Rookie of the Race
#55 – Carlos Sainz Jr – Spain – Scuderia Toro Rosso
Despite not finishing as the best rookie on Sunday (that honour went to Felipe Nasr), Sainz Jr had a mightily strong weekend, compromised only by a daft error during qualifying when he (and his team) missed a mandatory call to the weighbridge.
He had qualified an impressive eighth during the session, again outpacing his team-mate who keeps getting the plaudits, but saw that result nullified and his times deleted, with the Spaniard starting the race from the pit lane.
Anyone who can start last from the pit lane and score a point in Monaco deserves the recognition, and this is exactly what Sainz did on Sunday. He ran a mammoth 65-lap stint on one set of tyres, staying out of trouble where others failed, but proved once more just how good he is.
Spain have been calling out for a heir-apparent to Fernando Alonso, and Red Bull might have found him in the form of Sainz.
#33 – Max Verstappen – Netherlands – Scuderia Toro Rosso
The Dutchman was on course to grab his third rookie of the race award in Monaco before his weekend came to a crashing end in the barriers at Saint Devote after an ill-judged overtake on the Lotus of Romain Grosjean that also saw Verstappen handed a penalty for the Canadian Grand Prix.
It has been another strong weekend for Verstappen up to then, starting with an impressive P2 during his first practice session around the track. Despite qualifying inside the top ten on Saturday, he was disappointed with his performance such is the high level of standards he has of himself.
He was unfortunate to be delayed in the pits during his stop, but made some cheeky overtakes, and was challenging Grosjean to get back into the points when he made the move that ultimately cost him a lot.
The backlash afterwards was uncalled for – everyone makes mistakes – but Verstappen will be back, and will continue to show just how good he is and how right Red Bull were to promote him into F1 so young.
#12 – Felipe Nasr – Brazil – Sauber F1 Team
Qualifying did not go to plan for the Brazilian, with the Sauber driver joining his team-mate in being eliminated in the opening eighteen-minute session, but he made up for it in the race to score two points for ninth place.
The Sauber team have lost some of their early edge in performance, with a lack of development apparent on both cars, and the Brazilian has been frustrated with the car in recent weeks.
Despite this he put the C34 in a place it should not have been in the race, taking advantage of other drivers’ problems to take a points finish for the third time in 2015, something of a bonus with how the car is performing right now.
#98 – Roberto Merhi – Spain – Manor F1 Team
The Spaniard had his most competitive weekend so far in comparison with his team-mate Will Stevens, qualifying within three-tenths of a second and beating him in the race for the first time.
Merhi, who skipped his Formula Renault 3.5 Series commitments to race for Manor in Monaco, blotted his copybook with a crash into the Nouvelle Chicane barriers during free practice, but finished sixteenth on Sunday, two laps down on the race winner Nico Rosberg but ahead of Stevens.
Merhi is expected to keep the seat for the Canadian Grand Prix, and will want to continue this improvement at Montreal and take the fight to Stevens once more.
Rookie of the Race Winners:
2 – Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz
0 – Roberto Merhi