2018 Monaco Grand Prix Star Performers

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were RaceFans’ Star Performance of the Monaco Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Daniel Ricciardo

Well, obviously.

From the word go Ricciardo was back in his usual Monaco groove. This time it finally delivered the result it deserved. He ended the weekend with a clean sweep having been quickest in all three practice sessions, all three stages of qualifying and the 78-lap race distance.

The latter was made all the more impressive by the fact he had to cope with a broken MGU-K for around two-thirds of the race distance. Ricciardo’s pace was so strong that even with this problem Vettel was never able to get close.

Esteban Ocon

The Force India driver emerged from an incredibly close midfield with the biggest haul of points. This was partly thanks to a strong performance in qualifying, and also down to the way he coped with a braking problem in the race’s latter stages. He needs to show more of this kind of form to keep Mercedes interested.

Pierre Gasly

As in Bahrain, Toro Rosso demonstrated that when they hit the sweet spot with the STR13 the car absolutely flies. Gasly’s superior tyre-nursing helped them to an excellent seventh, and he was a long way ahead of his team mate when the latter was taken out.

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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2018
Verstappen spoiled his weekend again
Well, obviously.

Verstappen’s blunder in final practice might have been excusable had it happened in the final minutes of Q3 while making a bid for pole position. But smashing his car up at the end of final practice ensured no participation in qualifying and therefore a ruined weekend.

After that he made the best he could of his situation and salvaged a couple of points. But it was striking that the team didn’t bother risking him on a fresh set of hyper-softs at the end despite the advantage it could have given him. Did they not want to risk the few points he had scored?

Lance Stroll

Looked far less comfortable in the Williams than his team mate, qualified over six-tenths of a second slower, and bent a few wheels on the way. According to the team it was high brake temperatures which caused his punctures in the race, but Stroll did not look like the more experienced of the two drivers this weekend.

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And the rest

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Monaco, 2018
Vandoorne was unhappy with his strategy
Second and third for Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton was probably the best their respective cars were good for this weekend – Hamilton in particular did will to split the Ferraris.

Carlos Sainz Jnr out-qualified Nico Hulkenberg on merit so had good reason to feel frustrated at finishing behind his team mate. This was due to a combination of team strategy, team orders and the fact he had to start on old tyres.

Marcus Ericsson was less than a second away from beating him to the final points place. However this was partly thanks to his brake-less team mate crashing out of the race and taking Brendon Hartley, who’d done little up to that point, out with him.

A slow pit stop spoiled Sergio Perez’s race while the Haas pair struggled with a lack of downforce due to a parts shortage. They were split by Stoffel Vandoorne, who said his strategy was compromised to help Fernando Alonso – who then retired.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “2018 Monaco Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Out of curiosity, how would you rate Alonso, Leclerc and Hartley until their respective retirements, Keith?

    1. For what its worth. Hartley was faster than Gasly all weekend, but got too much traffic in Quali 1 to get through including when Perez almost put him in the wall. He started in 15th and was 11th with a damaged front wing at the start. then heil he got taken out through no fault of his own.
      Unfortunately his pitlane speeding which by his reaction must have been pretty marginal would have put him back in 14th or 15th.
      So he actually had a good weekend and a solid race and his tire management was arguably just as good as Gasley’s as he made up 4 places on merit.

      1. @theoddkiwi – thanks for that. Yeah, in a weekend where some said he needed to put in a good performance, I too think he did a good job of proving himself (minus the pitlane speeding incident).

      2. @theoddkiwi Hartley completely used up his second set of tires to gain places via the undercut. Gasly managed to preserve his very vulnerable hyper-soft tires to gain places via the overcut, which was much more impressive I think. Gasly really was the master of tire management in the race.

        1. Did Gasley have a damaged front wing? The team put Hartley on a different strategy and almost pulled off the 4 place jump.

  2. “Second and third for Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton was probably the best their respective cars were good for this weekend – Hamilton in particular did will to split the Ferraris.”

    Yes, hence why i am perplexed how some outlets have rated Vettel’s Monaco performance higher than Hamilton’s?

    1. Despite the fact I’d 100% argue it was the right thing for Ocon to do for his own race it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth watching him lift off to allow Hamilton past like he was being blue flagged. That’s about all I can think of.

      1. Lol.. That’s a whole another level of team order. But yeah, if Hamilton would’ve been stuck behind Ocon for a few laps then Kimi might have been able to overcut him.

    2. Vettel’s tire management was better. Hamilton’s tires gave up fairly early, which gave Räikkönen the opportunity to overcut him. Because Ocon was being polite and Räikkönen’s tires gave up as well, he kept his place. However, he needed to push hard on his second set of tires and they went off again at around lap 20, so from then he was struggling for pace. He could barely beat a Force India, a Toro Rosso and a Renault. A fairly weak performance, if you ask me.
      Vettel’s only weakness was his inability to pass Ricciardo.

  3. ”due to a combination of team strategy, team orders and the fact he had to start on old tyres.”
    – Yes, the former two aspects do apply to Sainz’s pace-drop and the finishing position subsequently, but not really the latter as that’s always the case with the Top-10 qualifiers, so, therefore, Sainz wasn’t the only one, far from it, who had to start on ‘used’ tyres, but nine other drivers besides him as well.

    1. @jerejj I agree…Sainz’s lack of pace had nothing to do with him starting on hyper-softs. He struggled only in the second stint.

