2021 Monaco Grand Prix saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen breezed to his maiden win over the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Ferrari polesitter and home hero Charles Leclerc failing to take the start after suffering a pre-race driveshaft issue – Verstappen also claiming the lead of the drivers’ championship for the first time in his career after Lewis Hamilton finished a disappointed P7.
Starting effectively from pole after Leclerc’s cruel side-lining, Verstappen out-muscled Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas off the line to take a lead that he would only briefly relinquish in the pit stops, Verstappen claiming his second win of the season and his first ever podium in Monaco.
In an off-day for world champions Mercedes, a disgruntled Hamilton could do no better than seventh (the same position he started) to lose his lead of the championship to Verstappen – who now heads Hamilton 105 points to 101 – while Bottas had even worse luck, after a stuck right-front tyre in his pit stop forced him into retirement.
That left former McLaren teammates Sainz and Norris P2 and P3, Sainz now at Ferrari salvaging the day for the Scuderia to take his first podium in red, while some brilliant strategy from Red Bull allowed Sergio Perez to overcut his way from P8 to P4 in the pit stops.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel did similar to take P5, for by far his and his team’s best finish of the year – Vettel maintaining his record of never being classified lower than P5 in a race he’s finished in Monaco – while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was able to hold off Hamilton’s Mercedes to claim P6, Hamilton salvaging a bonus point for fastest lap after a late second stop.
Starting on hard tyres from P13 paid dividends for Lance Stroll, who made a 58-lap stint work to claim P8 and add to Aston Martin’s joy in Monte Carlo. He finished ahead of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi took Alfa Romeo’s first point of the season after claiming 10th.
For Verstappen, though, Leclerc’s DNS in Monaco provided him with a golden opportunity – and the Dutchman didn’t falter, defiantly hitting back in the title fight against Hamilton, and adding a Monaco Grand Prix win to his CV for good measure.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
Monaco provided quite a few surprises from start to finish with all three compounds seen at the start, as well as three different teams on the podium and four different strategies in the top 10. This underlines how all the tyres brought here were suitable race tyres that played an important role.
Nonetheless, the soft to the hard strategy used by Verstappen and all the top six proved to be the most popular run plan. Quite unusually, there were no safety cars in Monaco this year, which often influence the strategy, but from the tyre point of view, we’re satisfied with the performance. This was demonstrated also by the race lap record from three years ago being broken by Hamilton on softs towards the end of the Grand Prix. Congratulations to Verstappen for the win, and also for leading the championship for the first time.
2021 Formula 1 Monaco GP Race Results
|1.||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:38:56.820||25|
|2.||55||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||+8.968s||18|
|3.||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Racing||+19.427s||16|
|4.||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||+20.490s||12|
|5.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Astin Martin F1 Team||+52.591s||10|
|6.||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+53.896s||8|
|7.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+68.231s||6|
|8.||18||Lance Stroll||Astin Martin F1 Team||+1 lap||4|
|9.||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||2|
|10.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Orlen||+1 lap||1|
|11.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Orlen||+1 lap||0|
|12.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Racing||+1 lap||0|
|13.||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine F1 Team||+ 1 lap||0|
|14.||63||George Russell||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0|
|15.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing||+ 1 lap||0|
|16.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0|
|17.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||+3 laps||0|
|18.||47||Mick Schumacher||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||+ 3 laps||0|
|19.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||DNF||0|
|20.||16||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF||0|