Monaco GP 2023
MAY 28, 2023
Race Notes - Verstappen wins in Monaco
By Mark Karp
Max Verstappen won the dry-wet-drying Monaco Grand Prix in his Red Bull-Honda, 27.921 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin-Mercedes. Esteban Ocon in the Alpine-Renault finished third, 36.990 seconds behind the winner.
The win is Verstappen's second Monaco win and 39th career victory, passing Sebastian Vettel on the all-time list. Alonso scored his 104th podium finish, and best finish of the season. Ocon is the first Frenchman to finish on the podium since Panis won the race in 1996.
Lewis Hamilton (39.062s) in the Mercedes GP finished fourth, followed by George Russell (56.284s) in the second Mercedes in fifth, Charles Leclerc (1m01.890s) in the Ferrari in sixth, Pierre Gasly (1m02.362s), in the second Alpine in seventh, Carlos Sainz (1m03.391s) in the second Ferrarii in eighth, Lando Norris (1 lap) in the McLaren-Mercedes was ninth, and his team mate Oscar Piastri in the final points position in tenth.
Before the start, with questions about whether there will be rain later in the afternoon, Verstappen sits on pole with Alonso outside of the front row, Ocon and Sainz sit on row 2, Hamilton and Leclerc with a 3-place penalty on row 3, Gasly and Russell on row 4, and Tsunoda and Norris on row 5.
At the appointed time the field came around to the grid, the lights went off and the race began with Verstappen getting a fast start with Alonso and Ocon behind. Stroll falls back with damage.
At the end of the first lap Perez, Zhou and Hulkenberg all pit for hard tyres.
Russell did was not lined up correctly in his grid box at the start.
Hulkenberg is handed a 5-second penalty for contact with Sargeant on lap 1.
On lap 5 Verstappen has a 2.1s lead on Alonso, and 6.8s over Ocon.
At lap 10, Verstappen leads Alonso by 3.2 seconds, followed by Ocon (12.8s), Sainz (13.5s), Hamilton (16.0s), Leclerc (18.1s), Gasly (20.2s), Russell (22.2s), Tsunoda (29.8s) and Norris (27.9s) in tenth.
On lap 12 Sainz is attacking Ocon for third and damages his front wing. The team tells Sainz to stay out.
Alonso reports that he feels that he might have a puncture on a front tyre. The team reports everything is okay.
Alonso has fallen back to 6.2 seconds behind Vertstappen.
On lap 18 Magnussen passes Sargeant for 15th.
Stroll is the next to pass Sargeant, and Perez comes through as well, with Sargeant's medium tryes giving up.
On lap 19 Albon pits for hard tyres.
At lap 20 Verstappen leads Alonso by 8.7 seconds, followed by Ocon (25.0s), Sainz (26.1s), Hamilton (28.6s), Leclerc (29.4s), Gasly (31.4s), Russell (33.8s), Tsunoda (41.6s) and Norris (47.1s) in tenth place.
Stroll is challenging Magnussen for 14th place.
On lap 25 Sargeant makes a second pit stop.
Verstappen is complaining to the team of front tyre graining. Verstappen is approaching the traffic of cars about to be lapped.
At lap 30 Verstappen leads Alonso by 8.5 seconds, followed by Ocon (26.3s), Sainz (28.2s), Hamilton (31.4s), Leclerc (32.3s), Gasly (34.0s), Russell (35.1s), Tsunoda (55.0s) and Norris (59.9s) in tenth place.
On lap 32 Hamilton pits for hard tyres and rejoins eighth.
On lap 33 Ocon pits from third for hard tyres and rejoins in seventh.
Perez trys to follow
On lap 34 Sainz pits for medium tyres and rejoins in seventh behind Ocon.
On lap Perez hits the back of Magnussen and causes damage to his front wing - Perez pits and changes the front wing.
Sainz is upset on the radio that they were not able to get ahead of Ocon on the stop. The team tells him they timed it to cover Hamilton.
At lap 40 Verstappen leads Alonso by 9.2 seconds, followed by Leclerc (27.9s), Gasly (30.0s), Russell (32/1s), Ocon (38.6s), Sainz (41.7s), Hamilton (43.7s), Tsunoda (58.6s) and Norris (1m04.2s) in tenth.
Russell is complaining that Gasly is holding him up.
On lap 45 Leclerc pits from third for medium tyres and rejoins eighth behind Hamilton.
On lap 48 Gasly pits for medium tyres and rejoins in eighth.
At lap 50 Verstappen leads Alonso by 8.8 seconds, followed by Russell (27.3s), Ocon (39.0s), Sainz (40.5s), Hamilton (43.1s), Leclerc (48.4s), Gasly (50.2s), Tsunoda (1m09.1s) and Norris in tenth.
There are reports of drops on rain in the hairpin.
On lap 52 Norris pits and rejoins 11th.
There continues to be sporadic reports of drops of rain.
Rain seems to be falling harder.
On lap 53 Stoll pits for intermediate tyres.
Everyone is backing up trying to stay on the road in portions of the track.
On lap 54 Alonso pits for medium tyress, Tsunoda pits, Russell, Ocon, Hamilton and Gasly pit.
On lap 55 Verstappen pits from the lead for intermediate Tyrees. Alonso pits for intermediate tyres. Leclerc and Sainz both pit for intermediate tyres.
Sainz goes off the track and touches to wall but continues. Stroll goes off the road and hits the wall.
The rain continues to fall and has gotten wetter.
Magnussen, still on dry tyres hits the wall, and then is able to get back to the pits.
Sargeant hits the wall but continues.
Russell is given a 5-second penalty for unsafe rejoin.
Magnussen on full wet goes down the escape road at the first turn. Perez hits the wall, continues to the pits and takes on full wet tyres.
At lap 60 Verstappen leads Alonso by 17.0s followed by Ocon (30.5s), Hamilton (32.6s), Russell (38.1s), Leclerc (45.0s), Gasly (47.3s),, Sainz (49.2s), Tsunoda (1m34.1s) and Norris (1 lap)
Hulkenberg is handed an additional 10-second penalty.
Hamilton has closed to a second behind Ocon in third place.
Norris is less than a second behind Tsunoda in ninth.
On lap 68 Norris passes Tsunoda for ninth.
The track is slowly drying and lap times have sped up by 2 seconds a lap.
Piastri passes Tsunoda into the first corner, and then later in the lap Tsunoda goes off and slowly rejoins.
At lap 70 Verstappen leads Alonso by 24.4 seconds, followed by Ocon (41.3s), Hamilton (43.6s), Russell (45.9s), Leclerc (57.4s), Gasly (59.5s), Sainz (1m00.4s), Norris (1 lap), and Piastri in tenth place.
Verstappen brushes a wall but continues.
On lap 73 Perez pits for another set of intermediate wet tyres.
Verstappen takes the checked flag with Alonso and Ocon following.