Why winning the Monaco Grand Prix meant so much to Sergio Pérez
Written by Kitty Tunstall, Edited by April Thorne
Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez clinched an incredible victory at this year's Monaco Grand Prix after a nail-biting race. The Mexican driver beat the home favourite and fastest driver of the weekend, Charles Leclerc, to the chequered flag. The race was nothing short of spectacular, with a torrential downpour delaying the start of the race, Schumacher’s high-speed shunt and Ferrari’s bewildered engineers.
Only a week ago at the Spanish Grand Prix, Sergio Pérez was denied a win after the Red Bull team ordered him to let Max Verstappen take it. However, this week, Checo won the Monaco Grand Prix after a tense end with Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. As the first ever Mexican driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix, Pérez is now the most successful Mexican driver in Formula 1 history after surpassing Pedro Rodriguez.
The win came after Red Bull took a gamble with their strategy. Pérez was the first of the top four drivers to swap to inters, showing incredible pace. The team decided to leave Pérez out on the intermediate tyres in an attempt to undercut the Ferrari’s while other teams, including Ferrari, were already starting to pit for slicks. Pérez’s pace on the inters was so strong that Ferrari failed to respond to his pace and as a result, Pérez successfully managed to undercut Leclerc, as well as Sainz.
In response, Ferrari called both Sainz and Leclerc into the pits for a double-stack, before a number of confusing radio messages came in telling Leclerc to “stay out”, despite already being in the pit lane. This meant that Leclerc had to wait for Sainz to finish pitting before he was able to. Crucial time was lost and both Ferrari drivers were unable to catch Pérez who had now cemented the lead. The race concluded with a 10-minute chase between Pérez, Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc before Pérez snatched the win with a 1.1 second lead over Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
In a post race interview, Pérez, who also won driver of the day, described the win as “A dream come true” and “A massive day for myself and my country”. I think for many fans, Pérez’s win was an emotional and long-awaited moment as he has only had three Grand Prix wins and has sacrificed some of his own potential victories for his team-mate, Max Verstappen. Pérez has always been a crucial team-mate for Max and Max has even suggested that without Perez’s help, he would not have won in Abu Dhabi (2021) and therefore, would not be world champion, “Without Checo, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now”. During the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Pérez successfully delayed Lewis Hamilton and without that, there is every possibility that the dramatic ending to the race may have never happened.
Having won at Monaco, Pérez is now only 15 points behind Verstappen in the championship, meaning that there is a possibility that he could take the world champion title should his winning streak continue. Hopefully, this win is the first of many this season for Pérez and the fans will begin to see some more exciting racing in what has already been a fantastic start to the 2022 season.