Carlos Sainz Jnr, Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean were F1 Fanatic’s Star Performers of the Monaco Grand Prix. Here’s why.
Carlos Sainz Jnr
My Driver of the Weekend, Sainz produced the goods when it was needed in qualifying, taking the ‘best of the rest spot’ behind five far quicker cars.
In the race he was quick enough to keep out of Lewis Hamilton’s reach. There’s no way a better result was on offer for him this weekend.
He may have lost out to Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for the first time this year but the margin was slight. But it was his long-run pace which made the difference in the end.
Vettel kept close to Raikkonen as the first stint drew to a close, then extracted enough pace from his worn ultra-softs to out-pace his team mate on fresher tyres. The cards fell in his favour as far as traffic was concerned, but Vettel did the heavy lifting and earned his win.
More ‘solid’ than ‘star’, perhaps. But Grosjean deserves a mention for getting his car home in a competitive position at one of F1’s most unforgiving tracks despite clearly still being unhappy with his brakes – he was locking up left, right and centre during practice.
The Grosjean of five years ago couldn’t have done that, and his reward was an eighth place finish. The only driver he lost a position to was Hamilton, and there’s no shame in that for a Haas driver.
Even before Stoffel Vandoorne binned his McLaren it looked likely that Hamilton wouldn’t make the cut for Q3. This was a serious blow to his championship standing at a track where overtaking is so difficult.
Mercedes played it safe with a vanilla strategy from which Hamilton seemed to draw the most, but the damage was already done.
Deserves some credit for getting his car into Q3. But crashes in qualifying and the race, on a weekend where the McLaren was uncharacteristically competitive and reliable, has to be marked down as a major missed opportunity.
Crashed during the Safety Car period, which he blamed on hot brakes and cold tyres.
And the rest
This was Raikkonen’s race to win and he didn’t. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene suggested he “lost a bit too much time behind a backmarker” which is a bit generous: Button got out of his way immediately, he had the benefit of DRS when passing Wehrlein, and Ericsson was little trouble too. Significantly, Raikkonen had three traffic-free laps before Vettel made his pit stop, during which he lost the critical time which allowed his team mate to get out of the pits ahead of him.
Daniel Ricciardo had some recompense for last year as he benefited from his strategy to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen. He also survived a hefty whack against the Sainte Devote barrier.
After problems in qualifying, Felipe Massa climbed five places to take some useful points for Williams. Team mate Lance Stroll bounced back from a practice crash to reach the chequered flag too, but there were five cars between then.
They were Kevin Magnussen, who took the final point; Jolyon Palmer, who lost a lot of running in second practice; Esteban Ocon, who was going well until he crashed in final practice and went out in Q1; Sergio Perez, who was unhappy about his strategy and picked up a penalty; and Daniil Kvyat, who was assault by Perez.
Among the non-finishers was the returning Jenson Button, who qualified superbly but spoiled his race with a hasty move on Pascal Wehrlein. The Sauber driver was already carrying a five-second time penalty. Nico Hulkenberg might have been among the points scorers but his gearbox failed.
2017 Monaco Grand Prix
- What do drivers ask in their pre-race briefing? New video reveals all
- Arrivabene “laughing” at claims Vettel is team’s number one
- Sainz takes first Driver of the Weekend win
- 2017 Monaco Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Boring or unique? Monaco GP rating hits ten-year low