Formula 1

Verstappen wins Monaco GP despite late-race rain chaos

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Max Verstappen withstood a rain shower and two brushes with the barriers to extend his Formula 1 points lead with victory in a dramatic Monaco Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver pulled away from front-row partner Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin in the first half of the race as Esteban Ocon’s Alpine held the rest of the pack up, effectively neutralising the potential strategic intrigue of Verstappen being on mediums but Alonso running hards in that stint.

Both were still on their original tyres when the rain arrived with 26 laps to go. Verstappen escaped clouting the Portier barrier while Alonso initially pitted for fresh medium slicks even though everyone else was taking on intermediates at that moment.

Alonso was back in the pits for inters on the next lap, but had such a big margin over Ocon that he didn’t lose second place.

Verstappen tagged the wall again coming out of the Swimming Pool section in the closing stages, also without damage, as he headed for victory by 28 seconds.

Alonso pulled clear of Ocon following his additional stop, while the Frenchman completed a race under constant pressure to take Alpine’s first podium of the 2023 F1 season.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari had been all over Ocon – tagging the Alpine at the chicane at one point and sustaining wing damage that he persisted with for the rest of the race – until the rain came, with Sainz furious that Ferrari had allowed Ocon to undercut him and stay ahead in their pitstops, although Ocon was on mediums for the first stint and Sainz on hards, suggesting Ferrari’s plan was always to run longer.

Ferrari then kept both its cars out too long on slicks when the rain hit, with Sainz’s strife compounded by a spin into the Mirabeau escape road. That left Charles Leclerc and Sainz sixth and eighth, sandwiching the second Alpine of Pierre Gasly.

Mercedes played the weather change better and emerged as Ocon’s late-race threat, with Lewis Hamilton chasing him to the finish.

George Russell had been well-placed for the podium as he was still yet to pit when the rain came, but he went off at Mirabeau then picked up a five-second penalty for rejoining unsafely and effectively reversing into the path of the lapped Sergio Perez, who clouted the Mercedes and sent it sideways. Both continued and Russell stayed far enough ahead of Leclerc that his penalty didn’t cost him fifth.

The McLarens showed great pace in the wet but were too far behind by then to do more than ninth for Lando Norris and 10th for Oscar Piastri.

Both overtook a struggling Yuki Tsunoda, who was grappling with brake problems that led to a trip down the Mirabeau escape road and a slump from ninth to 15th.

Perez’s race from last on the grid was even more miserable than last year’s Monaco winner might’ve expected, featuring contact with Lance Stroll while trying an optimistic pass as Verstappen lapped both and wing damage from running into Kevin Magnussen when the Haas’s anti-stall came on at the chicane. Perez ended up a twice-lapped 17th.

Stroll’s race was worse still: starting with hitting the barriers on lap one as he tried to squeeze down the outside of Alex Albon at Loews and featuring several more incidents before he crashed out in the rain at, again, Loews, hitting the barriers on both the way into and out of the corner.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 78 78 1h48m51.98s 1m16.604s 1 25
2 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 78 0 +27.921s 1m16.674s 2 18
3 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 78 0 +36.99s 1m16.528s 2 15
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 0 +39.062s 1m15.65s 2 13
5 George Russell Mercedes 78 0 +56.284s 1m16.798s 1 10
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 78 0 +1m01.89s 1m15.773s 2 8
7 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 78 0 +1m02.362s 1m15.831s 2 6
8 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 78 0 +1m03.391s 1m16.449s 2 4
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 77 0 +1 lap 1m17.844s 2 2
10 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 77 0 +1 lap 1m17.513s 1 1
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 77 0 +1 lap 1m17.824s 1 0
12 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 77 0 +1 lap 1m17.561s 1 0
13 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 77 0 +1 lap 1m16.926s 2 0
14 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 77 0 +1 lap 1m16.672s 2 0
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 76 0 +2 laps 1m17.68s 1 0
16 Sergio PĂ©rez Red Bull 76 0 +2 laps 1m16.269s 5 0
17 Nico HĂĽlkenberg Haas-Ferrari 76 0 +2 laps 1m16.991s 3 0
18 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 76 0 +2 laps 1m17.302s 3 0
Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 70 0 DNF 1m18.351s 2 0
Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 53 0 DNF 1m17.769s 1 0
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