6 Winners and 5 Losers from Monaco – Who had a day to remember in the Principality?
It was advantage Max Verstappen and Red Bull as they conquered Monaco – the jewel in F1’s crown – while main rivals Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had a rare weekend to forget. We’ve picked our six winners and five losers from Sunday’s race…
Winner: Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen arrived in Monaco needing to end his run of never having stood on the podium in the Principality as his title fight with Lewis Hamilton hots up – and as Mercedes endured an unusual off-weekend, the Dutchman swooped to take full advantage.
There’s a good chance Verstappen would have been on pole had Charles Leclerc not crashed and brought out the red flag in qualifying, but he ended up leading the field away anyway when the Ferrari driver failed to start his home Grand Prix.
From there he controlled the race majestically to take victory with his winning average speed of 157.833km/h the fastest in Monaco GP history, beating the record Fernando Alonso had held since 2007.
The win moves Verstappen into the championship lead for the first time in his career, four points clear of Hamilton. He is the 64th driver to lead the F1 world championship and now very much in the fight for the 2021 title.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
Leclerc suffered a rollercoaster of emotions through his home Grand Prix weekend, firstly crashing in qualifying after taking provisional pole, then being told his gearbox was unscathed so he could start from P1, only to retire before the Grand Prix had even begun.
He became the first pole-sitter to fail to start a Grand Prix due to mechanical failure since Michael Schumacher with Ferrari in the 1996 French race at Magny Cours.
The DNS continues his run of bad luck at his home race, where he has failed to see the chequered flag in either of his two previous F1 appearances on his doorstep.
Winners: Red Bull
Red Bull have left a fair few points on the table this season – but they capitalised on Mercedes’ poor form in Monaco in impressive style, to deliver a 30-point swing in the constructors’ championship that puts them top of the pile.
It’s the first time in the hybrid turbo era (which began in 2014) that the four-time world champions have led either championship, while their engine supplier Honda have not led a championship since Ayrton Senna and McLaren won both titles in 1991.
There’s a long way to go, of course, but their fourth race out of five with both cars inside the top five – a run which has included two wins and three podiums through Verstappen – is putting them right in the fight.
Loser: Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton rarely has bad weekends, but this was most certainly one of them. This is only the second time he has finished outside the top six since the beginning of the 2020 season.
And it was only the eighth time since the start of 2019 that he hasn’t made it onto the podium, such has been his consistency.
His seventh place – plus fastest lap – was not enough to stop Verstappen snatching the world championship lead by four points and the lack of form left him feeling very frustrated at a race track that is just metres from his home.
Winner: Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz felt a win was possible as he finished second in each of the three practice sessions. But a small mistake on his first timed run in Q3 proved crucial – and denied him pole.
From fourth on the grid, he was able to stay close to eventual winner Verstappen, having inherited two places courtesy of team mate Leclerc’s absence and Valtteri Bottas’ retirement.
Second was his third career podium, and his first for Ferrari in only his fifth start, giving the Prancing Horse a fourth consecutive top two finish in Monaco. He also maintains his 100% record of scoring in the Principality, on what was his sixth start.
The hefty points haul moves him to seventh in the standings, just two behind Leclerc.
Mercedes failed to make the podium for the first time since last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, as the W12 was unable to get its tyres to work in the cooler conditions around the streets of Monte Carlo.
Their minuscule haul of six points saw them relinquish control in both drivers’ and constructors’ championship, the latter albeit only by a single point, as they saw a near-nailed on second place disappear when a mechanic couldn’t get the front right wheel off during Bottas’ pit stop.
That was Bottas’ second DNF in four races. In contrast, Hamilton has had no retirements in his last 54 starts.
But perhaps their greatest concern will be Hamilton’s frustration throughout the Monaco weekend and their lack of answers for their unusually weak form.
Winner: Sebastian Vettel
The fans and F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn selected Sebastian Vettel as their driver of the day, as we caught a glimpse of what we had previously come to expect from the four-time world champion in Monaco.
It’s been a pretty miserable start to life at Aston Martin for the German, but fifth on Sunday was not only his first points of the year but also only his second top-five finish since the start of 2020.
Ten points moves Vettel above Aston Martin team mate Lance Stroll in the standings while fifth is also Aston Martin’s best result in their short history.
Loser: Yuki Tsunoda
Ever since he scored points on his debut, Yuki Tsunoda has struggled to replicate such form, as he gets to grips with life in F1 – and on a track that demands confidence, Monaco was another chastening weekend.
While his AlphaTauri team mate Pierre Gasly scored a fourth consecutive points finish of the year, to ensure the squad had a top-seven Monaco finish for the fourth year in a row, Tsunoda ended up a lap down behind not one but two Williams, who themselves suffered a drop in form given the number of low-speed turns.
McLaren weren’t expecting much from the Monaco weekend, but in the hands of Lando Norris at least, the MCL35M – running a one-off Gulf Oil livery – was in its element.
Norris ended up just a couple of tenths of a second off pole on Saturday and then fought his way to a second podium in four races – and third of his career – with a P3 finish.
That popped him back into third in the drivers’ standings, nine points clear of Bottas – who suffered his second retirement of the season – while McLaren held on to third in the constructors’ standings, two points ahead of the Scuderia. It was also McLaren’s first podium in Monaco since Jenson Button took third a decade ago in 2011.
Loser: Daniel Ricciardo
Despite the fact he isn’t yet comfortable with his new McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo still managed to score points in each of the opening four races.
But that run came to a shuddering halt in Monaco as he was all at sea in qualifying – and then was unable to make much progress in the race, even suffering the ignominy of being lapped by team mate Norris.
This season is only five races old, but trailing Norris – 10 years his junior – by 32 points already will not be what he had in mind after leaving Renault for Woking at the end of 2020.
Winners: Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo had finished 11th or 12th four times in the first four races, so they knew points were not far away – and in Monaco, Antonio Giovinazzi finally got some on the board with 10th.
This was a thoroughly deserved result, the Italian putting the Swiss team into Q3 for the first time in 2021 and then converting that top 10 start into a point. The last time the Hinwil squad got a point in Monaco was back in 2015.
In a tight fight for eighth, every point will be crucial between them, Williams and Haas this year.