Max Verstappen wins Monaco Grand Prix on tough afternoon for Lewis Hamilton

(Image: REUTERS)

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Max Verstappen took full benefit of Charles Leclerc's bad luck as the Dutchman was gifted pole position and cruised to victory in the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

Le Clerc was due to be first on the grid ahead of Verstappen, but was pulled out of the race just moments before the start due to a technical issue with the drive shaft on his Ferrari.

There was nothing lucky about Verstappen's afternoon from that point on though, as he led from the front in a comfortable and convincing win which leaves him top of the drivers standings for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, main rival Lewis Hamilton endured a difficult race in his Mercedes, starting in sixth thanks to Leclerc's withdrawal, but finishing in a disappointing seventh.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was forced to pull out before the race despite being in pole position
(Image: Formula 1 via Getty Images)

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His teammate Valtteri Bottas had an even more miserable afternoon as he was forced to retire on lap 31 due to a problem in the pits.

Hamilton was equally unhappy with his team after they called him into pit early despite him saving his tyres, and he had been overtaken by Aston Martin's Sebastien Vettel by the time he emerged.

Red Bull were impressive in their own pits, with Verstappen coming out cleanly behind only teammate Sergio Perez, who used the clear run ahead of him to also overtake Hamilton and two others.

Hamilton finished with the fastest lap as he put pressure on those ahead of him late on, but couldn't catch Perez, Vettel or Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri.

Ferrari's woes were lifted somewhat by Carlos Sainz, who capitalised on Bottas' retirement to take second on the podium, ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris in third.

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