Thursday, January 20

Italian F1 GP: Checo Pérez lets the podium slip away in Monza

Checo Pérez during the Italian Grand Prix.
Checo Pérez during the Italian Grand Prix.Luca Bruno / AP

The big day came for McLaren, but not for Checo Pérez. Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris made one-two on the podium at the Italian Grand Prix. The race was marked by the clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, which took them off the tracks. The Mexican Red Bull driver, who finished third on the tarmac, had to fall to fifth place to pay a penalty for a prohibited maneuver to avoid a collision. Bottas took third place.

Aggressive start of all the drivers in Italy. Giovinazzi, luckily for the Mexican, lost the front wing after contact with Carlos Sainz and had to go out to the garage. Checo Pérez, who started eighth, attacked in the opening laps to take a place against Lance Stroll who, due to skill and power, won the place. In turn nine, the Mexican risked the limit to win the position to Carlos Sainz Jr., the Ferrari threw the car to try to placate the Red Bull, although it was unnecessary.

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Pérez dedicated himself to chasing Charles Leclerc to try and fight for that fifth place. The first exits to the boxes they started to move everything in the race on lap 24. Max Verstappen had an 11-second tire change. Lewis Hamilton also came out to pits. Then came the great controversy of Monza: Verstappen and Hamilton fought very aggressively to the degree of shock. The Red Bull one finished above the Mercedes, without any damage to the drivers.

The collision allowed the Mexican to finish in fourth position. Lap 32 passed Leclerc, although the Mexican had to cut one of the curves, a punishable move. The biggest danger was called Bottas who, despite starting last, was already fourth pressing hard. At turn 38, the Mexican received a five-second penalty. “It was my corner, if I tried not to cut the track we were going to have a 100% safe incident. In the end this hurt us, ”Pérez told F1 TV.

The last 10 laps were a test of endurance for Pérez against a Bottas who was driving with tremendous power. Whatever the Mexican did, he had to pay the penalty at the end of the race and, at least, he reached the times to only drop to fifth place.

In qualifying at Monza, the sprint race was back. In the first of the season, at Silverstone, Checo Pérez dropped out and finished 16th in the UK GP. Now, in Italy, the Mexican had to shoulder the team to make way for Max Verstappen on the track during qualifying, but in the sprint the Mexican fell to ninth position. The sanction on Valtteri Bottas, for the change in the power unit, allowed the Mexican to reach eighth position at the start.

The points won by Checo Pérez are a meager consolation for Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, which is still led by Mercedes (362.5 by 344.5). The victory of the McLaren, especially that of Lando Norris with 132 points, continues to displace the Mexican in the final ranking of drivers who has 118. Bottas, who lives his last year at Mercedes, is the third best driver (141).

“We didn’t have a good three races. Not everything has been on our side. Today was positive, “said Pérez, referring to the last weeks in which, at Monza, it was his best result. Russia awaits you on September 26.

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