Verstappen was always in control in dominant Monaco win

"We were always in control because every time someone tried to push me in terms of lap time, we were able to respond"

Monday, 24th May 2021, 9:49 am
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 9:50 am
Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen said he had enough throughout the Grand Prix to remain in total control as he claimed his first victory at Monaco on Sunday.

Benefitting from Charles Leclerc's retirement before the race even started, the Red Bull man held off Valtteri Bottas into Sainte Devote to control the pace comfortably from the front. When Bottas retired from second place, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz closed the gap but never got within three seconds of Verstappen as the Dutchman stretched his advantage at will.

In five attempts, Verstappen had never even stepped foot on the podium in Monaco but his 12th career victory was probably one of his easiest.

"I just had to focus on my own race and make sure I had a clean start," he said. "Of course it all looked under control but to keep your focus for so many laps is the hardest part because it’s easy to relax when you’re in the lead and make a mistake, so you have to keep reminding yourself to leave your thoughts on the road and stay focused.

"I think pace wise, we were always in control because every time someone tried to push me in terms of lap time, we were able to respond and increase the gap.

"I’ve never been on the podium here and then the first time it’s a win, so it’s a bit of redemption for the other races I’ve had here."

Perhaps crucially for Verstappen and Red Bull, Mercedes' struggles in Monte Carlo - with Bottas' retirement and Lewis Hamilton's lowly seventh place - both took over the lead of the driver's and constructor's championships.

Verstappen added: We are leading the championship and I hope of course to be there at the end of the season because that’s the most important thing so we cannot get carried away. But for now, a massive thank you to everyone in the factory and here at the track, we won the Monaco Grand Prix so let’s enjoy it.”