Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto admitted team strategy halted Charles Leclerc from triumphing at his home race, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez winning the Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc finished in fourth place after starting the race from pole position, which is critical at a circuit like Monte Carlo, with its tight streets making overtaking difficult and track position paramount.

Perez managed to keep Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari at bay with an assured drive, but it was also borne of circumstance after a pit-stop mix-up before a second red flag tumbled Leclerc down the order.

Binotto conceded it was a team error that cost his drivers from claiming more points but specifically for Leclerc, a potential maiden Formula One win at a home race where he has been dealt constant bad luck.

"I fully understand the disappointment for Charles," the Ferrari boss told Sky Sports F1. "He was first and finishing fourth means that something was wrong in the decision we made.

"So clearly we need to review it and I think we underestimated the speed of the intermediate [tyres] at that stage, so we could have called a lap earlier for Charles or later on, maybe we should have left him outside on the extreme wet then going on the dry.

"These are mistakes that may happen, but more importantly it is a lesson to learn to try and understand why they happened and I am sure that is a process we will do."

Ferrari went down a further ten points in the constructor standings to Red Bull, who now lead by 36 points after both Perez and Max Verstappen finished on the podium.

Leclerc's fourth-placed finish also means Verstappen extended his lead atop the driver's standings to nine points, heading into the next grand prix in Azerbaijan.

Sergio Perez has called winning the Monaco Grand Prix a "dream come true" after his triumph from third on the grid to take the top step.

Perez put in an assured and calculated drive in tricky conditions on Sunday, which meant only 66 laps could be completed on the streets of Monte Carlo after a late start, and further delays following a big crash for Mick Schumacher.

Perez claimed only his third race victory from 220 starts. Admittedly for the Mexican driver, the prestige of taking the race victory at Monaco is different to his other two wins, in Sakhir and Azerbaijan.

"Well, certainly very high up there, winning Monaco, it's a dream come true as a driver," Perez told a news conference.

"When you come into Formula One and when you come to Monaco, when you drive it for the first time, you always dream about one day winning the race or racing here. So it's just incredible.

"It's such a big day for myself. I was driving with Pedro Rodriguez's helmet today, and I'm sure that there he will be super proud of what we have achieved in this sport."

Perez pitted from fourth place for a set of intermediates before both Charles Leclerc and team-mate Max Verstappen came in, putting him in position to take the race lead as the track dried, albeit with the help of poorly executed Ferrari strategy.

He was eventually able to hold off a late charge from Carlos Sainz, becoming the first Mexican driver to win in Monaco.

With only six drivers from Mexico to ever drive in Formula One, Perez did not lose perspective on the gravity of such an achievement.

"Certainly, in terms of history of the sport, I'm a big fan of my sport," he said. "So, certainly knowing what it means to win a race like this. I mean, they're all very important, but certainly this is very special. And it goes very, very high on the list for my country.

"I certainly feel like at the moment, I'm the only Mexican – or even Latin American – driver on the grid. So, it just shows how difficult it is for us - not saying that for European drivers it's easy, but it just shows how difficult it is for us to make it into the sport and to have a successful career. It is quite hard, but I have to say I'm extremely proud of it."

Charles Leclerc could not understand Ferrari's strategy during the Monaco Grand Prix, as he lost ground on Formula One leader Max Verstappen.

Leclerc finished fourth in his home race on Sunday after an eventful, rain-soaked grand prix.

Ferrari had closed out the front of the grid and seemed all set to go on and claim a big win, but Red Bull's Sergio Perez clinched victory.

Carlos Sainz finished second ahead of Verstappen to restore some pride for Ferrari, but the Dutchman's lead in the driver's standings grew to four points over Leclerc.

Some strange tactical decisions cost Ferrari, who delayed putting Leclerc on intermediate tyres before then accidentally instructing the Monegasque driver to come in and change to slicks.

