The 2014 Formula One season may be something of a two-horse race between the two Mercedes teammates but the excitement surrounding the annual visit to Monaco is as strong as ever. With all 22 drivers desperate to shine on the biggest stage of the season, the TCF Form Guide looks at their chances.
|44. LEWIS HAMILTON – MERCEDES (100 PTS – CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st||Best In Monaco: Winner (2008)|
Another Grand Prix weekend and another heavy blow struck by Lewis Hamilton in the all-Mercedes fight for the championship. The Briton resisted a late challenge from Nico Rosberg to win his fourth race in succession and the 25 point deficit after his DNF in Melbourne has now been overturned. Considering Monaco is a circuit where the driver is able to make the difference, Hamilton only has a solitary victory in seven attempts but the Mercedes, even on a street circuit, should be comfortably strong enough to give him a shot at a second.
|6. NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES (97 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 3 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd||Best In Monaco: Winner (2013)|
For the fourth Grand Prix weekend in succession, Nico Rosberg arrives with the intention of turning the tables on teammate Lewis Hamilton. Although he was quicker on option tyres in the final stint, Nico never truly got close enough to launch an attack on the no.44 Mercedes. With the momentum all on Lewis’ side, Nico desperately needs to respond and if he needs inspiration, he should look no further than 2013 when he controlled the Monaco Grand Prix from start to finish on his way to victory.
|14. FERNANDO ALONSO – FERRARI (49 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 51 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 4th, 4th, 9th, 3rd, 6th||Best In Monaco: Winner (2006, 2007)|
Fernando Alonso’s homecoming in Spain didn’t bring the triumph he would have hoped for, instead a sobering reminder of the task facing Ferrari before they can think about winning again. Despite getting the better of teammate Kimi Raikkonen for sixth, Alonso was nearly lapped by the dominant Mercedes pair and Ferrari’s record over the years in Monaco doesn’t suggest the fightback will start here. The Scuderia haven’t won on the streets of Monte Carlo for thirteen years.
| 1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (45 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 55 PTS)
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 3rd, 6th, 5th, 4th||Best In Monaco: Winner (2011)|
The term character-building has been used to describe Sebastian Vettel’s season and if Barcelona is anything to go by, Vettel looks set to pass that test with flying colours. The world champion barely ran at all on Friday and the problem which stopped him in Q3 forced him to start fifteenth but Sebastian overcome all the adversity to finish a fine fourth. With straight-line speed less of a factor here than anywhere else, this might be the best chance Red Bull have of challenging Mercedes in qualifying and we all know how tough Seb is to beat if he gets his nose in front on Sunday.
|3. DANIEL RICCIARDO – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (39 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 61 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DSQ, DNF, 4th, 4th, 3rd||Best In Monaco: DNF (2012, 2013)|
Daniel Ricciardo’s sensational run of form continued with a first official podium finish in Barcelona and the Australian is now just six points behind his teammate Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings. With Monaco being one of Mark Webber’s happy hunting grounds, the battle between his successor and Sebastian will be fascinating. With Ricciardo now 4-1 up in the qualifying head-to-head, he will certainly fancy his chances of starting ahead of the world champion and given the difficulties found when trying to overtake, Daniel could well be the first Red Bull driver home for the fourth consecutive race.
|27. NICO HULKENBERG – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (37 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 63 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 6th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 10th||Best In Monaco: 8th (2012)|
Nico Hulkenberg’s 100% points-scoring record in 2014 continued but given the standards we have come to expect from him and Force India, Barcelona could be described as a slight disappointment. The VJM07 wasn’t as competitive at the Circuit de Catalunya with tyer degradation a particular issue and tenth was the best the German could manage in the end. Monte Carlo provides a very different test of man and machine and Hulkenberg will surely look to repeat his top six performances of the flyaway races.
|77. VALTTERI BOTTAS – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (34 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 66 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 5th, 8th, 8th, 7th, 5th||Best In Monaco: 12th (2013)|
Valtteri Bottas has to go down as one of the stars of the Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying on the second row and running fourth for much of the race. Although he was overhauled in the closing stages by a rampant Sebastian Vettel, Bottas matched his career-best result in fifth to lift Williams above McLaren in the Constructors Championship. Bottas will now now have his eyes on a first podium finish and Monaco would be quite the venue to achieve it. Qualifying will be key for Valtteri and he looks to have that part of his driving in perfect shape.
