2021 Monaco Grand Prix: The F1 debrief

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After a Covid-19 induced hiatus, Formula 1 enjoyed another Monaco Grand Prix with Max Verstappen reigning supreme. The Monaco event is as glamorous as it is contentious. What did the GP Grandstand team think of F1’s weekend in the Principality?

Jim Kimberley – “Monaco gifted us a relatively unexpected grid”

That certainly was a Monaco Grand Prix. The never-ending argument for or against F1’s annual return to Monte Carlo won’t be settled based on 2021’s offering. The race, as predicted, was won on Saturday. Thankfully the qualifying session gifted us a relatively unexpected grid. Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi, and Pierre Gasly all took full advantage.

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The Charles Leclerc curse still hasn’t lifted, though but was great to see Ferrari back in the running. I didn’t expect their Practice session pace to continue but the Scuderia remained fast throughout the weekend. Their fight with McLaren will rage on all season.

Speaking of McLaren, it was another tale of opposites. Lando Norris repaid their faith in giving him a contract extension with a second podium in four races. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo continues to be down on pace with no signs of it returning. Concerning times for the Aussie.

Thiemo Albers-Daly – “The championship has come alive”

A welcome return to the streets of Monte Carlo proved to be both exhilarating and lacklustre. Leclerc’s curse at his home venue all but guaranteed the win for Max Verstappen. But the Dutchman still needed to not put a foot wrong – and he didn’t. As a result, the championship has come alive as he takes the lead from Hamilton for the first time, but surely not the last.

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Sainz, Norris, Perez and Vettel all had stellar drives which was a treat to see. But the lack of overtaking opportunities at Monaco meant that the race itself felt lacking, despite the awesome podium.

Jacob Phillips – “Saturday was more enjoyable than Sunday”

If you like Serena Williams then this race is for you. In usual Monaco fashion, Saturday was more enjoyable than Sunday, with Charles Leclerc securing pole in somewhat controversial circumstances. Elation soon turned to despair when a broken driveshaft put pay to what could have been a fairytale story for the hometown hero.

What followed was a frankly boring 78 laps dominated by Max Verstappen on what was a rare off day for Hamilton and Mercedes. The championship pendulum continues to swing as Red Bull lead the championship for the first time in the hybrid era. Spare a thought for Bottas as he saw his chance to close the gap to his teammate dashed by a faulty pit-stop.

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Despite the race failing to light the touch paper, the podium duo of Norris and Sainz certainly added a feel-good factor to the weekend. My driver of the day was Sebastian Vettel, who outperformed his Aston to frustrate Hamilton in a fantastic 5th place. If only we saw the overtake…

Featured Image: Red Bull Media House

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