By MARK LORENZANA
After being denied the win in Spain due to Red Bull Racing’s team orders, Mexican Formula 1 (F1) driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez scored his first victory of the season on Sunday, May 29, in a rain-marred Monaco Grand Prix — the first ever Mexican to do so.
Starting the race in third spot after suffering a huge crash in the final part of qualifying, Pérez took the lead from Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. in lap 23 and never relinquished it despite the slick streets in Monte Carlo and constant pressure from Sainz who, on lap 53, had narrowed Checo’s lead to just 0.6 seconds and by lap 60 had tried to aggressively overtake the Mexican — to no avail. In the final lap, Pérez managed to pull ahead and hold on to the win. Teammate Max Verstappen, who came in third, joined Pérez — and Sainz — on the podium.
As he passed the checkered flag for the third-overall first-place victory of his 11-year F1 career, Pérez could be heard rejoicing on the team radio. “Oh guys, got it, got it! This is us! Come on! Vamos! Well done, guys!” he exclaimed.
Checo celebrating on the radio with the Red Bull team was a far cry from what had transpired in the Spanish Grand Prix, when a disgruntled Pérez called the team’s decision for him to give way to teammate Verstappen “very unfair.” A few days after the drama in Barcelona, Verstappen played down the Red Bull team orders. “We (Verstappen and Pérez) have an amazing relationship,” insisted the Belgian-Dutch driver. “But also after the race (in Barcelona), once you sit down with the team, they explain exactly what was going on, and I do think how we finished was exactly how we were going to finish anyway.”
It was a chaotic race in Monte Carlo, with cars sliding all over the track, but not just because of the weather: It was especially chaotic for Ferrari, whose main driver and Monaco native Charles Leclerc found himself in pole position and maintaining his lead until a botched pit stop at lap 22, thanks — or no thanks — to a team error. Leclerc was overheard on the radio screaming in rage at the Ferrari team when told to pit for a second tire change — at the same time as teammate Sainz. “What are you doing?” Leclerc growled.
“It was a freaking disaster today,” Leclerc said after the race, as he was forced to settle for fourth place. “The win was clearly in our hands. We had the performance, we had everything. I just don’t really understand the call.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto took the blame and admitted that the team made the wrong call for Leclerc.
“I know he’s not happy. It’s normal that he’s not happy because we made mistakes. If you’re first and end up fourth, it’s obvious that something didn’t work,” Binotto said. “We should have stayed out. We’ll look at why we made that decision.”
Red Bull Racing leads the 2022 Constructor Standings with 235 points, followed by Ferrari with 199. Mercedes and Mclaren Mercedes round up the top four with 134 and 59 points respectively. In the Driver Standings, Verstappen leads with 125 points, with Leclerc and Pérez coming in at second and third, with 116 and 110 points respectively. George Russell of Mercedes is at fourth place with 84 points, Sainz is at fifth with 83 and Lewis Hamilton is at a distant sixth with 50 points.
Boxing Fans Will Get the Much-Anticipated Third Fight Between Canelo and Golovkin
In a post-fight interview after Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez’s recent loss against Dmitry Bivol last May 7, Canelo was asked if he wanted an immediate rematch with the Russian. “Of course I do,” Álvarez answered. “It can’t end like this.”
With Álvarez opting to invoke his rematch clause back then, it appeared that the third fight against Kazakhstani nemesis Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin, which was already planned, would be scuttled to make way for a second match against Bivol.
It seems that Canelo has changed his mind and will instead face Golovkin after all — as scheduled — on Sept. 17, in what would be a much-anticipated third fight. Their first fight in 2017 ended up in a split draw, while their rematch in 2018 ended up in a majority decision victory for Álvarez, with the Mexican picking up Golovkin’s World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) middleweight titles, as well as winning the vacant Ring Magazine middleweight belt.
Both fighters confirmed the trilogy and, possibly, their final fight on May 24 through sports streaming service DAZN. In 2018, Álvarez inked a five-year, 11-fight contract with DAZN worth $365 million, but the two sides parted ways in 2020 following a disagreement over Canelo’s next opponent and the financial rewards involved. Canelo and DAZN has reunited, however, for a two-fight deal, which started with the Bivol fight and will continue with the third Golovkin fight.
Since losing the second fight with Canelo, Golovkin has racked up four straight wins, the latest of which was an impressive technical knockout victory against Ryōta Murata in Japan last April 9, where Triple G retained his IBF and IBO middleweight titles and picked up the vacant WBA (Super) middleweight title.