F1: Five Talking Points From The Monaco Grand Prix

Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today /

The F1 Monaco Grand Prix always offers up the most intense racing on the calendar. This year, with heavy rain and an upgraded Red Bull, the race was that much more exciting!

Red Bull Deliver Mercedes The Jewel In The Crown

Before the race had even begun, SkySport’s Martin Brundle declared that Daniel Ricciardo had everything to lose going into turn one of the Monaco Grand Prix. As such, it was beneficial for the Red Bull driver when it was declared that the race would be started under safety car due to heavy rain.

The SC finally came into the pits, and when the cars were released, Ricciardo got to work, extended his lead over the two Mercs, and was seemingly on his way to his first race win of the season.

That was until that infamous pit-stop blunder occurred. A communication issue between the pit-wall and that garage saw the Red Bull mechanics not ready for Ricciardo by the time he had entered pit lane.

As they fumbled for tyres, valuable seconds ticked by for the stationary Australian. By the time he had exited the pits, what should’ve been a seven second gap ahead of Lewis Hamilton was reduced to naught, the current world champion having taken the lead, and eventually the win.
A dejected Ricciardo stood on the podium, his usual smile no where to be seen. And rightfully so.

At the end of the day it was a human error, and no doubt the team feel just as awful for letting down their star driver, and throwing away an almost certain win.

But the fact remains that Ricciardo still leaves Monaco without the win that he thinks was rightfully his for the taking. He feels angry and is understandably upset that the team have let him down once again. But will these feelings continue? Will they effect his F1 relationship with Red Bull? Probably not.

Though he is hurt now, by Canada the young driver will have no doubt put Monaco behind him. It’ll always be there in the back of his mind, but for now his relationship with Red Bull will remain intact.

Ricciardo seems like a reasonable type of person, and in time he’ll see that it was a simple, yet crucial, mistake that his team have made. That and nothing more. I doubt it will happen again anytime soon.

Hamilton’s Return To Form

Though he may have been gifted the lead, he certainly didn’t take the win with ease. Ricciardo was on Hamilton’s heals for almost the entirety of the race, and the Britain had to drive one hell of a defensive race to keep the Australian at bay.

Though Monaco is notoriously hard to pass on, the Red Bull still had enough pace to threaten the Mercedes.

Yet Hamilton made it his mission to keep the yellow nose of the Red Bull in his mirrors, and despite a one off mistake, he did so by driving an incredibly clean race.

Taking your first win of the season there’s no better place to do it than Monaco. And though he was tight lipped about narrowing that margin between himself and Nico Rosberg in the standings, there’s no better place to reignite your championship fight either.

Sergio Perez Shows He’s No Slow Coach

It’s safe to say that many were close to writing off the F1 career of Perez, in a similar vein to what many have done to his team mate, Nico Hulkenberg.

But as Monaco proved, a track which is famously known for highlighting the talents of a driver over that of his car’s capabilities, Perez has still got the prowess to be a top tier driver. If he isn’t already that is.

What’s unfortunate is that at Canada, it’s most likely that Force India will be relegated back to the middle of the grid, and the Mexican’s podium finish will have already begun to be forgotten. Come the end of the season, Perez’s name will most likely not be mentioned in conjunction with a seat at a top team.

It’s unfortunate, but that’s racing. Though he may be ignored by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, and other Formula One teams in general, Perez should take his confidence and pace to a series where such attributes are highlighted, i.e. IndyCar.

Renault Appear To Have Delivered

When Renault released word that their new engine upgrade would deliver at least a half second per lap, given their recent track record, it would’ve been reasonable to remain skeptical.
But come race day, there was Ricciardo, sitting on pole.

Of course, Monaco rewards the brave, and there were none braver than Ricciardo over the weekend. But almost a half second clear on bravery alone? Highly doubtful.

What appears to have happened is that Renault have finally implemented a competitive engine. That’s not to say that Red Bull, the leading Renault powered team, will be just as competitive in two weeks when the Canadian Grand Prix rolls around.

But it’s safe to say that it would appear that beating Ferrari in the championship might be a possibility now. Much to the dislike of Sebastian Vettel no doubt (Ricciardo, with his second place in Monaco, now sits in third place overall behind Rosberg and Hamilton).

If Red Bull can do it, if they can pip Ferrari by season’s end, a massive thank you card, a box of chocolates, and a bunch of flowers should be sent to Renault’s engineering department.

Given that Red Bull have just announced Renault will be the team’s engine supplier for a further two years, it’s safe to say that the team were happy with what they saw in Monaco.

Max Verstappen, Hero To Zero?

I think it’s safe to say that people may have got carried away a bit with Verstappen’s maiden victory in Spain two weeks ago. Though it’s without question that the youngest driver on the grid has some extraordinary talent up his sleeves, I think his performance in Spain raised the expectations of many a tad too high.

The driver we saw in Monaco was a man still coming to terms with the beast that is a Formula One car. He’s young and relatively inexperienced, as such it’s inevitable that he will constantly be testing and expanding his limitations throughout every race weekend.

Unfortunately for Verstappen, Monaco will punish you harshly when you step too far off the mark. And his shunts in qualifying and the race showed that. But hero to zero? Hardly.

He had an explosive start to his Red Bull career, yes. But that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly the best driver on the grid. No offence to Verstappen, but he’s not even close. And to be fair to the Dutchman, people shouldn’t be treating him as such.

He has the talents to be a world champion. But people have to realise that along the way he will make mistakes, more so now than later due in part to his level of experience.

For lack of a better word, people need to ‘chill’ over Verstappen’s mishaps in Monaco.

must read: Lewis Hamilton Rebounds To Win Monaco GP

Rhetoric such as ‘hero to zero’ is utterly pointless and stupid. He ruined his race weekend, and probably will ruin plenty of others in the years to come, but please don’t sit on the sidelines and pretend you were any better.

What were your favourite moments of the Monaco GP? Comment below and let us know!