The usual winner prevailed, but he had to endure it like he’d never experienced before. Verstappen ruled the streets of the Principality of Monaco, winning a race that could have ended in a crash. Despite having to make two straight pit stops due to the advent of rain, Alonso finished second. An inspired Esteban Ocon achieved Alpine’s first podium of the season after a disappointing start and rumors of layoffs.
The race started as expected for a Monaco Grand Prix, some minor contacts in the pack, with punctures and bits of carbon fiber flying, but no major incidents worth mentioning. Verstappen had a good start and opened up a significant gap ahead of Fernando Alonso in second position.
It was behind them where the drama began. Sainz attempted a long-distance overtaking at the tunnel exit but was unable to pass Esteban Ocon. The attempt ended in a touch that damaged the Ferrari driver’s front wing, but he didn’t need to come into the pits to replace it.
The Williams cars were left trapped further back, with Albon and Sargeant suffering the consequences. The American driver lost three spots in a single lap on a course where passing is practically difficult, while the Thai driver struggled and had to enter the pits earlier than intended to replace tyres.
The rain disrupts the plans
The race stabilized at that moment… exactly the opposite of the weather. The rain started pouring heavily around the casino area, but the track remained dry in most parts. Aston Martin took a gamble: they brought Lance Stroll in for intermediate tires since he was far behind. Alonso, a few laps later, entered the pit lane… to get new dry tires. Ultimately, it was a mistake.
Just after exiting the pits, the track was already soaked in more areas. Verstappen brushed the wall at Portier, and chaos ensued. Drivers were cutting corners, brushing against walls, and trying not to lose control on a circuit that was impractical for dry tires. Everyone had to come in to change to intermediate tyres, which appeared to be insufficient in certain areas. Everyone had to come in to change to intermediate tyres, which appeared to be insufficient in certain areas.
However, Max Verstappen was able to survive the storm and come out on top once more, scoring his fourth victory of the season. Despite the premature additional pit break, Fernando Alonso finished second, his first since 2014. In contrast, Esteban Ocon returned to the podium for the first time since his triumph in Hungary in 2021, with an outstanding effort. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with Leclerc finishing sixth. Gasly took seventh place, while Sainz finished eighth. McLaren rounded out the top ten, with Norris finishing ahead of Piastri.
Max Verstappen has a race and a half advantage
Sergio Pérez’s zero points, due to an accident in qualifying and a disastrous race, leave Verstappen with a 39-point lead over his closest pursuer. Alonso is in third position, 51 points behind the Dutchman and 12 points behind the Mexican. Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, is 24 points behind Alonso in fourth place.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull has double the points of Aston Martin, with 249 units compared to the latter’s 120. Mercedes has 119 points, while Ferrari is now down to 90. The big news is Alpine’s climb to fifth place in the Championship thanks to Esteban Ocon’s podium finish, leaving them with 35 points, 18 points ahead of their closest competitor.
For the next race, Formula 1 travels to Spain, where Fernando Alonso will resume his pursuit of the 33rd victory of his career. The Barcelona track will determine the performance of the different teams, especially Mercedes, which underwent significant changes to its car in Monaco.