Verstappen wins Monaco GP to take championship lead

23 May 2021 - 16:54 By Reuters
Max Verstappen during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2021 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Max Verstappen during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2021 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Red Bull's Max Verstappen won Formula One's showcase Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday to lead the world championship for the first time in his career.

The 23-year-old Dutch driver started the day 14 points behind Mercedes' seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton and ended it four clear.

Hamilton finished seventh, with an extra point for the fastest lap.

"It's so special around here to win and, also for me, the first time on the podium here. An amazing race," said Verstappen, who had everything under control from start to finish.

"You always want to win this grand prix. I remember when I was very little, already watching this grand prix, so standing here I'm very proud."

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz finished second after team mate Charles Leclerc, who had secured pole position after crashing in qualifying, was ruled out before the start with a driveshaft problem.

The podium was the Spaniard's first since he joined Ferrari this year.

Britain's Lando Norris, Sainz's team mate last year at McLaren, held off Red Bull's Sergio Perez to complete the top three.

The victory was Verstappen's second of the season and also the first time he had stood on the podium at the sport's most glamorous race.

He now has 105 points to Hamilton's 101, with Norris moving up to third on 56.

As Red Bull celebrated a breakthrough weekend, going top of the constructors' standings by a single point, champions Mercedes dropped the ball.

Hamilton fumed after an early pitstop strategy backfired while Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas retired from second place when mechanics were unable to remove the right front wheel.

"I don't understand guys. I saved the tyres to go longer and you made me stop before," said Hamilton over the team radio


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