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Monaco GP: Post Race press conference

NEWS STORY
29/05/2022

Today's post-race press conference with Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.

Track Interviews - Conducted by David Coulthard

Q: Carlos Sainz, starting with yourself. Carlos, sorry but I can see a little bit disappointment on your face. So close, but yet second place. Put us in the cockpit. That was a crazy race.
Carlos Sainz: It was, it was, but I felt like we did everything that we had to do out there. We stayed patient on the wets, we took the right decision to go onto the slick, and yeah, a lapped car or a terrible out lap stuck behind a lapped car cost me a race win today, so you can understand the frustration because a clean out lap would have secured me the race win today but it's how the sport is sometimes.

Q: It is. It's one of the most difficult race tracks to try and predict where you'll come out on track. We heard you very early... In fact, we didn't hear any other driver so early say 'I want to go straight to slicks', so that was a brave call. Was it because you knew that was your opportunity to try and get the win today?
CS: Yeah, I knew it from halfway through a race. The first stint, sorry. I started to see the dry line and I started to realise that it was going to go straight into slicks. I think we did the right call, as we were leading the race basically. Then we pitted it for that hard tyre. Obviously hard is never easy on the out lap but I had to do 12 corners or something like that behind the lapped car that cost me at least a couple of seconds and that cost me a race win. Anyway, I'm not going complain too much. I know that this sport is like that. Checo was unlucky in Jeddah. Obviously today he did a great race, plus he got a bit lucky with myself and in this sport it will turn around one day or later.

Q: Just a quick word on when we saw Checo there, graining on the tyres. That was your opportunity. At no point you felt like going all in?
CS: You can see I have quite a lot of graining myself too, especially at the rear, which made the entry to the tunnel quite difficult to get close and to pass. A couple of times, I was really, really close to launching a move into there, but it was still a bit wet on the inside. Checo was braking quite late. so I think if I would have braked any later I would have taken him out with me.

Q: Well, congratulations on the second place on what was a difficult weekend. Just moving on to our third-place finisher Max Verstappen. It seemed that you never quite found the luck, found the routine, the rhythm round this racetrack, through qualifying and the race. So finishing in front of Charles Leclerc, you must feel that this is almost as good as a victory.
Max Verstappen: Yeah, I mean, I did the best I could, of course, after yesterday. Once you got blocked by with that red flag in qualifying you start fourth. I tried to do the best I can. I think as a team, we did a really good job with the strategy to basically get ahead of the Ferraris. And yeah, I think as a whole team we can be very pleased with the Sunday. I mean, it was a very hectic one with the rain and stuff, but I think we executed it well and I extended my points lead which I didn't expect last night so I think that's a positive.

Q: Just explain to the viewers: how difficult is it when you have these delayed starts, the red flag starts, to get back into the rhythm again?
MV: Yeah, especially when it's wet and you haven't really driven around here in the wet and the types of course are very slippery. I think, yeah, it's all about just trying to be very focused. It's easy to make a mistake of course. But, yeah, luckily nothing really crazy happened apart from Mick of course. but I heard he's OK. So yeah, overall quite a decent day.

Q: Quick line on your team-mate taking the victory, his third ever
MV: Yeah, no, an amazing result for Checo, so very happy for him.

Q: Excellent. Max, congratulations on your podium result. And ladies and gentleman, it may be only his third Grand Prix victory but I suspect this is the sweetest feeling of all. Sergio Perez congratulations on winning in Monaco.
Sergio Perez: It's a dream comes true. I mean, as a driver, you dream of winning here. After your home race I think there is no other more special weekend to win. So to do it and the way we did it, you know we just made it even harder for ourselves at the end. But it was just with the graining I had, to not make any mistake, to bring it home, but keeping Carlos behind wasn't easy.

Q: Yeah, you are the 'tyre whisperer'. You are the man that is renowned for being able to make the tyres work, but it looked in the closing stages as if even you couldn't make it work. We saw one lock up at the restart and the only other mistake I've seen is when you stood up to wave the Mexican flag. You slipped and fell back into your car!
SP: I wanted to do another race! The graining was just clearing up, so I wanted to go back again on the car I was super excited. It's a massive day for myself, for my country.

Press Conference

Q: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. In third place, Max Verstappen. In second place, Carlos Sainz and taking his third win in Formula 1 and his first of the 2022 season our winner, Sergio Perez. Checo, you looked very emotional up there on the podium. Of your three wins in Formula 1, where does this one rank?
SP: Well, certainly very high up there, winning Monaco, it's a dream come true as a driver. When you come into Formula 1 and when you come to Monaco, when you drive it for the first time, you always dream about one day winning the race or racing here. So it's just incredible. And it's such a big day for myself. I was driving with Pedro Rodriguez's helmet today, and I'm sure that there he will be super proud of what we have achieved in this sport.

Q: And you went from third to first after what turned out to be a strategic masterstroke. Was the timing of your pit stops obvious to you in the cockpit? Or were you surprised to jump ahead?
SP: No, it was quite obvious at the time that the track was ready for slicks, especially with the wets already overheated, but it wasn't clear for me if we could keep going and do like Carlos did, going straight into the slick. But I think in that phase we lost such... Well, you could see with Carlos that he lost so much race time that I was already behind him, but again, we managed to stay out, pushed when we needed to, to make that inter work. And I think it was just a great combination, you know, the team was telling me what to do, how to get the maximum out of today's result. And we managed to make it work. It sounds easy. But in these conditions, pushing but not making mistakes, and not putting a foot wrong is never easy to achieve in Monaco.