  4. Has Verstappen made it to the strugglers list 6 out of 6 times so far this season?

    1. Verstappen says he made it to the struggler list only twice.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        31st May 2018, 12:05


      2. Made me laugh out loud :).

        But i believe the answer is yes Sumedh

    2. He won’t have been on it in Spain, but I think he has been on it at every other race

  5. An honourable nod to Sirotkin, the guy had a good weekend and would have been in with an outside chance of a point if not for the operational issue on the grid. As you said, he did not look like the debutant this weekend, hopefully he can kick on from this.

    1. Very good point.

    2. I agree with that @geemac, I think Sirotkin showed the potential, he is developing quite nicely I think

  6. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    31st May 2018, 12:28

    Vandoorne has got the Raikkonen treatment a fair amount during his McLaren tenure. He has always taken it on the chin and been a team player about it.
    That he is now becoming more vocal about it suggests his seat is under serious threat from the Bristol Pistol.
    Should he lose his drive I can’t see him leaving the sport though. I would imagine the likes of Steiner or Vasseur would step in and grab him should he be out of contract.

    1. @fullcoursecaution My impression amongst other Belgian fans is that many of us really hope he leaves the poisonous McLaren, we had hoped he’d be at Renault by now thanks to Vasseur, but Steiner would be smart to take him instead of Grosjean too really.

      1. @flatsix
        Yes maybe he should look around. First thought may be it’s looks like Alonso will retire so take the top drive. But if the team continues to struggle look for greener pastures. They do seem to be running out of people to blame- new culture required maybe ? It’s a mix of old school Ron and new school, and it’s not really working. Pity really.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        31st May 2018, 18:26

        @flatsix @fullcoursecaution While I see Haas getting fed up with Grosjean and dropping him, I think they would rather take on Leclerc than Vandoorne because of his relationship to Ferrari.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          31st May 2018, 21:26

          I’m inclined to agree @mbr-9 LeClerc is a class apart, and should a seat open at Haas, Ferrari would seek to fill it with Charles.
          Vasseur is the key really, he would fight to keep LeClerc to develop the Sauber in a sophomore season, and failing that, would hire Vandoorne were he free I reckon

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            31st May 2018, 21:28

            Lando Norris – The Bristol Pistol
            You heard it here first folks
            ©Pat 2018

          2. @fullcoursecaution – Let’s remember that Kvyat is also a Ferrari driver.

        2. @mbr-9 – +1 to Leclerc at Haas.

          Given Ferrari’s propensity to use an experienced driver even in a #2 slot, Haas will be a good place for Leclerc to pick up experience and further prove himself, before the big promotion.

          Although Haas have ties with Ferrari, I see Haas as still having their own independent streak and not a pure B-team. That said, it is a bit of a no-brainer if Grosjean were to be replaced by Leclerc, even in the knowledge that Ferrari are using Haas as a talent groomer.

    2. I am a long time McLaren fan, but I am seriously disappointed on how much they are using Vandoorne to further Alonso, seriously if Alonso is so damn good why so much help from the team, oh yeah the car sucks huge. I would really like to see Vandoorne in a team that gives him equal billing.. he was so good in other categories, would be great to see him unleashed again.

  7. I was in fact thinking….was there any driver that did a better race than Verstappen actually..?

    Apart from Verstappen overtaking quite a few cars, Monaco was quite a borefest…. Ricciardo running on 70% for 75% of the race wasn’t in danger one single moment. Neither Ferrari, nor a fast Bottas did any single attempt to overtake.

    I know it’s fashion these days to put Verstappen down, but he was the only driver to spice up the race a bit.
    Crashing out in FP was a stupid thing to do, Ricciardo must have felt the same the previous race, even after spinning a few times, the media couldn’t care less.

    Stars of the race, Ricciarod and Ocon…ended where they qualified and they did very well, Gasly beat Sainz, he must be the absolute star in a lesser car defeating one driver in a potentially better car.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      31st May 2018, 22:44

      I can get why some people think verstappen drove the best race. But if just one driver crashes the best car on the track in practice or qualifying and starts last, well they have given themselves the chance to have the most overtakes, which to me isn’t a good race and the result is really poor for the ability of the car. This is basically like saying Bottas had the best race in Australia. Which was even better because he finished even higher than Verstappen!

      But I disagree with that, Bottas had a poor weekend and Verstappen totally messed up his weekend too. Finishing well below the cars ability due to your own mistake is’t what I could call a good race. Maybe a good race for where you started, and I guess that is your point. As well as for excitement. But if that is the case, then I guess you found Bottas the most entertaining driver in Australia as he did the most overtakes.

      1. @thegianthogweed Verstappen of course messed up and I don’t even think he obtained the maximum result possible from his grid position. However, he made a rather boring race a bit more entertaining. We actually need more top drivers messing up once in a while. Also, I think he was a little unlucky with the oil leak. The car had been repaired and under normal circumstances he would have been able to participate in qualifying. So, bad luck amplified a stupid mistake at the wrong time. I guess that’s the story of his 2018 season.

  8. Thanks! I finally had an answer. The one on the top of the list are ‘the starest’ & ‘the strugglest’.

    Well, obviously…

  9. Gasly’s superior tyre-nursing

    Did anyone knew that it’s natural trait of him from his junior record or STR just successfuly manage to produced a great chassis?

  10. Anyone knows what keith meant here? He wrote this about verstappen:

    “But it was striking that the team didn’t bother risking him on a fresh set of hyper-softs at the end despite the advantage it could have given him. Did they not want to risk the few points he had scored?”

    As far as I saw, verstappen had a new set of HS for the last 30 laps, did he mean he should’ve pitted again with the VSC? There were max 3 laps missing! Or did he mean he should’ve pitted as soon as he caught hulkenberg? It seems very odd.

    1. Agree, it’s odd.

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