After Sergio Perez wins rainy Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari lodges protest

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Sergio Perez won his first Formula 1 race of the season and the third of his career in a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix that included a rain delay, a costly mistake by the Ferrari team and a scary crash in which Mick Schumacher escaped injury when he crashed into a wall, splitting the rear portion of his car in two.

“I’m very, very happy,” Perez, a 32-year-old driver from Mexico, said in a postrace TV interview, mentioning Pedro Rodriguez, the Mexican Grand Prix winner who was killed during a race in 1971. Perez’s helmet paid tribute to Rodriguez, and he was emotional during the playing of Mexico’s national anthem at overtaking him as the country’s most successful F1 racer. “I’m sure up there [in heaven], he is super proud of what we have achieved.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished second and Max Verstappen, Perez’s Red Bull teammate, finished third in the race, which was delayed 65 minutes by rain.

Ferrari lodged a protest afterward, claiming that Perez and Verstappen failed to obey pit-lane exit rules after a pit stop, according to a statement from race stewards.

Drivers must keep to the right of the solid yellow line at the pit exit and stay to the right until the line ends after turn one. “We believe there was a clear breach of the regulations by the two Red Bulls going on the yellow line exiting the pits,” Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto told Sky Sports. Christian Horner of Red Bull said (via Reuters) “all the footage we’ve seen we’ve been content with.”

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Verstappen lost control of his car on the slick pavement and swerved toward the yellow line at the pit exit, but on the TV feed it was not clear whether he had crossed it. There was no footage of Perez, although stewards noted it during the race. Neither incident was investigated during the race.

Schumacher lost control of his car on the wet pavement, crashing heavily at Turn 15. He was able to exit the car on his own and spoke with a safety marshal as he walked off the track.

“I’m fine, very, very upset not to finish the race,” Schumacher said. “I don’t know why the car split in two.”

Perez’s victory left Charles Leclerc, Sainz’s Ferrari teammate and the pole winner, fuming because Ferrari called for him to pit twice in three laps. That enabled Perez to take a lead that he never relinquished one week after the Red Bull team denied him a chance to race for the win in the Spanish Grand Prix. Perez’s teammate Verstappen won, with Perez second after being ordered to cede the lead when Leclerc dropped out of that race because of engine failure. The team promised he’d be in position to win and followed through Sunday.

Leclerc was left frustrated and furious, screaming when he was told to pit for a second tire change at the same time as Sainz, his Ferrari teammate, on Lap 22. Although his engineer yelled to “stay out” when he realized the error, it was too late and Leclerc was fourth when he returned to the track.

“No words, no words,” Leclerc told the team over the radio. “We cannot do that.”

Leclerc finished off the podium in fourth place on his home circuit. Verstappen extended his lead in the overall points standings, leading Leclerc by nine points. Leclerc has two wins this season, Verstappen and Perez have combined for five, with Red Bull and Ferrari winning all seven races.

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