(Image source: Pat Guiney)
Driver of the Weekend
No point beating around the bush here, only one man could claim this award and that’s Daniel Ricciardo who was a class above in Monaco. The Aussie topped every practice and qualifying session on the way securing pole position with a track record 1:10.80, unbelievable pace around the streets of Monte Carlo. Max Verstappen’s accident in FP3 and subsequent absence from qualifying meant that Ricciardo was unchallenged for pole but he still had a job to do on Sunday.
The Honey Badger got the perfect launch off the line, which saw him enter Saint Devote in first place. Ricciardo, knows better than most it’s not over to until it’s over in Monaco and when his MGU-K failed mid-way through the race, he must’ve been getting the sinking feeling once again.
Sebastian Vettel caught his former teammate quickly and the rest of the top five were closing in. But Vettel couldn’t get past Ricciardo, despite the Red Bull driver’s 160 horsepower deficit, a testament to Aussie’s amazing pace around the streets of Monaco. After 40 more laps, Ricciardo saw the chequered flag first and earned redemption for 2016.
The smile on his face was ear-to-ear.
Overtake of the Weekend
Overtaking is notoriously difficult in the Principality, so choices for this award are very limited. The nominations were Max Verstappen, Max Verstappen and Max Verstappen, so naturally the Dutchman won. After starting 20th and last on the grid, he would always be involved in plenty of action as he tried his best to get through the field. The best move of his climb to ninth was probably the overtake on Marcus Ericsson early in the race. The Red Bull man got a great run out of the casino before throwing the Sauber man a dummy and sending his Red Bull charging down the inside into Mirabeau.
The Sisyphus award is handed out to the driver that tries hard to make progress, but always falls short, despite their best efforts. This week, it’s Sergey Sirotkin that picks up this dishonourable award. The Russian qualified in thirteenth place on the grid, an admirable effort in a dog of a Williams car. With a little luck, his first F1 points may have been on the cards but when you’re at the bottom, everything seems to go against you. A ten-second stop-go penalty caused by his mechanics fitting his wheels too late sent him to the back of the back, where stayed for the rest of the Grand Prix.
As bad as that sounds, he still had a better time than his teammate, Lance Stroll. The Canadian had a nightmare of a race, having a pair of punctures and finishing a full lap behind everyone else. Stroll even came on the radio asking what was the point was in carrying on and who can blame him, Williams need to get their act together soon or they’ll be tenth and last in the constructors’ championship come November.
As the name suggests, the special recognition award is given to the driver or team that deserves a mention for whatever reason. That’s normally the case, but this week, it’s the fans who take this one home. Anybody who sat through nearly two hours of one of the dullest Monaco Grand Prix I’ve seen without falling asleep deserves a trophy. While there was some on-track overtaking thanks to Verstappen starting at the back, graining on the tyres and the tight streets made action limited. There wasn’t many retirements, no spectacular crashes and the only real surprise was Fernando Alonso failing to finish a race for the first time this season.
Not much can be salvaged regarding the entertainment this weekend but Ricciardo’s win means that a Hamilton-Vettel battle for the driver’s crown may not be the story of 2018, with that trio having a brace of victories to their name each.
But who do you think deserves an award after this weekend’s action? Let us know in the comments below!
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