Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2023

Verstappen survives sudden rain shower to win eventful Monaco Grand Prix

2023 Monaco Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen led the Monaco Grand Prix from start to finish to win ahead of Fernando Alonso despite a sudden rain shower throwing the race into chaos.

The championship leader claimed his fourth win of the season half a minute ahead of Alonso with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon taking third. The downpour forced all drivers into the pits for intermediate or wet weather tyres in the later stages, but 18 of the 20 starters reached the chequered flag.

Pole winner Verstappen lined up on the grid on medium tyres with Alonso alongside him opting to start on the hard rubber. When the five lights disappeared from the gantry, Verstappen held the lead into Sainte Devote as Alonso tucked in behind him to retain second place. The top ten drivers all ended the first lap where they started as Sergio Perez pitted from the rear of the field to fit on the hard tyres for the rest of the race.

Verstappen began to gradually build an early gap on his faster tyres, but Alonso maintained a margin of a few seconds to the leader as the pair quickly pulled away from Ocon in third. Behind, Carlos Sainz Jnr was trying to put pressure on the Alpine driver and out-braked himself into the harbour chicane, clipping the rear of Ocon’s car and damaging the endplate of his front wing. Ocon’s car appeared undamaged and Sainz was able to continue as the endplate broke free, though he was shown a black-and-white warning flag by the stewards for the contact.

On lap 13, Alonso reported a possible puncture on his car and dropped over a second to the leader on a single lap. However, the team determined that Alonso’s tyres were showing as normal on their data and he resumed his pursuit of the leader.

Verstappen began to stretch his legs out front and pull out his margin over the Aston Martin, with his advantage growing to over 10 seconds. Verstappen eventually hit traffic with a train of cars held up behind Nyck de Vries’ AlphaTauri, allowing Alonso to close at a rate of around a second a lap on the race leader. Eventually Verstappen cleared the traffic to achieve clean air, allowing him to begin to build up the gap once more.

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Gallery: 2023 Monaco Grand Prix in pictures
By lap 50, Verstappen still had not pitted to switch from his medium tyres. But then a sudden rain shower threw the race into chaos. The middle sector became very slick very quickly, with drivers losing considerable grip and speed. Eventually some began to pit for intermediate tyres, though Aston Martin initially chose to pit for mediums on Alonso’s car. The rain increased in intensity almost immediately, forcing Alonso to return to the pits for intermediates.

Red Bull brought Verstappen in for intermediates after he touched the wall at Portier, and he rejoined with a comfortable lead over Alonso. Despite various incidents with drivers running off track, kissing the barriers or making minor contact with other rivals, not a single Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car intervention was needed.

The rain eventually eased, allowing drivers to find their rhythm again in the slippery track. Verstappen continued to pull out his margin out front over Alonso, who remained in second despite his extra stop. Ocon also held onto third place, around 10 seconds behind the Aston Martin.

Vertappen remained on his intermediate tyres over the remaining laps and took the chequered flag at the end of the 78th lap. Alonso was just under half a minute behind at the end of the race, with Ocon taking the final podium position in third. The two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fourth and fifth, despite Russell having a five send post-race time penalty for an unsafe rejoin after he ran off track at Mirabeau in the rain, and was hit by Perez.

Charles Leclerc finished in fifth ahead of Pierre Gasly seventh and Sainz eighth in the second Ferrari. The two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri claimed the final points in ninth and tenth.

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix reaction

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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75 comments on “Verstappen survives sudden rain shower to win eventful Monaco Grand Prix”

  1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    28th May 2023, 16:12

    Perez and Sainz might have just done their worst performances of their F1 careers.
    Perez wasn’t able to do anything to threaten the points, despite the fact that the rain,the x factor, arrived. He wrecked his front wing in Magnussen’s rear and didn’t seem that racy overall(bar an attempt on Stroll).

    Sainz on the other hand,did a really lame overtaking attempt on Ocon, broke his endplate, seemed way irritated when Ferrari did the correct thing and covered him from getting undercut by Hamilton, stayed out in the wet conditions and lost control of the car, plus track position over his teammate.

    1. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      28th May 2023, 16:15

      Forgot to mention the unforced error by Perez during Q1 yesterday and the crash in the swimming pool during the intermediate phase

    2. Sainz has never bin good and it’s not his worst performance just another one to the collection of him not being good enough

      1. Unfortunately I have to agree. Needs to luck into a WDC since I do not see him making it happen himself.

        1. I don’t even think he has what it takes to luck into a championship, I’m pretty sure ricciardo at peak was better and he could’ve done a button 2009.

