Pirelli mishaps overshadow Checo win & feel-good podium

After the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix that saw Max Verstappen take his first-career lead in the Formula 1 world championship standings, Red Bull Racing looked to increase Verstappen’s advantage while extending their lead in the constructor’s championship.

On lap 46, Verstappen led the race and looked to take a double-digit lead over seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings. However, his left-rear tire suffered a puncture, causing Verstappen to spin on the main straightaway.

Verstappen suffered his first DNF of the 2021 season. The race went into a red flag that saw a standing restart with two laps left.

Hamilton’s brakes were smoking on the standing restart and on the first turn, he spun out of the track, causing him to finish 16th. Hamilton could not take advantage of Verstappen’s crash and take the lead back in the driver’s championship.

Tire failures were also prevalent in this race before Verstappen’s crash. On lap 31, Lance Stroll crashed on the main straightaway while running in fourth place. Stroll started the race with hard tires and had not pitted before his crash.

With both Verstappen and Stroll’s crashes, concerns about the safety of Pirelli’s tires were brought up by fans and team principals alike.

Sergio Perez started sixth and worked his way up into the podium places. Perez held off Hamilton throughout the race after overtaking him off pit road. Perez took the lead after Verstappen crashed and held on for the race win. It is Perez’s first win with Red Bull in his debut season and his second in his career.

Sebastian Vettel was the last driver to make his first pit stop, allowing him to gain positions in the midfield after starting 11th. Vettel worked his way through the leaderboard on both restarts after the crashes, finishing in second place. Vettel picked up his first podium since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and the first podium for Aston Martin since their return to Formula 1.

Pierre Gasly finished third place after exchanging the position with pole sitter Charles Leclerc over the final two laps. This is Gasly’s third-career podium and his first-career third-place finish.

Leclerc finished fourth. Lando Norris finished fifth after starting ninth. Fernando Alonso finished sixth in his best finish for Alpine this season.

Yuki Tsunoda finished seventh for his best finish in his rookie F1 season. Sainz finished eighth after locking up earlier in the race.

Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen, who picked up his first point of the season, rounded out the top 10.

With Pirelli under fire, the FIA has two weeks to work out the issues that plagued Sunday’s race in Baku before the 2021 French Grand Prix.

Final results:

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