Leclerc from Ferrari emerges victorious in the F1 Monaco GP following a first-lap crash that eliminates Perez and two other cars

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Charles Leclerc celebrates after winning the Monaco Grand Prix race

Charles Leclerc, driving for Ferrari, won the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday from the first starting position, marking his first Formula 1 victory in almost two years.

Leclerc had been in pole position three times in the past four years but hadn’t managed to finish on the podium in his home race. This win, his first since Austria in July 2022, brings his total career wins to six, all achieved with Ferrari.

“It’s going to be a memorable night,” he told his team over the radio. For Leclerc, winning in Monaco was particularly special as he grew up watching the race from his apartment overlooking the start-finish line.

“I can’t put into words how it feels. This race is what inspired me to become a Formula 1 driver,” said the 26-year-old. “Seeing so many familiar faces on the balconies, so many people I know, it means the world to me.”

The final 15 laps were the most challenging for him as the significance of winning sunk in. “I couldn’t help but think of my dad,” Leclerc said of his late father. “It was our dream for me to race here and win, so this feels unreal.”

Max Verstappen, leading the championship and aiming for his fourth consecutive F1 title, saw his lead reduced to 31 points over Leclerc after finishing sixth for Red Bull. His teammate Sergio Perez was forced out of the race following a major crash on the first lap.

Charles Leclerc steers his car in the Monaco Grand Prix

The crash also eliminated Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, leading to a 40-minute pause with a red flag. Fortunately, none of the drivers were injured.

The race resumed on Lap 3 of 78, with drivers cautiously navigating the track, known for its difficulty in overtaking while managing their tire wear.

Leclerc finished about 8 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and 9 seconds ahead of Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place. McLaren’s Lando Norris came in fourth, and Mercedes driver George Russell held off Verstappen to secure fifth place.

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time F1 champion, finished seventh, with Yuki Tsunoda (Racing Bulls), Alex Albon (Williams), and Pierre Gasly (Alpine) completing the top 10. The finishing order matched the starting grid, highlighting Monaco’s reputation as the most challenging track to pass on in F1.

“The pace at the beginning was incredibly slow,” Piastri commented. “But it’s been a great weekend for the team.”

The excitement all unfolded at the start. Perez’s car was clipped from behind by Magnussen’s car, causing Perez to hit the crash barrier. The impact almost split Perez’s car in half and also spun Hulkenberg’s Haas car.

Charles Leclerc celebrates after winning the Monaco Grand Prix

A red flag was raised due to debris on the track to clear Perez’s damaged Red Bull using a crane. Perez walked away from the crash with the assistance of two race marshals, and his team confirmed he didn’t require medical attention.

Shortly after, two Alpines collided near the tunnel, with Esteban Ocon’s car hitting teammate Pierre Gasly’s car, causing it to lift into the air.

Thankfully, despite cars closely trailing behind and the tunnel ahead, a serious accident was avoided. Ocon will face a five-place grid penalty at the next race, the Canada GP on June 9. “Today’s mistake was on me,” Ocon admitted. “I misjudged the gap in the end.”

The FIA, the governing body, called for a standing restart with Leclerc starting at the front, followed by Piastri and Sainz starting from third, despite Sainz getting a puncture shortly after the race resumed. He was attempting to overtake Piastri and had to use an area off the track at Casino Square.

French footballer Kylian Mbappé and FIFA president Gianni Infantino were among the guests enjoying the sunny weather. However, the race turned out to be uneventful.

Max Verstappen steers his car in the F1 Monaco Grand Prix

After the restart, cars moved slowly around the 3.3-kilometer narrow street circuit as Leclerc aimed to preserve his tires until the end. Piastri stayed close behind, and by halfway, he was about 1 second behind, but Leclerc increased his speed.

“To be honest, Charles has been excellent all weekend,” Piastri remarked. “It would have taken my best lap ever in qualifying to beat him. I’m satisfied with second place.” There wasn’t much excitement to keep the fans engaged, some of whom had spent a lot on VIP tickets.

Lance Stroll’s left tire came off as he entered the pit lane on lap 50, but not much else happened as Leclerc gradually widened his lead and ended his winless streak.

“It’s really hard to overtake on the streets of Monaco,” Sainz commented. “But I’m very happy for Charles.”


By Christopher Kamila

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