|22. JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN MERCEDES (23 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 77 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 3rd, 6th, 17th, 11th, 11th||Best In Monaco: Winner (2009)|
Not even in their miserable 2013 season did McLaren go on the kind of barren run they’re on at the moment. The Woking squad have gone three races without a single point and Jenson Button’s failure to break the top ten in Barcelona was largely down to a disastrous opening lap. The chances of another victory stroll up the start/finish straight on Sunday look slim at best but if Jenson can put McLaren on the scoreboard again, the first steps on the road to recovery may have been taken.
|20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – McLAREN MERCEDES (20 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 80 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 2nd, 9th, DNF, 13th, 12th||Best In Monaco: Debut|
Kevin Magnussen has had to clear many obstacles in his short Formula One career but Monte Carlo presents the biggest yet for the impressive young Dane. Magnussen’s performance in Spain was better than the result may suggest with the rookie finishing right on the tail of his teammate Jenson Button despite a power unit problem forcing him to start fourteenth. Monte Carlo has a long history of biting when first-time Formula One drivers arrive but Magnussen should have the right mental approach to cope with the challenge.
|11. SERGIO PEREZ – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (20 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 80 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 10th, DNS, 3rd, 9th, 9th||Best In Monaco: 11th (2012)|
The inconsistency of Sergio Perez must frustrate those that employ him. The brilliance of Bahrain was followed by an average showing in China but in Spain, the Mexican was right back on form again. Although he was outqualified by teammate Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio fought back on Sunday and won an entertaining race-long battle between the two for ninth place. Monaco doesn’t hold the best of memories for Perez but historically, he has been quick here so could surprise if he stays out of the barriers.
|7. KIMI RAIKKONEN – FERRARI (17 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 83 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 7th, 12th, 10th, 8th, 7th||Best In Monaco: Winner (2005)|
Although he didn’t have much to celebrate afterwards, Kimi Raikkonen looked much more like his normal self in Barcelona, taking the fight to Fernando Alonso and edging him right the way until the closing laps when fresher tyres swung the battle the Spaniard’s way. The difference in strategy between the two Ferrari drivers may have left more questions than answers in the Raikkonen camp but the inability to overtake here makes it unlikely that a similar scenario could present himself this weekend and we should see a straight fight between the two.
|19. FELIPE MASSA – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (12 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 88 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 7th, 7th, 15th, 12th||Best In Monaco: 3rd (2007, 2008)|
In the story of Felipe Massa’s season so far, the Spanish Grand Prix was all too familiar for the Brazilian who showed strong pace only to go without reward on Sunday afternoon. A mistake on his final lap of Q3 put him on the back foot for race day and his weekend never truly recovered from there. With overtaking opportunities limited, another qualifying slip-up would prove terminal for his hopes of a good result in the principality but a driver of Felipe’s class is unlikely to make the same slip twice. Last year should serve as a warning when he crashed in FP3 and didn’t take part on Saturday afternoon at all.
|8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN – LOTUS RENAULT (4 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 96 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 11th, 12th, DNF, 8th||Best In Monaco: DNF (2012, 2013)|
Romain Grosjean was nothing short of outstanding in Barcelona with the Frenchman taking the Lotus further than anyone thought it would go when it broke cover in pre-season. Qualifying fifth, ahead of both Ferraris was phenomenal and eighth in the race was the least his drive deserved. Monte Carlo is a demonstration of how far Romain has come when you look back to his horrendous weekend in 2013 where he spent most of his time hitting things and his next visit gives him the chance to show just how far he has come.
|25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – STR RENAULT (4 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 96 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 8th, DNF, DNF, 12th, DNF||Best In Monaco: 8th (2013)|
Jean-Eric Vergne’s Spanish Grand Prix weekend was ruined in free practice when his Toro Rosso team released his car without all four wheels correctly fitted. The ten place grid penalty made a points finish all-but-impossible but an exhaust problem in the race put the cap on a disastrous weekend. Keen to get his season back on track, Vergne will be eyeing a return to the top ten in Monaco and after putting in one of his strongest 2013 displays here, he will start with high hopes.
