Monaco is famous for being an unforgiving racetrack, with virtually no overtaking opportunities. All the drivers currently competing for the top spot in the championship have experienced their fair share of unfortunate events in Monte Carlo. It’s a circuit that every driver dreams of winning – and one that brings unexpected events at every corner. With Leclerc’s last-minute DNS and Bottas’ race-ending pit stop, Monaco flipped the championship table on its head.
The Homeboy Misses Out
Leclerc looked set to have the chance of making history as the first Monegasque to win at Monaco since Louis Chiron in 1931. His ambition was put on hold after a crash during qualifying red-flagged Q3, leaving the Ferrari driver in pole position. Initial checks on the gearbox appeared okay until they pulled the car out of the race only minutes before the start.
Max Verstappen + Red Bull Top the Championship
With Leclerc unable to start the race, the win was Verstappen’s to lose. With Hamilton starting in 8th position, it provided Verstappen with a unique opportunity to make up the 14-point gap between him and his championship rival. Verstappen remained in the lead throughout the 78-lap race, choosing to pit after Hamilton, with his Red Bull teammate providing cover to allow him to regain pole position.
Not only did Verstappen win the race, but the collective points from Verstappen and Perez were also enough to bring Red Bull to the top of the Constructors Championship by one point. The last time Honda, their engine partner, topped the Constructors Championship was 1991. It’s the first time Red Bull has led both championships since 2013.
Monaco Brings Mistakes for Mercedes
Bottas was Mercedes’ best chance of a podium finish after he qualified in third position. Hamilton had struggled all weekend, qualifying in 7th place. Bottas looked set for a podium, trailing behind Verstappen until another disastrous pit-stop ended his Monaco podium dreams. His right front wheel nut could not be removed, causing him to retire from the race.
It’s the first time since the 2018 German GP that Mercedes has not led both championships. Hamilton pitted late to gain the fastest lap point. It could prove crucial in this tightly fought championship.
Ferrari’s Redemption and Podium Reunions
With Bottas out of the race, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was able to claim second place, his first podium with the iconic Italian team. Lando Norris was the Brit that crossed the finish line first, taking third place on the podium beside his former McLaren teammate, Sainz. Norris managed to hold back Red Bull’s Perez, who jumped from 8th to 4th position in the final half of the race.
The Rest of the Grid
Vettel was named ‘Driver of the Day’ at a circuit that focuses not on the car's speed but the driver's ability. The Aston Martin driver finished in 5th place, ahead of Gasly in 6th and his teammate Lance Stroll in 8th position. Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi rounded up the point-scorers in 9th and 10th place, respectively.
With Azerbaijan just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up a Lando Norris McLaren cap or driver polo shirt, or the Ferrari 2021 Team T-Shirt. Don’t forget to check back after Azerbaijan for your post-race debrief!