On Sunday, Max Verstappen registered two firsts in the 2021 season of Formula 1 after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing in Monte Carlo to grab the top spot on the driver’s championship table.
The 23-year-old Dutch, in his career, leads the championship for the first time, a further sign that Hamilton could face a major battle to cling to his crown as he chases a record-breaking eighth title. He had started raceday 14 points behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton but ended it four clear with the seven times world champion finishing sixth.
After the race, Verstappen said, “It’s so special around here to win and, also for me, the first time on the podium here. An amazing race. You always want to win this grand prix. I remember when I was very little, already watching this grand prix, so standing here I’m very proud.”
Verstappen started the race from 2nd position but led from start to finish after Ferrari’s pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, pulled out of the race with a left driveshaft issue following his crash in the final seconds of qualifying on Saturday.
Verstappen had earlier won the Emilian Romagna GP and finished second in Bahrain, Portugal, and Spain. This was his 12th career victory. He is now the 64th driver in F1 to lead the championship in a season.
In this season, Hamilton failed to finish in the top three for the first time. The veteran Mercedes ace could not add to his three wins and four podiums. He set the fastest lap in Monaco and took five points in total.