F1 2021:Verstappen wins Monaco GP to take championship lead as Leclerc fails to start

Max Verstappen finds himself leading the world championship for the first time as he took the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix victory. Troubles for Mercedes, as only Hamilton finished the race. But heartbreak for Ferrari as Leclerc failed to start the race.

By:Updated: May 23, 2021 9:05 PM

Max Verstappen claimed his maiden Monaco Grand Prix victory. The Dutchman now finds himself leading the Drivers’ World Championship for the first time. The 2021 Monaco Grand Prix saw Carlos Sainz take his first podium for Ferrari with a second-place finish. The final step of the podium was claimed by Lando Norris in the special Gulf liveried McLaren.

The drama started even before the race began. when pole sitter, Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari failed to make it to the grid. Ferrari reported that a driveshaft problem, likely to have come from LeClerc’s crash in qualifying was the culprit.

The race started with an empty grid slot at the front. It was a sprint from the light to turn 1 between Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas. While Bottas got the better start, Verstappen was able to block his charge and stay in the lead.

As overtaking comes at a premium around Monaco, the pack looked set for the initial stages.

On lap 31, disaster struck Mercedes when Bottas came in for his pit stop. A cross-threaded wheel nut meant he couldn’t even leave his pit box, and forced him to retire from the race.

Verstappen pitted for a standard 2-second Red Bull stop and came out behind teammate Perez. Perez then pitted four laps later and came out in fourth behind Sainz and Norris.

At the front, Sainz was also trying to close the gap to Verstappen and possibly take the lead. But it was Verstappen who went on to cross the finish line first to take his maiden victory in Monaco. Sainz finished second with Norris finishing in third, holding off a late charge from Perez. Perez settled for a well-driven P4, which now puts Red Bull in the lead for the Contractors’ Championship.

Hamilton who started from P7 struggled through the race to get past Pierre Gasly. Mercedes called him in for a stop on Lap 30 to try and undercut the Alpha Tauri, but the call was too early. Not only did Gasly manage to defend the position after his pit stop. Sebastian Vettel overcut both Gasly and Hamilton and went on to finish fifth for Aston Martin. Gasly finished sixth, as Hamilton conceded to finish seventh. But not without a fight. Hamilton claimed the extra point for the fastest lap to take home a total of 7 points in all for Mercedes and himself.

Lance Stroll finished eight for Aston Martin as Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi claimed the final point-scoring positions in P9 and P10 respectively.

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