Fernando Alonso has found himself at the centre of a curious post-race incident after his runner-up finish to Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix. Verstappen led a soggy and slippery Monaco GP from start to finish to stretch his lead to 39 points in the F1 standings but Alonso perhaps missed a golden chance to claim victory after a pit stop strategy that may have proved costly.
The race was going according to the starting grid until late rain brought added drama and excitement as drivers slid around the track, with some getting too close to the barriers. It saw most drivers pit for intermediate tyres, before some went onto full wets, with Aston Martin's Alonso missing a window to get himself in front of his Red Bull rival.
'QUITE USEFUL': Oscar Piastri's telling Max Verstappen admission at Monaco
Verstappen delayed his pitstop to coincide with the rain, while Alonso initially pitted for medium tyres and then had to come in again for intermediates, losing a possible chance to take the lead. "We thought to play a long game with the strategy but Max drove super well on the medium tyres and extended that first stint. We didn't have any chance and then at the end the rain put things a bit complicated out there," Alonso said afterwards.
"It was not easy and I was surprised there were no safety cars from incidents, I think everyone was doing an amazing job today to keep the cars on track." Former F1 world champion Jenson Button admitted he was "surprised" by Aston Martin's pit strategy and suggested the crucial tyre decision represented Alonso's "best chance" to secure the race win.
“They didn’t want to go to the inter tyre yet, but I’m just surprised he made the pit stop,” Button said. “In those conditions, you’re not sure if it’s going to be wet or dry, so you’d normally wait until you’re sure. Great P2 still.
“This was their best chance. It also would have put more pressure on Red Bull if they made the right tyre choice. Even if they went on the right tyre, it would have been a close call coming out of the pits.”
Alonso explained afterwards why Aston Martin went with dry tyres again on the first pit stop, before ultimately switching to the intermediate tyres. "When I stopped, it was just raining in Turns Five and Seven. The rest of the track was completely dry," Alonso told Sky Sports.
"If you are in P2 and put intermediates on for only two corners, maybe Jenson (Button) could guess that good! The forecast we had was just a small shower and a few drops of rain. We didn't expect that amount of rain."
He added: "For me, it was very clear that the track on that lap we stopped was completely dry apart from Turns Seven and Eight. So how I will put on the inters? It was completely dry 99 per cent of the track.
"So I stopped for dry tyres, the weather forecast was a small shower and a small quantity of rain as well what we had as a team, and we had a lot of margin behind us you know to put the dry tyres and if necessary, the inter tyres. So, you know, maybe it was extra safe, I don't know."
Eagle-eyed fans spot Fernando Alonso podium stunt
Regardless, the second-placed result saw Alonso become the oldest driver to claim a podium finish at Monaco in more than 50 years. The 41-year-old Spaniard even threw in a cheeky podium act to perhaps indicate how close he'd come by placing a foot on the top step that Verstappen was standing on. Eagle-eyed fans were quick to pick up on the moment from Alonso.
— 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐢 (@ChChCharli) May 28, 2023
ALONSO WITH 1 FOOT ON THE #1 PODIUM STEP, YOU LOVE TO SEE IT
— bia 🔆 (@EnbyMiata) May 28, 2023
I have no doubt that Alonso put his foot on the first place on the podium on purpose😂😂😂
— DiegoJI Design (@diegojidesign) May 28, 2023
Frenchman Esteban Ocon completed the podium in third place for Alpine to give the Renault-owned team their first of the season, with Mercedes' seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth and taking a bonus point for fastest lap. The win was Verstappen's fourth of the season, second in Monaco and 39th of his career. Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, his closest title rival, started in last position after a qualifying crash and finished two laps down in 16th.
"That was a real Monaco," Verstappen said after a 78-lap race that lasted an hour and 48 minutes. "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 wall a few times and it was super difficult out there. But that's Monaco."
Mercedes' George Russell was fifth and home hero Charles Leclerc finished sixth for Ferrari. Alpine's Pierre Gasly, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, McLaren's Lando Norris and Aussie teammate Oscar Piastri completed the points positions.
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