Before Ferrari realised their error, Leclerc had already entered the pit lane, allowing Verstappen to overtake him and hold on for a place on the podium.

"Let down is not the word," Leclerc told reporters.

"Sometimes mistakes can happen – but there have been too many mistakes.

"I'm used to getting back home disappointed but we cannot do that, especially in a moment now where we are extremely strong.

"We need to take opportunities. I love my team. We will come back stronger, but it hurts a lot.

"We cannot afford to lose so many points like this. It's not even from first to second, it's from first to fourth because after the first mistakes we've done another one.

"I don't understand what made us change our minds. We got undercut and then stuck behind Carlos [Sainz]. There were a lot of mistakes and we cannot afford to do that.

"The first [radio message for the first pit stop] was a clear decision and a very wrong one. From that moment onwards, the mess started.

"I don't know if it was panic – I don't hear all the background stuff between the team so it's not up to me to judge.

"The last message I had was not clear because I was told to come in and then to stay out but I was already in the pit lane and that's when I let it out on the radio and screamed because I knew it was done."

Sergio Perez won an extraordinary Monaco Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc endured more misery in his home race on Sunday.

Perez claimed his first victory on the streets of Monte Carlo ahead of Carlos Sainz after a late start due to heavy rain and the loss of further time following a big crash for Mick Schumacher, who was fortunate to walk away unharmed.

Leclerc had started on pole but could only finish fourth after paying the price for poor Ferrari pit-stop strategies and so Max Verstappen extended his lead over the Monegasque to nine points in the battle for the title after taking third.

Verstappen’s Red Bull-mate Perez took the chequered flag in the sun on lap 64, as there was not enough time to complete the full 77 in the Principality as a result of the poor weather earlier in the day.

There was eventually a rolling start behind the safety car an hour and 10 minutes after the race was due to begin, with the red flag having earlier been waved during a deluge.

Leclerc maintained his lead ahead of team-mate Sainz on a drying track ahead of a Red Bull duo of Perez and Verstappen.

Perez pitted from fourth place for a set of intermediate tyres before both Leclerc and Verstappen came in for intermediates.

Leclerc was not happy when he was called in again at the same time as Sainz for hard tyres only three laps later, with Red Bull also opting for a double stack soon after and it was Perez who was leading after a string of pit stops.

The second-placed Sainz produced a great save to avoid crashing into the barriers on a wet part of the track, but the virtual safety car was deployed and subsequently another red flag following a big smash for Schumacher on lap 26.

Leclerc found himself in fourth behind Verstappen following some puzzling decision-making from the Scuderia and there were only 40 minutes of racing to go when the race restarted again on a significantly drier track.

Mexican Perez fended off Sainz to celebrate his first victory of the season. George Russell was fifth, with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton only eighth behind Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.

Francesco Bagnaia said winning the Italian Grand Prix was a dream come true as the Ducati star roared to Mugello glory.

The 25-year-old from Turin held off a challenge from Fabio Quartararo to earn a second win in the last three races and climb to fourth place in the MotoGP riders' standings.

This race has been won by an Italian rider in three of the last five editions now, with Bagnaia joining Andrea Dovizioso in 2017 and Danilo Petrucci in 2019 in that group.

Although Ducati star Bagnaia considers Misano his 'home' circuit, he savoured the moment of crossing the line first in front of Italian supporters.

"It's something I have always dreamed of, because winning in Mugello is incredible," he told a news conference.

"Misano is my home grand prix, but this one is the Italian Grand Prix. It's one of the toughest tracks ever, so it's great."

He was greeted by thousands of fans when he climbed off his bike and made his way towards a trackside enclosure.

"I was thinking to throw my helmet, but I knew we would have a penalty if I ride without my helmet, so it was not possible to do it," Bagnaia said.

Bagnaia crashed out when contesting the lead last time out at the French Grand Prix, having won the previous race in Spain.

