Yesterday’s Pole Position – the first here in Monaco – of Max Verstappen made him (even more) the favourite for the Grand Prix. In the front row with him is Fernando Alonso. Charles Leclerc lost his third place due to a serious mistake by Xavi Marcos, his race engineer, causing an impedement against Lando Norris which cost him three penalty positions.
Second row, therefore which saw Esteban Ocon climb to third position and Carlos Sainz in fourth. Immediately behind them was Lewis Hamilton and then the Monegasque. Pierre Gasly, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris close the starting Top 10.
Obviously, many elements on Sergio Perez’s car were changed during the night , after the big bang in Q1 that will force him to start from last. Some elements were also substituted on Max Verstappen’s car, who took more than one risk to get pole, kissing the walls especially in S3, and so the team didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Important change also for Lance Stroll, eliminated in Q2, who however suffered damage to the floor during Qualifying.
The team said the Canadian hit a piece of debris on Lando Norris’ front wing and ruined the initial part of the floor, causing a loss of performance. In view of the tender, the bottom – a crucial part for performance – was replaced with one of the same specifications, therefore, without any penalty.
Monaco GP: Start in the dry, conclusion in the wet which enlivened the race and mixed up the grid.
Starting grid that already offers a “surprise” in the choice of tyres. No one except Zhou will start on the Soft. Average for the two Red Bulls and the two Williams, plus Ocon, Hamilton, Tsunoda, Norris, Devries and Hulkenberg. The two Ferraris, Alonso, Gasly, Russell, Piastri, Stroll, Bottas and Magnussen go on the Hard tyre. The focus is all on the weather, which gives the chance of rain during the race to shuffle the cards in Monaco.
On the first lap, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg and Zhou immediately pitted, but also Sergio Perez, amidst problems due to the clashes on the first lap and strategy, with the Mexican, to immediately unmark the mandatory stop. The former leave without problems, with Carlos Sainz grappling with Esteban Ocon. The overtaking attempt at the Nuovelle Chicane is unsuccessful, damaging the front wing – but not even replacing it during the pit, with the endplate flying off.
Most of the drivers complained of graining, even at the rear, an effect that limited the performance of some drivers in certain phases of the race, as happened for Fernando Alonso, and in particular, it was seen on Logan Sargeant, who was no longer able to check his Williams, thus being paraded by all the drivers behind him.
Mercedes kicked off the pit stops, a crucial part of the Monaco GP, recalling Lewis Hamilton on lap 32, trying the Undercut on the riders in front. However, Esteban Ocon replies first and then Carlos Sainz, thus remaining ahead of the Englishman. The Spaniard would have liked to go ahead to try to overtake the Alpine as well, but the Ferrari Box did its best in this case, reacting to the Mercedes move, not losing the position on them. Charles Leclerc tried to go even longer, waiting for the rain, but his pace dropped and on lap 46 he was called to the pits
Sergio Perez takes advantage of Verstappen’s lapping to overtake Lance Stroll, but cutting the Porto chicane. The Mexican will then have a problem, still at the same corner, with Magnussen, making contact and damaging the wing, thus forcing the Box to call him back for a second stop, with a wing change, while he was around fifteenth position.
On lap 52 the scenario changed: the rain arrived in Monaco, in the Loews and Mirabeau area, and then began to wet almost the entire track. Some drivers begin to return immediately for the Intermediates, while others take the risk of remaining out again – such as Verstappen, Alonso, Ocon, Sainz and the Mercedes, waiting to understand the evolution of the track. The Spaniard from Ferrari will try in these moments, taking advantage of the Medium against Ocon’s Hard, but the Frenchman defends himself at the harbor chicane, moving almost under braking and putting himself in the middle of the track.
Incomprehensible is the strategy of Aston Martin which, does not listen to its driver, and calls him back to the pits to fit him in the medium, but calls back to the pits immediately after for the intermediates. On the other hand, the transition to wet tires was straightforward for Max Verstappen, who has no problems staying in front and finishing the race in the lead with dominance and ease.
Transition to the Intermediates also for Mercedes and Ferrari, with the Maranello team finding itself – after choosing to wait a little longer for the pit – to pit at the same time due to a long run by Carlos Sainz right at the Mirabeau. No problems in the pit, but a lot of time wasted in general, with the Spaniard losing many positions in the standings, slipping behind the two Mercedes, his teammate and the other Alpine.
Kevin Magnussen was the last to make a pit stop, switching from Hard to Full Wet, going long at Rascasse with the Hard, then pitting and also going long with the Full Wet.Many episodes to the limit, with Sargeant along the Loews, unable to turn his car, along the ane Stroll always at the Mirabeau. Immediately followed by Russell who then returns in an unsafe way, coming into contact with Sergio Perez – lapped – but receiving a 5 second penalty for the way he rejoined the track. Big risk also for Sergio Perez at the swimming pools, with a great oversteer managing to avert the danger. Lance Stroll, on the other hand, ended up retiring, after hitting the wall at Loews twice, unable to keep the car on the track any longer, ending his race early. in the first laps in which he put on the Intermediate tyres.
The McLaren was clearly the fastest car on track throughout the final stages of the race, in the wet-mixed conditions, making the most of the intermediates and Yuki Tsunoda’s brake difficulties, to take the last two points positions.
Max Verstappen wins the Monaco GP and finishes more than 20 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso who maintains second position. Esteban Ocon defends the podium from the final attack by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. The young Mercedes driver, on the other hand, does not struggle to hold more than five seconds on Charles Leclerc, who will finish more than 10 seconds behind him, with a disappointing and slow Ferrari also in Montecarlo, especially in the wet. Carlos Sainz fails to overtake Pierre Gasly, while the two McLarens close the Top 10.
Author: Paolo D’Alessandro
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang