Monaco GP driver ratings

Quite simply the perfect weekend for Daniel Ricciardo as he broke his Monaco GP duck and earned “redemption” for his 2016 heartbreak. The Australian was fastest in every practice and qualifying session – setting new absolute track records in every one bar Q1 – before leading every lap of Sunday’s race.

This victory may not have featured the stunning overtakes of his previous six F1 wins, but Ricciardo labelled it his “best weekend and the most satisfying” as he managed to keep his wounded Red Bull ahead for a mammoth 60 laps.

Ricciardo told Sky F1 that he “wanted to cry” given the MGU-K issue that left his RB14 down 25 per cent on power, but he altered his driving style and managed his tyres perfectly to fend off any challenge from behind. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who rejected calls to retire Ricciardo, compared the drive to Michael Schumacher’s efforts in Barcelona in 1994 and the Apollo 13 mission, while advisor Helmut Marko claimed no other driver on the grid could have brought the car home.

The 28-year-old may wonder when he will get the straightforward victory that his rivals have frequently enjoyed in the past. But it will take some effort for a driver to produce a better all-round performance this season.
Rating out of ten: 10

A strange weekend for Sebastian Vettel in which he left Monaco with his championship deficit to Lewis Hamilton cut and yet could not challenge for victory, even with Ricciardo’s engine woes.

The German produced a fine final qualifying lap to pip Hamilton to a front row spot, although could get nowhere near Ricciardo’s two Q3 efforts. But for the second race running, the Ferrari found itself eating through its tyres meaning he could never launch an attack on the limping Red Bull and Vettel then fell away completely on the Virtual Safety Car restart.

His podium drought is over but questions remain over where Ferrari’s performance of the opening weekends has gone.
Rating out of ten: 8

Given Mercedes’ fears ahead of Monaco, Lewis Hamilton was understandably “grateful” that the damage to his championship lead was limited to just three points.

It was a frustrating Sunday afternoon for the reigning world champion in which he could not find a way past chief title rival Vettel and it left Hamilton bemoaning his tyres and calling for changes to the Monaco event.

“We were just cruising around from lap six,” he said immediately after the race. “It wasn’t really racing.”

The Briton will hope for greater excitement in Canada where he is looking to win for a fourth consecutive year.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Kimi Raikkonen felt robbed of victory 12 months ago but the Finn was not in the mix this weekend.

He had to settle for fourth in qualifying, half a second off pole and two tenths down on team-mate Vettel, while his race was more about keeping Valtteri Bottas behind him rather than challenging those in front.
Rating out of ten: 7

At one stage, it looked like Mercedes had played Valtteri Bottas’ strategy perfectly as he closed to within seven seconds of the lead from fifth place, setting fastest laps on the more durable supersoft tyre while the leading four drivers struggled on the supersofts.

But in the end, Ricciardo and co. managed to prolong their stints and Bottas fell back, by more than 10 seconds in fact, paying the price for a disappointing qualifying. He was two tenths off Mercedes team-mate Hamilton and is now trailing 4-2 in F1 2018.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

Esteban Ocon has endured a difficult start to 2018 but this was much more like the impressive displays he showed in his debut year with Force India.

The Frenchman capitalised on Max Verstappen’s absence in qualifying to snatch P6 ahead of Fernando Alonso and then ensured he claimed the ‘best of the rest’ tag on Sunday too.

He did his relationship with Mercedes no harm by not holding up Hamilton and Bottas after their pit stops, although he may regret the latter given how much he closed on the second Silver Arrow in the closing stages.
Rating out of ten: 9

A wonderful afternoon for Pierre Gasly, who finished in the points in F1 for the second time. He started 10th but was able to prolong his first stint on the hypersofts, setting personal bests on the wearing tyre while others struggled.

“We knew it could be difficult but the car was just so fast!” admitted the Frenchman.

He was then able to hold off Nico Hulkenberg, and has made an impressive start to his first full season in the sport. His qualifying performance, making it into Q3 while his team-mate fell at the first hurdle, will have been particularly pleasing.
Rating out of ten: 9

Finishing eighth from 11th represented a fine afternoon’s work for Nico Hulkenberg in which he benefitted from a strong strategy choice by Renault.

The German was able to run for 50 laps on his opening ultrasoft tyres and after switching to hypersofts, he was let through by team-mate Carlos Sainz to chase down Gasly.

Ultimately he was unable to find away past the Toro Rosso, but he at least managed to fend off Max Verstappen’s charging Red Bull.

“I think eighth was the best we could do in the situation,” was Hulkenberg’s verdict. “We made the most of the opportunities.”
Rating out of ten: 7.5

How Max Verstappen must be regretting that Practice Three crash. Not only did it cost him an almost-certain place on the front row in qualifying, but he could also have been in prime position to take the win off the ailing Ricciardo. It would have been interesting to see Red Bull’s strategy if that was the case.

