Verstappen pleased to “bring it home” in “incredibly slippery” Monaco GP: “That’s Monaco”

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Max Verstappen reigned supreme to take his second win around the streets of Monte Carlo at the 2023 Monaco GP, after rain showers late in the race posed a major threat to what was looking like a comfortable win for the Dutchman. The reigning world champion was pleased to “bring it home” despite such difficult conditions, and admitted he hit a few barriers on his way to the top spot on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Oracle Red Bull Racing

Red Bull opted to start Verstappen on the C4, medium compound tyre, whilst their closest rival for the win Fernando Alonso went in an opposite direction in his Aston Martin, starting on the hard tyres. This gave Verstappen an early advantage off the start line, as he was able to comfortably fend off any challenge from the Spaniard.

But as the race unfolded, the Dutchman started to suffer from graining on his tyres – a trend seen throughout the field during Friday’s practice sessions – and the Aston Martin started to cut away on his lead which at one point had reached over 11 seconds.

“It was quite a difficult one because we were on the medium [tyres] initially, and of course Fernando [Alonso] was on the hard tyre,” he said. “We didn’t want to go that long, but we had to. We stayed out and the rain was coming, so we didn’t know really what was going on.

“The tyres were graining, and it took a few laps to get through that graining phase, and then the pace picked up a little bit, but it was still very tricky to drive. Then it started to rain, lab by lap a bit more and a bit more, so at one point of course we had to make the call to go into the inters.”

Teams had been watching the weather radar throughout the afternoon, and as the race reached two thirds of its distance, the rain started to increasingly fall on the streets of Monte Carlo. This led to difficult conditions for all drivers, especially those who were still on the tyres they had started the race on, like Verstappen.

On his last lap on the slick tyres, Verstappen slid off the circuit heading into Portier and touched the outside barriers a few times, but managed to recover unscathed and continued on his way to win for a fourth time in 2023. Incredibly, the two-time world champion said the hit with the wall may have helped he keep his car on track and not have a bigger shunt:

“It was incredibly slippery, [and] when you are that far in the lead, you don’t want to push too hard, but also you don’t want to lose too much time, so it’s quite difficult in that scenario. I clipped the walls a few times, and it was super difficult out there, and that’s Monaco.

“I locked the rears and I couldn’t get out of it,” he explained. “So I was just trying to control it with a bit of drifting, but luckily, in a way, the wall stopped it from sliding even more.”

The Dutchman’s latest win puts him on a career total of 39, and eclipses Sebastian Vettel as the driver that has won most races for the Milton Keynes squad. Vettel held the record at 38, equalled by Verstappen last time out in Miami.

Speaking on the importance of a win in Monaco, Verstappen outlined that it was “great” to “stay calm” to win despite such challenging conditions in the final stages:

“It’s super nice to win [in Monaco]. It’s also super nice to win it in the way we did today – with the weather and everything – to stay calm and bring it home. A lot of points for the team as well, so that’s great.”

After a terrible weekend for his team-mate and closest championship rival Sergio Perez, who had an incident-packed race and scored no points after his Q1 shunt, Verstappen now leads the drivers’ championship by 39 points, and is well on his way to secure a third world title by the end of the season.