Russell drove the soft tires and dug on lap 15, P5’s soft Verstappen swayed a lap later to force Carlos Sainz off the lead. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc remained ahead, extending his first assignment until lap 22. Russell drove again but was overtaken by Sainz on lap 31. So, from P4, Verstappen forced the problem with a second media stop on lap 39.
Crucially, with these stops, Verstappen pulled off an undercut on Sainz and had an advantage over Leclerc too, starting Monegasque on the media to swap for the same compound after a long run – and from pitting bullets off the well-developed tires after Verstappen. The Dutchman easily eliminated his opponent soon after, and it became clear that hard tires were not the answer. Leclerc dropped to P6 as he switched back to Softs while Verstappen won by 7.8s.
And that was despite the 360-degree spin that nearly cost Verstappen in the final corner and forced him to overtake Leclerc again.
Hamilton started seventh on the middle, cleared the Alps, stopped the middles and stayed long to ensure he could finish the race on the softcourt, ensuring he could overtake the likes of Sainz and then Russell to finish second.
Lando Norris beat the Alps to seventh, while Fernando Alonso finished P8 at the expense of his teammate Esteban Ocon. Sebastian Vettel canceled with Lance Stroll to lead his Canadian teammate in P10.
Pierre Gasly finished 12th, comfortably ahead of 13th place holder Zhou Guanyu. Mick Schumacher was next, while Daniel Ricciardo was only able to finish 15th thanks to a five-second penalty ahead of another Haas from Kevin Magnussen – who was involved in a minor collision early on.
Williams came next, with Alex Albon finishing ahead of Nicholas Latifi in P17 and P18 respectively, while Yuki Tsunoda finished 19th and final for the AlphaTauri.
Valtteri Bottas stopped five laps from the end to bring out a hypothetical safety car and finish last place for the Alfa Romeo.