Red Bull was the clear winner of a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix after Ferrari sewed up its star driver with a terrible blunder.
Sergio Perez won the Monaco Grand Prix after Ferrari handed victory to Red Bull with a strategic error that infuriated Charles Leclerc – but the Scuderia cried foul and launched a protest against the winners.
Leclerc started his home race on pole position, but the race was delayed an hour as race officials took a conservative approach as rain fell in Monaco.
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The drivers started the Grand Prix on extreme rain tyres, but it became clear that they would have to change tires as the weather cleared up and the track dried out.
Ferrari made the bold call to pit Carlos Sainz and change their tires from extreme wet to slicks, instead of opting for the safer option of intermediates which warm up faster.
Disaster then struck and there was confusion over the team radio when Leclerc, who was comfortably leading the race, was called into the pits immediately after Sainz.
Leclerc’s engineer realized their mistake and quickly told him to stay on track but only after entering the pit lane and it was too late.
Pitching the two drivers at the same time, or “double stacking”, meant they lost time on the Red Bulls, who passed both Ferraris with excellent fast laps.
The strategic error was a complete disaster for Ferrari and caused what should have been a relatively straightforward victory for Leclerc to go up in smoke.
An understandably furious Leclerc shouted over the team radio, “F***, why?! What do we do?!”
The Monagesque driver eventually finished fourth as Max Verstappen extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished 13th as his run of poor results continued.
“Mistakes can happen, but there were too many today,” added Leclerc after the race, clearly unimpressed with his own team.
However, after the race Ferrari lodged an unsuccessful protest against the two Red Bull drivers, accusing Perez and Verstappen of pit violations. The Italian team said their rivals crossed the pit lane exit line on lap 23 as they tried to stay ahead of Sainz and Leclerc.
The protest was dismissed and the original results stood.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said Perez and Verstappen were guilty of a “clear breach of the rules”.
“We protested because we thought it was right to ask for clarification,” Binotto said. “I think both Red Bulls were on the yellow line on the exit and in the past that has always been penalized with a five-second penalty.
“We are disappointed as we believe there was a flagrant breach of the rules on the two Red Bulls who went to the yellow line on their way out of the pits.
“I think it was not close. It was on the line and if you look at the intonation of the sporting code it is to say crossing, but we had a clarification in Turkey 2020 to avoid any discussion and if you look the race director notes that says keep to the right.
“So being on the line violates the clerk’s notes and I think every team has a duty and task to follow the clerk’s notes.
“So for us it is something that is unclear and we are still seeking clarification from the FIA and we will be happy to have our comments as soon as possible.
In response to the post-race development, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “It’s disappointing that there have been protests.
“We think the International Sporting Code is clear. He didn’t cross the line, he was always in contact with the line.
“We have seen other precedents set, with other drivers in the past. If this was more than a reprimand, I would be extremely disappointed. I really hope common sense prevails.
Perez held off a quick finish from Sainz to take the win, while Verstappen finished third on a superb day for Red Bull.
It was a sweet win for Perez, who was dirty after being ordered by Red Bull to let Verstappen pass him in last week’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Earlier, Mick Schumacher crashed into the pool chicane barriers and his Haas split completely in two in a freak accident. Fortunately, he emerged unscathed from the incident.
Monaco Grand Prix Results
1) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) George Russell, Mercedes
6) Lando Norris, McLaren
7) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
9) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
10) Sebastien Vettel, Aston Martin
Originally published as Ferrari Gifts Red Bull Monaco Grand Prix victory after strategic disaster