Max Verstappen says it would be "completely wrong" to introduce a salary cap for Formula One drivers who "put our lives at risk".

F1 introduced a budget cap at the start of last season and that figure was reduced to $140m (£119m) a team this year.

There has been talk of a limit being place on the wages drivers are paid, but world champion Verstappen made it perfectly clear what he thinks about the prospect of that being implemented.

"It's still a bit vague. I think no one really knows where it is going to go but from my side, it's completely wrong," he said ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix: 

"I think at the moment, F1 is becoming more and more popular and everyone is making more and more money, including the teams and FOM [Formula One Management].

"Everyone is benefitting, so why should the drivers, with their IP rights and everything, be capped? We actually bring the show and put our lives at risk, because we do, eventually. So for me, it's completely wrong."

Verstappen says youngsters making their way in junior categories would also be affected.

He added: "Also, in all of the junior categories, if you see how many of the drivers have a sponsor or a backer who will have a certain percentage of their income in F1 or whatever.

"I think it's going to limit that a lot because they'll never get their return in money and if you get a cap, so it will hurt all the junior categories as well and I don't think you want that."

Sebastian Vettel has questioned how much Lewis Hamilton is enjoying racing amid his struggles in the 2022 Formula One season.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, and Mercedes have battled issues with the new design of their car during the early throes of the campaign.

The 37-year-old has just 50 points to his name in the drivers' standings, and sits 75 behind leader and defending champion Max Verstappen heading into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton has just one podium finish this campaign, a third-place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix opener, from seven races as Mercedes have failed to keep the pace with Red Bull and Ferrari.

Aston Martin driver Vettel pondered whether Hamilton is still getting the same joy he previously did.

"He had a package where he was able to win," four-time world champion Vettel said. "Obviously, it's been a little different for myself the last few years, but that's how it goes sometimes.

"You still try to make the most of it, but for sure, in terms of how much you enjoy it, when you get used to winning there is no feeling that can replace that.

"But having said that you have to work together as a team to try and get back up."

Mercedes have repeatedly struggled with 'porpoising' – bouncing at high speed – and not racing at the optimum height with their W13 car.

That has left them in the wake of a dominant season so far for Red Bull and Ferrari, and Vettel acknowledged the difficulties as he suggested Aston Martin are having problems of their own.

"I don't think Mercedes pulled back voluntarily; I think they are obviously having difficulties extracting the most from their car just like many other people have," he added.

"But others that have got it together more so the balance has shifted a little bit. But for us that’s not what is most important, the most important is about looking at ourselves where we are.

"And as I said at the moment, we are not happy with where we are, we would like to be further up but there’s a lot of work going into the project and hopefully we will see some better results soon."

Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%, partners of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, are bringing F1 fans the passion from inside the garage via a new multi-sensory experience 'IL PITSTOP' which is travelling around Europe this summer. 'IL PITSTOP' will immerse fans in the sights, sounds and smells of an F1 garage, whilst providing an opportunity to trial the crisp and refreshing taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%.

Sebastian Vettel is confident Aston Martin can improve their results after a disappointing start to 2022 amid doubts over his future in Formula One.

The four-time world champion is nearing the end of his contract with Aston Martin and it remains to be seen whether he will continue in the sport beyond this season.

Aston Martin's form has done little to quieten talk of retirement.

Vettel was 12th in the drivers' championship with 43 points in 2021. After missing the first two races of this season with COVID-19, he has claimed only five points from five grands prix.

However, as F1 returns to Baku, the scene of a second-placed finish for Vettel last season, he is hopeful changes to the car - which provoked controversy and questions from Red Bull due to the similarities the two cars now share - can spark an upturn in fortunes.

He told Stats Perform: "Obviously we are not aiming to be where we are now. But yeah let's see, we still have some races ahead of us and the team is pushing hard to improve the car.

"With the new set of regulations, there's always a risk you might get it wrong and I think that we have changed our path with a different car that we have adopted now and we believe that it is a better option for the races in the future.

"At the moment, we are not happy with where we are, we would like to be further up but there's a lot of work going into the project and hopefully we will see some better results soon."

Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%, partners of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, are bringing F1 fans the passion from inside the garage via a new multi-sensory experience 'IL PITSTOP' which is travelling around Europe this summer. 'IL PITSTOP' will immerse fans in the sights, sounds and smells of an F1 garage, whilst providing an opportunity to trial the crisp and refreshing taste of Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%.

