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Max Verstappen is undoubtedly living his F1 dreams, as he sails smoothly across the Formula One circuit, leaving rivals in his wake. His recent Monaco Grand Prix victory – his second at the famed venue – extended his F1 championship lead and took him to a record 39 wins for Red Bull. With this victory, he has surpassed former Red Bull’s powerhouse driver, Sebastian Vettel’s previous record of 38 victories.
Seven years ago, an 18-year-old Verstappen debuted for Red Bull in the Spanish GP and instantly took the crown of the youngest F1 winner in history. Today, he has progressed remarkably in his career, as he modestly confessed, “It’s great, I never thought I’d be in this position in my career…It’s better than I could have imagined for sure.“
The Monaco GP is an illustrious race, known for its arduous and narrow path, making overtaking nearly impossible. Yet Max Verstappen showed his true mettle, conquering the streets of Monaco and even beating the odds when unexpected rain wreaked havoc with 20 laps to go. The timing for his transition to intermediate tires was impeccable, enabling him to grip the slippery streets of Monaco while others faltered.
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Among those who fell victim to the rain was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr., who slid into the barriers but miraculously kept his car intact. Kevin Magnussen lost control of his Haas, and Lance Stroll ended his race early after damaging his Aston Martin.
Formula One stalwart, Fernando Alonso, delivered an impressive performance, seizing a second-place finish, his best for the season. The Spaniard added another podium to his collection, making it five in six races. “Braking was extremely fragile,” he noted, applauding all the drivers for maintaining discipline on the slippery track.
Red Bull’s absolute dominance this season was evident as Esteban Ocon, representing Alpine, secured third place and a rare podium finish. Meanwhile, Mercedes‘ star Lewis Hamilton finished fourth, gaining a point for the fastest lap, while his teammate George Russell narrowly missed colliding with Sergio Perez amid worsening visibility.
Perez, last year’s Monaco GP winner, finished an unimpressive 16th after an unfortunate crash in the qualifying round. Red Bull’s winning streak continues unabated, with the team having won all races thus far in the season.
Ocon, following his third podium finish, shared his excitement saying, “I’m speechless at the moment. A little bit on my cloud at the moment.” Alonso is currently third in the standings and has narrowed down the gap with Perez to just 12 points.
From the outset of the race, Max Verstappen exhibited strategic driving, with his medium tire choice leaving competitors in the dust. Despite Alonso’s gambit to start on hard tires, he admitted, “Max drove super well on the medium tires on that first stint. We (went) for all or nothing. We started on the hard tire and didn’t have the pace.“
Strategy calls plagued other teams too, particularly Ferrari, with a visibly frustrated Sainz lamenting over team radio about their poor tire choice amid changing weather conditions.
This race, marked by unpredictable weather and strategic play, served to highlight Max Verstappen’s unwavering focus and ability to adapt swiftly. The Dutchman’s mastery over the sinewy 3.4-kilometer Monaco circuit has further solidified his position as the reigning champion of Formula One.
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