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Monaco Grand Prix: Max Verstappen takes title lead from Lewis Hamilton with win

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Monaco

Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a dominant victory in the Monaco Grand Prix to wrest the championship lead from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman controlled the race after pole-sitter Charles Leclerc's Ferrari broke down before the start.

Hamilton finished in seventh place, frustrated and angry after Mercedes's pre-race plans fell apart.

He lost places to two drivers over the pit-stop period as Mercedes reversed their intended strategy.

Style over substance: Is the racing at Monaco really rubbish?Monaco Grand Prix full results

Adding to a bad day for the world champions, Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas retired when mechanics were unable to remove his right-front wheel at his pit stop when the wheel gun stripped the nut.

Bottas was running second to Verstappen but had been losing ground before his stop and his hopes of victory had evaporated and turned into concerns as to whether he could protect second place from Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

The Spaniard finished in a comfortable runners-up spot, with McLaren's Lando Norris taking the final podium place, fending off late pressure from Red Bull's Sergio Perez, who drove a strong race to recover from qualifying ninth.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel – who, along with Perez, passed Hamilton during the pit-stop period – was fifth, ahead of Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly and the Briton, who made a late pit stop to secure the point for fastest lap.

Verstappen's second victory in five races, coupled with a bad day for Mercedes, moved the Red Bull driver into a four-point championship lead, while Red Bull have taken first place in the constructors' championship from Mercedes by one point.

It is the first time in his F1 career that Verstappen has led the world championship.

SAinzFerrari by the sea: Sainz took the Scuderia's best finish since Austria last year

A consummate drive to victory

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Verstappen was disappointed to miss out on pole position on Saturday, feeling he was on target to beat Leclerc's time on his final lap before the Ferrari driver crashed and brought the session to an end.

Ferrari inspected Leclerc's car after the accident and again on Sunday morning and came to the conclusion that they did not need to change the gearbox, which meant he left the pits expecting to take up his place at the front of the grid for his home race.

But halfway around his reconnaissance lap, Leclerc came on the radio to say he was having gearbox problems.

He pulled into the pits and before long Ferrari had concluded they could not repair the car, saying that they had discovered a problem with the driveshaft.

His retirement gave Verstappen a clear run into the first corner and, after fending off an attack from Bottas off the grid, the Red Bull driver moved into a lead he was never to lose.

BottasBottas' front-left wheel could not be released

What went wrong at Mercedes?

Bottas tracked Verstappen closely while they went through the tyre management early laps but, as the pit stops drew closer, the Mercedes began to run out of tyres earlier than the Red Bull and began to drop back.

Sainz began to complain in third place that Bottas was holding him up and behind them Norris was dropping back and Gasly was holding up Hamilton.

Mercedes' pre-race strategy with the world champion was to conserve tyres and then try to sprint and make up ground by staying out while others stopped in front of him.

But they spotted a gap in traffic behind into which they could drop Hamilton and try to undercut ahead of Gasly by running fast on fresh tyres.

Hamilton stopped on lap 29 but Alpha Tauri responded on the following lap and, despite Hamilton putting in the fastest out lap of the race and a quicker pit-lane time than Gasly, the Frenchman returned to the track still in front.

Lewis Hamilton on track at MonacoHamilton is now four points behind Verstappen in the drivers' championship

Hamilton immediately expressed his bemusement at this turn of events over the radio, but things were soon to get worse.

Two laps later, Vettel stopped. The German had been behind Hamilton for the first stint, but his two laps in free air gave him the opportunity to make up time, and he rejoined the track alongside Gasly, the two racing side-by-side up the hill and claiming the place ahead of both cars into Massenet.

While that was going on, Perez in the second Red Bull was staying out yet longer. He stopped five laps after Hamilton and had made up enough time to leapfrog Vettel, Gasly and the seven-time champion to take a superb fourth from ninth on the grid.

"I don't understand, guys," an exasperated Hamilton said on the radio. "I saved the tyres to run longer and you stop me before everyone."

There will doubtless be an inquest as to how the race went so wrong but first suspicions are that their car was just not fast enough, and their tyre wear one of the worst in the field for once.

MonacoThe Dutch fans were out in force on the yachts in the harbour

Driver of the day

Max Verstappen celebratesIt wasn't Verstappen's most flashy victory but it was one he needed to stem Hamilton's building championship momentum. He controlled the race consummately and was the fastest man on track to take a deserved win. Honourable mention for Perez for an excellent drive in the second Red Bull

What happens next?

In two weeks' time, another street circuit, but one of very different character. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku has the longest 'pit straight' in Formula 1, and often produces madcap races full of action.

'It's so special to win' – reaction

Max Verstappen: "It's so special around here to win. It's my first time on the podium here. Amazing race. It's a lot of laps – you really have to keep your focus, but it's really cool. I'm very proud, but I'm also thinking ahead – it is a very long season."

