The Mexican’s win was set up at the start when a slow get away for pole man Clos allowed Perez to lead the pack from the front row, running through Ste Devote just ahead of Maldonado, Clos and Alberto Valerio, while behind them chaos reigned as Fabio Leimer stalled, causing a bottleneck which saw Max Chilton fly 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.
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, with Valerio holding the ART pairing of Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird behind him.
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 curb at the chicane one lap later and found his way heavily into the barriers, prompting a safety car visit: Perez and Maldonado were straight into the pits and just managed to get out ahead of the pack, cutting but hanging onto the lead as they did so.
Maldonado pushed with all his might in the second half of the race but Perez was equal to the task, driving a perfect line for lap after lap as he held on for the biggest win of his career, while Clos grabbed a second podium for the season behind the pair despite constant pressure from Bianchi, who leapfrogged Valerio at the stop. Giedo van der Garde made a smart early stop and looked after his tires to move up from P11 on the grid to sixth at the finish, just ahead of Luiz Razia and Jerome d’Ambrosio’s fierce battle for the final points.
But all eyes were on Sergio Perez as he soaked up the adulation of the crowd, along with the champagne of his rivals, to claim the championship lead by one point over Maldonado and Clos.
|1||4||S. Perez||MEX||Barwa Addax||1:21.823||42||–||–|
|3||7||D. Clos||ESP||Racing Eng.||1:22.427||42||10.688||10.071|
|4||1||J. Bianchi||FRA||ART Grand Prix||1:22.289||42||12.117||1.429|
|5||20||A. Valerio||BRA||Scuderia Coloni||1:22.365||42||14.117||2.000|
|6||3||G. Van Der Garde||NED||Barwa Addax||1:22.505||42||17.337||3.220|
|9||24||J. Cecotto||VEN||Trident Racing||1:23.690||42||46.635||9.132|
|10||17||R. Gonzalez||VEN||Arden Int.||1:23.911||42||53.055||6.520|
|11||16||C. Pic||FRA||Arden Int.||1:23.602||42||53.977||0.922|
|12||6||M. Ericsson||SWE||Super Nova||1:23.782||42||54.913||0.936|
|13||5||J. Kral||CZE||Super Nova||1:23.659||42||57.571||2.658|
|14||8||C. Vietoris||GER||Racing Eng.||1:22.599||42||58.636||1.065|
|15||2||S. Bird||GBR||ART Grand Prix||1:22.972||42||59.160||0.524|
|16||9||O. Turvey||GBR||iSport Int||1:23.199||42||59.942||0.782|
|19||10||D. Valsecchi||ITA||iSport Int||1:22.399||21||DNF||–|
|20||21||V. Arabadzhiev||BUL||Scuderia Coloni||1:24.243||19||DNF||–|
|22||19||F. Leimer||SUI||Ocean Racing||–||0||DNF||–|
|23||25||A. Zaugg||RSA||Trident Racing||–||0||DNF||–|
|24||18||M. Chilton||GBR||Ocean Racing||–||0||DNF||–|