Skip to content
  1. F1

Monaco Grand Prix Race Preview: Verstappen domination continues in Monte Carlo

The rich and famous will line the streets of Monte Carlo on Sunday afternoon for the 80th Monaco Grand Prix and Max Verstappen will start on pole for the third time this season and the first time at Monaco.

The most prestigious race on the calendar, a win at Monaco is valued above all others by the drivers due to the prestige, history and sheer skill it takes to simply get a Formula One car around the twisting streets of Monte Carlo. 

Home to the slowest corner in Formula One - the hairpin at the Grand Hotel - passing is nigh-on impossible and track position is king, with 11 of the last 13 winners of the Monaco Grand Prix having started on the front row of the grid. 

The last time a winner came from behind the front row was just last year but Sergio Perez - winner from third in 2022 - needs a miracle if he is to repeat that feat. 

The Red Bull driver will start from the back of the pack after crashing in qualifying, while his teammate will be a long way ahead of him on pole. 

The reigning world champion pipped Fernando Alonso to pole position, with the Aston Martin driver taking second ahead of Charles Leclerc and surprise-package Esteban Ocon in third and fourth respectively.

WhatMonaco Grand Prix
WhereMonte Carlo Circuit, Monaco
When14:00, Sunday 28th May
How to watchSky Sports F1
OddsMax Verstappen 1/3, Fernando Alonso 11/4, Carlos Sainz 16/1, Charles Leclerc 20/1, Esteban Ocon 40/1

Highs and lows at Red Bull

The mood will be very different on the two sides of the Red Bull garage after Saturday’s qualifying session, with the heartache of Sergio Perez’s Q1 crash contrasted by the jubilation of Max Verstappen, who secured his first ever pole position in Monaco. 

The Dutchman produced a phenomenal final sector on his final flying lap to beat Fernando Alonso by eight-hundredths of a second, and he is huge favourite at 1/3 to win the Monaco Grand Prix for a second time. 

With track position king at Monaco, Verstappen has a fantastic chance to make it four wins from six Grands Prix this season and extend his 14-point championship lead, especially with 11 of the last 13 Monaco Grands Prix being won from the front row of the grid. 

The widening of that gap at the top of the leaderboard is likely to be greater than anybody expected coming into the weekend, too. 

Sergio Perez binned it into the wall in Q1 and will start from the back of the pack and, at a track where passing is difficult and the advantage of Red Bull’s highly-efficient DRS package is minimal, his goal will now simply be to get in the points on Sunday.

Alpine upset the pecking order

Just across the border from their native France, Alpine enjoyed a tremendously successful qualifying session and could be in with an outside chance of claiming their first podium since the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

Esteban Ocon logged an impressive lap time in Q3 to briefly top the timing charts and, although he was unsurprisingly knocked off his perch, the Frenchman managed to split the Ferrari duo and will start fourth on the grid on Sunday. 

Passing any of the cars ahead of him may be a tall order for Ocon but he could take advantage of any mishaps in front of him. 

Monaco is a gruelling circuit to drive, combining physical and mental demands with perilously close barriers and tight corners, so a momentary loss of focus by any of the three drivers ahead would put Ocon in prime position for his second-ever podium at 11/8.

Strength in numbers for the Scuderia

Monaco native Charles Leclerc has had a hard time at his home Grand Prix over the years, but it is certainly not for lack of trying. 

The home hero took pole position in 2021 and 2022 but only managed to complete his first race around Monte Carlo last season. 

Even that fourth-place finish was a painful one as the pole-sitter was undone by a series of baffling strategy decisions from the Ferrari pitwall. 

Ferrari, who are 10/1 to have the winning car, look a lot more adept in the strategy department under Frederic Vasseur and the Scuderia do have one potentially significant advantage over their rivals. 

Both Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz qualified in the top five and, with the Red Bulls split by the entire field and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll down in a dismal 14th position, they could use their numerical advantage to good effect when the pit window opens to perhaps push their competitors into a less-than-ideal scenario.

Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying Preview: Charles Leclerc eyes home treble

Even with the addition of hyped-up races in the US to the calendar, nothing epitomises the glitz and glamour of Formula 1 quite like the Monaco Grand Prix.

Taking place on public roads that wind around the casinos, hotels and bars of the harbourfront principality, Monaco provides a unique challenge to car and driver.

The road is narrow, there are no straights to speak of and the corners are the tightest and slowest of the year.

But despite that, it's also considered the most dangerous track on the calendar. The cars reach speeds of 180mph and, with metal barriers lining the circuit, there is no room for error.

The nature of the track means overtaking is virtually impossible, so securing a good grid position is more than half the battle - making Saturday's qualifying session perhaps the most important of the season.

WhatMonaco Grand Prix qualifying
WhereMonte Carlo Circuit, Monaco
When15:00, Saturday 27th May
How to watchSky Sports F1
OddsMax Verstappen 11/8, Charles Leclerc 13/8, Sergio Perez 7/2, Fernando Alonso 11/2, Carlos Sainz 22/1

Leclerc hopes to break run of bad luck

It is said that every driver wants to win two races more than any other - their home race and the Monaco Grand Prix.

For Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc those are one and the same thing, but the Monegasque marvel has had nothing but bad luck racing round the streets he grew up in.

In a run of woe stretching back to his Formula 2 days, Leclerc finished a race in Monaco for the first time last year, although he came home a bitterly disappointed fourth.

After claiming pole position and leading the early stages, the team botched his pit strategy as the track dried following a pre-race downpour.

Leclerc has been fastest in qualifying for the last two seasons in Monaco and is a 13/8 chance to make it a hat-trick.

Red Bull out to continue winning run

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen arrives in Monaco leading the standings by 14 points from team-mate Sergio Perez.

The Red Bull duo have won all five races this year between them, recorded four one-two finishes and also taken four pole positions - two apiece.

So it's little wonder that the pair head the markets for Monaco, where Red Bull have won three of the last four races - with three different drivers.

However, this year their strength has been top speed and fast corners, while through the more technical sections of circuits they have lagged behind Ferrari and, in some cases, the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.

Leclerc claimed the only non-Red Bull pole position of 2023 in Azerbaijan, thanks to his mastery of the twisty first half of the lap.

In the race he was powerless to hold off the Red Bulls along the gargantuan main straight, but that will give Leclerc cause for optimism in Monaco.

Red Bull's technical department are second to none and they will surely have some tricks up their sleeve to boost their performance in low-speed corners, but on paper they look more vulnerable in Monaco than at any race so far this season.

Alonso looks to roll back the years

F1 veteran Fernando Alonso has had a frustrating time since his world championship double in 2005 and 2006, but the popular Spaniard is enjoying something of a renaissance having joined Aston Martin this season.

Alonso has been a model of consistency at the wheel of his green machine, with four third-place finishes and a fourth from the first five races of the season.

Like the Ferrari, the Aston has proved very nimble around twisty sections of track and Alonso will quietly fancy his chances of making a return to the top step of the Monaco podium for the first time since 2007.

Alonso's problem is that his car is much stronger in race conditions than over a single lap.

It's unlikely that Alonso - an 11/2 chance for his first pole position of the year - will start the race ahead of the Ferraris, who have shown their strongest form in qualifying.

That would leave the wily Spaniard relying on strategy to get past them in the race and, if he starts behind the Red Bulls as well, he would really face an uphill task. No-one has won the race starting outside the top three this century.

Beware of traffic

To earn pole position in Monaco you need speed, skill and a lot of luck.

Many a qualifying attempt around the narrow streets has been ruined by a slower car getting in the way and traffic can be a real issue in the first part of qualifying, as 20 cars take to the barely two-mile long circuit.

The last two years have also seen dramatic finishes to qualifying, with drivers having to abandon promising laps due to crashes further round the circuit bringing the session to a premature end.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet €10 & Get €30 in Free Bets

Become a member of the world's favourite online sports betting brand

Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.