Double world champion Max Verstappen led a soggy and slippery Monaco Grand Prix from start to finish on Sunday to stretch his Formula One lead to 39 points and earn Red Bull a sixth win in as many races this season.
In a race livened up by a downpour after a processional 51 laps in dry conditions, Spaniard Fernando Alonso finished second for Aston Martin but a massive 27.9 seconds behind at the chequered flag.
Frenchman Esteban Ocon completed the podium in third place for Renault-owned Alpine, their first of the season, with Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth and taking a bonus point for fastest lap.
“That was a real Monaco,” Verstappen said after a 78-lap race that lasted an hour and 48 minutes.
“It was incredibly slippery and when you are that far in the lead you don’t want to push too hard but also you don’t want to lose too much time so it’s quite difficult in that scenario.
“I clipped the wall a few times and it was super difficult out there. But that’s Monaco.”
The win was Verstappen’s fourth of the season, second in Monaco and 39th of his career. Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, his closest title rival, started in last position after a qualifying crash and finished two laps down in 16th.
Mercedes’ George Russell was fifth and home hero Charles Leclerc finished sixth for Ferrari.
Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Lando Norris and team mate Oscar Piastri completed the points positions.
Verstappen led away cleanly from the start on the medium tyres, with Alonso opting for the harder compound and slotting in close behind with no change to the rest of the points positions.
If the podium ended up being the same top three as on the starting grid, the rain brought added excitement as drivers slid around the track, some getting too close to the barriers, before pitting for intermediate tyres and then full wets.
Verstappen delayed his pitstop to coincide with the rain while Alonso initially pitted for medium tyres and then had to come in again for intermediates, losing a possible chance to take the lead.
“We thought to play a long game with the strategy but Max drove super well on the medium tyres and extended that first stint. We didn’t have any chance and then at the end the rain put things a bit complicated out there,” said Alonso.
“It was not easy and I was surprised there were no safety cars from incidents, I think everyone was doing an amazing job today to keep the cars on track.”
While Alonso celebrated his fifth podium of the season, and best result yet for Aston Martin, Canadian team mate Lance Stroll retired after repeated tangles with rivals.
The only other driver not running at the finish was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, whose team mate Nico Hulkenberg was 17th in the team’s 150th race and collected a five-second penalty for causing a collision with Williams’ Logan Sargeant.
Sargeant spent his afternoon showing that overtaking is possible on the world’s most glamorous street circuit by allowing a string of drivers to get past him.
Perez pitted at the end of lap one for hard tyres to go the distance, jumping Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou and Hulkenberg in the pits to move up to 18th but his race soon fell apart in a nightmare of five pitstops.
He was also lapped by Verstappen long before half way.
- World Athletics Championships 2023, Day Four Live Updates: Barshim, Tamberi foul on 2.25m in Men’s high jump final, women’s discus throw final underway, Yarraji fails to reach 100m hurdles semifinals
- Al-Nassr 1-1 Shabab Al-Ahli LIVE score, AFC Champions League updates: Scores level at half-time
- World Athletics Championships: Jyothi Yarraji fails to qualify for 100m hurdles semis
- BWF World Championships 2023: Sindhu out; Lakshya Sen, Prannoy through to third round
- Liverpool wins appeal against Mac Allister red card