14 May 2010
Perez wins Monaco feature
Sergio Perez claimed a hard-fought victory in the GP2 Series' feature race on the streets of Monaco.
Sergio Perez wrote himself into the Monaco history books by bouncing back from his Barcelona frustration and claiming victory in Friday morning's GP2 Series feature race.
The Mexican defied strong pressure from double Monaco victor Pastor Maldonado as well as the threat of a race-changing safety car period to stand on the top step of the podium, where he and Maldonado were joined by polesitter Dani Clos.
Unlike Perez in Spain, the race wasn't won and lost in the pits, as the Mexican's success was set up at the start when a slow getaway by Clos allowed the Barwa Addax driver to lead the pack from the front row, running through Ste Devote just ahead of Maldonado, Clos and Alberto Valerio, while chaos reigned behind them.
While Fabio Leimer stalled on the grid, causing a bottleneck at Ste Devote, Ocean Racing Technology team-mate Max Chilton flew dramatically over the side of Davide Valsecchi's slowed car as the back of the field tried to shake itself out as best it could. Valsecchi was able to return to the pits without his rear wing, but Chilton's day, as well as that of Adrian Zaugg, was over early.
Meanwhile, at the front, Perez was flying, putting together a string of fastest laps as he built a big lead over Maldonado, who always has plenty of pace to spare in the Principality, while Clos pushed his hardest to make up for his start-line dramas. Valerio was holding the ART pairing of Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird behind him, preventing perhaps the biggest threat to the top three from materialising.
Clos was the first of the leaders to pit, on lap 14, with what looked to be fortuitous timing when Ho-Pin Tung bobbled over the kerb at the chicane one lap later and found his way heavily into the barriers, prompting a safety car. Perez and Maldonado were straight into the pits and just managed to get out ahead of the pack, ending up with a big gap as the rest of the pack - with the exception of Giacomo Ricci - took the opportunity to pit.
Once the field had been packed up, the safety car withdrew, and Maldonado pushed with all his might, both at the restart and throughout the second half of the race, but Perez was equal to the task, driving a perfect line lap after lap as he held on for the biggest win of his career. Clos, meanwhile, underlined the good timing of his pole lap by being unable to hang on to the top two, but run comfortably ahead of the remainder of the field.
Bianchi leapfrogged Valerio at the pit-stops, but ART team-mate Bird again ran into misfortune as a wheelgun failure at his pit-stop cost precious time and positions. Up into sixth came Giedo van der Garde, who made a smart early stop and looked after his tyres to move up from eleventh on the grid. The Dutchman came home just ahead of Luiz Razia and Jerome d'Ambrosio's fierce battle for the final points, with the Belgian benefiting from Ricci's need to make a green flag stop after his gamble on a second safety car failed.
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