Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a comfortable F1 Monaco GP win from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Lando Norris after an off day for Lewis Hamilton.
It was disaster for Ferrari, even before the start of F1 Monaco GP, as Charles Leclerc reported of a problem on the way to the grid. The Italian manufacturer’s pre-race checks showed no issues as a gamble of not changing the gearbox did not pay off.
Leclerc had a driveshaft trouble on the left side of the car and was forced to pit. It was race over him, even before it started, as his Monaco curse continued – this time from pole. The start, meanwhile, was clean from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who took the lead.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was second from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in the Top 5. Outside it was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in sixth, with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel holding off Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon got Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi for ninth, off the line, but the Italian got it back in the couple of corners. The Frenchman had to then fend off Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll then but managed it well, to keep him behind.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo lost a place as both Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso gained places outside the Top 10. There was also a move at the hairpin when Haas’ Mick Schumacher barged on the inside of Nikita Mazepin.
The F1 Monaco GP settled down then with drivers not taking any risk, but there was black and white flag shown for both Norris and Mazepin, for Turn 10 track limit abuse. The race turned around in the pit stop with a disaster run for Mercedes.
Hamilton stopped on Lap 30 but his out lap wasn’t good, which kept him behind Gasly for track position. At the same time, Bottas stopped on Lap 31, which ended his grand prix after a problem with the wheel gun on the right-front, where they couldn’t get the tyre off.
Mercedes stated, ‘the wheel nut machined onto the axle as we attempted the pit stop, meaning the wheel cannot be changed’. Hamilton, meanwhile, was further enraged to see both Vettel and Perez jump him on the pit stop to have track position.
It was Verstappen leading F1 Monaco GP from Sainz, Norris, Perez, Vettel and Gasly in the Top 6, with Hamilton in seventh. Stroll and Raikkonen were eighth and ninth – having not stopped – with Ocon in 10th, after jumping Giovinazzi in the pits.
With Verstappen leading at ease from Sainz, Norris started to complain of grip issues where Perez pushed on to chase him down. Vettel was a comfortable fifth from Gasly, as Hamilton did not have enough get the Frenchman for sixth place.
In a better news for Aston Martin, Stroll’s late stop helped him gain more places to be eighth and ahead of the fighting duo of Ocon and Giovinazzi. Having lost to the Frenchman in the pits, the Italian was pushing him on, for ninth position.
The FIA put Stroll under investigation for failing to adhere to the white line on the pit exit. Outside the Top 10, Raikkonen was just 11th from Ricciardo and Alonso, who was being chased by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese pitted very late in the race.
With no inroads made on Gasly, Mercedes had switch to Plan B with Hamilton. He pitted for the soft tyres to push for the fastest lap point, as up ahead Perez continued to push Norris for third, while Giovinazzi chased Ocon for ninth.
At the front, it was a comfortable run for Verstappen to win the F1 Monaco GP – his first podium on the streets of Monte Carlo, to also lead the championship – as Sainz had his first podium for Ferrari in second, with Norris managing to hold off Perez for third.
Vettel was fifth to register his best result with Aston Martin, as Gasly was sixth from Hamilton, who took the fastest lap point, while Stroll was eighth from Ocon, who held off Giovinazzi in the fight for ninth.
Outside the Top 10, Raikkonen was 11th from Ricciardo, who managed to keep Alonso behind with Williams’ pair of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi managed to beat Tsunoda to be 14th and 15th, while Mazepin was 17th and Schumacher 18th.
Everyone from Stroll onward ended up a lap down to Verstappen, while the Haas drivers were three laps down on the leaders. DNF: Bottas. DNS: Leclerc.