Instead, he had to fight his way through the field from the back of the grid and actually did a fine job – salvaging two points with aggressive but controlled overtaking. But as his boss Christian Horner says, he may need to change his approach to avoid these weekend-destroying mistakes.
Rating out of ten: 6

Carlos Sainz managed to out-qualify team-mate Hulkenberg on merit for the first time this season but was caught out on race day as he struggled on the ultrasoft tyres.

Played the team game by letting Hulkenberg through but lost out in his battle with Verstappen and ended up coming home over 40 seconds behind the pair.
Rating out of ten: 7

A solid race for Marcus Ericsson, though 11th place does flatter him slightly after only making up positions due to the retirements and botched pit-stops. He had solid pace, particularly at the end of the race when he closed in on the points, but needs to get closer to Sauber team-mate Leclerc in qualifying. He’s lost on a Saturday at the last four grands prix and was almost half a second back here.
Rating out of ten: 6

A tough afternoon for Sergio Perez in which a pit-stop problem cost him dearly and saw him fall down the field and miss out on a third points finish of 2018.

The Mexican has also now been out-qualified by team-mate Ocon in three consecutive races and will hope to readdress that balance in Canada.
Rating out of ten: 6

They’re enjoying a fine start to the season, but Kevin Magnussen and Haas’ pace was non-existent in Monaco. He was the slowest driver in qualifying – not helped by yellow flags in Q1 – and 13th in the race was about as good as he could expect in an under-performing chassis.

“I’m just glad we’re out of here,” admitted the Dane.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Stoffel Vandoorne continues to trail Fernando Alonso when it matters in the McLaren and the Belgian was a frustrated man on Sunday night as he felt he had been sacrificed to help his team-mate.

Vandoorne had been the lead McLaren throughout practice but a gearbox issue then compromised his qualifying and he missed out on a maiden Q3 appearance this season by a tenth of a second.

A poor start saw him jumped by Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams off the line and after Alonso rejoined just ahead of him in the first round of pit-stops, a slow stop saw Vandoorne slip behind Magnussen’s Haas which he could not recover from.
Rating out of ten: 6

It was already shaping up to be a difficult weekend for Romain Grosjean given his three-place grid penalty and that was compounded by Haas’ surprise lack of pace in Monaco.

The Frenchman started 18th and had to settle for 15th with his run of point-less finishes extending to 10 races.

At least his run of crashes is over.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Sergey Sirotkin’s race was destroyed before it had even begun as Williams failed to get his tyres fitted before the pre-race three-minute signal which left him facing a 10-second stop-and-go penalty which sent him to the back of the field.

It was rough justice for the Russian on a weekend which he had otherwise thoroughly impressed and comfortably out-performed team-mate Lance Stroll. He had looked an outside contender for a Q3 spot, although ultimately had to settle for 13th on the grid.
Rating out of ten: 7

A race littered with punctures and petulant radio messages from Lance Stroll as he was last of the cars to finish on another torrid day for Williams.

The Canadian was complaining about his car all weekend and comments such as “I can’t drive anymore” and “what’s the point of even racing” will hardly be helping morale at the struggling outfit.

While the FW41 is clearly a handful, there appears much greater potential in the car than Stroll is currently extracting. Team-mate Sirotkin twice had it in the top 10 in practice and Stroll was out-qualified by eight tenths of a second. A big improvement is needed next time out at his home grand prix.
Rating out of ten: 5

Did not finish

Charles Leclerc’s bad luck around his home track continues as a brake failure sent him thundering into the back of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso at the Nouvelle chicane when running 12th. But up until the lap 70 collision it had been another fine weekend from the 20-year-old in which he reached Q2 for the third consecutive race and out-qualified team-mate Marcus Ericsson by over four tenths of a second.
Rating out of ten: 7

With questions over his Toro Rosso future mounting, Brendon Hartley could have done without the misfortune that hit him in Monaco. The Kiwi had shown good pace throughout practice but was caught out by traffic and yellow flags in qualifying which saw him knocked out in Q1, while his team-mate sailed through to Q3.

His race was then compromised by front wing damage on the opening lap and he would have faced a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane had he not been taken out by Leclerc.
Rating out of ten: 6

Fernando Alonso’s eight-race run of points finishes is over after his McLaren suffered a gearbox and engine problem on lap 52. It rounded off a frustrating weekend for the Spaniard on his Monaco return as he had also suffered reliability issues in first practice. He found pace when it mattered most in qualifying to secure back-to-back Q3 appearances and maintain his 100 per cent record over team-mate Vandoorne and had looked set for yet another P7 finish before the failure.
Rating out of ten: 7

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Quite simply the perfect weekend for Daniel Ricciardo as he broke his Monaco GP duck and earned “redemption” for his 2016 heartbreak. The Australian was fastest in every practice and qualifying session – setting new absolute track records in every one bar Q1 – before leading every lap of Sunday’s race.