    3. Yes, this will end the Perez hype-train.

      1. BW (@deliberator)
        29th May 2023, 5:27

        Unfortunately, I don’t think anything will end the Perez hype-train. Die-hard supporters will never accept the reality. He is a good driver, but simply just not a great one.

  2. Rain shouldn’t have affected the race based on probability percentages, but that still happened eventually – at least temporarily more excitement. The east portion, especially, was quite chaotic for several laps.
    Nothing really went right for Sainz, Perez, Sargeant, Stroll, or Magnussen.

  3. What this race showed beyond doubt is that it is still possible to race in the rain. There were a few drivers who outbraked themselves, but no big accidents and no need for the race to be interrupted. If they can do it at Monaco, they can do it anywhere.

    This race should be remembered whenever there is the instinct to deploy a safety car or throw a red flag at the merest hint of rain. No doubt if those had been the conditions at the start, we wouldn’t have got going – but today shows that such caution isn’t necessary.

    1. @red-andy I believe Lewis questioned the danger of the conditions at one point. Not politicking of course, just looking out for everyone. :-)

      1. @bernasaurus Anyone saying it’s too wet to race while on intermediate tyres should be gently reminded that wets are available, rather than being listened to.

        1. I agree, was good to see they let them race, however I have a concern regarding the full wets: it looked like at a point intermediates might’ve been a risky choice and full wets the safer option, but the 3 drivers who tried wets to me didn’t seem to do anything special in terms of lap times, so were the conditions never suited to full wets or are the drivers right that this generation of full wets is terrible?

    2. Avg speeds at Monaco are low, speeds at the wettest part of the track is close to achievable with a Formula-E car.
      That means the visibility was no problem today, but on certain tracks this issue is worse than the grip or risk of aquaplaning. The issue with the full wet tires isn’t that you don’t have grip, it’s that you can’t see anything at all at high speed parts of the track.

    3. To me it only showed that in Monaco, and limited rain, it was possible to let them race. Doesn’t tell me anything about other circuits where the speeds are much higher, or when the rain is much more intense.

  4. What a blunder from AM pitting Alonso for slicks. They would had won it.

    1. @spafrancorchamps Alonso had no say? It seemed a mistake at the time.

      1. +1 I was sure they’d played it perfectly. Other cars had already pitted for inters so why on earth did they put slicks on! They threw that win away! Put the inters on and Alonso had a 10 ish second lead over Verstappen.

        1. I think it’s one of those they’d have looked like heroes if it had paid off. The fact he was back in within a lap without the weather changing all that dramatically shows there was probably enough data for them to know not to try it.

        2. 10 seconds lead? Fernando was 9 seconds behind I believe, and I don’t see him gaining 19 seconds on max in a single lap, with only a few wet turns. Even if Fernando gained 6-8 seconds in his out lap, that would not be enough to pass Max. AM should have waited until Max either boxed or crashed, or until the track situation went definitive in one direction. The Mediums of Verstappen probably were in a worse state than the hards on Fernando’s, so he had more time to wait than Max.

          1. When Max pitted, the difference was 20 seconds between them. So yes, taking into account how wet it was at that point, had Alonso had had inters the gap would had been smaller and he would had been in front of Max after his pitstop.

          2. You need to rewatch those 2 laps with a close eye on the timing screens: it’s true alonso was 9 sec behind before, but he pitted twice and verstappen only once and the gap was around 22 sec after they were done pitting, so the fact alonso only lost 13 sec despite an extra stop gives me the idea he gained 7 sec or more in the lap where he had new slick tyres compared to verstappen’s old slick tyres.

    2. Never, Alonso did amazing. Even with the wrong pit stop. But a change of a win was never there

    3. @spafrancorchamps i m quite positive, alonso is asked. also the team saw everyone pitting for internerns, why on earth they decided to do some magic is beyond anyone’s guess. i think some teams caught up on their own fake games of deception by over believing or oversighting of the rain situation. oh it is only minor, oh it s only in last sec, oh its only for short while…

    4. People simply look at the lap time and say Alonso could’ve won it, but doesn’t count on the fact that things doesn’t happen in isolation. Yes, simply looking at the lap time, you can say that if Alonso was on inters, he would’ve been ahead, but the thing is that Max and Redbull would react differently depending on what Alonso was doing. I think during an interview with Horner, he said that once they know Alonso pit for slicks, they told Max to basically drive slowly and not taking any risk because they know that Alonso would need to pit again for inters.

