F1 Power Rankings: Monaco Grand Prix

It’s finally time for Formula One to have its biggest race of the year on the biggest day for motorsports of the year. Before we can watch the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600, we must start the day with the Monaco Grand Prix. All eyes will be on Mercedes as they try to recover from the debacle in Barcelona because if they pull that trick here, most of the field will crash out with them.

#1 Nico Rosberg (Last Race #1)
The championship leader reflects on the Spanish Collision: “I was gutted after what happened in Spain – for myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them both in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”

#2 Lewis Hamilton (LR #2)
Old Lewis is looking forward to resting at home this weekend. If there’s a repeat of the last race, at least he can walk home and drink his sorrows away: “I’ve not had the best run of results in Monaco in recent years – but last year showed I have the pace to do the job. It’s always a different weekend to the rest, with the extra day, the boats in the harbour and sleeping at home; that makes it fun because the whole rhythm is something else to the rest of the season.”

#3 Sebastian Vettel (LR #3)

#4 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #4)

#5 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #5)
Danny Boy talks about why street circuits matter to a driver: “I believe street circuits like Monaco bring out the best in a driver. Fans, commentators and ex-drivers can see who’s really on it and willing to push it to the limit. That’s what I like about street circuits. It’s visible to the spectators who is running the fine line between risk and reward.”

#6 Max Verstappen (LR #7)
Mad Max might have won his first race but he still has to worry about his Monaco troubles: “It’s so difficult to overtake in Monaco, last year I tried and we ended up in the wall, so the most important thing is to have a good qualifying and start and from there on keep it on the track!”

#7 Valtteri Bottas (LR #8)
Nobody else mentioned it but #BO77AS talks about the schmoozing required in Monaco: “It’s a very busy week – it starts one day earlier than normal, because practice is on Thursday. Normally there are plenty of partners who come to Monaco for lots of events, so it’s probably the busiest race weekend off the track for me as a driver. It’s a big challenge.”

#8 Felipe Massa (LR #6)
Old Phil talks about the change from hometown roads to racetrack: “Monaco is like another home grand prix for me because I live there. I’m not from Monaco, but it’s definitely my town. I pass through the track most of the time when it’s just a road, and then suddenly everything changes and in just a few months it turns into a race track. It’s pretty amazing to see what they do there with the tight roads, and then we go racing there at 300kph.”

#9 Daniil Kvyat (LR #9)

#10 Carlos Sainz (LR #11)

#11 Sergio Perez (LR #14)
Checo has always dreamed of Monte Carlo: “When I was a child I always dreamed about racing in Monaco. I’ve had good memories there and some difficult days too. Scoring points last year was special and a very important result for the team. It’s always a busy week on and off the track, but it’s good fun because the fans can walk the track and get really close to us. It always gives me a lot of energy just being there and soaking up the atmosphere.”

#12 Fernando Alonso (LR #13)
Alonso is optimistic for this race since his engine won’t be a complete liability: “It’s a real challenge to get the set-up right for Monaco because of its unique characteristics, but often we see some unpredictable racing there because the nature of it tends to shuffle the pack up. I’m optimistic that we can dial-in our car to suit the track because we have a very well-balanced chassis, so it will be interesting to see how we measure up when the circuit’s characteristics are more likely to play to our strengths.”

#13 Romain Grosjean (LR #10)
It’s a home race for Romain and a pretty big weekend for Haas with the US broadcaster on location in Monte Carlo for the first time this season: “Monaco is special to me because it’s kind of my home race. We’re beside France and there’s always a lot of people, a lot of fans. It is, of course, special because of all the glamour because it is Monaco. Everyone knows Monaco and everyone wants to be in Monaco. It’s a very challenging track and a very long weekend with lots of demands, but at the end of the day it’s a very nice show.”

#14 Jenson Button (LR #15)
With more street circuits popping up in F1, Jenson talks about how Monaco is unique: “I love this track – although we are now seeing more street circuits appearing on the Formula 1 calendar, Monaco is like no other in the world. It requires a completely unique set-up – more traction, high downforce, more steering angle, softer suspension – and the feeling you get driving around there is among the best you experience as a driver.”

#15 Kevin Magnussen (LR #16)
K-Mag just wants to shut up and drive: “Of course you’re aware of all the parties going on but when you’re there to race that is where your focus is. You can’t go mad over a race weekend, you just have to go to bed and know that there’s plenty of opportunity to party other times when you’re not at a race. I’ll happily miss a great party if it means I get to race a Formula 1 car around Monaco.”

#16 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #12)
The Hulk talks about the mental challenge of the Monte Carlo street circuit: “The challenge of the track is good fun and very demanding… When you walk the track you can’t believe that we actually race there because it’s so narrow. You need to be incredibly precise because you can’t afford even the smallest mistake. Mentally it’s very tough because it’s corner after corner and there’s never a moment when you can relax – even for a second.”

#17 Esteban Gutierrez (LR #17)
Steve talks about the off-track fun in Monaco this weekend: “To be a guest on one of the boats is one way to enjoy it. Another is the restaurants, which provide a very special atmosphere, especially during the grand prix weekend. It’s a very complicated place to take guests, but it is definitely one of the most special.”

#18 Jolyon Palmer (LR #18)
JoPa’s favourite Monaco GP memory is the 1996 race in which three cars survived two hours. Also, the last forecast I saw is predicting rain: “One race I remember really well from watching when I was young was when Olivier Panis won. I watched this as a little boy – at about five years old – and it was a crazy Grand Prix, seeing Panis win in a Ligier! It just shows what can be possible. It’s a difficult track to overtake but there have been so many legendary races there!”

#19 Marcus Ericsson (LR #20)
The Sauber boys engage in a battle of generic PR quotage: “Racing in Monte Carlo has a long tradition which makes it to one of the most remarkable races in the Formula One season. The track is a lot of fun to drive, but very challenging at the same time. Every little mistake can mean ending up in the barriers. It is all about very precise driving and having the confidence in the car to use every centimetre of the track.”

#20 Felipe Nasr (LR #19)
And New Phil’s contribution: “The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the best races on the calendar. The track on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo is a real challenge – for us drivers as well as for the car. There is a fine line between driving the perfect lap and pushing the car to the limit. I really like racing there as the atmosphere is also very special.”

#21 Pascal Wehrlein (LR #21)
Pascal is so excited that he’s like a puppy: “I’m super-excited! It’s a race like no other and although they are all new to me in my debut season, it’s such a special feeling – and a privilege – to be competing here. I can’t describe the feeling of racing at this track but listening to others that have really gives me goose bumps.”

#22 Rio Haryanto (LR #22)
Rio actually scored a podium in GP2 in Monaco. He may need a repeat to save his seat. More in the race recap post next week: “Lining up for my first Grand Prix in Melbourne was a pretty special feeling but I’m sure competing in my first Monaco Grand Prix will come very close. It’s a completely unique experience, which I know from racing here in GP2. I’ve actually been on the podium in Monaco after finishing in 3rd place in 2014 and the atmosphere and sense of occasion is incredible.”

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