Verstappen produces a Monaco masterclass to win from Alonso and Ocon

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Intriguingly, Alonso, Sainz, Leclerc, Gasly and Russell in the top 10 all chose hards for the start with rain a possibility. Verstappen, Ocon, Hamilton, Tsunoda and Norris selected mediums.

Zhou Guanyu elected for the soft tyre to start with, while the others in the second half of the field had a mix of mediums and hards.

The top 13 all stayed in position on the opening lap, but behind them it got messy.

Hülkenberg had a lunge into Mirabeau on Sargeant, but he was out of control and locked up both fronts while trying to do so. The German was forced to pit and also got hit with a 5-second penalty on lap 5 for the incident.

In a separate bit of contact, Lance Stroll went into Alex Albon and was lucky not to pick up race-ending damage. The field backed up in the hairpin and the Canadian failed to fully realise it.

Sergio Perez and Zhou Guanyu both boxed at the end of the opening lap to switch to hards after starting on mediums and softs respectively. It gave the Mexican clear air in P18.

The Red Bull driver was rapid, until he ended up catching the back of the main midfield pack.

On lap 11, Sainz started to apply a lot of pressure on Esteban Ocon and tried a move into the Nouvelle chicane. However, he got it wrong and touched the back of the Frenchman. The Spaniard was fortunate to only lose the end fence on his front wing and could continue in P4. He received the black and white flag for driving standards, too.

Williams hit trouble on their tyres with graining as Sargeant and Albon fell off the pace horribly. The two Haas cars, Stroll and Pérez all overtook Sargeant within the space of three laps, while Albon was passed by Bottas in the hairpin.

It forced Albon and Sargeant to pit quite early and switched to hards.

Verstappen led Alonso (+11s), Ocon (+27s), Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, Gasly, Russell, Tsunoda and Norris on lap 25.

The Dutchman started to drop a lot of time as his medium tyres fell away with heavy graining. The Spaniard closed the gap to 6.5s. However, the current World Champion survived the graining phase and started to pull away again.

Strategy came into play as Hamilton, Ocon and Sainz boxed on laps 32, 33 and 34 respectively. There was no change of net positions between the three, as Sainz fumed at Ferrari about it a few laps later.

There was drama as the leader lapped backmarkers. Stroll and Pérez touched in the Nouvelle chicane and the Mexican cut the corner, gaining a place off track for P15.

A couple of laps later, Pérez touched with Magnussen on the exit of that chicane, and he broke his front wing as the Haas slowed for some reason. Stroll got his place back. The Canadian then tried an optimistic move into the last corner on the Dane and contact was made. Both continued on unscathed.

Leclerc who was P3 after the stops of cars in front, pitted on lap 45. Gasly came in three laps later but remained behind the Ferrari.

Norris pitted on lap 52 but the rain then started to fall. Alonso boxed on lap 54 to switch to mediums, but that didn’t pay off as everyone was in for inters shortly after.

The rain started to come down heavier and heavier, however.

Verstappen — after surviving a brush with the barriers at Portier before he switched to inters —maintained a comfortable lead from Alonso. Behind him, things changed up somewhat. Russell, who hadn’t pitted before the rain arrived, looked to be in P3.

However, Russell made a mistake and went straight at Mirabeau. He dropped behind Ocon and his teammate. The 25-year-old also rejoined unsafely and made contact with Pérez. The Brit was handed a 5-second penalty.

Ferrari stayed out a lap too long and Sainz spun at Mirabeau in treacherous conditions but continued. However, he dropped behind Leclerc and Gasly.

Stroll’s day eventually ended as one bite too many with the barriers saw his car sustain too much damage. He hit two separate ones on the exit of the turn 6 hairpin.

Pérez had a touch with the barriers through the swimming pool as his horrible day continued. Sargeant also brought out yellow flags as he had a moment at the turn 6 hairpin.

The Haas of Kevin Magnussen stayed out way too long on the hard tyre in wet conditions and had a Schumacher moment at Mirabeau before carrying on. He then went long at turn 1 on wets as he reversed out.

Yuki Tsunoda was having a very strong race day in the dry but fell away in the inter conditions. Both McLarens passed him into turn 1 to take P9 and P10 away respectively, and he would become the latest driver to visit the run-off at Mirabeau to drop down to P15 in the end.

A bad day for Haas continued as Hülkenberg was hit with a 10-second penalty for failing to serve his 5-second penalty correctly after the contact with Sargeant.

Verstappen controlled the remainder of the race beautifully to win by almost 28s from Alonso.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Esteban Ocon held off Lewis Hamilton for 3rd to become the first French driver since Panis in 1996 to finish on the podium in Monaco, with the Mercedes driver taking the fastest lap. It’s the third podium of his career as well.

Russell, Leclerc, Gasly, Sainz, Norris and Piastri completed the points scorers.

Championship contender Sergio Pérez could only manage P16 in the end after his various adventures during the day saw him make five stops in the end. He’s now 39 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.