MONACO — Formula One champion Max Verstappen’s lights-to-flag victory win at the Monaco Grand gave the Red Bull driver his fourth victory of the season and extended his championship lead on Sunday.
Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso was a season’s best second for Aston Martin as he collected a fifth podium in six races, while Frenchman Esteban Ocon secured third place and a rare podium for Alpine.
For most of the race, Verstappen coasted on a dry and narrow track where overtaking is the hardest in F1.
But an incident-free race in Monaco is rare and heavy rain played havoc with about 20 of the 78 laps left. Some drivers had pitted for the wrong medium tires shortly before the downpour and slid around.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. glided sideways into the barriers and was lucky not to damage his Ferrari. Kevin Magnussen lost control of his Haas and Lance Stroll retired after damaging his Aston Martin.
Red Bull had wisely put Verstappen on the versatile and more suited to the wet conditions intermediates on Lap 56 and they carried him to his second win in Monaco. The first was in 2021.
Lewis Hamilton finished fourth for Mercedes and picked up a point for fastest lap. His teammate George Russell was fifth, having earlier almost slammed into Sergio Perez’s Red Bull as visibility worsened. A serious crash was somehow avoided in a hectic few minutes before the rain eased off.
On Saturday, Verstappen just edged out Alonso to deny the 41-year Spaniard his first pole for 11 years.
Perez, who won the race last year, started from last after a clumsy crash in qualifying and finished 16th.
Verstappen’s 39 F1 wins have all been with Red Bull since his first on debut for the team at the Spanish GP in 2016 when he became the youngest F1 winner at 18 years old.
He set a team record for wins as he passed former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s previous tally of 38 victories for the team when he won four straight titles from 2010-13.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The post Verstappen wins Monaco GP to extend F1 championship lead; Alonso 2nd ahead of Ocon appeared first on Associated Press.