Verstappen holds off Alonso to Race win in Monaco

Max B (Year 11)

Max Verstappen crossed the finish line in front of rival Fernando Alonso, upholding his winning streak, although the late race weather change could have ruined it all. 

Monaco, a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera sits beside the Mediterranean Sea. The beautiful city holds the Monaco Grand Prix once a year, the first Grand Prix being held in 1950 and has retained its place on the Formula One calendar ever since.  

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious motorsport races in the world. With a place in the motorsport triple crown contributing to this status: 

  • Indianapolis 500 
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans 
  • Monaco Grand Prix 

Only one driver has won the triple crown. Damon Hill. Winning the Indi 500 in 1966, 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972, and becoming a Monaco winner 5 times.    

Formula One arrived back in Monte Carlo for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, the teams have had a free week off since the Imola Grand Prix was cancelled due to flooding and heavy rainfall. Circuit de Monaco, a narrow low-speed track, holds 78 laps for drivers to test their street-circuit racing abilities, needing intense focus and concentration. The fastest race time set here was in 2021 with Lewis Hamilton pulling a 1:12.909.
Race Report:   

There were dark clouds looming in the Mediterranean Sea a few kilometres off track, the million-dollar yachts were parked in the bay, waves crashing against the sea wall. The crowd roared for the drivers of the 2023 F1 Grid as they lined up in formation.   

The lights lit up five along and dropped to black…  

“It’s lights out and away we go”  

Into turn one Max Verstappen held off Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin before sliding on the corner exit, lucky to not kiss the barriers with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine right on his gearbox. 

Coming into turn five, Logan Sargeant’s Williams made contact with Hulkenberg’s Haas before heading into turn six. The famous Grand Hotel Hairpin. The Aston Martin of Lance Stroll made contact with Sargeant, Stroll and Bottas, whilst barely having any speed nudging around the corner.
Lap 11. Sainz began to put the pressure on Esteban Ocon trying to force the error before late braking slid him into the back of Ocon’s tyres, losing the left side of his front wing in the process.  

Lap 17. Kevin Magnussen forced his way in front of Logan Sargeants Williams into turn five. Lance Stroll took a gamble and succeeded in pushing past Logan Sargeant into turn seventeen, La Rascasse, and he wasn’t the only one with Sergio Perez pushing through the open space to move himself up.  

Perez went for the attack on Nico Hulkenberg on lap 35, breaking too late into the corner with his wing falling underneath the Haas’ rear tyre. 

Rain clouds formed on the horizon on lap 48…  

Questions started to form about whether it would hold out until the end of the race or if we could have a rumble with the weather in Monaco.  

Lap fifty-three and the rain began to fall, the drivers now had to read the conditions better than ever – how much were they willing to risk, should they push further or back off a little… 

At lap fifty-five the drivers began to come in to change their tyres for intermediates. This brought a mix-up in standings and was positive for some and negative for others. The rain began to pour harder and harder as Carlos Sainz slid straight into the off-road at Mirabeau.  

The drivers left on the dry tyre begged the teams to swap for the intermediate tyre.   

Another lock-up caused George Russell to slide into the off-road at Mirabeau as well. It was then he spun around to return to the track as we watched Perez come around the corner to wack the side of Russell’s car, giving George Russell a five-second time penalty for an unsafe re-join.    

On lap fifty-six, many drivers changed back to the dry tyre as they were losing grip and speed on a drying circuit. 

Lando Norris in his Mclaren found a dry part of the track to brake later than Yuki Tsunoda on lap 68, gaining an extra point in P9. Following the end of the lap, the Australian Rookie Oscar Piastri overtook Tsunoda as well, bringing him into the points.  

Lap 78 and Max Verstappen took the chequered flag (waved by Tom Holland might I add), followed by Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon rounding off the podium   

4th – Lewis Hamilton 

5th – George Russell 

6th – Charles Leclerc (Monaco curse strikes again) 

7th – Pierre Gasly 

8th – Carlos Sainz 

9th – Lando Norris 

10th – Oscar Piastri 

And both Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll DNF’d due to mechanical problems.