Front to back: the Monaco Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from the year’s most glamorous GP.


Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 3rd, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 2nd, finished 7th
A race that Hamilton won, or one that was gifted to him? Red Bull’s calamitous pit stop on lap 32 for race leader Ricciardo gave Hamilton the track advantage that goes nine-tenths towards a win at Monaco, and despite some desperate defending after various safety car re-starts, the Mercedes driver always looked to have the Aussie under control, making his ultrasoft tyres last for 47 laps in a marathon stint even Pirelli admitted was beyond their expectations. Hamilton had led one lap all season before Sunday, but when presented with an open goal by Red Bull, duly drilled it into the back of the net for his second Monaco win, the 44th of his career, and the fourth win in a row by Mercedes in Monte Carlo. Rosberg struggled with brake issues in the early stages and was instructed to let Hamilton past by Mercedes, and spent much of his race tucked up behind Alonso’s McLaren, a sentence that’s unlikely to be written again any time soon. Getting mugged by the Force India of Hulkenberg on the run to the chequered flag compounded a miserable afternoon for the championship leader, who saw his series lead slashed to 24 points, less than a race win for the first time this season.

Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 4th, finished 4th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 6th, did not finish
Another race that promised much and undelivered for Ferrari, with Vettel finishing where he started and Raikkonen making an error befitting a Monaco rookie, not a driver who has a Monte Carlo history stretching back to 2001. Try as he might, Vettel couldn’t catch the similarly soft tyre-shod Force India of Perez in the final laps to snare a podium, while Raikkonen’s race was over when he clouted the barrier at the hairpin on lap 12 – and then inexplicably dragged his broken front wing beneath his car through the tunnel and for another five corners before parking up. A five-place grid penalty for the Finn after qualifying for a gearbox change was hardly his fault; his actions on race day were careless and dangerous, in that order.

Felipe Massa:
qualified 14th, finished 10th
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 11th, finished 11th
Monaco has been a bogey track for Williams in recent years – the team had just two points finishes between its two cars in the previous four races in the Principality before Sunday – so a single point for Massa and a near-miss for Bottas was something after a weekend where pure performance was hard to find. Massa was on his back foot after a Thursday practice crash but crept into the top 10, while Bottas was agonisingly close to scoring his first point in Monte Carlo. Canada next time out should be more to the team’s liking.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 1st, finished 2nd
Max Verstappen: qualified 21st, did not finish
Ricciardo was publicly pragmatic after a strategy decision scuppered his chances of a win in Spain last time out, but made his true feelings better known on Sunday, when a win – another one – was taken from his hands. Starting from pole for the first time in his 94th Grand Prix, Ricciardo was in devastating form once the safety car allowed the pack to go racing on lap eight, storming away to a 12-second lead as the others slipped and slid behind him. A lap 23 pit stop for intermediate tyres went smoothly, and while he lost track position to Hamilton, he looked to have the world champion covered until his second stop on lap 32, where he sat for an eternity in his pit box waiting for tyres that should have been ready. The usually talkative Aussie was at a loss for words after the race, and his best result of the season should have been one better. Teammate Verstappen fell back to earth in a big way after his memorable win last time out in Barcelona, crashing heavily in qualifying, starting from the pit lane, scything his way into the top 10 and then throwing it all away with a shunt at Massenet. A Monaco podium isn’t to be sniffed at for any team, but few at RBR would have been satisfied with Sunday’s result.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 5th, finished 6th
Sergio Perez: qualified 8th, finished 3rd
A quite incredible day for the English-based Indian-owned outfit, with Perez taking the team’s first Monaco podium, and Hulkenberg elbowing Rosberg out of the way on the run to the finish line for sixth. Perez’s podium was the sixth of his career, and he made his tyres last in signature style to grab a great result when the opportunity presented itself, a trademark of his F1 tenure. Hulkenberg was over a minute behind the Mexican at the end after being bottled up by the train of cars headed by Alonso’s McLaren, but the 23 points scored by the team represented its best single-race haul since Bahrain 2014.

Jolyon Palmer: qualified 18th, did not finish
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, did not finish
With former driver Pastor Maldonado watching on from the paddock, Palmer did his best impression of the erratic Venezuelan by shunting his Renault on the start-finish straight seconds after the race went green on lap eight, spinning his rear wheels on a slick zebra crossing and spearing into the barriers. Teammate Magnussen was another to get an early bath after a shunt with the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat at Rascasse and another nose-first meeting with the barriers later on at Mirabeau. An expensive weekend for a team that has managed one points finish in six races.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 9th, did not finish
Carlos Sainz: qualified 7th, finished 8th
Kvyat’s race officially ended on lap 22 after his crash with Magnussen; in truth, it ended much earlier than that, his car stuck in its pit lane speed limiter when the race began behind the safety car, which saw the Russian tumble to a lap down and in a hopeless position before a lap had been turned in anger. Sainz would have expected more after starting sixth, but got stuck in the Alonso-led train and had to be satisfied with a second points finish in as many years at Monaco.

Felipe Nasr:
qualified 22nd, did not finish
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 17th, did not finish
An absolute nightmare of a weekend for a team with cashflow problems and limited spare parts. Running 15th and 16th respectively, Nasr was asked to move aside for Ericsson, but wasn’t keen on the suggestion. The Swede then sent an optimistic move up the inside of the Brazilian at Rascasse, and an embarrassing shower of carbon fibre was the result. Former driver turned TV commentator Martin Brundle considered the debacle to be a “sackable offence” for both drivers – before remembering that both drivers bring considerable funding to enable the team to go racing in the first place. Or watching other people race, which they did after lap 53. “Nothing more to add,” was Sauber’s succinct tweet afterwards. Ericsson was handed a three-place grid penalty for the incident for the next race in Montreal.

Jenson Button:
qualified 13th, finished 9th
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 5th
“Rain, snow, anything that can happen will help,” was Alonso’s tongue-in-cheek wish for Sunday’s race, and the Spaniard used the tricky conditions and track position to perfection to hold off a gaggle of faster cars for his best result of the season, and one that equalled McLaren’s best haul in the latest iteration of the McLaren-Honda axis from Alonso’s fifth in Hungary last year. Renowned rain master Button finished four places further back after rolling the dice earlier than most on intermediate tyres on a still slick track as soon as the race proper got underway on lap eight, and 12 points between its drivers saw McLaren leapfrog Haas in the constructors’ standings on a weekend where it celebrated 50 years in the sport.

Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 20th, finished 14th
Rio Haryanto: qualified 19th, finished 15th
Getting both cars to the finish was no mean feat for Manor at the circuit where the late Jules Bianchi scored the only points in the team’s history two years ago. Wehrlein found it hard to get to grips with a circuit he was racing at for the first time, and used a lengthy opening stint on wet-weather tyres to climb up the order from his lowly grid slot. Haryanto out-qualified his highly-regarded young teammate again (it’s now 3-3 for the season in their head-to-head), but struggled with the endless blue flags that come with driving for a backmarker team on the tightest track of all.

Romain Grosjean:
qualified 15th, finished 13th
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 12th, finished 12th
Grosjean was badly compromised by being blocked by the broken Ferrari of former teammate Raikkonen in the early stages, making his displeasure very clear over the radio, and never really figuring in points-paying contention after that. Gutierrez out-qualified his teammate for the first time all season and finished ahead of him for the second time, but Haas left its first Monaco GP weekend with no points for the third time in the past four races.


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