Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc was a shock last-minute withdrawal from the Monaco Grand Prix with Ferrari announcing “an issue” with his car.
With Leclerc, who had damaged his car in a crash at the end of Saturday qualifying, out and his front-row spot vacant, Max Verstappen for Red Bull was left leading the grid for this fifth leg of the Formula One season.
News that his car would not be leaving the pits came minutes before the start of the race.
It was all the more unexpected as an hour earlier Ferrari had announced repairs had been carried out without a change of gearbox which would have incurred a five-grid penalty.
“Charles will not start the race due to an issue with the left driveshaft which is impossible to fix in time for the start of the race,” Ferrari explained.