This was the ideal way to overcome the Le Mans setback, and Bagnaia said: "For sure, for the championship it was important to take points in this race, but I have to say I was not feeling more pressure.

"We're doing a job where you have to live with pressure. Mistakes can happen, but the good thing is to restart and don't think about your problems, just think about things you enjoy, and I really enjoyed this weekend a lot."

Bagnaia got ahead of early pace-setter Marco Bezzecchi with 15 laps remaining and clung on under pressure from championship leader Quartararo.

Quartararo started sixth on the grid, one place behind Bagnaia, and the Monster Energy Yamaha rider was delighted with that effort.

Last season's champion Quartararo said: "It was basically my best race of my career. I was feeling bad all the weekend and I made an amazing start, the best one, and then I was overtaking, and losing the front, losing the rear. Ducati was overtaking on the straight, and I was overtaking back.

"I think it was the best race. Before the race I was OK, I had nothing to lose because I knew my pace was not so good.

"To be honest, I was running at my best today and I feel so happy."

Francesco Bagnaia triumphed at the Italian Grand Prix for the first time as the crowd at Mugello celebrated a home triumph.

The Ducati star continued his impressive run of mid-season form by fending off Fabio Quartararo, earning a second win in the last three races.

This outcome means the Italian stop-off on the MotoGP circuit has been won by an Italian rider in three of the last five editions, Bagnaia joining Andrea Dovizioso in 2017 and Danilo Petrucci in 2019 in that group.

Bagnaia got ahead of early pace-setter Marco Bezzecchi with 15 laps remaining and clung on under pressure from championship leader Quartararo. Bezzecchi faded to fifth place as Aleix Espargaro took third and Johann Zarco was fourth.

The victory comes as a relief to Bagnaia, who crashed out when contesting the lead last time out at the French Grand Prix, having won the previous race in Spain.

Bezzecchi's Mooney VR46 team-mate Luca Marini was involved in much of the early running, moving up to third midway through the 23-lap race. The colleagues went close to touching as they jostled to compete with Quartararo for second place.

Gresini's Enea Bastianini, third in the championship, was then running sixth when he crashed out with eight laps remaining. 

Bagnaia was defending a narrow lead but had enough power to resist Quartararo as they duked it out for the win, Marini sliding to sixth in the closing laps.

Before Dovizioso's 2017 win, Italian riders had not won any of the previous eight Italian Grands Prix, but it is becoming a regular sight to see Il Tricolore waved from the podium.

Two previous abandonments by Bagnaia at this circuit were cast aside as the 25-year-old from Turin took the top step this time, nudging up to fourth in the riders' season standings.

Tenth spot went to Marc Marquez, who faces a spell on the sidelines, with arm surgery booked in for the six-time MotoGP champion.

TOP 10

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.635secs
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +1.983s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +2.590s
5. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +3.067s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 122
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 114
3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 94
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 81
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 75

Teams
1. Aprilia Racing 151
2. Ducati Lenovo 144
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 141
4. Suzuki Ecstar 125
5. Red Bull KTM 115

Fabio di Giannantonio claimed a stunning maiden MotoGP pole in his home race at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on Saturday. 

The rookie Gresini rider snatched pole as rainy conditions hovered over the Mugello circuit, leading an Italian front three on the grid with Valentino Rossi duo Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini was halted due to a red flag.

Initial spots of rain prompted the field to venture out on rain tyres expect Brad Binder, who gambled and lapped almost three seconds quicker, forcing the rest to return to the pits for slicks.

Di Giannantonio took chances on the testy Mugello circuit, sticking his 2021-spec Gresini on pole with a time of 1:46.156, and his response post-qualifying was naturally one of excitement.

"It’s one thing unimaginable, since you arrive right here in Mugello and anticipate to do a superb outcome for all of the individuals who come for you, who cheer for you, all of the help that you’ve got right here in your house race," he said post-qualifying.