Max Verstappen is looking to settle some "unfinished business" at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he sets out to further extend his lead in the Formula One drivers' championship.

Verstappen is nine points ahead of Charles Leclerc after a chaotic Monaco Grand Prix in which the Dutchman finished third ahead of his Ferrari rival.

Leclerc was apoplectic as a Ferrari miscue that saw them double stack the Monegasque and team-mate Carlos Sainz in the pits cost him the chance of a home victory.

Red Bull have won each of the last four races, with Leclerc's loss in Monte Carlo the gain of the victorious Sergio Perez, who will be out to replicate his 2021 triumph in Baku.

That win for Perez came after a rear tyre failure caused Verstappen to crash from the lead on lap 47, a piece of misfortune for which he is keen to make up.

"I'm looking forward to returning to Baku, we have some unfinished business there after last year," said Verstappen.

"It's a tricky track with big braking zones and a tight run-off, finding the best set-up for the car will be difficult in terms of making sure we get the correct wing level.

"It will also be interesting to see if we can make our one-lap performance better for qualifying as we’ve been lacking a little."

Ferrari have never tasted victory at the street circuit in the Azerbaijan capital, which presents one of the most challenging tests on the F1 calendar.

Leclerc finished fourth from pole last year and failing to back up qualifying performance on race day has been a persistent problem for Ferrari in 2022.

Luckless Leclerc

Leclerc has claimed pole in five of the first seven races this season and could become the first Ferrari driver to record six poles in the opening eight races since Michael Schumacher in 2001.

Yet he has only two victories to his name this campaign, with wins snatched from his grasp in Barcelona and Monaco.

For his career, Leclerc has won just four of the 14 races in which he has taken pole position. His win percentage of 29 per cent in those races is the second-lowest behind Jarno Trulli (25), who won one of the four races he started on pole.

Given the prevalence of fast straights in Baku, this is a track more likely to favour Red Bull, meaning it could be another frustrating weekend for Leclerc even if he continues his dominance of qualifying.

A Perez title push

Perez is himself only 15 points behind Verstappen in the title race and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently said the Mexican is "in this championship just as much as Max is".

That statement runs contrary to the call Red Bull made in Barcelona, ordering Perez to let Verstappen through en route to victory there.

Perez made his dissatisfaction in Spain clear, and Verstappen's father Jos expressed his irritation after Monaco that the Red Bull strategy went against the reigning world champion.

"Max was not helped by the chosen strategy. That was disappointing for me and I would have liked it to be different for the championship leader," he wrote on Verstappen.com.

Should Perez triumph again in Baku, any talk of Red Bull playing favourites may have to give way to an in-team title tussle.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 125
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 116
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 110
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 84
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 83

Constructors

1. Red Bull 235
2. Ferrari 199
3. Mercedes 134
4. McLaren 59
5. Alfa Romeo 41

Aleix Espargaro has apologised to his team after his costly blunder at the Catalan Grand Prix handed Fabio Quartararo a further advantage in the MotoGP championship.

Quartararo was cruising to first place on Sunday as title rival Espargaro seemed set to finish second in Barcelona.

But Espargaro inexplicably started waving to the crowd as he began the final lap, incorrectly believing the race had finished and he had secured second on the podium.

That ended a four-podium race streak for Espargaro, who slipped to fifth, and he sits 22 points behind leader Quartararo in the standings.

The Aprilia rider was quick to apologise for his mistake after the race as he explained he had misread the circuit's timing tower when keeping an eye on the lap count.

"I'm sorry. That's the only thing that I can say, sorry to my team. It's completely my fault," Espargaro told reporters.

"My people [with the pit board] were the first ones [out of the last corner], so I had no time to watch the lap. Some laps I had no time to look at the laps [remaining] and the gap with [Jorge] Martin.

"I was pushing to the limit so I just watched the gap with Martin, +0.6, then I watched the tower and I saw 'L1'. So I did one lap and then I didn't remember that here in Barcelona the last lap is 'zero' not 'one'. And I closed the gas on the straight.

"So I'm very sorry for my team because I didn't have the speed of Fabio to win. But if I want to beat him in the championship I cannot do these mistakes. Today, I lost nine points, so I'm very sorry."

Espargaro also believes he could have maintained pace with Quartararo but had been too worried about concerns surrounding his tyre management.