|26. DANIIL KVYAT – STR RENAULT (4 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 96 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 9th, 10th, 11th, 10th, 14th||Best In Monaco: Debut|
Daniil Kvyat has barely put a foot wrong in his fledgling Formula One career but the streets of Monte Carlo will provide the biggest test yet of the Russian’s credentials, especially when he admits he has never raced on a full street circuit before. Kvyat has shown a level of maturity in the first five races which suggests he will cope well with the demands of the principality but the barriers are notoriously unforgiving and if Daniil can avoid them, he will have passed a serious test.
|99. ADRIAN SUTIL – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 11th, DNF, DNF, DNF, 17th||Best In Monaco: 5th (2013)|
Sauber’s disastrous 2014 season showed no signs of taking a turn for the better in Barcelona with Adrian Sutil falling out in Q1 for the third time in four races before finishing a lowly seventeenth in the race. The lack of grip provided by the C33 continues to hold Adrian back and that doesn’t suggest a turnaround is likely in Monaco but Adrian has shone here in inferior equipment before, including a year ago, providing action aplenty with his overtakes at the hairpin on his way to fifth.
|21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 12th, DNF, DNF, 16th, 16th||Best In Monaco: 13th (2013)|
While Sauber have very little to be happy about after five races of the 2014 season, Esteban Gutierrez can at least claim the bragging rights in the inter-team battle with Adrian Sutil. The Mexican went 3-2 up in their qualifying head-to-head in Spain and beat Sutil home in the race, although he was unable to keep up with the midfield after a good start. Esteban’s first Formula One appearance in Monte Carlo wasn’t among the most memorable of debuts but he has the chance to show that lessons have been learned second time around.
|4. MAX CHILTON – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 13th, 15th, 13th, 19th, 19th||Best In Monaco: 14th (2013)|
Max Chilton sprung quite the surprise with his qualifying performance at the Circuit de Catalunya, beating teammate Jules Bianchi by six tenths of a second to win the mini-league at the back of the grid. Regardless of the circumstances, topping the timesheets on day one of the post-race test will have boosted his confidence still further and Marussia will want his 100% finishing record to remain intact at a Grand Prix where opportunities may present themselves for the tail-end teams.
|10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 13th, 15th, 18th, DNF||Best In Monaco: 5th (2011)|
Caterham will have left Barcelona disappointed after appearing to fall behind Marussia in terms of competitiveness. Kamui Kobayashi didn’t enjoy his weekend either, being outqualified by Marcus Ericsson before a brake problem forced him to retire at half distance. With updates planned for Monaco, the Japanese driver will hope for a CT05 which gives him a fighting chance up against Marussia in qualifying, and that the forecast rain arrives to offer a helping hand on race day.
|13. PASTOR MALDONADO – LOTUS RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, DNF, 14th, 14th, 15th||Best In Monaco: 18th (2011)|
A weekend that started reasonably well descended into farce once again for Pastor Maldonado in Spain. The Lotus driver looked strong in practice only to crash at the very start of qualifying and a clash with Marcus Ericsson on lap one did little to enhance his prospects in the race either. Pastor’s awful finishing record in Monaco doesn’t fill you with confidence either but his previous DNFs can’t all be blamed on him and one thing he has always been on these streets is fast. Prepare for more fireworks.
|9. MARCUS ERICSSON – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS HAMILTON BY 100 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 14th, DNF, 20th, 20th||Best In Monaco: Debut|
Upon arrival at circuits that he knows, Marcus Ericsson will have been looking to start challenging Caterham teammate Kamui Kobayashi and outqualifying him in Barcelona was a step in the right direction. The early collision with Maldonado sent him to the back again but the Swede avoided any further trouble to bring his CT05 home unscathed. Marcus’ Monte Carlo record in GP2 was mixed so expectations should be kept under control and a quiet weekend should be considered a successful one here.
|17. JULES BIANCHI – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, DNF, 16th, 17th, 18th||Best In Monaco: DNF (2013)|
Although he was disappointed to be so soundly beaten by Max Chilton in qualifying at Barcelona, Jules Bianchi ensured normal business was resumed in the Grand Prix itself. Not only did he beat the Briton, but Bianchi also kept the Saubers relatively honest and is now targeting Monaco as a race where he can take the fight to the Swiss squad. If Jules is to do just that, he will need to have a better second appearance in the principality than his first which saw problem after problem before an eventual retirement.