"Already using a Ducati MotoGP bike in Mugello is one thing unimaginable, and getting to the pole place is one thing else.

"It was such a fantastic finish of the day for me, and one of many desires of my life is to be high on the grid in MotoGP."

Johann Zarco briefly held provisional pole but had to settle for fourth on his Pramac Ducati, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati.

He was followed by reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the second row.

While Jack Miller missed out on Q2, but qualifying was ultimately marred by a fiery crash for Marc Marquez, who had a big highside at Luco.

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) 1:46.156
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +0.088s
3. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) +0.171s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.227s
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.315s
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.350s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.351s
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.405s
9. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.511s
10. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.523s

Charles Leclerc is confident hs Ferrari can secure him a maiden win at his home race, after qualifying on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

On a circuit where track position is critical, Ferrari took the front row of the grid for Sunday's race with Carlos Sainz finishing in second behind Leclerc after Q3 was halted by a red flag.

Sergio Perez hit the barrier at Portier, and Sainz could not react quickly enough to avoid a collision, when Leclerc was on track to beat his then-provisional pole time.

Ultimately, it secured the Monegasque driver top spot, and he was in high spirits afterwards following his second consecutive pole.

"I am very pleased with our overall performance so far this weekend," Leclerc said. "I felt confident in the car and started pushing a bit more in Q3. The first lap was good. I think that the second was one of the best laps I have ever done in qualifying.

"It was so much fun to drive, and I was really on the limit. I had a lot of oversteer, so the rear was quite loose. Still, I knew that the lap was coming together nicely and that felt particularly good.

"It’s a shame that I couldn’t finish it, but this is Monaco, and we know that the final attempt is always at risk of yellow or red flags. We secured pole anyway, so I am really happy.

"Whatever the conditions are tomorrow, we will start from the best place possible and will do everything to finish the weekend as smoothly as it has gone so far."

Max Verstappen finished in fourth, continuing his fight to find pace at low-speed corners from the Thursday and Friday practice sessions.

The reigning world champion finished almost three tenths of a second off Leclerc's pole time and could have been further off the pace had his rival finished his second hot lap.

"In general, my pace this weekend has been a bit of a struggle, I never really found the perfect balance," Verstappen said. "We were on for a good final lap in Q3, I was pushing to the limit on the last lap until I got to the corner, where I hit a little traffic jam.

"It was very unfortunate as I think we could have done better than fourth – not pole position, because I think that Charles is too far ahead. I think we could have at least got second place"

Charles Leclerc was "incredibly happy" to claim pole position in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying, leading a Ferrari one-two – although Carlos Sainz felt he could have pipped his team-mate if not for a dramatic crash.

Monegasque driver Leclerc qualified fastest at his home race after the final session was cut short due to a red flag.

Sergio Perez hit the barrier, prompting a yellow flag that Sainz saw only in time to brake as he careered into the Red Bull.

That brought a premature end to proceedings but ensured a fine result for Ferrari and, in particular, Leclerc, who secured a precious pole; while he has converted only four of his 13 previous poles into wins, some 15 of the past 17 winners in Monaco have started from the front row, including 12 from first place.

For Leclerc to add his name to the list of winners, he will have to overcome an awful record which has seen him never manage to finish the Monaco race. Despite taking pole last year, his car also crashed heavily in qualifying, and it meant Leclerc could not take an active part on race day.

This time it could be a different story.

"It is very special. I'm so incredibly happy," Leclerc said. "It's been a very smooth weekend until now – I knew the pace was in the car; I just had to do the job, and it went perfectly.

"That last lap, before the red flag, was really, really good, but it didn't change anything for us."

That may be true for Leclerc, but Sainz felt he was on course to top the timesheets prior to the collision with Perez.

"It's a shame – another year that a red flag cost us the end of a session, and we could not go for pole position," he said, "but it's typical Monaco."