"Yesterday between Michelin and my team, everybody put a lot of worry into my [mind] by saying that I use a lot of tyres, that I had to be gentle on the first laps and I was too gentle sincerely," Espargaro said.

"Because at the end of the race, when I overtook Martin, I had enough tyre to put 41.5s and go away.

"I think Fabio was not faster than me, but he was smarter, was able to push at the beginning, and then it's impossible to recover two, two-and-a-half seconds to Fabio.

"I think I could have gone with him at the beginning. But anyway, it's too late."

Fabio Quartararo extended his MotoGP championship lead with victory in Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix as title rival Aleix Espargaro made a staggering and costly mistake.

Quartararo was a comfortable winner, and Espargaro looked nailed on for second place as he began the final lap, but the Spaniard thought the race was over and began waving to the crowd in Barcelona.

He was celebrating what he believed to be a podium finish, having started on pole position, but by slowing down he lost momentum and could not recover once he realised his clanger, trailing home in fifth.

Espargaro would have had good cause to celebrate second place, given he suffered abandonments in six of his previous seven appearances in this race, finishing only once when he was 12th in 2020.

The devastated Espargaro was later seen with his head in his hands by the side of the track and in the Aprilia garage. Nine points had slipped away, potentially crucial come the end of the season, with Quartararo boosting his championship lead to 22 points.

Quartararo and Espargaro were first and second at halfway, with a gap of around four seconds between the pair.

Espargaro slipped a place as Jorge Martin jumped to second, but the Aprilia man soon edged back ahead of the Pramac rider.

That looked set to be the 1-2-3 until Esparagaro's miscalculation allowed Martin to snatch second place, with Johann Zarco finishing third and Joan Mir fourth.

There had also been early drama, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), winner of two of the last three races this season, crashing out on the first corner along with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) after a shunt.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini), third in the championship, a place ahead of Bagnaia, also tumbled out of the race, with Quartararo's grip on first place tightening even before Espargaro's hapless error.


TOP 10

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha)
2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +6.473 seconds
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +8.385s
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +11.481s
5. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +14.395
6. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) +15.430
7. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) +15.975
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +21.436
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +26.800
10. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +30.460


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 147
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 125
3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 94
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 91
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 81

Teams
1. Aprilia Racing 171
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 169
3. Ducati Lenovo 146
4. Pramac Racing 142
5. Suzuki Ecstar 138

Aleix Espargaro continued his dominant form in Barcelona by setting a "totally crazy" lap record to claim pole position for the Catalan Grand Prix.

Aprilia rider Espargaro topped three of the four practice sessions and was able to see off Francesco Bagnaia's late charge in qualifying on Saturday.

The Spaniard blitzed to a lap record of 1:38.771 in the third practice session and promptly broke his own mark with a time of 1:38.742 in qualifying.

Espargaro, whose only previous pole this season came in Argentina in round three, finished 0.031 seconds ahead of Bagnaia at a scorching Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Reflecting on an impressive showing in his home country, the 32-year-old said: "I did a totally crazy lap, slipping around everywhere and in truth I didn't really appreciate this lap.

"I was on the limit on each bend. The conditions today were super difficult. I'd say the most difficult I've experienced this season."

Espargaro is eight points behind reigning MotoGP champion and 2022 pacesetter Fabio Quartararo, who finished third in qualifying.

However, Espargaro has failed to finish in six of his seven appearances at the Catalan Grand Prix, completing the race only once when finishing 12th in 2020.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo has finished on the podium in three of his last four races, meanwhile, and is one shy of finishing in the top three for a 25th time.

After struggling in practice, Quartararo is pleased to be behind only Espargaro and Ducati's Bagnaia heading into Sunday's race.

"I would have signed up for such a result, indeed," he said. "I would have been satisfied with second row, because yesterday's practice was a disaster. Nothing seemed to work.

"Technically we opted for a big change of setting today, and the track conditions also changed."

Bagnaia also has no complaints following a well-fought qualifying session in which 0.403s separated Espargaro in first and Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins in seventh.

"It wasn't easy because of the heat, which made the track slippery. For my part, I couldn't do any more," he said.

"I'm very happy with the work we did. We are close to Aleix in terms of the race pace."

Bagnaia, who has won his past three races held in Spain, added: "This is turning into one of the most difficult world championships.

