Skip to main content

Charles Leclerc controlled proceedings throughout a processional race to end his elusive wait to succeed on home soil as he won the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.

This story is powered by Motorsport Week – for more reports from the world of motorsport, click here.

The Ferrari racer survived two standing restarts and then managed the pace to convert pole position into his sixth career win on his sixth F1 showing in Monte Carlo. Oscar Piastri was sandwiched between the Ferrari drivers throughout the encounter and claimed second place, with Carlos Sainz resisting Lando Norris to take third.

The Ferrari and McLaren cars on the front two rows were fitted with the Medium tyre, while the Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen elected for the Hard compound. Leclerc made an excellent start to be untroubled on the run down to Sainte Devote as Sainz got alongside Piastri. However, the McLaren driver retained second place. Sainz made slight contact with Piastri coming out of Turn 1 and a puncture saw him slow on the approach to Massenet and unable to steer through Casino.

But as Leclerc accelerated onwards with Piastri still engaged behind the Ferrari, a huge accident materialised at the back as Sergio Perez squeezed Kevin Magnussen. The Dane was attempting to squeeze past the Red Bull’s outside at Beau Rivage when the touch caused a huge incident that also saw Nico Hulkenberg get caught up. Leclerc had navigated the Nouvelle chicane with Piastri in pursuit when the stewards threw the red flag and suspended proceedings, with the Haas duo and Perez out. Alongside Haas, Alpine also had a team row on its hands as Esteban Ocon aimed to capitalise on Pierre Gasly being held up to dive down the inside going into Portier. Ocon would be sent into an airborne moment as Gasly’s front wheel made contact with his team-mate’s rear, leaving the former to express his anger with Ocon’s move. Alpine Team Principal Bruno Famin laid the blame on Ocon and despite the Frenchman being able to get his car back to the pits, he wouldn’t be involved in the restart. Magnussen is two penalty points from receiving a race ban, but his worries were eased on this occasion as the stewards said that the clash would not be investigated.

Meanwhile, race control also published that the race would resume with a standing restart under the original order, which meant Sainz was reinstated into third place. A considerable 40-minute interval would transpire until Leclerc led the rest round on another formation lap before the field was put through a second standing restart.

There would be a reversal compared to the initial start as Ferraris and McLaren switched to Hards, with Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton on Mediums. Once again, Leclerc did what he needed to ensure that he remained in the lead going through Turn 1, while Piastri had a cleaner launch to maintain second from Sainz.

The order inside the points places had remained unchanged, but Fernando Alonso was continuing to move his Aston Martin up as he took 12th from Daniel Ricciardo.

Russell had been running close to Norris’ McLaren on the restart and argued to his race engineer that it represented his best chance to displace his British compatriot. However, Russell was showing signs that he was beginning to heed the warning from the pit wall as he reduced his speed and dropped back six seconds from Norris. Ocon was slapped with a 10-second penalty for causing the clash with Alpine team-mate Gasly, which would be turned into a grid drop in Canada due to his retirement.

With Sauber struggling to unlock pace from its C44 machine across the weekend and both drivers situated at the rear, Valtteri Bottas ventured into the pits on Lap 15. Bottas would soon proceed to utilise his new Hard rubber and clear air to post the fastest lap, showing how much management was being undertaken at the top end.

Leclerc had increased his own lap times to open up a five-second spread between the top four runners, with Piastri no longer menacing inside the Ferrari’s DRS range. Verstappen was unimpressed with how the race was unravelling from his Red Bull cockpit, telling his engineer: “This is really boring, I should have brought my pillow.” Norris was provided with some encouragement approaching the mid-point as he was informed that McLaren had spotted initial signs that Sainz’s teres were graining.

Sainz was mindful over the gap between Norris and Russell – which on Lap 34 stood at 13.4s – and the chance that the McLaren could pit onto Softs towards the end. Alonso was becoming a roadblock in 12th spot, with Ricciardo, Logan Sargeant and the Saubers behind him, thus enabling team-mate Lance Stroll to get up the road. Amid Sainz’s concerns over Norris making a pit stop and mounting a late charge on newer tyres, Leclerc was told to slow down and back the leaders towards the rest.

Stroll had created a 21s margin over the sister Aston Martin car and that allowed him to come in to make a pit stop to the Medium to chase down Gasly’s 10th place. However, the Canadian emerged behind the leading quartet, meaning he would need to attempt to become unlapped to pursue the Alpine over the last available point. Stroll’s charge was over before it got going as he picked up a puncture on his left rear when he made a premature turn into the Nouvelle chicane and clipped the wall.

The Red Bull and Mercedes crews came out into the pit lane and it would be the latter who was called into action as Hamilton switched onto the Hard tyre on Lap 51. Red Bull responded to that call as Verstappen pitted on the next lap and retained sixth, prompting Hamilton to question why he was not told the “outlap was critical”.

Further back, Bottas completed the race’s first on-track overtake as he sized Sargeant up and sneaked down the Williams driver’s inside into Mirabeau to secure 13th. That trend continued as Stroll put his new Softs to good use with an overtake on Zhou Guanyu into the Nouvelle chicane and also Sargeant on the start-finish straight. Sargeant had been encountering trouble with his rubber and he dived into the pits to make his mandatory change onto the Medium, promoting Zhou up a single place.

Verstappen had been eradicating the gap to Russell at a rapid rate on his fresh Hards and he latched his Red Bull onto the Mercedes with over 15 laps still remaining. Piastri appeared to be in trouble with his rubber in the closing stages and had dropped eight seconds back from Leclerc, who was coasting towards an emotional win.

The race had been a processional encounter but that would not have been on Leclerc’s mind as he took the chequered flag to make it third time lucky in Monte Carlo. Leclerc landed his maiden win on home soil and his first since the Austrian Grand Prix in July 2022, with Piastri coming home to claim his first podium this campaign. Sainz ensured Ferrari took a one-three to slash Red Bull’s advantage in the Constructors’ Championship, ending the four-race podium streak Norris had been on prior.

Russell completed the top five in the leading Mercedes car, with Verstappen bringing his Red Bull home in sixth place. Lewis Hamilton wound up in seventh position. Yuki Tsunoda delivered more points as RB extended its stranglehold on sixth place in the standings, beating Alex Albon, who landed Williams’ first points this season. Ocon conceded that the incident involving the two Alpine drivers had been his fault, but it did not harm the Enstone squad’s prospects as Gasly managed to take 10th.