Q: Well, it was very intense. At the end with lots of pressure from Carlos. Describe what it was like in the cockpit?
SP: Yeah, I felt they had the race under control pretty, pretty easy. I felt like I was not really pushing. And then all of a sudden, I started to have a lot of understeer into [Turns] 3 and 4, lap after lap, and I could see that Carlos just was next to me. And I was like, well... I still had very good traction out of Turn 8, so I was still a bit comfortable with it. But going into Turn 10 I knew that it was very important to not make a mistake because if you cut the chicane then you have to be back to position. So Carlos was putting a lot of pressure. But then towards the end, I managed to clear up the graining a bit, and it was mainly Turn 3 and 4. And then once I managed to open a bit of a gap, I could do my normal line through 3, 4, 5, which already brought some lap time with it and we managed to bring it home a bit safer.

Q: Checo, you were very frustrated after qualifying yesterday. Look at you now.
SP: Yeah, this is Formula 1. You go from one end to the other in in a matter of seconds. So today it's a day to enjoy. Don't think too much about what's ahead because today it's a massive day for me.

Q: Many congratulations. Thank you, Carlos, coming to you - a second consecutive second place for you here in Monaco. You seemed a little bit frustrated when David Coulthard spoke to you earlier. Do you rue the timing of your pit stop? Or do you accept it was just bad luck to meet that backmarker on your out lap?
CS: No, I think that as a team we... There were some very tough calls to be made out there and a lot of communications going on on the radio to see what we could do. I knew that by staying out on the wets I would earn the race lead at some point and by the time I was on the race lead I saw that it was going to be very close to going on slicks. The track was drying up super-quickly and at that point we decided to go until the slick. We put on the slick, the hard tyre, and on the out lap actually the tyre felt really good after using a wet that is super slippery. On the hard tyre it felt pretty grippy, but with tough luck that we were in the gearbox of a Williams or a lapped car that did a very slow Sector 1 and 2 and in the end let me by. This cost me one or two seconds of race time that was enough for Checo to overcut me.

Q: Can you talk us talk us through the end of the race? Were you tempted to go for a move on Checo? Did you feel the opportunity was there? You were so close to him at some points.
CS: It was tempting. It was tempting into the chicane but unfortunately the track was still a bit wet on the inside. So if I go and brake late in there, it would have been a bit of a mess. And I probably could have taken Checo out with me. Tempting in a couple of other places. But realistically, with these big wide cars, the spaces are really narrow and even on a drying track, where there's damp patches offline, It's almost impossible. And I tried everything I could to nearly launch a move, but even when I did, I nearly took him with me. So yeah, I think I did everything I could.

Q: Who had the faster car in the different conditions: Ferrari or Red Bull?
CS:I don't know. But it doesn't matter really. Monaco is not, as you said, today's not about who is the fastest, it's about who gets all the timing of the pitstops right, and all the strategy calls right. Red Bull went for the Inters; we decided to stay out on Wets. I mean, I was on the race lead before this leg, so you could argue, I think today we did the right choices; it was the timing of that lapped car really that cost us a lot today.

Q: Max, can I put that question to you? Who had the faster car today in the different conditions do you think: Red Bull or Ferrari?
MV: Well, if you just look at single lap pace, I think they were they were faster than us. Long run around here is very difficult to say because nobody really pushes, of course, even in practice in the long runs, because it doesn't really matter. It's all about qualifying. And it doesn't really matter if you're fast in the race, because you can't pass anyway. So difficult to tell. But yeah, today was really about strategy and making the right calls. And I have to say the team was very relaxed and on it with their calls. Like very straightforward. There was no doubt: it was like 'pit now, we go on this tyre'; 'pit now again we go on this tyre'. They did a really good job with that.

Q: Positions were made and lost on very fine margins today. You were right on the limit as you exited the pit lane on the hard tyre as well.
MV: Yeah, I needed it. I mean, otherwise he would have passed me because you would not have the traction. So, my pit exit was quite... probably that was the most fun I had in the race, just my pit exit, trying to stay ahead. Which summed up a bit my race. I mean, of course, after yesterday, not being able to do that final lap, you know you have to start fourth and you know, your race is going to be a bit compromised. But it's all about just trying to maximise the result and I think, as a team, we did that today. We had good pace. I mean, all the laps I had in clean air, they felt right. And then the call to go with the Medium at the end was quite risky, I think, compared to just staying on a hard tyre. Especially also because I think we didn't really know how many laps were going to be left. But I saw that the two cars in front of me started to grain a bit. Checo has quite a lot of front graining and Carlos was struggling a bit with the rear. And yeah, from my side. I mean, it's just impossible to pass. But my balance felt all right, and I could actually be really close. If I wanted to, I could have bumped Carlos a few times in the hairpin. Maybe he would have liked it.

CS: I think I... did I bump you?

MV: It was so close.

CS: Because two times I said 'I'm gonna make him spin' because you were so slow.

MV: You were doing also at one point a different line, in the hairpin.

SP: I knew I could park my car and there is no room for anyone to go.

MV: So yeah, it was getting close at the end but even with getting close, the problem is always the acceleration out of the corner. Like you can be in the gearbox but you can never pass because they always gain two or three-tenths, and that's just enough, of course, to then defend or whatever - drive in the middle of the track.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monaco, here.

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