The 2023 F1 Monaco GP ended with the familiar face of Max Verstappen at the top and wily old fox Fernando Alonso tailing him to the finish. In a season that has had quite a few uneventful races, where not much has happened, Moncao was a refreshing surprise.
Having said that, while there would be a few sitting back and enjoying their accomplishments, there would be others licking their wounds. Who are they? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers in the Monaco GP.
2023 F1 Monaco GP
When we talk about Max Verstappen’s success in the last couple of years, the term that seems apt is “it’s not the car, it’s the driver”. On far too many occasions we’ve seen the Red Bull driver’s achievements belittled by putting all of it down to the car.
Will Verstappen produce the same results in a Williams? No, but it would be foolish to expect him to do that. Having said that, if all the cars are similarly paced, more often than not the driver that would come out on top would be Verstappen.
He had to work hard for his win at the 2023 Monaco GP, and in terms of the title picture, he’s already starting to stretch his legs.
We’ve questioned the qualification or ability or even proof of concept behind terming Sergio Perez as a viable championship challenger for Verstappen.
The two-year partnership before the start of the 2023 season had given clear indications that there was no competition between the two, yet quite a few pundits were excited by Perez beating Verstappen in Baku.
The 2023 Monaco GP saw Perez getting lapped twice by his teammate. To exacerbate things, all of that was the Mexican’s own doing. The last two races saw Verstappen beat Perez despite starting in P9 in Miami and then utter domination in Monaco. It might be a harsh statement to make, but Perez is not a championship contender this season.
Ocon’s qualifying lap at the 2023 Monaco GP was sensational, but what was even better was his race management. While it did appear that the French driver was truly driving within himself in the first stint, it was a strategic ploy to not let the field spread out too much.
The real indication that Ocon was just holding back came during his in-lap for his first pitstop. After trundling around doing conservative times, all of a sudden, Ocon went purple in S1 and kept his position from both Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz.
Getting a podium this season, especially since his battle with Gasly has been a stalemate so far, was a great result for the French driver.
Red Bull’s rivals
One of the unfortunate situations faced by F1 right now is that Red Bull’s rivals are just not ready to fight.
Aston Martin should have been more decisive in the Monaco GP when it started raining. Mercedes have a lot of catching up to do, while Ferrari have become the butt of all jokes in the paddock.
The Monaco GP was the opportunity to nab a win from Red Bull, but these teams fell short. Red Bull’s rivals are just not there yet, and it shows.
McLaren are not there ye,t if we talk about having the pace to be competitive for points every weekend. Nevertheless, the two drivers – Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri – are very impressive talents and been doing an impressive job to get the car in points.
The race in Monaco was another example of both Norris and Oscar doing impressive stuff with the car. On the surface, after the kind of races the team have had here in the past, this result should be disappointing.
However, if we take the 2023 season into context, McLaren will take this result with both hands.
After six races this season, Lance Stroll has 27 points, while his teammate Fernando Alonso has 93. At the start of the season, Stroll gained the respect of almost everyone with the way he made a return to action from a wrist injury.
Six races into the season, all excuses have been exhausted. The Canadian has become a deadweight at Aston Martin, as it’s becoming more and more clear that Stroll does not belong in the same league as other drivers in the top-four teams.