Fernando Alonso call forced Max Verstappen and Red Bull strategy change in Monaco

Verstappen judged things to perfection at the 2023 Monaco GP

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Max Verstappen believes Fernando Alonso’s opening stint on hards forced him to stay out longer during Sunday’s 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who narrowly took pole, drove faultlessly, leading every lap to win for the second time in Monte Carlo and extending his lead in the Driver Standings over Sergio Perez, who failed to score any points.

It was quite hectic towards the end,” Verstappen said to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But the whole race was all about management.  Because Fernando starting on the hards [it] made me do a very long stint.

“Almost doubled to what we would have liked, but because of the rain, we couldn’t stop. If it had been dry, I would have put the hards on and waited until Fernando did his pitstop.

“But we couldn’t do that because the risk of rain was around, so we had to stay out of the tyres we’re graining, which wasn’t easy, but luckily it picked up a little bit.

“Even on the intermediates, it was still very slippery through the second sector, and the hard bit is you have a good lead, but you don’t risk too much but not drive so slow because you have no temperature in your tyres.”

Race winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull celebrates at 2023 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Amazing to match Vettel’s Red Bull win record

Verstappen’s victory in Monte Carlo is his 39th in Formula 1, making him the sixth-winningest driver in the sport.

Victory in next Sunday’s Spanish GP would also see Verstappen become Red Bull’s most successful driver putting him one win clear of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. 

“If you have a good car for a while, you know, you can break these numbers,” said Verstappen. “But yeah, it’s great I would have never thought I would be in this position in my career.

“I wanted to be a Formula 1 driver, and you’re winning these races is amazing. It’s better than I could have ever imagined.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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