F1 Power Rankings: Monaco Grand Prix

I hope that everyone is geared up for this Sunday. It’s the annual Memorial Day 1,250. From 8:00 AM EDT through to sometime around 11:00 PM EDT, there’s motorsport of some sort on TV . While there’s the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600, the day kicks off with the Monaco Grand Prix.

Last year, it was Nico Rosberg who came out on top of the battle of Monte Carlo. This year, he heads into the race with momentum after scoring his first win of the season. Can he make it two in a row?

#1 Lewis Hamilton (Last Race #1)
No talk about his new contract but Lewis talks about the secrets of Monaco: “It’s the biggest challenge of the year for a driver and, when you get it right, that feeling is hard to beat. Building a rhythm right from the beginning of practice is so important, as you really need to feel your way into the circuit. You have to be inch perfect at every point, as the slightest slip can ruin your weekend. It’s about pure driving skill and pure bravery behind the wheel, which for me is what makes it so special.”

#2 Nico Rosberg (LR #2)
Keke’s kid used the Barcelona test to prepare for this race. I’m serious. That’s how bad Barcelona is: “The circuit itself has very unique setup characteristics and we evaluated a few of those during the test in Barcelona, as the last sector there has a lot of tight corners which are quite representative. The car felt very good so I’m feeling optimistic and ready for this next race.”

#3 Sebastian Vettel (LR #3)

#4 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #4)

#5 Valtteri Bottas (LR #5)
#BO77AS has a pretty good story from life in Monaco about this race: “As a Monaco resident I see the track being built and the grandstands going up in the weeks ahead of the race and the anticipation starts to build. Witnessing the whole build up and then the roads forming into iconic racing corners is a very strange but cool experience.”

#6 Felipe Massa (LR #6)
Phil’s the first driver to mention qualifying. That’s surprising because it’s the single most important part of this race: “Although I prefer longer faster circuits like Spa and Monza, nothing can take away from the thrill of the streets of Monaco. Your first thought is to qualifying well, and from there to make sure that you finish the race. If you do that then you are in with a chance of getting some really good points.”

#7 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #7)
Danny Boy talks about what makes the Monaco GP so special: “The Monaco Grand Prix is the real deal. There’s so much energy surrounding it: the big boats; the big spenders; the cool people, the Hollywoods – it’s all there. I wouldn’t say I’m massively into that stuff at any other time of the year, but it creates a crazy atmosphere over the weekend here and that really makes the adrenaline rocket.”

#8 Romain Grosjean (LR #8)
Romain talks about finding the balance on the streets of Monte Carlo: “When you finish a lap and you know it’s quick because you’ve given everything and thought you were about to go off about three times, it is something special. Finding the balance between pushing too hard and not enough makes a huge difference in Monaco.”

#9 Daniil Kvyat (LR #15)
Daniil Boy talks about the getting to know Monaco process: “In the beginning it’s a big test. To go out and find that confidence is not easy and you always question yourself, asking ‘when is it going to happen, when am I going to feel it enough to really go for it’. But at some point in the weekend it just happens, you find the rhythm and the lap time comes. When it works like that, when you get yourself in the right place and you find a good understanding with the track, it’s great.”

#10 Carlos Sainz (LR #12)
Renault Sport Director of Operations Remi Taffin talks about what makes Monaco a challenge from an engine point of view: “Monaco is a special track in many respects and everyone has a favourite element, whether it’s the atmosphere, the circuit layout or the tight racing. For engine engineers, it’s the challenge of working on parts of the engine or software that you don’t normally focus on. In Monaco we explore maps and settings to target driveability and performance on low speed and low rev settings.”

#11 Max Verstappen (LR #9)
Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery says that their tyres will make overtaking possible. I’ll see it when I believe it: ” Monaco has often been described as a circuit where overtaking is impossible, but we have seen in the past there how tyre strategy and degradation has often led to positions changing, including on-track overtaking. In particular, the way that drivers use the new supersoft tyre, with is notable performance advantage, will be crucial.”

#12 Felipe Nasr (LR #10)

#13 Sergio Perez (LR #11)
Monaco? That don’t impress Checo much: “It’s not the most difficult circuit, but if you get it wrong, you get punished. When you get together the perfect lap, it feels great. That’s why I think it’s the one race where there is a chance to do something extra special.”

#14 Marcus Ericsson (LR #13)

#15 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #14)
If there’s one thing I love about The Hulk, it’s that he paints a great picture with words. He’ll make a great commentator some day: “From a driver’s point of view, Monaco is one of the last tracks in the world where you have absolutely zero margin for error – one mistake and you are in the wall. The thrill and kick you get in the car as you drive around the circuit is much bigger than what you get from any other track: your heart rate goes up; your heart is in your mouth – I really like that.”

#16 Fernando Alonso (LR #17)
With McLaren getting some decent qualifying results, Fernando is pinning his hopes on Saturday: ” There are three areas you have to focus on for this grand prix – qualifying, concentration, and strategy. Saturday is where you can increase your chances of getting a good result from the weekend, so this will be our first objective, and I’m hopeful we can continue to strengthen our qualifying performance and improve our starting position.”

#17 Jenson Button (LR #18)
The Honda engine has been hard to drive so Jenson is a little worried: “Monaco is a low-speed circuit that doesn’t rely that much on aerodynamic performance, but you do need good balance and driveability. I’m hopeful we can sort out the balance issues we had on my car in the last race, so Monaco should see an improvement.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado (LR #16)
A circuit completely surrounded by Armco barriers… That’s why Pastor is 18th in the power rankings: “The track is really challenging and changes a lot over the sessions, which you need to anticipate. It’s difficult to be quick close to the walls and overall it’s a very tough race, demanding in terms of concentration and stressful physically and mentally. The only negative thing is that it is quite difficult to overtake, but it is not impossible.”

#19 Will Stevens (LR #19)
John Booth talks about the team’s return to Monaco one year after scoring its first points with Jules Bianchi: “It is always a fantastic feeling to be racing in Monaco. It’s a very special occasion for the whole sport, but for our team it carries an even greater significance as the scene of so much jubilation 12 months ago when Jules delivered our first constructors’ championship points. That was an incredible, unforgettable day and it is very important to everyone in the team that we honour what Jules achieved for us. It’s a big part of the reason we are back racing today. Consequently, despite our obvious sadness, this weekend we will remember and celebrate what was a very important milestone in the team’s history and what was, above all, a mighty race performance from Jules.”

#20 Roberto Merhi (LR #20)
Robbie talks about his participation in the 65th Monaco Grand Prix: “The track is a real adventure in any category but I’m thrilled to be racing here in F1 for the first time and on the 65th anniversary of such an historic circuit. The streets of Monaco are really exhilarating to drive, like Casino Square and the Swimming Pool section and it’s a really amazing vibe all weekend.”


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