Monaco Grand Prix review: Ocon’s outstanding third place finish.

Published on 30 May 2023 at 20:00

Megan Taylor


During the Monaco Grand Prix, we saw the highs and lows of driver performance and the importance of qualifying. The drivers were tested on the narrow streets by weather conditions and underdog teams who wanted their place on the podium in Monaco.


In free practice 1, we saw a fair share of clips and crashes. Alexander Albon crashed his Williams, giving his mechanics a challenge to repair it in time for the rest of the weekend. But he wasn’t the only one. Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll also found their car attracted to the walls of Monte Carlo. Despite his clip, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz achieved fasted lap.


However, Sainz’s luck was out in free practice 2 when he damaged his suspension and returned to the pits. Red Bull continued their dominance, with world champion Max Verstappen putting in the fastest lap.


The final free practice had some major power loss. Ocon lost power in his Alpine in the tunnel. Luckily he managed to get back to the pits safely. Kevin Magnussen also struggled with power in his Hass. Unfortunately, his weekend didn’t improve, as he retired on lap 70.

We also saw Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes soar through the sky when a crane recovered it after he hit the wall.


Qualifying is where the Monaco weekend heats up. Overtaking on the Monaco street circuit takes great skill and opportunity that most aren’t given. Drivers will put their everything into qualifying. Their weekend strategy is vastly different than normal. So, how did they do?


Sergio Perez, Formula One’s street specialist, caused a red flag during lap one due to too much speed on entry of a corner. This resulted in him retiring from qualifying first and starting dead last Sunday.

Both McLaren drivers made it to Qualifying Session Two. Lando Norris struggled with understeer, resulting in the McLaren’s Livery hitting the wall. However, remarkably he made it into Qualifying Three. But, his teammate didn’t quite make the cut as Lewis Hamilton’s last lap knocked Oscar Piastri into 11th.  McLaren has a good history with the Monaco Grand Prix. Holding 15 first-place trophies and more than any other team. However, the papaya boys landed 9th and 10th place in qualifying.


The top three in the starting grid were Verstappen, Alonso and Leclerc. But, due to a 3-place grid penalty for blocking Lando Norris’s quick lap. Leclerc started in sixth place. This pushed Esteban Ocon into third.

Monaco is the biggest test for drivers and their team's strategy. So, who got it right?


In the opening lap, three drivers had contact. Stroll, Sargeant and Hulkenberg turned in on each other, causing minimal damage. And Carlos Sainz jeopardised Esteban Ocon’s race as he hit his rear end, claiming ‘there was no space.’

Kevin Magnussen pulled an impressive overtake on Williams rookie Logan Sargeant.

Alpine produced a slow pit stop for their leading driver Esteban Ocon on lap 33. However, Ocon stayed strong and raced clean despite the damage and slow pit.

The same can’t be said about Sergio Perez. The grid was a Red Bull sandwich this Grand Prix due to his poor qualifying. As he desperately attempted to climb positions, his driving became more aggressive and caused multiple collisions. He finished in 16th, which for Monaco is a relatively good result coming from the back of the pack.


Lap 52 is when it really started to get exciting. Monaco’s sky opened up, and rain poured.  Intermediate tyres caused drivers to pit, despite it being a 1 stop-pit strategy for most. Carlos Sainz had a close call when he kissed a corner, but luckily it wasn’t a catastrophic moment in his race. Lance Stroll, however, retired on lap 53 after hitting 2 barriers on 1 corner. Unfortunately, the Aston Martin driver didn’t have the best of luck throughout the Monaco weekend. He had a strong start this season, but his teammate Fernando Alonso’s consistent results outshine him.


The Monaco Grand Prix has produced some of the most interesting podiums; this year was no different. Although the podium was the same top 3 as qualifying after Charles Leclerc’s penalty, it consisted of 3 different constructors.


Max Verstappen was no shock, considering his dominance and impressive qualifying. He thrived in the rain and claimed yet another victory. In a post-race interview, he said.

“I didn’t expect the rain. Monaco is already slippery.”

He then explained how he matched Alonso’s laps and waited for him to pit so he could extend the lead. But,

“It’s hard with warm tyres.”

He had good communication with his team, and that was a crucial part of his victory.


Esteban Ocon said,

“I’m speechless.” “We would have been happy with the top 10.”

Safe to say, the long-standing Alpine driver didn’t have the most confidence in his chances in Monaco. He also commented when asked about weather conditions.

“The rain shuffled everything. But we boxed right.”


This furthermore proves how vital strategy is to a successful race. Teams have to be prepared for all circumstances. Weather change is always a big consideration and shows how well teams prepare for it and must adjust instantly.


Perhaps the most disappointed driver Sergio Perez was asked about his performance, to which he replied.

“Everything that could have gone wrong went.” “That’s the price we had to pay. It’s costly to the championship.”

He was extremely close to closing the gap to his teammate and potentially surpassing him, but with this poor result, first place looks like a distant memory.


2023 Monaco is officially completed, and thanks to the rain, it was made more dramatic.

Were you shocked by Sergio Perez’s qualifying blunder? And do you think Aston Martin is a threat to the championship?

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