There is a new championship leader in the Formula One standings, and it is Max Verstappen after the Red Bull Racing driver claimed a dominating victory in the Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco for his second Grand Prix victory of the season and the 12th of his F1 career.
The 23-year-old competitor competing under the Dutch flag started in first place after Charles Leclerc, who was scheduled to start on pole position, was unable to take the grid due to a gearbox issue as a result of wrecking his car during qualifying session but opting to not have the gearbox changed as his Ferrari crew deemed it cleared to race and to not have a five-place penalty grid.
With Leclerc out of contention from the race due to the gearbox issue, Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas started on the front row. When the race started, Verstappen was able to maintain the lead through the first turn and remain out in front for the entirety of the event as he claimed his first triumph in Monaco and made another championship statement. With this victory in Monaco, though, Verstappen and Red Bull Racing were able to emerge in first place with both the Driver and Constructor standings.
“It’s so special around here, to win and for me, first time on the podium here,” Verstappen said. “An amazing race, it’s a lot of laps around here. You really have to keep your focus, but yeah, it’s really cool…I was pretty much in control.”
Leclerc, who was initially scheduled to start on pole position in his home event, was the first retiree of the event following his mechanical issues.
Finishing less than nine seconds behind Verstappen was Carlos Sainz, who tied his career-best result in Formula One and claimed his maiden podium result as a Ferrari driver along with his first podium result since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. Coming home in third place was McLaren’s Lando Norris, who also tied his career-best result in F1 and his second podium result of the season (third of his career).
“If you would’ve told me before coming to Monaco that I would finish second, I would’ve definitely take it,” Sainz said. “It’s just the whole circumstances of this weekend, having Charles on pole, me missing out in qualy yesterday, it’s just maybe there are some things that could have had should, but I’m sure that when I reflect back on the weekend, I will be very happy and proud of the weekend.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Norris said. “I didn’t think I’d be here today. It’s always a dream to be on the podium here. It’s just special. I didn’t think it was gonna happen. A bit of luck…a good car all weekend. We’ve had a strong weekend.”
Sergio “Checo” Perez, the second Red Bull Racing driver, finished in fourth place for his fourth top-five result through the first five F1 races while Sebastian Vettel, driving for Aston Martin Racing, rallied from a difficult start to this season to finish in fifth place. As a result, Vettel was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by the fans.
Pierre Gasly finished in sixth place followed by Lewis Hamilton, who established the fastest lap of the day but was unable to march his way to the front after starting in sixth place and coming off his Grand Prix victories in Portugal and Spain. Lance Stroll finished in eighth place followed by Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Finishing outside of the top-10 points positions was Kimi Räikkönen followed by Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, George Russell and teammate Nicholas Latifi. Rookie Yuki Tsunoda settled in 16th place followed by Haas drivers Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, all of whom were making their first F1 starts in Monaco.
Valtteri Bottas, who was having a strong result in the making, retired in 19th place following a pit stop misfortune on Lap 31, where the right-front tire on Bottas’ Mercedes F1 W12 car could not be removed despite numerous efforts.
1. Max Verstappen, 78 laps led, 25 points
2. Carlos Sainz, 18 points
3. Lando Norris, 15 points
4. Sergio Perez, 12 points
5. Sebastian Vettel, 10 points
6. Pierre Gasly, eight points
7. Lewis Hamilton, seven points
8. Lance Stroll, four points, +1 lap
9. Esteban Ocon, two points, +1 lap
10. Antonio Giovinazzi, one point, +1 lap
11. Kimi Räikkönen, +1 lap
12. Daniel Ricciardo, +1 lap
13. Fernando Alonso, +1 lap
14. George Russell, +1 lap
15. Nicholas Latifi, +1 lap
16. Yuki Tsunoda, +1 lap
17. Nikita Mazepin, +3 laps
18. Mick Schumacher, +3 laps
19. Valtteri Bottas, retired
20. Charles Leclerc, retired
Following the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen leads the Drivers’ standings by four points over Hamilton, with Norris trailing by 49 points, Bottas by 58, Perez by 61, Leclerc by 65, Sainz by 67, Ricciardo by 81, Gasly by 89 and Ocon by 93.
In the Constructors’ standings, Red Bull Racing Honda leads Mercedes by a single point, with McLaren Mercedes trailing by 69, Ferrari by 71, Aston Martin Mercedes by 130, AlphaTauri Honda by 131, Alpine Renault by 132, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari by 148, Williams Mercedes and Haas Ferrari by 149.
The 2021 Formula One World Championship season will continue on June 6 at Baku City for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.