Sainz added: "I think we are in a great position to score a great result for the team. The car has been amazing all weekend, so we'll go for it."

Perez still qualified in third, ahead of an out-of-sorts Max Verstappen, while Lewis Hamilton's practice woes shifted only enough for him to make eighth before his final flying lap was halted.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:11.376
2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.225s
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.253s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.290s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.473s
6. George Russell (Mercedes) +0.736s
7. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +0.871s
8. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.184s
9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +1.356s
10. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +1.671s

Lewis Hamilton suggested the problems with his Mercedes W13 were being exacerbated in Monaco on "the bumpiest track I've ever driven".

Seven-time Formula One champion Hamilton has endured a difficult season, complaining right from the outset about his "bouncing" 2022 car.

There had been some signs of progress in recent weeks, however, with Hamilton finishing fifth in Barcelona despite a first-lap puncture.

But things have taken another turn for the worse for the Silver Arrows in Monaco, where Hamilton finished in P10 in Friday's first practice session and P12 in the second.

The circuit itself has contributed, the Briton says, as he said: "Firstly, it's the bumpiest the track [has] ever been. It's probably the bumpiest track I've ever driven.

"So, one, that makes it difficult, and two, just generally our car bounces a lot.

"It's different bouncing to what we've experienced in the past; it's in the low speed also, but it's not aero[-related]. I think the bumps on the track just make it worse.

"I'm not really having to learn the track differently, just fighting the car. To put a lap together is... wow, holy c**p! I don't remember experiencing it like that before."

Team-mate George Russell was only a little better in P8 and P6, beaten in both sessions by McLaren's Lando Norris (P5 twice).

"I'm a little bit surprised to say we're ahead of Mercedes," Norris said. "I expected them to maybe be ahead of us at the minute.

"But the plan is to be ahead of them, and if we can be, I'll be very happy with that."

Yet McLaren colleague Daniel Ricciardo has work to do after hitting the barrier in FP2.

"We pushed a little too far probably in a couple areas with the set-up," Ricciardo said. "We had a good morning, and obviously you try a few things for FP2 to try to maximise a bit more performance, but let's say we overstepped it – you don't know until you try it.

"It was my first lap, so I couldn't really get much of a read on it; it happened straight away.

"I tried my best to save it, but I couldn't. We missed all of the session, but I'm okay. We'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales have signed new two-year deals with Aprilia.

The Spanish duo will continue to ride for the MotoGP team until at least the end of the 2024 season.

Espargaro will go into the Italian Grand Prix this weekend third in the battle for the title, having secured one win and three podium finishes this season.

Vinales continues to adapt to the RS-GP, but is 10th in the standings.

"This confirmation [of the new contracts] was just what the doctor ordered," Espargaro said. "We've worked hard together and grown together.

"We were a hope, now we are reality. In 2021, we had already seen clear signs of our steps forward and now we are able to battle consistently with the best in the world.

"Continuing to do so with Aprilia is a source of pride for me. We can grow even more and we want to demonstrate that on the track."

Vinales stated: "I'm extremely happy to continue my work with Aprilia Racing. Now our horizons are expanding and we'll be able to work with continuity to achieve ambitious goals.

"I believe in this project and I'm happy to be part of it. I've found a fantastic environment in Aprilia and this confirmation gives me the peace of mind to grow the way this team and I deserve to."

Formula One has arrived at the most prestigious race on the calendar, and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc would be desperate to end an awful run of form at his home race.

Born and raised in Monaco, Leclerc's string of bad luck on the historic circuit dates back to his days in Formula Two, where he set the F2 lap record in 2017 before suspension problems caused a DNF.

The next year, in F1, he was in the points for Sauber before brake failure led to a crash with Brendan Hartley.

After poor strategy and Q1 elimination in his first Monaco Grand Prix for Ferrari in 2019, Leclerc charged up the field early on but pushed a little too hard and collided with Romain Grosjean at Rascasse.

