2023 F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Top 5 conclusions
Max Verstappen registered his second F1 Monaco Grand Prix win as he overcame stiff competition on Friday and mixed conditions on Sunday to come out on top.
The race was surprisingly interesting and entertaining as rain in the second half spiced things up. It led to some teams making the right calls while others struggled to keep the cars out of the walls.
After all the drama, we ended up with Max Verstappen winning the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and Fernando Alonso coming home in second place. The third spot on the podium went to Esteban Ocon, who had a splendid weekend and gave Alpine its first podium of the season.
In a season where we've had far too many uneventful races, what were the key takeaways from a race that featured a lot of action? Well, let's take a look.
#1 Max Verstappen is just in a different league
There have been races this season where Max Verstappen's win could have been put down to the Red Bull driver having an unassailable car advantage. Even in the race in Miami where he won from P9, the only real challenge that he had to overcome was Sergio Perez.
At the 2023 F1 Monaco Grand Prix, this was not the case. After sector 2 on his flying lap yesterday, Max Verstappen was destined to finish P4 in qualifying. It was a result that would have more or less ended any challenge for a win on a track where overtaking is rare.
His stunning Sector 3 helped him secure pole position after stiff competition from three other drivers in three different cars. Even in the race, navigating his way through a wet track on slick tires and still keeping his cool was just brilliant to watch.
By doing all of this, Max Verstappen won the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, a race where many pundits had counted Red Bull out.
A Max Verstappen win is starting to become an inevitability these days as the team-driver combination is performing at a different level to everybody else.
#2 Sergio Perez proved at the 2023 F1 Monaco Grand Prix why he's not a title contender
Sergio Perez was two laps down on Max Verstappen when the chequered flag fell in the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and the architect of such a downfall was the Mexican himself. We've had six races this season and out of these six, Perez has crashed out on the very first lap in qualifying twice.
He did it in Australia and recovered to a top 10 result in a chaotic race. He crashed out in Monaco and this time around, the driver was just poor in terms of execution of the race.
The F1 Monaco Grand Prix proved to everyone that Perez is just not the driver who can challenge Verstappen for the title. These kinds of disastrous weekends are just not seen from Max, while there has been regularity of sorts from Perez when it comes to this.
Almost 40 points behind, the Mexican might have to be careful and look behind as Alonso is closing the gap to him.
#3 Alpine and Esteban Ocon answered a few important questions
In terms of overall performance, Alpine was the 5th fastest car on the grid once again at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. The car was slower than Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin.
What did, however, work for Alpine in Monaco was the spectacular qualifying pace. With a lack of overtaking on this track, Ocon and even Gasly were able to secure strong results but these results might not be on offer on tracks where it's easy to overtake.
Having said that, both Alpine and Esteban Ocon have answered a few questions this weekend. On Ocon's side, this was a weekend from heaven as the French driver outshone some of the elite drivers on the grid this weekend.
To add to this, the race acumen shown in fending off the likes of Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton is something that would come in handy if Ocon ever gets a hold of a race-winning car. A positive weekend for both the team and the driver as the podium truly changes things for the team.
#4 Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are rewriting what longevity means in F1
Fernando Alonso has exposed teammate Lance Stroll at Aston Martin in a way that would make father and team owner Lawrence Stroll very uncomfortable. If we look at Alonso's results this season, what we see is metronomic consistency with five points out of six races.
When we look at Lance, we see mediocrity if we consider the fact that he's driving the second fastest car on the grid.
Similarly, the way Lewis Hamilton performed, it was a timely reminder for anyone that doubted the ability of the legend who is getting close to 40 years of age. Beating Russell once again and climbing to P4 in the drivers' championship, Hamilton is showing that the hunger is still there as he waits for the right car to turn up.
Both Alonso and Hamilton have truly redefined what it means to have a long career in F1. The way these two have broken barriers, they've strengthened an already impressive legacy.
#5 It's the new team principal but the same old Ferrari issues
When times get tough, the tough get going! Not if you're from Ferrari, as once again, the F1 Monaco Grand Prix saw shambolic race management that felt oh-so similar to what we've grown used to by now.
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are two drivers that have been, more often than not, forced to do more than just drive the car.
Leclerc had the age-old Monaco curse strike him after qualifying. His stunning final lap was in the gutter as the Ferrari driver got a three-place grid penalty. Then in the race, as soon as we had mixed conditions and the clouds opened, it was once again Ferrari that lost out by leaving its drivers out for too long.
It's the same mess with a different leadership for Ferrari and that's something Fred Vasseur might be questioned about until the next race in Barcelona.
Ferrari could have been a contender for the win at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, but it goes back conceding even more points to Mercedes. Things need to change within the team and they need to change fast.