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Perez claims ‘dream’ Monaco win as bungled strategy foils Leclerc

Sergio Perez won a rain-disrupted Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday as pole-sitter Charles Leclerc suffered another dose of ill luck on his home circuit.

Perez, the first Mexican to win at the iconic circuit, claimed his third career win ahead of Carlos Sainz for Ferrari.

Perez’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took third to extend his lead in the world championship over Leclerc, fourth after a bungled pit stop strategy.

A deluge caused chaos and an hour delay to the start but Perez kept his cool for a “dream” victory after his crash in qualifying 24 hours earlier.

“Checo you have won Monaco, what a brilliant drive,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told him over the team radio.

“It’s a dream come true. As a driver you dream of winning here. After your home race there is no other more special weekend to win,” said the man of the hour.

“It’s a massive day for myself and my country,” added Perez for whom this was a remarkable turn around in fortune after being left frustrated a week ago at relinquishing the race lead in Spain to Verstappen under team orders.

World champion Verstappen extended his lead over Leclerc to nine points in the drivers’ title battle. Perez moved up to only six points behind Leclerc in third.

Leclerc was furious at seeing a winning hand collapse after losing time on one of the many pit stops.

“No words. We can not do that,” he told his team.

George Russell took fifth for Mercedes ahead of Lando Norris for McLaren, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

The seventh round of the championship was hit by a deluge before its scheduled 1300GMT start, the downpour creating scenes of chaos in the crowded confines of the narrow harbourside pit lane.

Rain had been forecast in advance, but few teams appeared to expect the notoriously capricious Monaco microclimate to obey instructions as warm sunshine continued until the final minutes before lights out.

After three days of perfect Riviera weather, the anticipated rain clouds arrived and burst immediately after the national anthem, sending Race Control into safety overdrive and creating chaos on the grid.

But no sooner had the cars gone out for a formation lap over an hour behind schedule than more heavy rain fell, leaving a lot of water on the narrow stretches of asphalt on the barrier-lined street circuit.

This resulted in the race being red flagged and all the cars and drivers returned to a saturated pit lane before the rain relented allowing racing t go ahead under a rolling start.

Formula One returns for the eighth round of the championship in Azerbaijan on June 12.

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