.154s over Sainz, Verstappen just 0.337s behind the Spaniard, and Leclerc shocked to finish 2.9s off in P4.