MAX VERSTAPPEN took victory in a tedious Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton way back in seventh.
The biggest drama came before the race had even began in an otherwise dreary affair in Monte Carlo.
Max Verstappen was promoted to pole after Leclerc’s withdrawal and cruised to victoryCredit: Getty
Leclerc looked heartbroken after his Ferrari was withdrawn before the race due to gearbox issues suffered during his qualifying crashCredit: Splash
Charles Leclerc – who qualified on pole for his home race – was forced to withdraw due to the gearbox issues suffered during his crash on Saturday.
As the cars prepared to take their place on the grid, Ferrari revealed it would be a pitlane start at best for the Monegasque racer.
However, as the minutes melted away, it was confirmed Leclerc’s car would not be ready for the flag with the Monaco man forced to sit it out.
Leclerc later tweeted the word ‘heartbreaking’.
It meant Verstappen started from the front of the grid ahead of Valtteri Bottas – with the Finn retiring on lap 31 after the Mercedes team were unable to get the nut off his front right tyre.
It was left up to Carlos Sainz to keep the pressure up on Verstappen, with Brit Lando Norris up from fifth to the final spot on the podium.
Hamilton was left frustrated after losing a place during his pit stop knowing overtaking opportunities were few and far between on the iconic Monte Carlo street circuit.
Ex-Renault star Jolyon Palmer bemoaned the famous race, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “The cars are too fast – and too big – for Monaco now.”
Hamilton endured a frustrating afternoon, losing a place during a pitstop to finish seventhCredit: Reuters
Verstappen would easily hold on to win the Monaco GP for the first time in his career.
The Dutchman also went top of the championship for the first time ever with the win.
Sainz and Norris took the other podium places – with the Brit calling it ‘special’ to fulfil a lifelong ‘dream’.
Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Hamilton was over a minute back from Verstappen in seventh.
But the Brit earned a little late consolation after snatching the bonus point for fastest lap by well over a second.
Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top ten.
Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and George Russell all finished outside of the points.
Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher brought up the reaer, with Bottas and Leclerc the only two failing to finish the race.