"Tomorrow it will be essential to understand the grip of the track so as not to use the tyres too much. All the bikes are very fast and practically every driver is a world champion."

 

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 1:38.742
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.031s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.217s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.285s
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) +0.357s
6. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.400s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.403s
8. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) +0.655s
9. Luca Marini (Mooney Racing) +0.709s
10. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +0.735s

Marc Marquez has undergone successful surgery on his arm, after the Honda driver underwent a "complex" procedure.

The six-time MotoGP world champion announced a leave of absence at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend to confirm a fourth operation on his right humerus.

The Spaniard broke his arm during his home Grand Prix in 2020, ultimately curtailing the rest of his campaign, while a struggle for fitness has been an issue since his return in April 2021.

That has prompted the decision to go under the knife once more for a complicated operation in Minnesota, which has now been cleared as a success by the medical team.

"Today we had the opportunity to operate on the right humerus of Mr. Marc Marquez," Dr. Sanchez Sotelo said in a statement. "The procedure was completed in approximately three hours.

"Despite the complexity of the procedure, the final outcome was satisfactory.  We would like to wish Mr. Marquez a swift recovery and a successful return to his professional career."

Marquez made his MotoGP debut in 2013 with Honda and promptly went on to win the first of his half-dozen world titles in his maiden campaign.

He will remain in Minnesota over the coming days for post-operative recovery before he returns home to Spain.

MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo says Monster Energy Yamaha's pledge to improve on their bike's shortcomings convinced him to commit to a new two-year deal with the team.

Quartararo, who finished ahead of Francesco Bagnaia to become the first Frenchman to be crowned MotoGP world champion in 2021, extended his contract through the 2024 season on Thursday.

The 23-year-old again tops the driver's standings after eight races of the 2022 campaign, having posted three podium finishes in his last four outings, but had previously hinted at a move elsewhere after becoming irritated by the M1's lack of power.

After claiming his first win of the season at the Portuguese Grand Prix in April, Quartararo revealed his frustration that the team had "not made a massive improvement on the bike."

While Quartararo admits he talked to various teams before signing his new deal, he has now revealed Yamaha's promise of substantial investment to improve the bike convinced him to commit his future to the side. 

"It was not an easy decision, and we took a little bit more time to evaluate all the project," he said.

"As you can imagine, we were not talking only to Yamaha. At one stage, my head was going to one side, then one week later I wanted to go [somewhere else] and it was a little bit difficult.

"Basically, my first goal is to have the best bike and best project. And they convinced me because they will bring new people, engineers, and they know exactly where they need to improve.

"In the past, maybe they were working on a few areas, but they didn't really accept that the bike was more slow than the others. And now they know, and they will clearly work on this weak point.

"To be fair, I feel super good on the bike. Of course, every rider always wants more. But the only thing that we're missing compared to the others is the speed.

"So that's what made me really take the decision to stay in Yamaha. I know that they're pushing to bring more power, and I feel good on the bike.

"I'm super happy because they really understand, and they are doing their best to find what we are missing. Many people, engineers, will go into the engine side and work on that part of the bike."

Quartararo will hope to celebrate his new deal by continuing his strong recent form at Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix, where he posted a disappointing sixth-placed finish from pole last year.

Sergio Perez will race for Red Bull until at least the end of the 2024 Formula One season after signing a new deal following his triumph at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mexican put pen to paper on fresh terms during race weekend, as he went on to earn the third victory of his career in a rain-soaked race at the weekend.

The 32-year-old sits third in the driver standings this season, just 15 points off team-mate and leader Max Verstappen.

"For me, this has been an incredible week," Perez said in an official statement.

"Winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy.

"I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now. We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more.

"We have built tremendous momentum as a team and this season is showing that, I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future."

Initially entering F1 in 2011 with the Australian Grand Prix, Perez worked through a succession of teams in the sport, including Sauber, McLaren, Force India and Racing Point.

The Mexican looked poised to be without a seat for 2021 after the latter confirmed he would be replaced by Sebastian Vettel following the team's transition to Aston Martin.

But a shock maiden victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix earned him a drive with Red Bull and saw him set a record for the most races before a first win in F1, with 190.

Since his move to Red Bull, he was won two more, including Monaco, and will seek to defend the trophy he won in Baku last year at next month's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"Since joining Red Bull, Checo [Perez] has done a fantastic job," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

"Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but as his level of comfort has grown he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid.

