NOISE stormed through the streets of Monte Carlo for 78 laps of Formula One racing – all of which were led by Red Bull’s driver Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman exquisitely, protecting the centre of the narrow track, defended his lead grid position into turn 1. Great reactions at the start by Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas briefly threatened Verstappen’s lead but Verstappen emerged as the leader after turn 1 and comfortably controlled the race to earn his maiden race win, and podium, in Monaco.
Verstappen started second on the grid behind an empty grid slot as pole sitter Charles Leclerc retired the car prior to the race start. The Ferrari driver was directed to the garage after sustaining driveshaft damage on his warm up lap and would not start his home Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz crossed the chequered flag in second place, courtesy of a pit stop error and subsequent retirement of Valterri Bottas on lap 31. Sainz was joined on the podium by McLaren driver Lando Norris after a sublime drive saw the Englishman earn his second podium of the last 4 races.
Norris repeatedly shrugged off Sergio Perez’s nagging Red Bull – after a cunning piece of strategy boosted the Mexican from his starting ninth to a terrific fourth place. Perez expertly managed his tyres, jumping ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton , before pitting in lap 35 for a set of harder compound tyres. Vettel set a new high in points haul for Aston Martin in fifth and finished ahead of Gasly – who veered off a raging Hamilton for sixth. Hamilton, suffering the most damage from the overcut, left stranded in seventh.
Hamilton was not pleased with the result of the team’s strategy which left him earning only six points on the day and second in the driver standings. Hamilton now sits second in the Championship driver standings for the first time in the 2021 season.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, after overtaking two cars on the first lap, would reap the reward of a long 58-lap stint. Stroll would finish in 8th after starting in 13th on the grid. Alpine Racing’s Esteban Ocon finished a comfortable ninth ahead of Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who converted his first top 10 start into points.