Pre-race drama for Ferrari, while Verstappen takes his first win in Monaco and the championship lead.
Most of the drama at Monaco happened before the race even began, with pole-sitter Charles Leclerc reporting back “no no no” to his team on the first lap after the grid opened.
Charles’ Ferrari copped a hard hit in Q3 and the team decided to take a punt in not changing the gearbox, claiming all seemed in order. Once it was under load however, there was a different story.
Charles didn’t make it out to the grid returning to the garage before the race even started, with Ferrari announcing his retirement was due to an issue with the left driveshaft.
Ferrari was criticised for not changing the gearbox and taking the grid penalties. However, since then, the team has said the issue was completely unrelated to the crash. And so the curse continues for Leclerc at his home track, who is yet to reach the chequered flag at Monaco.
Good news for the Scuderia on the other side of the garage – Carlos Sainz got his first podium finishing in second, while McLaren’s Lando Norris scored yet another podium and again outperformed his teammate (but more on that later).
It was the flying Dutchman who reigned supreme and got his first win in Monaco. A great drive by Max now puts him four points ahead in the championship fight.
His teammate in Sergio Perez proved that the Red Bulls are indeed speedy, finishing fourth. It was this position plus the poor performance by Mercedes which has blown the constructors’ championship wide open too – Red Bull Racing-Honda now leads by one point.
Hats off to Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Mercedes who were a step ahead of the works Mercedes team in terms of strategy, and finished in fifth and eighth.
Speaking of Mercedes, it was bad luck for both the silver arrows. Lewis Hamilton struggled with tyres over the weekend, and therefore had a lacklustre qualifying session. He complained on the team radio that they were a step behind in the race, pitting too soon and continually losing places with Hamilton only managing a seventh.
His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was forced to retire after a disastrous pit stop where the wheel nut got caught and the mechanics were therefore unable to remove his front right tyre.
Ricciardo had a shocker of a weekend at a track where he usually excels. There wasn’t much he could do from twelfth – unfortunately his teammate lapped him on lap 52. Ouch.
Round five and I’m happy to say we have a championship battle on our hands here. Let’s hope it sticks! Bring on Azerbaijan.
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda|
|4.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing-Honda|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes|
|8.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes|
|10.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari|
|11.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari|
Did not finish: Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc (DNS)
2021 Driver Standings
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||105|
|5.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing-Honda||44|
|10.||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||12|
|11.||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||10|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||9|
|13.||Fernando Alondo||Alpine Renault||5|
|15.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||0|
|17.||George Russell||Aston Martin-Mercedes||0|
2021 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing-Honda||149|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1|
2021 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix: Round five wrap