In 2021, he surprisingly stuck an inferior Ferrari on pole position but crashed at the end of Q3, and extensive drive-shaft damage led to him cruelly retiring on the formation lap.

The 24-year-old became the first Monegasque to claim pole, but his three DNFs – from as many F1 entries – are his most at any circuit.

Despite ending up in the barriers on a demonstration lap in Niki Lauda's Ferrari last week, another pole could finally put Leclerc on the top step in his home race.

Twelve of the past 17 winners at Monaco have started from pole, as little room to overtake with bigger cars on Monte Carlo's notoriously tight streets makes track position critical.

It would be a welcome way for Leclerc to buck his trend of failing to convert poles into race victories, winning only four times from 13 starts at the front of the grid.

The title race adds another dimension, with Max Verstappen taking a six-point lead from him in the drivers' standings after successive victories at Imola, Miami and Barcelona.

In-form Red Bull with records in sight

Monaco has been a happy hunting ground for Red Bull, and this weekend could bring a number of records for the team.

This weekend could see Red Bull claim their highest number of race wins (six), pole positions (six), podiums (24, with both drivers) and points earned at a circuit, surpassing the 356 collected in Spain.

Meanwhile, reigning world champion Verstappen has the chance to record the longest winning streak of his career, beating last year's three wins between France and Austria.

Ricciardo in need of renaissance

Daniel Ricciardo has come under criticism from McLaren team principal Zak Brown for his recent performances, with a clear need for improvement.

The 32-year-old suffered one of the lowest points of his career last year in Monte Carlo, when he was lapped by teammate Lando Norris.

Ricciardo is suffering his worst streak of finishes outside the points (three) since 2012, when he had five consecutive empty-handed returns for Toro Rosso.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 110
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 104
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 85
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 74
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 65

Constructors

1. Red Bull 195
2. Ferrari 169
3. Mercedes 120
4. McLaren 50
5. Alfa Romeo 39

Lewis Hamilton says his fifth-placed finish at the Spanish Grand Prix felt "better than a win" after he recovered from a first-lap puncture that left him in 19th position.

Starting from P6, Hamilton suffered the puncture following contact from Haas driver Kevin Magnussen on the first lap in Barcelona and suggested to his Mercedes team he should retire from the race to preserve the car's engine after rejoining at the back of the field.

But the seven-time champion produced an excellent drive after his enforced pit-stop and looked on course to finish fourth before a coolant leak allowed Ferrari's Carlos Sainz to edge him out late on.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton considered the circumstances he was forced to overcome en route to a strong points finish.

"To have that problem and come back, it felt like some of the older races I've done," Hamilton said. "It feels amazing.

"I was thinking it was impossible to get back into points, but the team said 'no, you're on for eighth'. I thought they were being super-optimistic.

"I'm glad we didn't [retire] and it just shows you never stop and never give up, and that's what I did.

"A race like that is like a win, and it actually feels better than a win when you have come from so far back."

Since losing out on a record eighth world title in the closing seconds of the final race of the 2021 campaign, when Max Verstappen clinched his first championship in controversial circumstances, Hamilton has endured a frustrating time.

The 37-year-old, who has only secured one podium this campaign, has been critical of Mercedes' W13 car on numerous occasions this year, calling it "undriveable" after finishing 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last month. 

But Hamilton believes the team's work on the car has improved it greatly, and he suggested he could have joined team-mate George Russell – in third – in challenging the two Red Bull drivers, who secured their second one-two in three races, if not for his early problems.

"We have made a lot of improvements with the car and the race pace is much better, the car is much nicer in the race," he added. "We have some improvements to make in qualifying.

"If I hadn't had that [issue], I would have been fighting with the Red Bulls."

Max Verstappen tried to keep his frustration at bay as he overcame a "not nice" start to the Spanish Grand Prix before ultimately recovering to earn a crucial win.