Carlos Sainz: "It's a good result. If you would've told me before coming to Monaco I would finish second, I definitely would take it. I think Ferrari need to be proud about the car and the step we've made. I felt good with the car today and I felt the team deserved a podium."

Lando Norris: "I don't know what to say. I didn't think I'd be here today. It's always been a dream to be on the podium here. It's extra special. It was a bit of luck – and I want to say good driving, and a good car all weekend. This one is for the team."

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653 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost RepliedJ

Comment posted by Jon, today at 16:11Jon

16:11I can’t believe the levels of concentration needed to make it through 78 laps of the Monaco Grand Prix – it requires immense determination – so huge amounts of kudos need to be given to anyone who managed to get through it without falling asleep.28118E

Reply posted by Elite, today at 16:15Elite

16:15to Jon"I can’t believe the levels of concentration needed to make it through 78 laps of the Monaco Grand Prix – it requires immense determination – so huge amounts of kudos need to be given to anyone who managed to get through it without falling asleep."Elite replied: I actually was the only in our house that did :)455More replies (13)downB

Comment posted by biglexanderson, today at 16:13biglexanderson

16:13Worst F1 race ever ☹️. 1 overtake in the whole race. It’s time to ditch this race!!25329G

Reply posted by g p t, today at 16:53g p t

16:53to biglexanderson"Worst F1 race ever ☹️. 1 overtake in the whole race. It’s time to ditch this race!!"g p t replied: Absolute rubbish, you a Hamilton fan??30155More replies (14)downT

Comment posted by thenestofvipers, today at 16:01thenestofvipers

16:01Well, a new low for Monaco this year. NO on track overtakes- no genuine attempts even. Borne out by the fact there were NO yellows, NO VSC and NO safety car. Tells me the drivers know there’s no opportunity to overtake if all cars stay reliable, so they now don’t take a chance.15814L

Reply posted by LeanJimBean, today at 16:08LeanJimBean

16:08to thenestofvipers"Well, a new low for Monaco this year. NO on track overtakes- no genuine attempts even. Borne out by the fact there were NO yellows, NO VSC and NO safety car. Tells me the drivers know there’s no opportunity to overtake if all cars stay reliable, so they now don’t take a chance."LeanJimBean replied: Mick overtook number 9 at the hairpin on the first lap.2710More replies (10)downM

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Comment posted by mac, today at 16:05mac

16:05How is this racing? The most boring and dull venue on the f1 schedule. Sad state of affairs when your hoping for a safety car. They need to make overtaking possible or drop the race15320I

Reply posted by Im outta here, today at 16:37Im outta here

16:37to mac"How is this racing? The most boring and dull venue on the f1 schedule. Sad state of affairs when your hoping for a safety car. They need to make overtaking possible or drop the race"Im outta here replied: Yes, I agree, let’s have more of the fake overtaking opportunities like that they have at other tracks…not1655More replies (3)downN

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Comment posted by Next slide please, today at 16:03Next slide please

16:03Monaco, the 10 second race.

Ditch it please, that was pitiful viewing.12416G

Reply posted by g p t, today at 16:53g p t

16:53to Next slide please"Monaco, the 10 second race.Ditch it please, that was pitiful viewing."g p t replied: You didnt have to watch it1950More replies (3)downN

Comment posted by Nimrod Ping, today at 16:07Nimrod Ping

16:07Overcut always works in Monaco. Hamilton was saving his tyres too, so why did Mercedes bring him in early? Architects of their own downfall yet again.

Nice one Norris!1149R

Reply posted by rubachuk, today at 16:28rubachuk

16:28to Nimrod Ping"Overcut always works in Monaco. Hamilton was saving his tyres too, so why did Mercedes bring him in early? Architects of their own downfall yet again.Nice one Norris!"rubachuk replied: Appalling strategy from Merc. The commentary said a rare strategy error, but over the last year or so there have been a good number of errors from Merc now617More replies (8)downM

Comment posted by mikej, today at 16:04mikej

16:04well done Max but once again watching paint dry would have been more interesting. Monaco only exists these days as a money making machine for the rich and to hell with the fans1089G

Reply posted by g p t, today at 16:54g p t

16:54to mikej"well done Max but once again watching paint dry would have been more interesting. Monaco only exists these days as a money making machine for the rich and to hell with the fans"g p t replied: Thats F1 anyway matey2710More replies (1)downD

Comment posted by Darkman, today at 16:21Darkman

16:212020 was the best F1 season ever, because Monaco wasn’t in it.9314C

Comment posted by chriswvtr, today at 16:02chriswvtr

16:02I mean we all know that Monaco is a terrible GP but christ that was awful, why do the FIA continue to hold races at a circuit where nobody can overtake?! I’d have had more entertainment watching my son play with his scalextric. It speaks volumes that the only bit of drama was the Mercedes team unable to get Bottas’s wheel off 🙄9315B

Reply posted by Brian, today at 16:06Brian

16:06to chriswvtr"I mean we all know that Monaco is a terrible GP but christ that was awful, why do the FIA continue to hold races at a circuit where nobody can overtake?! I’d have had more entertainment watching my son play with his scalextric. It speaks volumes that the only bit of drama was the Mercedes team unable to get Bottas’s wheel off 🙄"Brian replied: You have forgotten to mention the best driver in F1 won and Mr mardy pants couldn’t use the best car in F1 because it was the driver that mattered not the car Boo Hoo Hamilton43136More replies (29)downO

Comment posted by Ottoman, today at 16:03Ottoman

16:03I have seen more overtaking at a Float Parade.

