Qualifying is always critical in Monaco and strong grid position rewarded drivers like Jenson Button and Sergio Perez who both finished in the top 10, despite troublesome starts to their respective campaigns. Williams - who described their lack of pace around the Principality as a one-off - finished well outside of the points despite two capable drivers behind the wheels of the FW37. But the driver of the day tag deservedly goes to Lewis Hamilton for his flawless drive from pole position.
After being trounced by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in Spain, Lewis Hamilton regained the edge on the streets of Monte Carlo, taking pole position by four tenths off a second. He followed it up with classy drive on Sunday, establishing a near untouchable lead of 20 seconds before safety car changed the outcome of the race on lap 64.
Hamilton believing Rosberg had pitted for a fresh set of options complained about his own tyres, inducing Mercedes to seriously think of stopping the British driver. However, the team overestimated the gap between their two drivers, and when Hamilton came out of the pits, he had dropped to third place, behind Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
With overtaking a novelty around the tight and twisty streets of Monaco, the 30 year old failed to pass Vettel despite fresher tyres and ended a disappointed third.
But having driven flawlessly for the majority of the race, Lewis Hamilton is our driver of the day.
Daniil Kvyat has come under severe criticism this season for his lacklustre performances. With just one year’s worth of F1 experience under his belt, it seemed he was just not ready for a role at Red Bull’s flagship outfit. Company’s racing advisor Helmut Marko openly asked him to buck up, having scored just five points to Ricciardo’s 35 coming into F1’s blue riband event.
However, at the Monaco Grand Prix, Kvyat showed why he was promoted by Red Bull in the first place, with a career best fourth place finish. The key to the result was an opportunistic but calculated move at Sainte Devote over teammate Daniel Ricciardo. He later went on to extend his lead to as much as 10 seconds, showing he was generally the quicker of the Red Bull duo.
Amid Lewis Hamilton’s pit blunder, Sergio Perez’s seventh place result went completely unnoticed. The Mexican outpaced his highly rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying to make it into Q3 and line his car in seventh place.
His race was quiet until the Safety Car came out to spice up the show, and the 25 year old duly pitted for a fresh of supersoft tyres. Midfield teams like Force India are always looking to seize opportunities and they didn’t miss out on this one.
Unfortunately for them, the nature of Monaco track meant that Perez could never find a way past Kimi Raikkonen, despite being on the faster and the fresher tyre.
Not often do you see McLaren rejoicing an eighth place finish. But given the troubles they’ve had with ‘new’ engine suppliers Honda, a points finish is a sure shot sign of progress.
Button started 10th on grid after Sainz’s penalty and moved up to ninth after Pastor Maldonado ran into ERS troubles. He gained a position over Verstappen in the pits, who had been delayed by a lengthy stop. From there, the 2009 world champion managed his pace to secure McLaren-Honda’s first top 10 results of the season.
However, given that Monaco is not a power circuit, there is little guarantee that the Woking based team would be able replicate this result in Canada in a fortnight’s time.
Carlos Sainz Jr
An excellent eighth place on the grid - ahead of teammate Max Verstappen - turned into a pitlane start after FIA penalised Carlos Sainz Jr for missing the weighbridge during qualifying.
The Spaniard, however, compensated for it with the longest stint of any driver on the prime tyre - from lap 12 to the chequered flag - to collect a rewarding championship point in 10th place.