Charles Leclerc holds off Oscar Piastri to win at home in Monaco

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Charles Leclerc held off race-long pressure from McLaren's Oscar Piastri to finally end his home race curse and win the Monaco Grand Prix.

Victory for the Ferrari driver, born and raised in the principality of Monaco, ended a long string of heartbreaking results at the famous Monte Carlo circuit with a faultless drive out in front.

Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz rounded off the podium in third.

Leclerc had previously failed to score so much as a podium finish in five previous attempts at the event. It marked his first win since the Austrian Grand Prix in 2022.

Leclerc said after the race: "No words can explain that ... it's such a difficult race. The fact starting twice on pole and couldn't make it makes it even better. It means a lot. It's the race that made me dream of becoming a Formula One driver.

"It was a difficult race emotionally, 15 laps from the end I was hoping nothing happens, already the emotions were coming. I was thinking to my dad ... obviously he had given everything for me to be here, it was a dream of ours to race here and win, it's unbelievable."

Much of Leclerc's victory had been built on a superb pole position lap on Saturday, considered the most exciting and important qualifying session of the year given the limited overtaking opportunities around Monaco's tight and twisty streets.

Charles Leclerc won for the first time at Monaco, despite taking pole position three times.
Clive Rose/Getty Images

While Leclerc's popular victory provided a great narrative, the race was another example of the monotonous and processional races the Monaco Grand Prix has become renowned for producing, with the top 10 finishing in the position they started the race.

The drama was restricted to the opening lap, when a collision between Sergio Perez and Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg brought out a red flag.

Leclerc nailed the restart to lead into Turn 1, something he would not relinquish.

"F--- me, this is really boring! I should have brought my pillow," Red Bulls' Max Verstappen said over the radio at one point, on his way to finishing sixth.

Leclerc's win and Verstappen's result means the latter's lead in the championship has dropped to 31 points.

Verstappen's finish was his worst since the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Lando Norris finished fourth, while Mercedes drivers George Russell (fifth) and Lewis Hamilton (seventh) finished on either side of Verstappen. 

Yuki Tsunoda continued his red-hot run of form with an eighth-place finish, while Alex Albon secured Williams' first points of the year in ninth.

Pierre Gasly survived a collision caused by a clumsy move from Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon on the opening lap to pick up the final point on offer in 10th.

The stewards opted not to investigate the first-lap incident with Perez and the Haas drivers, viewing it as a racing incident.

Magnussen, who appeared to run out of space on the inside of the Red Bull driver's car as the track bent to the right, had only been two penalty points away from a race ban.

The decision not to investigate any further stopped that from coming to fruition. Alpine will likely have a headache between this race and the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks, with drivers Gasly and Esteban Ocon colliding on the entry to the tunnel shortly before the red flag was thrown to stop the race.

Ocon drifted across into the path of Gasly, who had nowhere to go, with the collision sending his car into the air. The damage from the collision and the heavy bump back to earth meant Ocon did not make the restart.

After appearing sheepish in his media interviews immediately after the incident, Ocon took full blame, and posted on social media: "Today's incident was my fault, the gap was too small in the end and I apologise to the team on this one. Hoping for a deserved points-finish for the team today."

Charles Leclerc won for the first time at Monaco, despite taking pole position three times.
Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

The stewards agreed it was Ocon's fault and he will serve a five-place grid penalty at the next race in Montreal.

Sainz will have F1's regulations to thank for saving his race. The Spanish driver picked up a puncture on the run up the hill, just up the road from the Perez incident, after brushing with Piastri at the start.

That puncture saw Sainz go off the track and drop down the order, but he would restart from third on the grid due to the timing of the red flag.

Since rules state every driver must use two of the three different sets of tyres through a race, and changes are permitted under red flag conditions, everyone who started on the medium tyres, which included Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz and Norris, were able to restart on the more durable hard tyre, meaning they could go to the end of the race following the restart.

Meanwhile, Verstappen and Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Russell, who started on the hard, had to go in the other direction, putting them at risk of losing positions later if the tyre could not go the distance.

On his return to the pits, an angry Hamilton was broadcast saying to Mercedes: "I told you guys, I told you guys," suggesting he had wanted to start on the medium tyre to mitigate against the risk of an early red flag.

That fact quickly set the pace. While the lead four cars cantered away in the distance, Russell, the lead driver of the group who was now on the medium tyre, was turning out much slower laps in a bid to nurse his tyres to the end of the race without having to stop again.

A huge gap between Norris in fourth and Russell in fifth soon opened up, with Verstappen stuck behind the Mercedes driver in sixth.

Verstappen and Hamilton were both able to stop for new tyres, with Tsunoda dropping even further behind in a bid to make it to the end without stopping again.