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Verstappen wins Monaco GP, takes F1 title lead from Hamilton

AP/Monaco
Filed on May 23, 2021
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. — AFP

Verstappen finished 8.9 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in second place


Max Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time to take the Formula One championship lead from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, while pole sitter Charles Leclerc pulled out just before the race started.

Verstappen’s second win this season and 12th of his career moved the Red Bull driver four points ahead of Hamilton overall. The seven-time world champion finished seventh on a bad day for the usually ultra-reliable Mercedes team.

His teammate Valtteri Bottas went from second place to out of the race before the midway point after his team botched a tire change.

Verstappen finished 8.9 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in second place and 19.4 seconds clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris. They secured their third career podiums, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was one second behind Norris in fourth.

It was the first time in five races this season that Hamilton and Verstappen have not finished 1-2, but Hamilton’s chances were effectively ended when he qualifed a poor seventh on Saturday.

Leclerc’s chances of winning his home race from pole position ended when he pulled out with a gearbox problem.

Leclerc damaged it crashing 18 seconds from the end of qualifying. He risked a five-place grid penalty if the gearbox was changed, but Ferrari said earlier Sunday he could race with it.

About 20 minutes before the race Ferrari gave up and he pulled out. Two years ago, Leclerc retired early in Monaco in his first season at Ferrari.

The race director decided not to move Verstappen up from second to pole and left that space blank, giving Bottas more room to overtake on the inside.

He started well, but Verstappen held him off.

The sinewy 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) course is the hardest in F1 to overtake on, and Hamilton was in sixth and stuck behind Pierre Gasly when he changed for new hard tires on Lap 30 of 78, followed by Bottas on the next lap.

But Mercedes could not fit Bottas’ tires and his race ended.

Verstappen’s tire change on Lap 34 was a slick 2 seconds and he came back out just behind Perez, who switched tires on Lap 36 allowing Verstappen to regain the lead.

The Dutchman started cruising as Hamilton sounded frustrated on team radio.

“How am I still behind (Gasly)? Come on,” said Hamilton, whose friend Serena Williams was watching from a balcony.

Hamilton took a bonus point for the fastest lap toward the end, a rare bright spot on a dismal day for the defending champion and his team.

Results

Driver / number Team Gr Dnf Lap DPt TPt

1 Max Verstappen 33 Aston Martin Red 2 78 25 37

Bull Racing

2 Carlos Sainz Jr. 55 Scuderia Ferrari 4 78 18 18

Mission Winnow

3 Lando Norris 4 McLaren 5 78 15 15

4 Sergio Pérez 11 Aston Martin Red 9 78 12 37

Bull Racing

5 Sebastian Vettel 5 Aston Martin 8 78 10 14

Cognizant

6 Pierre Gasly 10 Scuderia 6 78 8 8

AlphaTauri Honda

7 Lewis Hamilton 44 Mercedes-AMG 7 78 7 7

Petronas

8 Lance Stroll 18 Aston Martin 13 77 4 14

Cognizant

9 Esteban Ocon 31 Alpine 11 77 2 2 10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 10 77 1 1

99 Racing Orlen 11 Kimi Räikkönen 7 Alfa Romeo 14 77 0 1

Racing Orlen 12 Daniel Ricciardo 3 McLaren 12 77 0 15 13 Fernando Alonso 14 Alpine 17 77 0 2 14 George Russell 63 Williams Racing 15 77 0 0 15 Nicholas Latifi 6 Williams Racing 18 77 0 0 16 Yuki Tsunoda 22 Scuderia 16 77 0 8

AlphaTauri Honda 17 Nikita Mazepin 9 Uralkali Haas 19 75 0 0 18 Mick Schumacher 47 Uralkali Haas 20 75 0 0

Valtteri Bottas 77 Mercedes-AMG 3 Retire 29 0 7

Petronas ment

Charles Leclerc 16 Scuderia Ferrari 1 Retire 0 0 18

Mission Winnow ment Notes: Gr-Grid position at the start; Dnf-Did not finish; DPt-Driver points; TPt-Team point





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