Formula 1: Ferrari protest unsuccessful: Perez makes the World Cup a three-way battle

Shortly after nine-thirty on Sunday evening, Sergio Perez was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief: the Mexican is allowed to keep his Monaco victory, the stewards rejected Ferrari’s protest against him and teammate Max Verstappen. The Scuderia had protested because both Red Bull drivers are said to have crossed the line at the pit exit after their tire stops.
Because of the narrow time gaps at the finish, a five-second penalty, as demanded by Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, would have been enough to make the reds at the green tables a double winner. “It’s nothing against Red Bull, but we want clarity,” argued the Italian. The FIA ​​only managed this to a limited extent with its verdict.

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In the case of Perez, who had already been noted during the race, the matter was quite clear: Ferrari had to admit during the negotiation, studying the pictures, that Perez’s tires were on but never off the pit exit line , the Mexican’s victory was watertight.

The situation was different in the case of world champion Verstappen: The Dutchman landed his bike next to the line, but he was saved by the fact that the interpretation of the rules by race director Edoardo Freitas had changed in the opinion of the stewards (Gary Connelly, Andrew Mallalieu, Jean-Francois Calmes and Derek Warwick) did not cover with the current version of the International Sporting Code.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto saw an offense by Red Bull

Red Bull is accordingly lucky. Regarding the protest, team manager Christian Horner was already confident of victory after crossing the finish line: “We looked at the scene and are satisfied with the pictures that we have. We don’t believe that our drivers are guilty of anything.” The Brit revealed that there was “no” discussion at all with the FIA ​​about the matter.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto naturally saw things differently: “We are disappointed because we believe it was a clear breach of the rules that both Red Bulls crossed the yellow line at the pit exit,” explains the Italian. “It wasn’t close either. He (Verstappen; ed.) was on the line and the Sporting Code says ‘crossed’ (the line; ed.).”

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Binotto continues: “There was a clarification in Turkey 2020 to avoid any discussions. If you look at the race director’s instructions, it says you have to stay on the right-hand side. So riding on the line is a violation of it. All teams have to adhere to the guidelines, so we expect clarification from the FIA.”

This was extremely unsatisfactory for Ferrari in the evening. Due to the rejected protest, Verstappen has increased its lead over Leclerc in the World Cup to nine points. For the Dutchman, however, the mission of defending his title after Monaco will be much more uncomfortable, because he suddenly has the enemy in his own house: Verstappen can no longer expect support from team-mate Perez in the future, because with his victory the Mexican will turn the World Cup duel into one triathlon.

Over, on or in? Max Verstappen and the yellow line

Team boss Horner confirms after the Monaco GP: “Checo is just as much in the title fight as Max. He’s only 15 points behind, that’s nothing. And the World Championship is still a long way off.” At the last race in Barcelona, ​​Perez had already clearly defended himself against number two status on the radio and now impressively underpinned this with his first win of the season, the third of his career after Sakhir 2020 and Baku 2021.

Appropriately emotionally, the 31-year-old showed after crossing the finish line: “It’s a dream come true. In addition to your home race, this is the Grand Prix that you definitely want to win,” said Perez, who shed a tear or two on the podium in the royal box.

With three victories, the proud Mexican is now also the most successful Formula 1 driver in his country, celebrating this with the Mexican flag on the slow-down lap: “Now I have one more win than Pedro Rodriguez. I rode with his helmet colors today and I’m sure he’s very proud of me up there.”

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