  5. Fernando is moving up the podium :)
    Best part of the race.

    1. Oh – Major Grats to Ocon of course :)

  6. Event full you must be joking. Something happened for around 4 min of a 2 hour race and you call it event full. Are you freaking serious. Monaco needs to go and it can’t happen fast enough evrey year its boring evrey single year. And the media is trying to make it a sensetion. Another site even wrote torrential Rain it raind for 5 min and it barley raind. Now stop it do a better job and call it as it is a boring race on a track that should not exist on the calendar.

    1. It’s Monaco. What did you expect? Temper your expectations. If you did you would have actually enjoyed that race because it was genuinely good. Lighten up for goodness sake.

    2. We obviously look for different things in a GP.
      I find races where drivers have to try as hard as thay can to make a pass, where they look to be as close to the barrier without hitting it, where every little mistake is costly far, far more interesting than races where a driver simply goes around another car with DRS. Those races I find boring. I see nothing interesting in 20 passes per race where the driver beeing overtaken has no chance to defend.
      Monaco is the soul of F1, and a track where the very best of the best drivers show their worth.

    3. I enjoyed quali and the race more than most of the races we’ve seen so far this year. I’d take today’s race over a DRS-fest every time.

    4. Long live Monaco GP, long live F1. Don’t worry, you’ll have many exciting new races to enjoy, like Miami, Vegas, Qatar, Saudi, who knows, maybe Vietnam some day… So many of that, and you can’t endure one Monaco race, a race I really enjoy (and many of us do). It’s different, don’t seek the same kind of excitement. Is it about overtakes? I’d rather have them zero than hundreds of DRS overtakes. At least they are real, when they happen.

      1. + 1 Sup obviously knows nothing about F1. It was a really interesting race.

    5. Monaco is not the track with the best wheel to wheel racing, true, but for strategists it’s often eventful.
      I can understand that you can’t appreciate this, but then maybe you shouldn’t be watching F1 in Monaco.
      Monaco is also the track where the downforce needs are such that some compromises need to be made, which means that the spread op design options for the cars is kept wider

    6. @sup – I’m puzzled as to why you even watch F1. Can you explain?

    7. I found it quite gripping actually especially with the threat of rain that I genuinely didn’t think would actually happen, but then it did. For Monaco it was a pretty good race and a good weekend all in including the superlative quali. Gutted Alonso didn’t just go on to inters as it could have given us more of a real fight for first but Verstappen had this one to lose really.

    8. If you don’t like Monaco, you’ve got no business watching F1.

    9. I can’t believe (or perhaps I reluctantly can) how many see everything so black and white. With the OP adamant the circuit has no place on the calendar, and some responders going as far as to question the OP’s fitness to be an F1 fan.

      Is there really no room for middle ground nowadays. If you don’t like Monaco, fine. But why not merely say so whilst accepting that others may disagree. Perhaps consider skipping that round if it irks you so.

      Equally, if you love Monaco, then it’s one thing showing support, but it’s quite another to ostracize someone for having a different point of view.

      I confess that I fall into the “Love It” camp, and really enjoyed the race. Of course I also love races with more overtaking, but nowhere else do you get such a sense of the extreme concentration and skill required to negotiate the course, and the consequences of any errors.

      1. I am not in the “absolute love it” camp, but I wholeheartedly agree with your comment. As an F1 fan I do like all the races. Some more then others, but all enough to wake up at odd hours (west coast US) to watch.

  7. A few thoughts, VES great drive, Perez is worse than Bottas 2.0, Alonso/Ocon great drive and Lewis good job for 4th

    Ferrari don’t have the car or the drivers to take them forward. They had zero pace in the dry and wet.

    Russell is also becoming the most annoying driver in F1, got lucky with the rain, then fumbled being in P3, blew his inters chasing Lewis and these had the cheek to ask the team to swap positions with Lewis. It was good he finished 16 seconds behind in 5th, Inc the penalty

    1. VES? Who is that

  8. First race I didn’t watch, went to the beach instead. I really don’t feel i missed out after reading this

    1. You missed nothing @broke1984

      Even the rain made little, if any, difference :/

      1. Would need rain like monaco 1997 and as it was back then for all the race to really spice things up here and I doubt they’d have let them race in that case, I was already surprised they didn’t red flag or SC at some point in this case.

      2. He missed a lot: masterclass by Max in tire preservation, 50 laps on mediums. He missed Ocon driving a stellar race, several times really under pressure, staying perfect and score a well deserved podium. He missed Sainz and Russel making mistakes that cost them positions. He missed Hamilton driving a steady race to fourth place. Piastri and Norris scour for a double top 10 for McLaren. The heartbreak for Yuki who faded at the end due to bad brakes.