"This year he has taken another step and the gap to world champion Max has closed significantly, evidenced by his superb pole position in Jeddah earlier this year and by his wonderful win in Monaco just last weekend.

"For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024. In partnership with Max we believe we have a driver pairing that can bring us the biggest prizes in F1."

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted team strategy halted Charles Leclerc from triumphing at his home race, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez winning the Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc finished in fourth place after starting the race from pole position, which is critical at a circuit like Monte Carlo, with its tight streets making overtaking difficult and track position paramount.

Perez managed to keep Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari at bay with an assured drive, but it was also borne of circumstance after a pit-stop mix-up before a second red flag tumbled Leclerc down the order.

Binotto conceded it was a team error that cost his drivers from claiming more points but specifically for Leclerc, a potential maiden Formula One win at a home race where he has been dealt constant bad luck.

"I fully understand the disappointment for Charles," the Ferrari boss told Sky Sports F1. "He was first and finishing fourth means that something was wrong in the decision we made.

"So clearly we need to review it and I think we underestimated the speed of the intermediate [tyres] at that stage, so we could have called a lap earlier for Charles or later on, maybe we should have left him outside on the extreme wet then going on the dry.

"These are mistakes that may happen, but more importantly it is a lesson to learn to try and understand why they happened and I am sure that is a process we will do."

Ferrari went down a further ten points in the constructor standings to Red Bull, who now lead by 36 points after both Perez and Max Verstappen finished on the podium.

Leclerc's fourth-placed finish also means Verstappen extended his lead atop the driver's standings to nine points, heading into the next grand prix in Azerbaijan.

Sergio Perez has called winning the Monaco Grand Prix a "dream come true" after his triumph from third on the grid to take the top step.

Perez put in an assured and calculated drive in tricky conditions on Sunday, which meant only 66 laps could be completed on the streets of Monte Carlo after a late start, and further delays following a big crash for Mick Schumacher.

Perez claimed only his third race victory from 220 starts. Admittedly for the Mexican driver, the prestige of taking the race victory at Monaco is different to his other two wins, in Sakhir and Azerbaijan.

"Well, certainly very high up there, winning Monaco, it's a dream come true as a driver," Perez told a news conference.

"When you come into Formula One 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.

"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."

Perez pitted from fourth place for a set of intermediates before both Charles Leclerc and team-mate Max Verstappen came in, putting him in position to take the race lead as the track dried, albeit with the help of poorly executed Ferrari strategy.

He was eventually able to hold off a late charge from Carlos Sainz, becoming the first Mexican driver to win in Monaco.

With only six drivers from Mexico to ever drive in Formula One, Perez did not lose perspective on the gravity of such an achievement.

"Certainly, in terms of history of the sport, I'm a big fan of my sport," he said. "So, certainly knowing what it means to win a race like this. I mean, they're all very important, but certainly this is very special. And it goes very, very high on the list for my country.

"I certainly feel like at the moment, I'm the only Mexican – or even Latin American – driver on the grid. So, it just shows how difficult it is for us - not saying that for European drivers it's easy, but it just shows how difficult it is for us to make it into the sport and to have a successful career. It is quite hard, but I have to say I'm extremely proud of it."

Charles Leclerc could not understand Ferrari's strategy during the Monaco Grand Prix, as he lost ground on Formula One leader Max Verstappen.

Leclerc finished fourth in his home race on Sunday after an eventful, rain-soaked grand prix.

Ferrari had closed out the front of the grid and seemed all set to go on and claim a big win, but Red Bull's Sergio Perez clinched victory.

Carlos Sainz finished second ahead of Verstappen to restore some pride for Ferrari, but the Dutchman's lead in the driver's standings grew to four points over Leclerc.

Some strange tactical decisions cost Ferrari, who delayed putting Leclerc on intermediate tyres before then accidentally instructing the Monegasque driver to come in and change to slicks.

Before Ferrari realised their error, Leclerc had already entered the pit lane, allowing Verstappen to overtake him and hold on for a place on the podium.

"Let down is not the word," Leclerc told reporters.

"Sometimes mistakes can happen – but there have been too many mistakes.

"I'm used to getting back home disappointed but we cannot do that, especially in a moment now where we are extremely strong.

"We need to take opportunities. I love my team. We will come back stronger, but it hurts a lot.

