Race Report Monaco: Max Verstappen coasts to the win at the Monaco Grand Prix
“You always want to win this Grand Prix” – Verstappen
Max Verstappen coasted to the win at the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon, marking his first victory at the historic circuit.
The Dutch driver dominated from lights out and was joined on the podium by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in P2 and Mclaren’s Lando Norris in P3.
Max Verstappen led the pack after an aggressive first lap that ensured the Dutch driver held onto P1.
He continued to lead heading into Lap 3 and was one second ahead of Valtteri Bottas with the gap continuing to grow – meanwhile Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was two seconds behind the front runners.
Further back, Fernando Alonso was making his experience around the Monte Carlo circuit pay as he overtook Tsunoda and Russell to move up to14th, behind McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had lost a few places in the McLaren early on.
Ten laps in and Verstappen remained ahead on the narrow streets of Monaco, closely followed by the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in second – just over 1s in front of the remaining Ferrari on track in the hands of Carlos Sainz in third.
The Dutch driver had established a lead of over 2s by the 18th lap, meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was still struggling behind the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in sixth – the world champion was now 13.6s off the lead on soft Pirellis.
By lap 24, Verstappen was over 4s in the distance, meanwhile, Carlos Sainz was getting ever so close – 1.6s – to the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
The second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was now 15.4s off the pace of the leading Red Bull and remained in sixth having still not had the opportunity to attempt an overtake – he was 1.4s behind Gasly at this point.
Lap 30 saw the British Mercedes driver enter the pits for a set of Hard Pirellis in the hopes of finding his way further up the field – he returned to the track in P8 behind the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Moments later disaster struck Bottas when the left rear wheel nut refused to budge as the mechanics attempted the pit stop, but the wheel could not be changed – bringing an end to the Finnish driver’s day.
Lap 34 saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pit from the lead to swap his soft Pirellis for the hard compound, returning to the track 1.7s behind his teammate Perez, who had yet to pit.
Two laps later Perez entered the pits, and Verstappen resumed his place out front.
In the meantime, Sainz’s Ferrari was elevated to second followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris in third – Perez remained comfortably ahead of the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, who was now 24.7s off the pace.
As the race thrived on, Verstappen extended his lead to 2.7s by Lap 50 and was ahead of Sainz in second and Norris in third, 11.7s off the pace.
It was a disappointing day for the second Mclaren of Daniel Ricciardo who on Lap 51 was 1.7s behind Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in 12th.
While struggling on the Hard tyres, Ricciardo was lapped by his teammate Lando Norris minutes later and was a distant 1.31.4s off the lead.
Lando was comfortably racing towards a podium place with Perez 5.9s seconds behind him on Lap 56.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton was still glued to 7th behind Pierre Gasly in P6.
With ten laps to go this afternoon, Hamilton entered the pits for a set of soft tyres in a final attempt to move up the field and on lap 71 had the fastest lap time – however, his efforts still left him in an unfamiliar 7th at the chequered flag.
Max Verstappen crossed the line in first at the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon after dominating from lights out, to take his first victory at the historic circuit.