Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time, displacing Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 standings after the Mercedes world champion finished in seventh.
Max Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time to take the Formula One championship lead from Lewis Hamilton, while pole sitter Charles Leclerc pulled out just before the race started.
Verstappen's second win this season and 12th of his career moved the Red Bull driver four points ahead of Hamilton overall.
The seven-time world champion finished seventh on a bad day for the usually ultra-reliable Mercedes team.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas went from second place to out of the race before the midway point after his team botched a tire change.
Verstappen finished 8.9 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. in second place and 19.4 seconds clear of McLaren's Lando Norris.
They secured their third career podiums, while Red Bull's Sergio Perez was one second behind Norris in fourth.
It was the first time in five races this season that Hamilton and Verstappen have not finished 1-2, but Hamilton's chances were effectively ended when he qualified a poor seventh on Saturday.
He'll never forget this day#MonacoGP 🇲🇨 @Max33Verstappen pic.twitter.com/eJJpEBpqUC— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2021
Leclerc's withdraws before start
Leclerc’s chances of winning his home race from pole position ended when he pulled out with a gearbox problem.
Leclerc damaged it crashing 18 seconds from the end of qualifying.
He risked a five-place grid penalty if the gearbox was changed, but Ferrari said earlier on Sunday he could race with it.
About 20 minutes before the race was scheduled to start at 3PM local time, Ferrari issued the bad news home fans were dreading.
“Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time," Ferrari said in a statement.
As drivers embarked on their warmup laps a short time earlier, Leclerc complained about the gearbox and went back to the garage.
“We have an issue, we are not going to the grid, we try to fix it here. We will not make it to the grid," Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekie told race director Michael Masi on the radio.
READ MORE: Ferrari's Leclerc takes 3rd straight pole at Singapore GP
RACE UPDATE:— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 23, 2021
Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time for the start of the race. #MonacoGP
No luck at Monaco
The race director decided not to move Red Bull driver Verstappen up from second to pole and left that space blank, giving Valtteri Bottas more room to overtake Verstappen at the start.
All drivers effectively moved up a place, with world champion Lewis Hamilton starting sixth after qualifying a lowly seventh.
In a dramatic qualifying session on Saturday, Leclerc won the first pole for Ferrari since 2019 despite crashing and also became the first driver from Monaco to take pole here.
Prince Albert, whose hilltop palace overlooks the track and who is close to Leclerc, attended the race and gave Leclerc a consoling hug.
Fans returned, but in small numbers and many hoisted flags and banners in support of Leclerc.
Before the race, the 23-year-old waved at what he calls his “neighbors” as they leaned out of windows and brandished red-and-white Monaco flags.
“Charles L’Eclair” (Charles Lightning) read one banner, a word play on his name and renowned speed.
But he has no luck at the venue.
Two years ago, Leclerc retired early in his first season at Ferrari.
READ MORE: Ferrari wrong to use team orders so early - Berger
Charles Leclerc: "In the garage it was very difficult to feel ok, but I guess now I'm getting used to this feeling here unfortunately.— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2021
"I've never finished a race here - this year, I don't start it. It's a difficult one to take and I also feel for the team."#MonacoGP 🇲🇨 #F1 pic.twitter.com/2GNdbB70iW