This victory may not have featured the stunning overtakes of his previous six F1 wins, but Ricciardo labelled it his “best weekend and the most satisfying” as he managed to keep his wounded Red Bull ahead for a mammoth 60 laps.

Ricciardo told Sky F1 that he “wanted to cry” given the MGU-K issue that left his RB14 down 25 per cent on power, but he altered his driving style and managed his tyres perfectly to fend off any challenge from behind. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who rejected calls to retire Ricciardo, compared the drive to Michael Schumacher’s efforts in Barcelona in 1994 and the Apollo 13 mission, while advisor Helmut Marko claimed no other driver on the grid could have brought the car home.

The 28-year-old may wonder when he will get the straightforward victory that his rivals have frequently enjoyed in the past. But it will take some effort for a driver to produce a better all-round performance this season.
Rating out of ten: 10

A strange weekend for Sebastian Vettel in which he left Monaco with his championship deficit to Lewis Hamilton cut and yet could not challenge for victory, even with Ricciardo’s engine woes.

The German produced a fine final qualifying lap to pip Hamilton to a front row spot, although could get nowhere near Ricciardo’s two Q3 efforts. But for the second race running, the Ferrari found itself eating through its tyres meaning he could never launch an attack on the limping Red Bull and Vettel then fell away completely on the Virtual Safety Car restart.

His podium drought is over but questions remain over where Ferrari’s performance of the opening weekends has gone.
Rating out of ten: 8

Given Mercedes’ fears ahead of Monaco, Lewis Hamilton was understandably “grateful” that the damage to his championship lead was limited to just three points.

It was a frustrating Sunday afternoon for the reigning world champion in which he could not find a way past chief title rival Vettel and it left Hamilton bemoaning his tyres and calling for changes to the Monaco event.

“We were just cruising around from lap six,” he said immediately after the race. “It wasn’t really racing.”

The Briton will hope for greater excitement in Canada where he is looking to win for a fourth consecutive year.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Kimi Raikkonen felt robbed of victory 12 months ago but the Finn was not in the mix this weekend.

He had to settle for fourth in qualifying, half a second off pole and two tenths down on team-mate Vettel, while his race was more about keeping Valtteri Bottas behind him rather than challenging those in front.
Rating out of ten: 7

At one stage, it looked like Mercedes had played Valtteri Bottas’ strategy perfectly as he closed to within seven seconds of the lead from fifth place, setting fastest laps on the more durable supersoft tyre while the leading four drivers struggled on the supersofts.

But in the end, Ricciardo and co. managed to prolong their stints and Bottas fell back, by more than 10 seconds in fact, paying the price for a disappointing qualifying. He was two tenths off Mercedes team-mate Hamilton and is now trailing 4-2 in F1 2018.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

Esteban Ocon has endured a difficult start to 2018 but this was much more like the impressive displays he showed in his debut year with Force India.

The Frenchman capitalised on Max Verstappen’s absence in qualifying to snatch P6 ahead of Fernando Alonso and then ensured he claimed the ‘best of the rest’ tag on Sunday too.

He did his relationship with Mercedes no harm by not holding up Hamilton and Bottas after their pit stops, although he may regret the latter given how much he closed on the second Silver Arrow in the closing stages.
Rating out of ten: 9

A wonderful afternoon for Pierre Gasly, who finished in the points in F1 for the second time. He started 10th but was able to prolong his first stint on the hypersofts, setting personal bests on the wearing tyre while others struggled.

“We knew it could be difficult but the car was just so fast!” admitted the Frenchman.

He was then able to hold off Nico Hulkenberg, and has made an impressive start to his first full season in the sport. His qualifying performance, making it into Q3 while his team-mate fell at the first hurdle, will have been particularly pleasing.
Rating out of ten: 9

Finishing eighth from 11th represented a fine afternoon’s work for Nico Hulkenberg in which he benefitted from a strong strategy choice by Renault.

The German was able to run for 50 laps on his opening ultrasoft tyres and after switching to hypersofts, he was let through by team-mate Carlos Sainz to chase down Gasly.

Ultimately he was unable to find away past the Toro Rosso, but he at least managed to fend off Max Verstappen’s charging Red Bull.

“I think eighth was the best we could do in the situation,” was Hulkenberg’s verdict. “We made the most of the opportunities.”
Rating out of ten: 7.5

How Max Verstappen must be regretting that Practice Three crash. Not only did it cost him an almost-certain place on the front row in qualifying, but he could also have been in prime position to take the win off the ailing Ricciardo. It would have been interesting to see Red Bull’s strategy if that was the case.

