With rain pouring down after a processional 51 laps under dry conditions, the race took an electrifying turn. Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin claimed second place, albeit a significant 27.9 seconds behind the victorious Verstappen. Frenchman Esteban Ocon of Renault-owned Alpine clinched the final spot on the podium, marking Alpine’s first podium finish of the season. Meanwhile, Mercedes’ seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, secured fourth place while also earning a bonus point for the fastest lap.
Reflecting on the demanding race, Verstappen expressed the challenges faced on the treacherous track. “That was a real Monaco,” he said. “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.”
Verstappen’s victory marked his fourth win of the season, his second in Monaco, and the 39th of his remarkable career. However, his teammate and closest title rival, Sergio Perez, faced a difficult race. After starting in last position due to a qualifying crash, Perez finished two laps down in 16th place.
The race also saw Mercedes’ George Russell secure fifth place, while local hero Charles Leclerc finished sixth for Ferrari. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Lando Norris, and Verstappen’s teammate, Oscar Piastri, completed the points positions.
The race dynamics shifted as rain began to pour, prompting drivers to skillfully navigate the slippery circuit and make crucial pit stops. Verstappen’s strategic decision to delay his pit stop to coincide with the rain proved advantageous, while Alonso’s strategy faltered as he had to pit twice for different tire compounds, losing a potential chance to challenge for the lead.
Speaking about his race, Alonso praised Verstappen’s performance and acknowledged the difficulties presented by the weather conditions. “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 made things a bit complicated out there,” said Alonso. He further commended the drivers for their impressive control on the challenging circuit, stating, “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 finish of the season, his Aston Martin teammate, Lance Stroll, encountered a series of clashes with rivals and retired from the race. The only other non-finisher was Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, with his teammate Nico Hulkenberg finishing in 17th place and incurring a five-second penalty for causing a collision with Williams’ Logan Sargeant.
Sargeant demonstrated the possibility of overtaking on the renowned street circuit by allowing several drivers to pass him. Perez’s race was also marred by five pit stops, ultimately leading to him being lapped by Verstappen well before the halfway point.
With his commanding performance in Monaco, Verstappen solidified his position as a frontrunner in the championship battle, while Red Bull continued their impressive winning streak. As the Formula One season unfolds, fans eagerly anticipate the next race, curious to see if Verstappen can maintain his momentum and reign supreme on the global stage of motorsport.
(With inputs from Reuters)