Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix

Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix

A late-afternoon deluge on the French Riviera added a little jeopardy to the final stages of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, but not enough to halt Max Verstappen's fourth win of the season.

May 30, 2023

Despite a wet track causing spins and crashes, the world's best drivers kept enough control to avoid any safety car interventions, and the final podium order was how they started, with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon taking Monte Carlo silverware.

Monaco's usual procession-like racing did hinder most of the grand prix, as the top positions couldn't find any way past each other, even with a mixture of hard and medium Pirelli tyres throughout the grid. The 2.1-mile course still looks out of place in modern Formula One, but a change in broadcaster for 2023 at least meant the coverage improved this year.

Verstappen led every lap of the race, stretching a lead from the chasing Aston Martin of Alonso, whose best chance of his first win in a decade was off the line. It wasn't to be for the Spaniard, and Verstappen edged ahead at Turn 1 to run a mostly-lonely race aside from lapping the backmarkers, including his teammate and championship rival Sergio Perez.

Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix

Alonso rolled the dice when the rain fell in the race's final act, switching to medium-compound tyres irrespective of the worsening conditions. Had the downpour only lasted briefly, it could've been an inspired choice, but he soon returned to the pits to get a set of intermediates for the final 23 laps. However, Alonso's advantage over the chasing pack meant this double stop didn't cost him his first P2 trophy in 2023, finishing nine seconds ahead of Ocon behind.

The much-discussed European upgrade developments for Mercedes didn't result in a season-changing package to vault the Silver Arrows up to challenge Red Bull — at least not in Monaco. Nonetheless, Lewis Hamilton seemed happier over the weekend, even after an FP3 crash and finishing behind an Aston Martin and Alpine in P4 in qualifying and the race. 

Get in touch with our team today

To find out more about our comprehensive range of services, or to book your vehicle in, contact our friendly team of experts today.

Contact us
Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix

George Russell was one of the many drivers sliding off the track in the later stages but avoided damage to continue on to reach the chequered flag. His tyre conservation on Pirelli's hardest compound had let him jump up to P3 as others around him pitted before the rain hit.

Yet, the Brit will rue a costly error at Mirabeau when he lost traction on the intermediate rubber to slide into the runoff area, losing track position and the possibility of his first podium in the principality. Compounding Russell's pain, his rejoin had him in the path of the already-suffering Perez, who T-boned the Mercedes, and the stewards handed out a five-second penalty to the Brit.

Perez had begun the race from last after a crash in Q1 at the circuit where overtaking is nearly impossible to ruin his chance of fulfilling his street circuit specialist reputation. Instead, he spent his Sunday battling with the likes of Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll in the lower positions, breaking his front wing in one of several ill-fated overtake attempts. The Mexican's lack of points from Monaco means he drops some 39 points behind Verstappen in the championship fight.

Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix

The Ferrari duo didn't suffer the embarrassment of any pit stop suffering in Monaco this year. Still, the Scuderia had a race to forget in a season that is rapidly slipping through their fingers to salvage. Charles Leclerc's P3 qualification turned into a P6 start after a penalty for impeding Lando Norris in qualifying, ending his shot at hometown glory. Seeing how little defending Ocon had to do to claim his P3 finish suggests Leclerc might've enjoyed the same success had his team better informed him of the incoming McLaren during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session.

Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz had an even more dramatic spin than Russell in the wet on dry tyres at the same scene as the Mercedes driver and was lucky his sideways slide didn't end his race. It did, however, end his silverware ambitions, as the time lost on the wrong tyres while his rivals had already swapped to intermediates had him tumble to P8.

Any hopes of a challenge to the 2023 Verstappen supremacy might need to wait, with the Spanish GP coming up this weekend. The Dutch driver won his first F1 race here on his Red Bull debut in 2016 and has taken a top-three finish at the past five Barcelona rounds, including last year's win. It could be a very Verstappen European summer in F1 this year.

Rain affects second successive Monaco Grand Prix