Verstappen dominates in Monaco

Monaco once again produced thrills in qualifying and a rain-hit race

Despite Fernando Alonso’s valiant efforts, Max Verstappen dominated Monaco amid tricky conditions and added yet another victory to his name. It’s Verstappen’s second win at Monaco and his 39th for Red Bull, crowning him as the most triumphant Red Bull driver after overtaking Sebastian Vettel’s record. 

In what had been a relatively drama-free Grand Prix, chaos ensued in the final third of the race when rain began, ramping up the excitement and offering the ultimate test of skill on an already challenging circuit. While many drivers slid and struggled for grip, not even 55-lap old medium tyres or a graze with the wall at Portier en route to the pits could put an end to Verstappen's victory charge. 

Only Alonso looked likely to rival Verstappen’s lead until the Spaniard’s pit for medium tyres during the rain put a 20-second gap between the two. Fans have been left to wonder what might’ve been if Alonso had pitted for intermediate tyres on lap 55 instead of opting for mediums. 

Verstappen ultimately finished 27.921 seconds ahead of Alonso in the race, but the qualifying margin was significantly slimmer. Only two tenths of a second separated the top four drivers in what was a hair-raising head-to-head. Alonso narrowly missed out on pole; just 0.084 seconds separated him from Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc close behind and a sensational lap from Esteban Ocon placing him on pole for a few astounding moments. 

The levels of commitment and precision displayed from all four drivers delivered a remarkable qualifying session which will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the 2023 season. 

Despite Red Bull’s race domination, when it comes to qualifying averages, Alonso tops the leaderboard with an average position of 3.67. Leclerc is close behind on 3.83, with Sainz averaging 4.33 and Verstappen on 4.83 as a result of his 15th place in Saudi Arabia. 

Having scored five podiums and the best qualifying average out of all drivers so far this season, it’s surely only a matter of time before Alonso achieves his first win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. With this weekend’s race taking place at his home Grand Prix, there doesn’t seem a more fitting time to end his decade-long wait.


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