Instead, he had to fight his way through the field from the back of the grid and actually did a fine job – salvaging two points with aggressive but controlled overtaking. But as his boss Christian Horner says, he may need to change his approach to avoid these weekend-destroying mistakes.
Rating out of ten: 6

Carlos Sainz managed to out-qualify team-mate Hulkenberg on merit for the first time this season but was caught out on race day as he struggled on the ultrasoft tyres.

Played the team game by letting Hulkenberg through but lost out in his battle with Verstappen and ended up coming home over 40 seconds behind the pair.
Rating out of ten: 7

A solid race for Marcus Ericsson, though 11th place does flatter him slightly after only making up positions due to the retirements and botched pit-stops. He had solid pace, particularly at the end of the race when he closed in on the points, but needs to get closer to Sauber team-mate Leclerc in qualifying. He’s lost on a Saturday at the last four grands prix and was almost half a second back here.
Rating out of ten: 6

A tough afternoon for Sergio Perez in which a pit-stop problem cost him dearly and saw him fall down the field and miss out on a third points finish of 2018.

The Mexican has also now been out-qualified by team-mate Ocon in three consecutive races and will hope to readdress that balance in Canada.
Rating out of ten: 6

They’re enjoying a fine start to the season, but Kevin Magnussen and Haas’ pace was non-existent in Monaco. He was the slowest driver in qualifying – not helped by yellow flags in Q1 – and 13th in the race was about as good as he could expect in an under-performing chassis.

“I’m just glad we’re out of here,” admitted the Dane.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Stoffel Vandoorne continues to trail Fernando Alonso when it matters in the McLaren and the Belgian was a frustrated man on Sunday night as he felt he had been sacrificed to help his team-mate.

Vandoorne had been the lead McLaren throughout practice but a gearbox issue then compromised his qualifying and he missed out on a maiden Q3 appearance this season by a tenth of a second.

A poor start saw him jumped by Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams off the line and after Alonso rejoined just ahead of him in the first round of pit-stops, a slow stop saw Vandoorne slip behind Magnussen’s Haas which he could not recover from.
Rating out of ten: 6

It was already shaping up to be a difficult weekend for Romain Grosjean given his three-place grid penalty and that was compounded by Haas’ surprise lack of pace in Monaco.

The Frenchman started 18th and had to settle for 15th with his run of point-less finishes extending to 10 races.

At least his run of crashes is over.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Sergey Sirotkin’s race was destroyed before it had even begun as Williams failed to get his tyres fitted before the pre-race three-minute signal which left him facing a 10-second stop-and-go penalty which sent him to the back of the field.

It was rough justice for the Russian on a weekend which he had otherwise thoroughly impressed and comfortably out-performed team-mate Lance Stroll. He had looked an outside contender for a Q3 spot, although ultimately had to settle for 13th on the grid.
Rating out of ten: 7

A race littered with punctures and petulant radio messages from Lance Stroll as he was last of the cars to finish on another torrid day for Williams.

The Canadian was complaining about his car all weekend and comments such as “I can’t drive anymore” and “what’s the point of even racing” will hardly be helping morale at the struggling outfit.

While the FW41 is clearly a handful, there appears much greater potential in the car than Stroll is currently extracting. Team-mate Sirotkin twice had it in the top 10 in practice and Stroll was out-qualified by eight tenths of a second. A big improvement is needed next time out at his home grand prix.
Rating out of ten: 5

Did not finish

Charles Leclerc’s bad luck around his home track continues as a brake failure sent him thundering into the back of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso at the Nouvelle chicane when running 12th. But up until the lap 70 collision it had been another fine weekend from the 20-year-old in which he reached Q2 for the third consecutive race and out-qualified team-mate Marcus Ericsson by over four tenths of a second.
Rating out of ten: 7

With questions over his Toro Rosso future mounting, Brendon Hartley could have done without the misfortune that hit him in Monaco. The Kiwi had shown good pace throughout practice but was caught out by traffic and yellow flags in qualifying which saw him knocked out in Q1, while his team-mate sailed through to Q3.

His race was then compromised by front wing damage on the opening lap and he would have faced a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane had he not been taken out by Leclerc.
Rating out of ten: 6

Fernando Alonso’s eight-race run of points finishes is over after his McLaren suffered a gearbox and engine problem on lap 52. It rounded off a frustrating weekend for the Spaniard on his Monaco return as he had also suffered reliability issues in first practice. He found pace when it mattered most in qualifying to secure back-to-back Q3 appearances and maintain his 100 per cent record over team-mate Vandoorne and had looked set for yet another P7 finish before the failure.
Rating out of ten: 7

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