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Max Verstappen took his Red Bull out for a Sunday driver around the streets of Monte Carlo. The Red Bull driver dominated the Monaco GP, leading fellow two-time champion Fernando Alonso home by over 27 seconds.
F1 Monaco GP: Who Won the Race?
Max Verstappen won the 2023 F1 Monaco GP. The championship leader led every lap from pole, and just missed out on a Grand Chellem as the fastest lap went to fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon completed the podium in a race that started dry but finished under wet conditions. Sergio Perez was only 16th after a disastrous weekend.
Verstappen Leads Off the Line
The start was relatively tame, as Verstappen got off the line well and did not even need to fend off Alonso into Saint Devote. Ocon also maintained third place, ahead of Sainz and Hamilton.
Hulkenberg attempted a bold dive down the first Mirabeau, but was lucky to avoid any major contact. At the end of the first lap, Perez dove into the pits to go for the alternative strategy, switching to hards in an attempt to go the distance. The Red Bull driver was joined by Hulkenberg and Zhou.
On lap 11, Sainz closed down the gap to Ocon for third. The Spaniard went late into the brakes exiting the tunnel and ended up clipping the Alpine’s rear, damaging his front wing. Despite this, the Ferrari driver chose not to pit and continued with a damaged wing.
The usual Monaco GP procession continued without any major occurences aside from Logan Sargeant getting dropped down the order. After holding a six-car train for a few laps, the Williams rookie was overtaken in quick sucession by Magnussen, Perez, Stroll and Hulkenberg before pitting for hards.
The Monaco Procession Continues
Verstappen stretched his lead up to 12 seconds. But as degradation kicked in, the Spaniard slashed the gap by half, closing the gap down to six seconds. Ocon pitted before Sainz. Despite a slow 4.2-second pit, the Frenchman retained his spot on the podium.
Despite constantly complaining about his tyre wear, Verstappen stretched the lead back to 9 seconds. Red Bull and Aston Martin chose to stay out as the threat of rain loomed in the horizon.
Perez made contact with Stroll following a failed attempt around the outside of the Nouvelle Chicane, picking up wing damage and effectively ending any chances of scoring points.
After a few laps, the threat of rain finally materialized on lap 52. Ocon and Sainz got caught in traffic, and both had to take avoiding action into the Nouvelle chicane.
Rain Falls, Order Remains Largely Unchanged
Three laps later, rain finally soaked the circuit. Verstappen, who had already stretched his lead up to 20 seconds, finally pitted for intermediates, with Ocon leading the other stoppers.
Alonso missed out on the chance to go for an early stop and jump Verstappen, having to do a full lap on slicks instead. That was also the case for Ferrari duo Leclerc and Sainz, with the Spaniard spinning into the first Mirabeau. Luckily for Sainz, he avoided major contact and slid into one of the few runoff areas around Monaco. The spin, combined with the late stop, did cost him a few places.
Alonso rejoined in second place, ahead of Ocon. The Frenchman, meanwhile, suddenly found himself having to fend off a charging Hamilton, who had pitted earlier for inters and had thus managed to jump up to fourth place.
Stroll and Magnussen found the wall at different points. The Canadian returned to the pits, but retired with damage from back-to-back collisions at the hotel hairpin and the second Mirabeau. Magnussen hit the wall at La Rascasse and also went straight at Saint Devote, but rejoined on both occasions.
Nothing of significance happened later. Verstappen won with a comfortable 27.8-second margin from Alonso. Ocon held off Hamilton to finish third, scoring his first career podium since taking his maiden win at Hungaroring in 2021. Hamilton scored the fastest lap, picking up the extra point. Russell, Leclerc, Gasly, Sainz, Norris and Piastri completed the top 10. With Perez down in 16th and well outside the points, Verstappen is now 39 ahead of his teammate in the standings.
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