Max Verstappen, the Formula One champion, achieved a commanding victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading from start to finish.
This win marked his fourth triumph of the season and the 39th overall for his team, Red Bull.
With this result, Verstappen extended his lead in the championship to 39 points over his teammate, Sergio Perez.
Since his debut for Red Bull in 2016, Verstappen has exclusively won races for the team, starting with his maiden victory at the Spanish Grand Prix when he became the youngest-ever Formula One winner at the age of 18.
Now, after seven years and two world championships, the Dutch driver surpassed the team’s previous record of 38 wins held by Sebastian Vettel, who secured four consecutive titles for Red Bull from 2010 to 2013.
Verstappen expressed his elation, stating that he never anticipated being in such a position in his career, and the reality exceeded his expectations.
The second-place finish in Monaco went to veteran driver Fernando Alonso representing Aston Martin, who achieved his best result of the season and collected his fifth podium finish in six races.
Esteban Ocon, a Frenchman driving for Alpine, secured a rare podium position, taking third place.
Notably, Red Bull has triumphed in all the races so far this season.
The race in Monaco presented a challenging scenario due to its dry and narrow track, which makes overtaking incredibly difficult in Formula One.
However, the weather added another twist to the event, with heavy rain causing chaos during the final 20 laps out of 78.
Some drivers had made a wrong tire choice, opting for medium tires just before the downpour, which led to slippery conditions and drivers sliding around.
Verstappen highlighted the extreme slipperiness of the track.
Several incidents occurred as a result of the rain, including Carlos Sainz Jr. from Ferrari sliding into the barriers, Kevin Magnussen losing control of his Haas, and Lance Stroll retiring due to damage on his Aston Martin.
Red Bull’s strategic decision to switch Verstappen to intermediate tires on Lap 56 proved crucial, allowing him to navigate the challenging wet conditions and secure his second Monaco Grand Prix victory after his initial win in 2021.
Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, finished fourth and claimed the fastest lap point.
His teammate, George Russell, narrowly avoided a collision with Perez as visibility worsened and ultimately finished in fifth place.
Astonishingly, a major crash was averted during a hectic period before the rain eased off.
Fernando Alonso, who sits third in the championship standings, closed the gap to Perez to 12 points with his podium finish, while Ocon celebrated his third career podium.
Despite receiving a five-second penalty for rejoining the track unsafely, Russell managed to retain fifth place ahead of Charles Leclerc from Ferrari. Pierre Gasly from Alpine, a frustrated Sainz, and McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri completed the top 10 positions.
During qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen narrowly secured pole position, denying Alonso his first pole in 11 years.
Perez, the defending race winner, had a challenging start as he began from last place due to a crash in qualifying, and he finished 16th in the race.
The sinuous street circuit in Monaco, spanning 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles), grants a significant advantage to the pole sitter if they make a clean start, which Verstappen successfully achieved.
Alonso’s gamble to start on hard tires did not pay off, as Verstappen showcased impressive performance on the medium tires in the initial stint.
Alonso acknowledged Verstappen’s strong performance and admitted that their decision to start on hard tires did not provide the desired pace.
After 26 laps, Verstappen held a comfortable 12-second lead over Alonso, who briefly suspected a puncture but was reassured by his team that it was not the case.
Verstappen began to lose time and contemplated a pit stop for fresh tires, but his team advised against it, cautioning that he would fall behind Alonso if he did so.
Meanwhile, Perez, caught among the backmarkers, faced a tense situation, narrowly avoiding collisions with Stroll and Magnussen’s Haas.
Sainz, frustrated by Ferrari’s premature pit stop and wrong tire choice, expressed his anger over the team radio. Ferrari has a concerning reputation for making poor strategic decisions.
Earlier in the race, Sainz’s front wing made contact with Ocon’s Alpine as he attempted an overtake, resulting in a portion of the wing detaching. Sainz received a warning for the incident.
The darkening sky and heavy rain arrived after the completion of 50 laps.
Verstappen lamented the condition of his tires, necessitating him to drive cautiously due to their diminished performance.
Alonso made a pit stop a lap later to switch to medium tires.
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F1 2023 Monaco Grand Prix results
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||25|
|2||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||18|
|11||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo|
|12||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri|
|13||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo|
|16||Sergio Perez||Red Bull|
|DNF||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|