Illustration photo – Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, May 7, 2023, Miami. In the foreground, Sergio Pérez from the Red Bull team.
Monte Carlo – Mexican driver Sergio Pérez will try to defend last year's victory in this weekend's Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and return to the fight for the world championship lead. The 33-year-old Red Bull pilot is 14 points behind reigning champion and teammate Dutchman Max Verstappen after five races. Now he wants to confirm his form on city circuits. In the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, where it is more difficult to overtake, the other rivals, led by the Spaniard Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin, also feel a chance for the first victory of the season.
Photo gallery: Formula 1 World Championship in the 2023 season
The World Championship continues after less than three weeks. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was canceled last week due to flooding in northeastern Italy.
25-year-old Verstappen highlighted the lead at the beginning of May after his triumph in Miami. He dominated the race despite starting from ninth place and also set the fastest lap. He can get his fourth win of the season and the 39th triumph of his career this weekend. He won once in Monaco two years ago.
Pérez did not take advantage of the chance to get to the top of the championship for the first time in his career in Miami, but he is not without a chance in Monte Carlo. This year he won races on urban tracks in Jeddah and Baku. With a third victory, he would improve his maximum in one season. Red Bull have taken the double four times in five races so far.
“This is a race every driver wants to win. I was lucky enough to do it last year. It only increased my hunger to be on the top step again,” Pérez said.
In a company where successful qualifying is more important than anywhere else, Alonso, who has finished third four times so far, also feels an opportunity. The 41-year-old Spaniard triumphed in Monaco in 2006 and 2007 as a Renault and McLaren pilot. The two-time world champion has been waiting for a victory in F1 for ten years.
“It seems that we have a car that is maybe not the fastest on the straights, but it is very good in the corners. So we could have the best chance at the circuit with at the lowest speed, say in Monaco, Hungary or Singapore. We put our main hopes in these races,” said Alonso.
The home race awaits Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, but he does not have good memories of the local track. He did not finish here three times and lost a possible victory last year due to mistakes by his team. In the end, he finished fourth.
The record holder for the number of wins at the iconic circuit is the Brazilian Ayrton Senna with six triumphs. Among the active drivers, the closest to him is Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who has three wins.
The Monaco Grand Prix program will begin with two practice sessions on Friday. After Saturday's third, qualification will take place from 16:00. The main race will be held a day later at 3:00 p.m.