"We cannot afford to lose so many points like this. It's not even from first to second, it's from first to fourth because after the first mistakes we've done another one.

"I don't understand what made us change our minds. We got undercut and then stuck behind Carlos [Sainz]. There were a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that.

"The first [radio message for the first pit stop] was a clear decision and a very wrong one. From that moment onwards, the mess started.

"I don't know if it was panic – I don't hear all the background stuff between the team so it's not up to me to judge.

"The last message I had was not clear because I was told to come in and then to stay out but I was already in the pit lane and that's when I let it out on the radio and screamed because I knew it was done."

Sergio Perez won an extraordinary Monaco Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc endured more misery in his home race on Sunday.

Perez claimed his first victory on the streets of Monte Carlo ahead of Carlos Sainz after a late start due to heavy rain and the loss of further time following a big crash for Mick Schumacher, who was fortunate to walk away unharmed.

Leclerc had started on pole but could only finish fourth after paying the price for poor Ferrari pit-stop strategies and so Max Verstappen extended his lead over the Monegasque to nine points in the battle for the title after taking third.

Verstappen’s Red Bull-mate Perez took the chequered flag in the sun on lap 64, as there was not enough time to complete the full 77 in the Principality as a result of the poor weather earlier in the day.

There was eventually a rolling start behind the safety car an hour and 10 minutes after the race was due to begin, with the red flag having earlier been waved during a deluge.

Leclerc maintained his lead ahead of team-mate Sainz on a drying track ahead of a Red Bull duo of Perez and Verstappen.

Perez pitted from fourth place for a set of intermediate tyres before both Leclerc and Verstappen came in for intermediates.

Leclerc was not happy when he was called in again at the same time as Sainz for hard tyres only three laps later, with Red Bull also opting for a double stack soon after and it was Perez who was leading after a string of pit stops.

The second-placed Sainz produced a great save to avoid crashing into the barriers on a wet part of the track, but the virtual safety car was deployed and subsequently another red flag following a big smash for Schumacher on lap 26.

Leclerc found himself in fourth behind Verstappen following some puzzling decision-making from the Scuderia and there were only 40 minutes of racing to go when the race restarted again on a significantly drier track.

Mexican Perez fended off Sainz to celebrate his first victory of the season. George Russell was fifth, with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton only eighth behind Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.

Francesco Bagnaia said winning the Italian Grand Prix was a dream come true as the Ducati star roared to Mugello glory.

The 25-year-old from Turin held off a challenge from Fabio Quartararo to earn a second win in the last three races and climb to fourth place in the MotoGP riders' standings.

This race has been won by an Italian rider in three of the last five editions now, with Bagnaia joining Andrea Dovizioso in 2017 and Danilo Petrucci in 2019 in that group.

Although Ducati star Bagnaia considers Misano his 'home' circuit, he savoured the moment of crossing the line first in front of Italian supporters.

"It's something I have always dreamed of, because winning in Mugello is incredible," he told a news conference.

"Misano is my home grand prix, but this one is the Italian Grand Prix. It's one of the toughest tracks ever, so it's great."

He was greeted by thousands of fans when he climbed off his bike and made his way towards a trackside enclosure.

"I was thinking to throw my helmet, but I knew we would have a penalty if I ride without my helmet, so it was not possible to do it," Bagnaia said.

Bagnaia crashed out when contesting the lead last time out at the French Grand Prix, having won the previous race in Spain.

This was the ideal way to overcome the Le Mans setback, and Bagnaia said: "For sure, for the championship it was important to take points in this race, but I have to say I was not feeling more pressure.

"We're doing a job where you have to live with pressure. Mistakes can happen, but the good thing is to restart and don't think about your problems, just think about things you enjoy, and I really enjoyed this weekend a lot."

Bagnaia got ahead of early pace-setter Marco Bezzecchi with 15 laps remaining and clung on under pressure from championship leader Quartararo.

Quartararo started sixth on the grid, one place behind Bagnaia, and the Monster Energy Yamaha rider was delighted with that effort.

Last season's champion Quartararo said: "It was basically my best race of my career. I was feeling bad all the weekend and I made an amazing start, the best one, and then I was overtaking, and losing the front, losing the rear. Ducati was overtaking on the straight, and I was overtaking back.

"I think it was the best race. Before the race I was OK, I had nothing to lose because I knew my pace was not so good.

"To be honest, I was running at my best today and I feel so happy."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.