The reigning world champion claimed his third consecutive Formula One victory in Barcelona on Sunday, profiting after title rival Charles Leclerc retired with a technical issue when seemingly on course to win.

Verstappen now holds a six-point lead at the top of the standings, an outcome that did not look likely when the Dutchman dropped from second to fourth after spinning in the early stages, as Leclerc built a huge lead.

The Dutchman also voiced his concerns on team radio as persistent issues with his DRS system hindered his attempts to pass Mercedes' George Russell during a thrilling tussle between the duo.

Verstappen, though, kept his focus and, after some help from team orders, recorded his first win in Spain since 2016, when he took his first-ever F1 victory at the same circuit.

Team-mate Sergio Perez was second in a great result for Red Bull, with Russell taking the final spot on the podium ahead of Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.

"Of course I went off - I suddenly had a lot of tailwind, so I just lost the rear and went off," Verstappen said about his ninth-lap error.

"Then I was obviously in the train and trying to pass but my DRS was not always working. That made it very tough.

"But we managed use strategy to get ahead again [with three pit stops]. We tried to do our own race and eventually we got the win. So it was a difficult beginning but a good end.

"I just tried to stay focused - of course it is not nice when stuff like that happens - but at the end I am very happy to win and happy for Checo." 

Verstappen insisted his anger on team radio related to his car issues, not at the way Russell was defending his position. 

"It was more frustration because of my DRS," he said. "It is a great result for the team. The behaviour of the car was good on the softs."

As for Russell, third place represented a continuation of his strong start to the F1 season with Mercedes even as the team lacks its normal pace.

The Briton has finished in the top five for all six races so far, with this being his second podium.

"I gave everything I could do to hold Max off," he said. "I would love to say that [that Mercedes are back], I am proud to be standing here [in the top three]. 

"It hurt us a lot but when I had the Red Bull in the mirrors all I was doing was the maximum to keep them behind. It is a lot of points on the board for us and well done to Max."

Next up for the drivers is the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, which will take place on May 29.

Max Verstappen recovered from an early spin to win a dramatic Spanish Grand Prix and take the championship lead after Charles Leclerc retired.

Leclerc looked set to increase his advantage over Verstappen in searing heat at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but the Ferrari driver's race was over when he lost power while leading comfortably on lap 23.

Verstappen had been in the gravel on lap nine and also suffered DRS issues, but the Dutchman led a Red Bull one-two for his third consecutive win to move above Leclerc in the driver standings after Sergio Perez let him through under team orders on lap 49 of 66.

George Russell finished third, with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton worked his way back through the field to take fifth place behind Carlos Sainz despite suffering a puncture on the first lap.

Leclerc got a good start to retain his lead, but Hamilton's miserable start to the season was summed up when his he made contact with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen - who went into the gravel - at Turn 4 on the opening lap.

Hamilton limped to the pits with a front-left puncture and was told to continue after suggesting over the team radio that he retires from the race, having returned to the track in 19th place.

Sainz was back in 11th after spinning off at Turn 4 on lap seven and Verstappen was in the gravel at the same section of the circuit two laps later, dropping back from second to fourth.

Russell pitted from second place and Verstappen was also called in on lap 14, with Leclerc leading by over nine seconds.

Verstappen was furious as he was hampered by DRS issues attempting to pass Russell, who fended the Dutchman off to keep second place as they went wheel-to-wheel.

It was all going so well for Leclerc until he lost power with a win there for the taking and Perez soon passed Russell on fresher tyres to take the lead after Verstappen pitted for a new set of softs.

Verstappen was out in front on lap 38 after team-mate Perez and Russell pitted for mediums, then a quick stop for the defending champion put him back on track in third place behind his team-mate.

Perez allowed Verstappen to pass him under team orders and there were no further twists in a pulsating race, with a surging Hamilton passing Sainz to finish fourth until a late technical issue caused him to concede the place back.

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