Max Verstappen takes over the Formula 1 world championship lead after a dominant victory in the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver led every lap and finished 8.9s clear of Carlos Sainz to lift his first Monaco trophy and move ahead of Lewis Hamilton as the new championship front-runner.
Verstappen’s victory was aided mainly by polesitter Charles Leclerc forced to retire on his way to the grid due to a damaged driveshaft from his late Q3 crash the day before.
With the pole position slot vacant, Verstappen had a clear front row for the race start.
When the lights went out, Verstappen moved hard right to cover off Valtteri Bottas from making a lunge into turn one.
As it turned out, the Mercedes driver got an excellent launch from the second row and pressured Verstappen on the short run to the opening corner.
Verstappen’s aggression meant he kept his nose in front and maintained the race lead, as Bottas, Sainz and Lando Norris filed in behind.
Most of the field opted to keep their tyres in check for the first stint and there was little positional change until the pitstop phase rolled around on lap 30.
Hamilton, who had started seventh and was running in sixth, pitted first.
Mercedes hopped that by pitting early, Hamilton would undercut some of the runners in the top five.
Bottas was whistled in for his stop the following lap, but a wheel gun malfunction meant his front-right wheel nut machined onto the axel and couldn’t be removed.
The Finn retired from the race, throwing away a sure podium finish.
Mercedes’ woes continued when Hamilton’s strategy did not pay off, and he was unable to undercut Pierre Gasly and lost a position to Sebastian Vettel.
Gasly cut off Hamilton’s undercut by pitting the next lap as the world champion.
Vettel stayed out on his first set of tyres and re-emerged from the pits ahead of both Gasly and Hamilton with the overcut.
Verstappen saw off any threat from Sainz by pitting just after the Ferrari, and the Dutchman maintained a healthy lead as he re-joined the race.
Norris was still third after the pitstops, but Sergio Perez quickly reeled him in as the Red Bull driver pushed hard in the final 15 laps.
Despite reducing the gap to 1s, Perez ran out of time for a potential attack and settled for fourth.
Vettel scored his first points for Aston Martin with a Driver of the Day-earning race to finish fifth.
Gasly crossed the sixth, ahead of a disgruntled Hamilton, whose strategy failed to deliver and cost the team valuable championship points.
Hamilton did claim the race’s fastest lap after a late switch to the soft compound tyres.
Lance Stroll was a big mover to climb from 12th to eighth, with Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi rounding out the scorers.
|2||Carlos Sainz Jr.||+8.968s|
|8||Lance Stroll||+1 lap|
|9||Esteban Ocon||+1 lap|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||+1 lap|
|11||Kimi Räikkönen||+1 lap|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||+1 lap|
|13||Fernando Alonso||+1 lap|
|14||George Russell||+1 lap|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||+1 lap|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||+1 lap|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||+3 laps|
|18||Mick Schumacher||+3 laps|