        If that all is nothing then I don’t know what you expect more from a race in Monaco.

  9. GOATstappen

  10. Coventry Climax
    28th May 2023, 17:32

    It’s been asked here before, but how come back when Hamilton won under such conditions it was consistently described as ‘brilliant’, while Verstappen merely ‘survives’, or just happens to have a faster car?
    I’d say Verstappen and Red Bull mastered the conditions rather well today, nothing less.

    I’m not a Verstappen fan, or a Hamilton fan, for that matter. Just saying this site’s views appear to be skewed.
    Stay true to your words please: Independent Motorsports Coverage.

    1. Had it been 2014’s Merc then yeah Hamilton would have survived too. The Red Bull car is just too good so Verstappen’s performances have a question mark on them just like Schumacher on the Ferrari.

      1. Itsmeagain (@)
        28th May 2023, 19:25

        ?? So if it suits you, its lewis, otherwise it’s the car (and with a *) Yeah very logical. If MB didn’t had that illegal tyretest in 2013, than….. So Lewis must have a lot of asterixs according to your argumentation

        1. Absolutely right itsmeagain!

    2. I think it is a crying shame that Max doesn’t have any close competition.
      I consider him to be a fine racing driver, but the way RB are totally dominant is going to make people view him as lucky rather than great.

      1. people view him as lucky rather than great

        Don’t think so, hope not! I’m not even a fan (yet), but VER is already a great driver in my opinion. Even the path from the agressive and filled with mistakes racing style to a calm and almost mistake-free style is proof of a big change in the right direction, trait of a great driver.

      2. What lucky? He won 10 races before 2021 messing with “adults” since eighteen (Spain 2016, first win).

        1. @Jogo spain 2016 is the definition of lucky all thanx to rosberg’s attitude. the rest also have very much similar story, and he has not been punished enough or lets say spared for far too long as a “spoilt brat” for some of the worst and most disgusting driving attitudes of very few people in f1. and he is the most lucky person to be on a team with adrian newey and honda (after mclaren somehow they solved the problems with the car). I m quite sure adrian is behind many rule change pushes on red bull to find mercedes’ many weaknesses to slow them down or destabilize their endurance. many changes were introduced in mercedes era to not speed up others but to slow down mercedes. and who thought the aero era will be great when almost entire aero era was won by redbulls! great thoughts to balance the field! not!

          so no, he won mostly like 90% mostly on luck out of others’ misfortunes/circumstances!

          could he win his first wdc without luck and hand of massi’s massive interventions or no punishments that had no precedence before. like monza 21, brazil 21, saudi 21, abu dhabi 21!

          he is the luckiest driver to be not banned or severely punished for involving in some of the worst driving incidents!

          ham got a 20 sec penalty in spa 08, for a rule didnt exist until after the penalty given in the most stereotypical ways. worst yet he has given the position back already. in mexico 16, max got a 5 sec, a position he didnt give up despite being told!

          max never raced alongside a multiple wdc teammate, nor in similar machinery. he has only shined now when adrian sorted the car and honda fixed the engines. so yeah he got very lucky to be on an adrian car in an aero era with a fixed honda engine!

          1. Obviously you did not watch Suzuka 2005

          2. Finally someone said it all. I created an acc just to agree with you. VER should have been severely reprimanded and penalised in 2021 – the last 3 or 4 races were a complete farce, not just the Abu Dhabi disgrace.

            And for the people that will say “get over it” – I did, but mostly by dropping my general interest in F1 from avid watcher (where I’d not plan anything for F1 weekends) to just seeing highlights or browsing articles in here after I did something more rewarding with my free days.
            In other words, I keep loosely in touch, but very disconnected. It’s not really a sport with integrity.

            Also, im not pro-HAM, more anti-VER. I’d be happy to see any other driver win, especially ALO & LEC.