No More Monaco8512E

Comment posted by Elite, today at 16:14Elite

16:14Thank god that’s over. I like F1 but this track just has nothing to offer unless your a rich jet setting spectator. Listening to the commentators trying to make out that something interesting might happen was painful.749B

Comment posted by Brontosaurus, today at 16:08Brontosaurus

16:08Mercedes got it very wrong today. Feel for Bottas. I have never seen that before. Why bring Hamilton in early where all the drivers were clearly driving at 90%? The over cut was the only tactic that was ever going to work. Especially as Hamilton wasn’t that fast this weekend. (On the same tyres and fuel load as the others).643K

Reply posted by KLOPP OUT, today at 17:16KLOPP OUT

17:16to Brontosaurus"Mercedes got it very wrong today. Feel for Bottas. I have never seen that before. Why bring Hamilton in early where all the drivers were clearly driving at 90%? The over cut was the only tactic that was ever going to work. Especially as Hamilton wasn’t that fast this weekend. (On the same tyres and fuel load as the others)."KLOPP OUT replied: sHamilton is not a good driver on an even playing field. 🤚2092More replies (8)downD

Comment posted by dai, today at 16:13dai

16:13The point of this race is to get pole, then keep the motor going, don’t have an accident, sleek pit. The most tedious pointless race on the calendar ever. The only chance to over take…is in the pit. This race is why F1 is losing fans. They should either drop Monaco or provide over taking points.7011G

Reply posted by g p t, today at 16:55g p t

16:55to dai"The point of this race is to get pole, then keep the motor going, don’t have an accident, sleek pit. The most tedious pointless race on the calendar ever. The only chance to over take…is in the pit. This race is why F1 is losing fans. They should either drop Monaco or provide over taking points."g p t replied: Another LS fan828W

Comment posted by wemarchon, today at 16:14wemarchon

16:14That was so boring. The only thing that changed was the lap counter !!!628O

Comment posted by oobiedoobie, today at 16:12oobiedoobie

16:12First, congrats to Max from a Lewis fan here.
Second, Was James Vowles being deputised by a work-experience kid today? I truly don’t understand why Mercedes brought Lewis in when he had been saving his tyres – Perez and Vettel clearly showed where the strategy should have been.453H

Comment posted by Holroyd, today at 16:10Holroyd

16:10The snoozefest ends. The only GP where the leader could drive at 30mph and still win!509L

Reply posted by loek, today at 16:16loek

16:16to Holroyd"The snoozefest ends. The only GP where the leader could drive at 30mph and still win!"loek replied: Ah, you mean like the 2019 Monaco GP?115S

Comment posted by Stephen Taylor, today at 16:17Stephen Taylor

16:17Even by normal Monaco standards that was a boring race not even a Safety Car . Sainz , Norris and Vettel were fantastic today. It’s really good to see Lando doing so well . Being lapped by his teamate will hurt Danny Ric. Shame for Charles but he he must take some of the blame for the non-start. Hamilton’s race was decided by poor qualy performance and poor race strategy but he’ll be back456A

Comment posted by anonymouse, today at 16:13anonymouse

16:13Time Monaco is gone from the calendar.

The prestige of the rich descending on the circuit is its only offering for the cameras and sightseers . And that has worn very thin in recent years.

If F1 is the pinnacle of racing then it has to race at racing circuits not a procession where whoever is on pole (that starts) is guaranteed victory unless for non-racing reasons.4911T

Reply posted by twinprime, today at 16:46twinprime

16:46to anonymouse"Time Monaco is gone from the calendar.The prestige of the rich descending on the circuit is its only offering for the cameras and sightseers . And that has worn very thin in recent years.If F1 is the pinnacle of racing then it has to race at racing circuits not a procession where whoever is on pole (that starts) is guaranteed victory unless for non-racing reasons."twinprime replied: It’s not the pinnacle of racing and never really has been such. It is the pinnacle of racing technology but that’s about it. I’ve been watching it for almost sixty years and it has times it is a better watch than others but it has seldom been a great watch.105R

Comment posted by RB, today at 16:10RB

16:10Tedious viewing I’m afraid! Only on the calendar because of the historical significance so likely to remain. Commentators getting over excited about Red Bull 😂😂426G

Comment posted by gooner7, today at 16:04gooner7

16:04Yawn yawn yawn!398More commentsBack to topunknown
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