Verstappen to a dominant victory at the wet-dry Munich roulette

Author of the article: , published on May 28, 2023.

Max Verstappen is the winner of the F1 race for the Monaco Grand Prix, in which he was not separated from the lead even by downpours in the second part of the race. The Red Bull driver celebrated the 39th victory in his career. The Spaniard Fernando Alonso also finished the race on the podium, following the Dutchman throughout the race, but he failed to prepare the attack, and he reached the finish line almost half a minute behind.

The third place was won by the Frenchman Esteban Ocon, while the Mercedes racers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, finished in the top five, who kept his place despite a five-second penalty for an unsafe return to the track.

The start passed without incident, and Max Verstappen took the lead in the first corner ahead of Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. At the end of the lap, Perez, who started the race from the last place, went into the pits to change tires and put the hardest compound tires on the car, and his tactics were also followed by Nico Hulkenberg and Guanyu Zhou.

After ten laps, Verstappen was still in the lead with a three-second advantage over Alonso, while Ocon was in third place, ten seconds behind, holding back a column of racers. The first of them, Sainz, got a bit off guard and tried to overtake the Alpine racer at the end of the eleventh lap, damaging the front wings in the process.

On the fourteenth lap, Alonso lost contact with Verstappen and asked on the radio if his front right tire might be leaking. The problem was checked by the team, but no problems were detected.

On lap thirty, the teams informed their drivers of the possibility of rain towards the end of the race, and Verstappen still led by around ten seconds ahead of Alonso, 27 seconds ahead of Ocon, and thirty seconds ahead of Sainz in fourth place, while also passing his teammate for a lap Perez, who drove in sixteenth place.

In the 32nd lap, Hamilton drove from fifth place to a stop and returned to eighth, for teammate Georg Russell, a lap later Ocon also changed tires, losing some time due to a slow stop.

In the 34th lap, Sainz also changed tires, but the Spaniard did not decide to change the damaged front wing, while in the background, Perez overtook Stroll by cutting the chicane, and then crashed into the rear of Magnussen, damaging his front wings, who is in the pits exchange at the end of the round. The commissioners did not penalize the Mexican for overtaking, as, in their opinion, he returned the place he had gained.

If the race was not tense at this stage, Sainz spiced it up by exchanging angry messages with the team, who believed that the team had made a mistake by stopping too soon.

In the 45th lap out of 78, Leclerc drove to the stop from third place, and the Monaco native returned to the track in eighth place, 10 seconds behind Hamilton.

In the 48th lap, Gasly drove from third place to change tires, and Verstappen was told from the team wall that some rain clouds were approaching the track.

With 28 laps to go, Russell, who had yet to change tires, was already reporting raindrops in the third corner, and two laps later a section of the track was already covered in a heavy downpour.

On the 55th lap, Alonso drove into the pits, putting new dry track tires on the Aston Martin, while Ocon tried to surprise his rivals with light rain tires, which were also chosen by many racers from the back. The wet track made Sainz spin. In difficult conditions, Verstappen also made a pit stop and chose light rain tires, but the stop was repeated by Alonso, who this time chose green light rain tires and managed to return to second place.

After changing tires, Verstappen was still leading ahead of Alonso, Ocon, Hamilton, Russell, Leclerc, Gasly, Sainz, Tsunoda and Piastri.

On lap 59, Perez made another pit stop from 17th place, putting heavy rain tires on the car, and stewards scrutinized a dangerous move by Russell, who after a mistake drove off the track and came back just in front of Perez, who he crashed into him, for which the Briton was penalized with a five-second penalty.

Ferrari informed Sainz on lap 62 that they expected the rain to end within two or three minutes, and the excitement in the race subsided. Verstappen led by 20 seconds over Alonso and 13 more over Ocon, with the Frenchman a good two seconds ahead of Hamilton. Sixth-placed Leclerc was six seconds behind Russell, and the Brit suggested the team swap places with Hamilton, giving the seven-time world champion enough of a lead to still finish fifth with the added time penalty.

On the 72nd lap of the race, Verstappen overtook his teammate, the closest competitor for the 2023 championship title, for the second lap and at the finish line he looked forward to the 39th victory in his career, with which he became the most successful driver in terms of the number of victories with a Red Bull car.

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