          3. Itsmeagain (@)
            29th May 2023, 17:24

            @ mysticus I think you are not the most objective fan here, reading your opinion. And that’s an understatement. Great monologue with questioning only those point/opinions which suit you the best. But the part that Newey is behind the many rulechanges to stop the beloved MB team is hilarious. MB’s Wolff is well known of his midseason influencing for new TD’s. The list of his insinuations about the RB car is immense, and british media is picking those things up like ….. Verstappen the luckiest driver and 90% of his wins a luck from circumstances? Wow,… the Dunning Kruger effect did his job I read. Funny, It seems that fans of the most luckiest driver, Lewis, ever keep on twisting facts. For example: F1 has become boring according many since Lewis began to loose. Since 2014, when MB started their dominance, it was already boring. And therefore it was RB and Ferrari. It only shows the typical fan behavior when their beloved driver isn’t winning anymore. And that’s logical cuze as a lewis fan those ten years every race was exiting, even when he dominated the field (and the race was boring as he…) like Max now does. It’s perspective, nothing more. Another example: As teamorders from RB were suddenly a thing, and so early in the year…. While the year before that MB gave Bottas a teamorder in race 4 of 2021! You see,.. it’s matter of perspective. And about the reprimandes you missed for Max? I mis them too. For instance that Lewis crossed the tracklimit 29 times in race one 2021. His murder-attempt on Silverstone, which you probably call a racing incident, or Max mistake. No I’m not even a Max fan but I simply can’t stand hypocrisy.

          4. @itsme I agree with what you say. You can acknowledge his talent and don’t like Verstappen (and there’s reason for it, I’m looking at other more measured replies here) at the same time. However: if I understand correctly from their post, you can’t blame @mysticus for the poor quality of that reply, it’s their keyboard that’s doing all the work.

        2. Yes, verstappen was already impressive before getting a dominant car, in fact most of the races verstappen won before 2021 were exciting cause they were surprising, it’s just nowadays that it gets boring as it’s expected, but it’s the same with hamilton in the dominant era.

      3. Verstappen is a fantastic driver, fast, makes few mistakes, but as a racer, when pushed (by Hamilton only it seems) he took on a really rule breaking style of racing that wasn’t remotely fair or enjoyable to watch. I’d definitely love to see him pushed again to see if that was just youthful misadventure or to see if he really is just quite a dirty competitor when push comes to shove.

        1. Coventry Climax
          29th May 2023, 15:47

          Couldn’t disagree more. In fact, I’ve seen a couple of things by Mercedes and by both of their drivers, that could very well make me dislike them. But gentleman-style racing hasn’t been seen for well over forty years now, so I don’t expect it to return.

      4. Coventry Climax
        29th May 2023, 15:40

        I consider him to be a fine racing driver, but the way RB are totally dominant is going to make people view him as lucky rather than great.

        And that is exactly what I’m saying: Tell me why it is that Hamilton is considered ‘great’ instead of lucky while having had the ultimate dominant car during most, if not all, his WDC’s. And then someone from another nationality comes along and it’s suddenly the other way round? Shoot me.

    3. Because LH does not need to bounce of the walls?

    4. Not sure whether that is a realistic target for a UK based team behind this site. It has all been pretty biased since Lewis stopped winning. But I don’t remember a statement being made on this site they would be independent/neutral so it is just an element to factor in when reading. Its sometimes quite entertaining what they come up with to twist stories or headlines.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th May 2023, 15:52

        But I don’t remember a statement being made on this site they would be independent/neutral

        Look again at the most top left part of this site -any page- next time. It’s right beneath the logo.

        It never used to mean that, but these days, it would seem that ‘independent’ solely means ‘without sponsorship’.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th May 2023, 15:35

        Wow, you found one (1) !

    5. Well he did hit the wall twice in the race and 3 times in qualifying so not really a masterclass performance. Maybe take off those orange tinted spectacles. That being said his qualifying lap was very exciting to watch and he drove very well before the rain came down.

      1. Itsmeagain (@)
        29th May 2023, 17:52

        In a British bubble every other opinion seems weird for some I see

  11. Max’s 55 lap stint on the mediums gave him the win. Pirelli said those mediums were only good for 40 laps. If Max couldn’t do that stint and had to pit before, Alonso would’ve won with a one stop Hard-Inter strategy.

    1. Yes, these kind of wins are often underappreciated since the majority of viewers do not understand what it takes. And he has had more of such victories. The teams know it, only a percentage of the audience recognises it. Same was for Lewis during the Mercedes domination. There were quite some races they wouldnt have won if not for him driving that car. Both drivers ability to deliver consistently consistent lap times, working on an overall plan rather than fighting the particular single lap they are in. Nursing car and tires. Underappreciated

      1. Thank you, finally someone who understands racing.

      2. Yes, I remember he made tyres last a long time, even some very long stints on supersofts before the simplification of the tyre compounds.

  12. Just an awesome race.
    Great performance from the top 3.

  13. Boring as usual except for rain. Somw of the cars like redbull sounded like they had traction control from onboard during the wet.

  14. Itsmeagain (@)
    29th May 2023, 18:00

    That’s not traction controle but engine mapping. But if you are not convinced maybe it’s a good suggestion for Wolff (after accusing RB of using illegal floors)

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