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Home   /   F1 LIVE: Monaco Grand Prix 2021

Max Verstappen leads the driver’s championship after a flawless performance saw him win the Monaco Grand Prix.

He found himself at the front of the grid when Charles Leclerc, who was on pole, had to return to the pits on the formation lap with a mechanical issue that forced him out of the race.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish seventh, which meant Verstappen gained 18 points on his main rival and means he now has a four-point lead at the top of the standings.

Scroll down to read our live blog of how today’s events unfolded.

BLOG:

4.10pm
We’re signing off, thanks for reading. It’s our turn to quaff some champagne (no yacht though)!

4.08pm
What a outcome – today’s results mean the championship is wide open and it’s game on for the next race in Azerbaijan on June 6.

4pm
It may not have been a thrilling race but what it lacked in drama it made up for in championship implications! Here’s the latest driver standings:

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 105 points

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 101 points

Lando Norris (McLaren) – 56 points

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 47 points

Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 44 points

3.57pm
He’s so understated you wouldn’t know he’d just got his first podium with Ferrari.

3.55pm
A worthy winner!

3.51pm
He’s just signed a three-year deal with McLaren but Norris is surely one of the hottest properties on the grid and Mercedes and Red Bull will be taking note.

3.46pm

3.42pm
Sainz finishes second and Norris third to complete the podium and Vettel is a respectable fifth with the latter being voted “driver of the day” by Sky Sports F1 fans.

3.41pm
Verstappen crosses the line and wins his first Monaco Grand Prix!

3.39pm
Hamilton came into the pits for new types and has set the fastest lap of the race which means he’ll gain an extra point. It’s not much but could prove crucial in a championship that has the potential to go down to the wire.

3.35pm
Apparently tennis superstar Serena Williams is going to be waving the chequered flag and Verstappen is now just four laps from victory.

3.31pm

3.27pm
Perez is closing in on Norris as the battle for third position hots up with 11 laps to go!

3.20pm
No safety car so far but the drivers are certainly pushing the limits…

3.15pm
What a start to the season for Surrey resident Norris! If it finishes like this it would be the 21-year-old’s second podium of the season and would take him above Bottas to third in the championship.

https://twitter.com/McLarenF1/status/1396466854927998981

3.05pm
I’ll avoid the temptation to come up with a tennis pun!

2.58pm
We’ve passed the halfway mark and are now on lap 40 out of 78. Verstappen is in first, Sainz in second and Norris in third.

2.55pm
Leclerc bemoans his luck after a mechanical issue forced him out of the race telling Sky Sports F1: “The mechanics have done such a hard job yesterday to try and check everything and they were finally a bit happy this morning to see that everything seems fine and then this happens.”

2.46pm
Mercedes are not having a good day, Hamilton remains in seventh place after the pit stops and Perez and Sebastian Vettel have jumped ahead of him.

2.43pm
This is devastating for Bottas, who is now out of the race. Apparently it was all down to a rogue wheel nut. He was in second position at the time and it caps a dreadful start to the season.

2.42pm
Bottas is stuck in the pits. His team can’t get the front right tyre off!

2.40pm
Hamilton has come into the pits! He’s moved onto the hard tyre and will hope it’s enough to undercut Gasly who is ahead of him.

2.28pm
Pierre Gasly had a breakthrough season last year winning the Italian Grand Prix and he’s showing his worth again by keeping seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton behind him to maintain fifth position – all good news for race leader Verstappen of course.

2.18pm

https://twitter.com/F1/status/1396455431351029767


2.16pm
It’s not all bad for Ferrari. Leclerc’s retirement has pushed teammate Sainz up into third position, which would be his first podium for the team.

2.10pm
Verstappen setting fastest laps to ensure he keeps out of DRS range of Bottas. The gap is currently 1.2 seconds.

2.04pm
Verstappen holds off a determined effort by Bottas into the first corner but stays ahead and leads the race.

2.02pm
They’re on the starting grid and the lights have gone out. In the words of the legendary commentator Murray Walker: “GO, GO, GO!!”

2pm
The drivers are out on the formation lap!

1.55pm
Things have just got better for rising star Lando Norris who now starts fourth due to Leclerc’s retirement. The Brit had already secured the best Monaco grid slot for McLaren in nine years during qualifying. What can he do in the race?

1.49pm

1.45pm
The glitz and glamour of Monaco have helped make the Grand Prix F1’s showpiece race. It was first held in the Principality on May 21, 1950 – when the drivers didn’t wear seatbelts!

1.40pm
Verstappen must be secretly jumping up and down. He now has the chance to gain the maximum points 25 and go to the top of the championship table – depending where Hamilton finishes.

1.35pm
Leclerc has stepped out of the car. He won’t start the race due to a problem with the left driveshaft which cannot be fixed in time.

1.31pm
Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg says it would be “heart breaking” if Leclerc misses out on starting his home race, which would also deny Ferrari the chance for the team’s first win in 24 races.

1.27pm
Ferrari mechanics are tending to Leclerc’s car but the pit lane closes in two minutes! If he doesn’t make it out at best he’ll have to start from the pit lane – and be relegated to last place – and at worst he may not start at all.

1.23pm
Disaster for Ferrari! Leclerc has had to return to the pits as the drivers make their way to the grid, saying over the car radio the gearbox is not working.

1.20pm
It was a disappointing qualifying for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez who starts ninth. His mind may have been elsewhere, however, after one of his bodyguards was shot during an attempted robbery at his family home in Mexico.

1.16pm
So good to hear the cheers of the fans again! Today will be the biggest F1 crowd of the season with 7,500 allowed in, meaning the grandstand will be about 40% full. Many others are lucky enough to have a balcony overlooking the track or will be watching from one of the many super yachts dotted around the circuit as they quaff champagne!

1.12pm
The last time Hamilton qualified seventh was in Brazil 2017 and speaking after qualifying he said his car “felt terrible”.

1.10pm
Verstappen, starting second, will be hoping to take full advantage of championship rival Hamilton being down in seventh place. If the race finishes like qualifying the Dutchman will cut the reigning World Champion’s 14-point lead to just two points. What a season this is shaping up to be!

1.05pm
Here’s who one F1 champion predicts will win today’s race.

1pm
Great news for Leclerc! Ferrari confirm he DOESN’T need to change his gearbox so will start the race in pole position. The last time he was at the front was in Mexico in 2019.

https://twitter.com/Charles_Leclerc/status/1396414260255854593

12.50pm
Verstappen, starting second, will be hoping to take full advantage of championship rival Hamilton being down in seventh place. If the race finishes like qualifying the Dutchman will cut the reigning World Champion’s 14-point lead to just two points. What a season this is shaping up to be!

12.40pm
Some F1 commentators have questioned whether Leclerc deliberately crashed during qualifying to guarantee pole position. His low-speed shunt brought out the red flag and ended the session prematurely, forcing Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and his teammate Carlos Sainz to abandon their flying flaps.

12.30pm
It must have been a sleepless night for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as he waits for news about the state of his gearbox after crashing his car 16 seconds before the end of qualifying. If he needs a new one that’s an automatic five place grid penalty… and if he doesn’t Ferrari could get their first win since Singapore 2019!

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