Max Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix after pole-sitter and local resident Charles Leclerc failed to start following a crash late in qualifying that damaged his gearbox.
Claiming the 25 points of victory, Verstappen emerges as the leader of the championship, four points ahead of Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes man had a disastrous weekend, qualifying a modest seventh and finishing the race in the same position.
Verstappen dominated the largely processional event, effectively starting from pole after Leclerc’s misfortune, then aggressively restraining Bottas in the first corner. After that, Verstappen was rarely challenged.
Carlos Sainz opened his 2021 account with his first podium for Ferrari, giving the Italian squad something to celebrate after Leclerc’s gearbox abandoned the ghost on its way to the starting line. Briton Lando Norris won his second podium of the season, finishing third in the McLaren.
Lando Norris continues to impress
Lando Norris looked set to get a good result all weekend, starting with signing a multi-year extension to his contract with McLaren, then qualifying strongly in fifth, performing well in the race and resisting a late race load from Sergio Perez in the other. Red Bull. Norris is now third in the championship, 32 points ahead of his more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Australian McLaren’s career continues to baffle – although he was a previous winner here, Ricciardo was largely passed by Norris and finished 12th.
Leclerc – what could have been
Ferrari looked in good shape from the first practice, with both drivers leading the timesheets at different points. It was Leclerc who took pole position, but there was controversy when the Monegasque crashed on his last lap in Q3, damaging the front of the car and bringing out the red flag. This ruined Verstappen and Sainz’s chances of winning pole. Ferrari believed their gearbox was correct, but the team’s faith proved unfounded when Leclerc stopped en route to the grid. It was left to Sainz to grasp a few valuable points.
Mercedes has a weekend to forget
Not only did Hamilton never really start all weekend, but where other teams managed to overtake their drivers in race order with clever pit stops, Mercedes’ excellent strategic calls failed at Monaco. Red Bull and Aston Martin respectively propelled Perez and Sebastian Vettel past their rivals (including Lewis himself), but Hamilton’s early pitstop didn’t have the same effect. One point for the fastest lap was meager reward.
On the other side of the garage, Valterri Bottas looked better placed, running strong in second. But he was forced to retire at his pit stop for the most bizarre reasons: As the mechanics tried to remove his right front tire, they realized the lug nut was stuck quickly. Cue a retirement for the Finn and a puzzle for Toto Wolff as the F1 circus heads to Azerbaijan for another street race, albeit very different from the roads of Monaco. Red Bull are now leaders in the constructors’ championship with Mercedes second by a point – a rare position for both teams.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-23 19:33:16