Max Verstappen won the F1 Monaco Grand Prix without any problems. In Sunday’s race (28), after the Dutchman from Red Bull drove through the streets of Monte Carlo, the two-time champion took his fourth victory of the 2023 season.
After free practice and qualifying with open weather, heat and sun galore, the day looked very different in the emirate. The sky was overcast, the thermometer indicated 25°C, while the asphalt grade reached 47°C, and the humidity was 45%.
Unsurprisingly, whoever started from pole position was the current two-time Red Bull champion. The competitor was able to grab first place on the grid in the last moments, sharing the front row with Fernando Alonso.
Meanwhile, the home contestant has suffered a major setback. After finishing third from the start, the penalty for upsetting Lando Norris saw him drop three places and put him only sixth.
Find out how the F1 Monaco GP went:
Lights out and authorized exit on the streets of Monaco. As expected, Verstappen managed to keep first place without difficulty, while Alonso tried, but stayed second.
On top of that, a wrap was seen with riders at the back of the pack with a few touches. Whoever took the worst was Lance Stroll who hit the protective wall and stayed on the road, dropping to 17th.
Meanwhile, Red Bull tried to jump the cat with Sergio Perez’s strategy. The Mexican, who started from last place, went to the pits on the first lap to put on the hard tires so he wouldn’t have to stop.
The final competitors were completely dissatisfied with the start. Even Logan Sargeant came on the radio with Williams to ask what they were doing, because of the big mess.
With five laps to go, Nico Hulkenberg was penalized for hitting another car. At that moment, the order was Verstappen first with 1s9 of breath for Alonso, second. Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton complete the top five.
Between the Red Bull Pointer and the seven-time Mercedes champion, the rivals are separated by more than 11 seconds.
When he was in a fight for position against Ocon, Sainz suffered a major scare. The Spaniard was attacking the Frenchman for third place and ended up touching his opponent’s backside, damaging the front wing, but he didn’t have to go into the pits.
It was 14 laps of the F1 Monaco GP and Verstappen continued without problems in first followed by Alonso, Ocon, Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, Gasly, Russell, Tsunoda and Norris to complete the points area.
Then Kevin Magnussen made a beautiful pass over Logan Sargeant. The driver managed to overtake on the inside, though with a touch, and finished 15th – then Stroll and Perez took over.
Not much happened during the race. With 22 laps out of the planned 78, the biggest chase at the moment was the home driver, Leclerc, at the head of Hamilton to try for fifth – they were 1s2 apart.
Before the middle of the race, the teams began to indicate that it might rain on the drivers. Since the start of the week, the forecast indicated that there was a chance of rain for the race.
Verstappen was clear in 11s5 in pole position with 29 laps already completed in Monte Carlo. However, with a medium tire, the Dutchman complained that the left front rubber was completely worn out. Then he complained about the traffic.
On lap 32, the first drivers at the top started going to the pits. Leading the way was Hamilton, who bounced back hard and was back in eighth, just behind his teammate Russell.
After that, it was Ocon’s turn, who was in third place, to go to the pit stop. It turned out that Alpine stopped too slowly and returned the Frenchman only in seventh place, ahead of Lewis and behind him Georges.
Carlos was not happy with Ferrari’s stalled situation. The Spaniard came over the radio to complain about Ocon who stopped and stayed ahead, and the Italian team responded by saying they were protecting themselves from Hamilton. In response, he said that he was not worried about the Briton.
40 laps in and the order on the track was Verstappen, Alonso, Leclerc, Gasly and Russell – all still non-stops – and Ocon, Sainz, Hamilton, Tsunoda and Norris completed the top ten.
On lap 49 of 78, it was Charles’ turn to make his way through the pits. At this point only half of the drivers had pitted, with the top three, Verstappen, Alonso and Russell still needing to pit.
Russell began to complain, saying that at some points on the track it was actually starting to rain. Even the Englishman came on the radio saying that it was starting to rain more and more.
The rain was starting to get tougher in Monaco with 23 laps to go to the checkered flag and at this point, Alonso went to the pits. It turns out that the two-time champion used a medium tire, while the other competitors started using intermediate compounds – wet track, but not much.
Aston Martin quickly realized his mistake because on the next lap he again called the Spaniard to the pit stop, but the competitor managed to keep second place.
Chaos began to settle in the streets of the emirate. First, Sainz spun on his own, but was lucky not to hit the protective wall, while Lance Stroll wasn’t too happy as he crashed and lost his front wing.
Perez also ended up being one of the victims of the wet circuit. The pilot even slightly hit the back of his RB19, but the Mexican, who was still at the back of the pack, managed to control the car so as not to give it up.
With a wet track and 17 laps to go, the order was Verstappen in first, ahead of Alonso in 15s7, in second. Ocon, Hamilton, Russell, Leclerc, Gasly, Sainz, Tsunoda and Norris completed the scoring area.
The battles that were shaping up in the latter part of the contention were Hamilton atop Ocon for third – the Englishman was 1s behind the Frenchman, and Norris atop Tsunoda for ninth – the McLaren holder was 0s7 behind the Japanese.
After the chaos of rain, crashes, crashes, spins, and the decision of extreme or medium wet tyres, the track began to dry out just as quickly as it got wet. Even Perez complained to Red Bull that everything is changing too quickly.
Approaching the finish, Verstappen slid a bit and touched the back of the wall, but there was nothing to hold him back. For Red Bull, he stated that it was not possible to put on slick tires before the end of the race.
The checkered flag and Verstappen secures the 39th win of his career and fourth of the 2023 season. Alonso secured his fifth podium of the year, the first time he finished second and second, and Ocon took the podium for the third time.
F1 2023, Monaco GP, Result:
1) Max Verstappen (Red Bull/Honda RBPT)
2) Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin/Mercedes)
3) Esteban Ocon (Alpine/Renault)
4) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
5) George Russell (Mercedes)
6) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
7) Pierre Gasly (Alpine/Renault)
8) Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari)
9) Lando Norris (McLaren/Mercedes)
10) Oscar Piastri (McLaren/Mercedes)
11) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo / Ferrari)
12) Nic de Vries (AlphaTauri/Honda RBPT)
13) Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo/Ferrari)
14) Alexander Albon (Williams/Mercedes)
15) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri / Honda RBPT)
16) Sergio Perez (Red Bull/Honda RBPT)
17) Nico Hulkenberg (Haas/Ferrari)
18) Logan Sargeant (Williams/Mercedes)
DNF) Kevin Magnussen (Haas/Ferrari)
DNF) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin/Mercedes)
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