Max and Red Bull Racing delivered the first Honda-powered victory in Monaco since Ayrton Senna in 1992 with a controlled performance from the front.
Max started from his P2 grid slot but was the lead car after Charles Leclerc failed to take part due to damage sustained in his crash in qualifying, and duly held of Valtteri Bottas on the run to the first corner. From there Max looked in control, building up a lead while Red Bull looked for the best opportunity to make a pit stop.
Pierre had similarly slotted into fifth place off the line, with Sergio in eighth as he tried to find his way past Sebastian Vettel.
Scuderia AlphaTauri tried something different from a strategic point of view with Yuki starting on the hard tyre in an attempt to run long and see what opportunities might open up after starting 16th.
Pierre was the first of our cars to make a pit stop, coming in on lap 30 in response to Lewis Hamilton’s stop behind him and managing to stay ahead of the Mercedes. Unfortunately as Sebastian Vettel stopped a lap later he was able to jump both and just beat Pierre up to Casino Square.
Max was able to run until lap 34 and pit into clear air, while Red Bull cleverly kept Sergio out while those ahead of him made their stops. Also with a free track ahead, Sergio put in some brilliant quick laps and jumped four positions to emerge in fourth place.
From there, Max had the race under control and measured the gap back to Carlos Sainz in second until the chequered flag, while Sergio set about closing down Lando Norris in third. After showing more impressive pace, the Mexican was right on the back of the McLaren but could not find a way past and had to settle for 12 points in P4. Added to Max’s win, it meant a haul of 37 points for Red Bull.
Pierre kept the pressure on Vettel ahead until the final lap but was unable to make a move and finished with another strong top six finish, while Yuki finally made his pit stop for soft tyres with 12 laps remaining and came home 16th after the race ran without a Safety Car for only the second time in a decade.
The result is Honda’s 80th victory in Formula 1 and sees Max take the lead in the drivers’ championship while Red Bull also leads the constructors’ standings, marking the first time we have led both championships in 30 years.
Managing Director, Honda Racing F1
“We are delighted to have won the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most important and historic races on the calendar and part of the motor racing “triple crown.” The last time Honda won here was in 1992 with Ayrton Senna and I am sure this first win here for Max Verstappen is very special for him. Red Bull Racing Honda is now leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, however this is only the fifth race in a long season. So now we will do our best to maintain this position race by race and we hope Honda fans around the world will enjoy supporting us in our fight to be world champions again. ”
Technical Director, Honda Racing F1
“It’s fantastic that Honda has claimed its first win at Monaco since Ayrton Senna took the victory back in 1992. We are delighted to have this very special and historic race at a track where we have won several times in the past. There is more reason to celebrate as this is Max Verstappen’s first win here and indeed his first podium. Having no one in front of him on the grid certainly helped a bit, but this win was down to his driving, the Red Bull Racing chassis and our PU, with all three of these elements functioning perfectly. Sergio Perez also produced a strong performance so that his driving and an excellent team strategy allowed him to move up from ninth on the grid to fourth at the end, bringing home a good number of points for the team’s championship challenge. For Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, Pierre Gasly had to deal with having Hamilton behind him for the whole race but he never lost concentration to finish sixth. As for Yuki Tsunoda, he was always going to have a difficult afternoon, starting so far back on the grid, but it was impressive that he completed almost 70 laps on his Hard tyres, before putting in some very quick lap times in clean air after his tyre stop and I’m sure he learned a lot. With Red Bull Racing, we are now leading both championships, but there are many races still to come and we must continue working to improve.”
Red Bull Racing Honda
“I’m super happy to win the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s such a tricky track and you need a smooth weekend so I’m very pleased with what we have achieved as a Team and of course with Honda. I just had to focus on my own race and make sure I had a clean start. Of course it all looked under control but to keep your focus for so many laps is the hardest part because it’s easy to relax when you’re in the lead and make a mistake, so you have to keep reminding yourself to leave your thoughts on the road and stay focused. I think pace wise, we were always in control because every time someone tried to push me in terms of lap time, we were able to respond and increase the gap. I’ve never been on the podium here and then the first time it’s a win, so it’s a bit of redemption for the other races I’ve had here. Looking ahead to Baku, Mercedes I think are still the ones to beat, they are very quick on the normal tracks. We are leading the championship and I hope of course to be there at the end of the season because that’s the most important thing so we cannot get carried away. But for now, a massive thank you to everyone in the factory and here at the track, we won the Monaco Grand Prix so let’s enjoy it. ”
Red Bull Racing Honda
“Today is a great day for the Team and I’m very happy for Max, he did a mega job and now we are leading both championships. The Team did a fantastic job on strategy and the communication throughout the race was excellent. We saved the tyres and used them when we needed to which was key and we did two or three qualifying laps to jump the queue of cars to get fourth. I was closing on Lando but he had good tyres left and I never really had a clear chance at him. I was thinking of the long game and getting the points which is important for the Team. The cars are just so wide these days but it is what it is. We managed to minimise the damage from Saturday and I think once I’m more comfortable with the car in qualifying, we’ll be in serious contention and fighting for victories as I’m happy and pretty much there on Sundays. ”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
“It was a pretty long race and obviously with Lewis behind it wasn’t easy, I couldn’t make any mistakes and just had to focus on my own race ahead, but I really enjoyed it. Finishing P6 today is good, I think we can be happy with that result and it’s the best performance of the season so far. The car felt really good in the first stint but once we put the Hards on we really struggled, and it made it pretty difficult on a couple of occasions with Lewis but I’m happy we managed to keep him behind. I believe we took the right strategy today, we had to cover ourselves with Lewis’ pitstop, but it didn’t quite work out. It was very tight between Seb and I going up the hill, I was quite surprised to see him and there was maybe just a finger between our tyres, but it was great racing. The car performed well today, even if I think we could have achieved more and there are definitely some areas we still need to improve in compared to some of the cars we’re fighting against. I’m still pleased with this result though, it was important for us to be back up near the front and getting some big points again was great for the team. ”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
“Starting from P16 we knew it wouldn’t be easy. I struggled for grip in the first lap compared to other cars around me and we lost a few positions, after that I was constantly behind cars, despite having strong pace, so wasn’t able to make my way forward. The main thing for me is my Qualifying performance and how I can improve this. I’m going to work hard ahead of the next race so that we can hopefully be in a point scoring position next time out. ”