MONTECARLO. After the extraordinary pole position, Max Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix in the rain. The Red Bull driver preceded Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), third Esteban Ocon (Alpine). Down from the podium were Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), George Russell (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Pierre Gasly (Alpine), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren) and Oscar Piastri (McLaren).
For Verstappen this is the 39th success in his career, less than 2 from Ayrton Senna, the second in Montecarlo. In the general classification, the Dutchman rises to 144 points, taking advantage of the zero of his teammate Sergio Perez, who is still at 105.
The race was clearly divided in two: the first, boring, respected the starting order with Verstappen controlling the race in the lead and Alonso leading the train of pursuers. The second part, fun, started on lap 52 with the rain. Chaotic moments, with overtaking and accidents (without retirements), tire changes, jumping strategies. It was above all Sainz who lost out, the protagonist of a long run that relegated him to eighth place. The Spanish rider also made a mistake on dry asphalt, hitting Ocon and breaking a front wing strip without any other complications.
The home GP for Leclerc is always cursed: the Ferrari driver lost three positions on Saturday in qualifying due to the team's fault, which did not warn him of Norris' arrival in the flying lap (the inevitable penalty that made him drop from third to sixth on the starting grid). Another opportunity went away in the race: while waiting for the rain, Leclerc postponed the tire change, but not enough: on lap 45 he made a pit stop to put on dry tyres, seven laps before the rain.
«I struggled in the end with the hard tyres, which had gone well up to a certain point - says the Monegasque -. There is a lot of work to be done on tire management. Pit stop too late when it was raining? Easy to judge a priori. We knew we were taking risks. In these cases the safety car usually comes out and therefore it is better to wait. This time there wasn't."
“In Barcelona next weekend we will bring some technical innovations that should improve the consistency of performance - explains team principal Frederic Vasseur -. The Mercedes have not been superior to us. The problem is that in Montecarlo the position on the track counts more than performance. If you have a car 3 seconds slower in front of you, you still can't overtake it».