Max Verstappen kept Red Bull’s 2023 winning record intact by overcoming a rain shower – and the chaos that ensued – in the closing stages of the Monaco Grand Prix, leading home Aston Martin rival Fernando Alonso and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.
Verstappen made a clean getaway when the race began to maintain his pole position advantage over Alonso into the first corner, with the Red Bull opting for medium starting tyres and the Aston Martin going for hards.
But as the race developed and their one-and-only stops approached, a rain shower hit the track to turn the encounter on its head, causing a flurry of off-track excursions, brushes with the barriers and pit lane activity.
Alonso pitted while only a portion of the track was damp and initially took on mediums, but intensifying rainfall meant he was forced back in for intermediates, which the rest of the field soon clambered for as well.
Crucially, Verstappen went straight from his starting mediums to intermediates, surviving contact with the wall before pitting, getting back into a rhythm in the mixed conditions and controlling proceedings to the chequered flag.
Despite his extra stop, Alonso had enough in hand to retain second and score Aston Martin’s best result of the season so far, with Ocon taking advantage of the changing weather and subsequent pit lane rush for the final spot on the podium.
Mercedes’ updated W14s racked up a solid haul of points as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took fourth and fifth respectively, the latter’s five-second time penalty for clashing with Sergio Perez when he rejoined track from an off-track excursion in the slippery conditions not affecting his finishing position.
Home favourite Charles Leclerc crossed the line where he started in sixth, having been given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Lando Norris in qualifying, followed by the other Alpine of Pierre Gasly and Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz.
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri gave McLaren a double points finish in ninth and 10th, completing late moves on AlphaTauri rival Yuki Tsunoda, who then tumbled down the order to 15th amid a lock-up and brake complaints.
Alfa Romeo wound up 11th and 13th, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu sandwiching the other AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries, followed by Williams’ Alex Albon, the aforementioned Tsunoda and Sergio Perez, who could do no more than 16th after his qualifying crash.
Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg endured a messy race en route to 17th, having been given a five-second penalty by the stewards – for hitting Logan Sargeant on Lap 1 – that was not served correctly, resulting in an additional, 10-second sanction.
Sargeant was the final finisher, with Kevin Magnussen retiring his Haas in the closing laps after braving the wet conditions and being the last driver to ditch slick tyres, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll the other to DNF after an array of incidents.