Max Verstappen, the double world champion, showcased his mastery at the rain-drenched Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, securing a commanding victory from start to finish. His dominant performance not only extended his championship lead by 39 points but also marked Red Bull’s sixth consecutive win this season.
Spanish driver Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin finished a distant second, trailing a massive 27.9 seconds behind Verstappen as the checkered flag waved. Frenchman Esteban Ocon completed the podium, claiming third place for Renault-owned Alpine, while Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton settled for fourth, earning an additional point for the fastest lap.
Alonso’s podium finish marked his 103rd in Formula 1, a testament to his remarkable career, while Ocon celebrated his third podium appearance in the sport.
Reflecting on his victory, Ocon expressed his delight, stating, “It was a super weekend from everyone at the team. I hope this is the first of many.”
Verstappen’s triumph in Monaco was his fourth win of the season, second in the principality, and the 39th victory of his career. Meanwhile, his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, a fierce title contender, faced a setback after starting from the last position due to a qualifying crash. Perez finished the race two laps down in 16th place.
The race, which had a subdued start, transformed dramatically on lap 51 as rain began to fall, initially in scattered droplets at Casino Square and Mirabeau before intensifying as the drivers approached the tunnel.
While Verstappen maintained a 10-second lead over Alonso, Aston Martin decided to bring the Spaniard in for his first pit stop, opting to send him out on dry tires. However, as the rain intensified, Verstappen, who was already on 52-lap old slick tires, had to return to the pits.
During this critical moment, Verstappen briefly lost control of his Red Bull while entering the tunnel, grazing the wall. However, he managed to safely return to the pits to switch to intermediate tires.
Aston Martin’s decision to keep Alonso on dry tires allowed Verstappen to gain much-needed breathing space.
Describing the challenging conditions, Verstappen said, “That was a real Monaco. 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.”
Alonso initially pitted for medium tires but had to make an additional stop for intermediates, missing out on a potential opportunity to challenge for the lead.
Alonso remarked, “We thought to play a long game with the strategy, but Max drove super well on the medium tires 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. 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.”
The rainy conditions resulted in chaos in Monte Carlo, with incidents involving Mercedes’ George Russell, who received a five-second penalty for running off the road and rejoining in front of Perez, leading to contact between the two. Lance Stroll hit the barriers twice, and Haas’ decision to keep Kevin Magnussen on slick tires backfired as the Danish driver crashed into the wall at Rascasse.