What the teams said - Race day in Monaco
With Leclerc out, Verstappen inherited the de facto pole and made it count. He had to be aggressive at the start to cut across Bottas but after that, his race was uncomplicated and he sailed serenely to the finish line for his first win in Monaco, and took the championship lead to boot. Perez had to work slightly harder but made his soft tyres last really well to pit late and overcut his rivals. He came home a very decent fourth, after a spirited attack on Norris ahead proved fruitless.
Max Verstappen, 1st
“I’m super happy to win the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s such a tricky track and you need a smooth weekend so I’m very pleased with what we have achieved as a Team and of course with Honda. I just had to focus on my own race and make sure I had a clean start. Of course it all looked under control but to keep your focus for so many laps is the hardest part because it’s easy to relax when you’re in the lead and make a mistake, so you have to keep reminding yourself to leave your thoughts on the road and stay focused. I think pace wise, we were always in control because every time someone tried to push me in terms of lap time, we were able to respond and increase the gap.
"I’ve never been on the podium here and then the first time it’s a win, so it’s a bit of redemption for the other races I’ve had here. Looking ahead to Baku, Mercedes I think are still the ones to beat, they are very quick on the normal tracks. We are leading the championship and I hope of course to be there at the end of the season because that’s the most important thing so we cannot get carried away. But for now, a massive thank you to everyone in the factory and here at the track, we won the Monaco Grand Prix so let’s enjoy it.”
Sergio Perez, 4th
“Today is a great day for the Team and I’m very happy for Max, he did a mega job and now we are leading both championships. The Team did a fantastic job on strategy and the communication throughout the race was excellent. We saved the tyres and used them when we needed to which was key and we did two or three qualifying laps to jump the queue of cars to get fourth.
"I was closing on Lando but he had good tyres left and I never really had a clear chance at him. I was thinking of the long game and getting the points which is important for the Team. The cars are just so wide these days but it is what it is. We managed to minimise the damage from Saturday and I think once I’m more comfortable with the car in qualifying, we’ll be in serious contention and fighting for victories as I’m happy and pretty much there on Sundays.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“It’s a phenomenal day for the Team. Max was disappointed yesterday that we didn’t get to see him deliver a pole position lap but he dealt with the frustration well and when the opportunity presented itself today he seized it with both hands, driving faultlessly from start to finish to deliver our fifth Monaco victory. Checo also drove an incredibly strong race, the strategy worked well and he had brilliant pace in clean air enabling him to finish fourth. It’s Honda’s first win here since Senna in 1992, the first time they’ve led the championship since 1991 and we have to credit them for their hard work in helping us get to this point. They’ve done a great job and to have three Honda cars in the top six is a fantastic result.
"As a Team we have great strength in depth and finishing first or second in the first five races of the season is a phenomenal example of teamwork and our ability to fight. There is a long way to go in this championship but we should always enjoy the wins. Commiserations to Charles and Ferrari, it was a tough day for them but great to see them back up there in the mix. The championship is very tight at the top and today was an important step for us.”
Disaster befell Ferrari before the lights even went out, when Leclerc radioed with a problem on his way to the grid. He returned to the garage but the issue couldn’t be fixed and the pole-sitter was out of the race before it had even started. That left Sainz to fly the flag which he did in style. He didn’t put a foot wrong all day, third becoming second when Bottas retired. He pushed Verstappen hard in the closing stages before settling for P2 and his first podium with the Scuderia.
Charles Leclerc, DNS
"It was a tough one today. I really felt for the whole team. After what happened in qualifying, the mechanics did an incredible job and gave absolutely everything to get me back on track for the race. I was really looking forward to finally be fighting for the win for us here. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Not starting the race was difficult to take, especially at home. I was emotional in the car when I realised that there was something wrong. We still have to investigate what exactly was the issue. Overall, it was a good weekend for us though. Carlos was strong and consistent and I am happy for him and the whole team for scoring his first podium for Scuderia Ferrari. After a difficult year in 2020, this was a great reward for everyone, both at the track and back home in Maranello, and the team fully deserves it."
Carlos Sainz, 2nd
"The first podium in a Ferrari is an incredible feeling that I will never forget, especially being in Monaco! We knew we had a chance and the pace to make it to the podium this weekend and we executed a flawless race. The bittersweet feeling is still there though as I feel for Charles and for the team. All of us here at the track and back home in Maranello are working incredibly hard to be competitive and to make our way back to the top. So it was very unfortunate that today we could not fight with two cars. From my side, I am obviously happy with P2 because I think it was the maximum we could achieve today from where we started. We are still missing the final step that we all want to make, but if we keep pushing like this I’m sure we will get there sooner rather than later! Forza Ferrari!"
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"A weekend of very contrasting emotions for us. Today we had a real chance of winning and so, to leave Monaco with just the points for second place is a touch disappointing. On the other hand, there’s the satisfaction of Charles securing a great pole position yesterday, as well as Carlos’s first podium in red and especially the signs that the team is making progress step by step. I was very pleased to see Charles at the podium ceremony to celebrate Carlos’s second place with the team. It was a very difficult day for him but he wanted to be with us at what was still an important moment for the team. This is another example of what #essereFerrari means and it is with this sort of attitude that one builds for the future. Now we have to focus on the next round in Baku. We know it’s going to be difficult to be as competitive as we were at this track. It will be important for us to keep going down the path we have taken."
Mercedes don’t have many off days but when they do, they tend to be spectacular. Bottas started second, and that’s where he remained throughout the first stint, comfortably ahead of Sainz in third. But when he came in for his first pit stop, his rear right tyre refused to budge desperate increasing desperate efforts from the engineers. It was all to no avail, with Bottas forced to retire from the race. As for Hamilton, he tried to jump Gasly using the undercut strategy. Not only did that not work, but he was then overcut by two other cars much to his dismay. The bonus point for fastest lap was scant consolation for a poor day at the office.
Lewis Hamilton, 7th
"Congratulations to Max and his team, they did a better job today. For our team, it's through our losses and our mistakes that we always grow stronger. This has definitely been a poor weekend overall in terms of our performance, but this team has shown time and time again, how we come back fighting. There's no finger pointing, we win and we lose together - we just need to find our feet and stay cool, we have 18 races left and there's a long way to go in this fight.
"We'll be working hard because we need to make sure this doesn't happen again. There's no reason why we should be performing like this on any weekend with all the experience we have together as a team. We'll have some good discussions internally, it's painful to learn these lessons but we've done it many times before."
Valtteri Bottas, DNF
"Sitting in the car at the pit stop, I knew it was a slow one and I was calculating Sainz getting past, then Norris, and when it got to 30 seconds, I couldn't believe it. It's obviously hugely disappointing and we need to learn so it never happens again. It was bad luck from my side and as a team, it will be a priority for us to improve our pit stops moving forward. Our pit stops haven't been our strongest point this year - there's no one to blame, as a team we just need to be better.
"Between lap 15 and 20, it was a good margin between Max and I but when Max started to lift his pace, I noticed my front left started to give up more than his and I lost some ground. There was a gap when I stopped and perhaps it would have been difficult to fight for the win, even though we would have fought hard, but second place should have been possible today.
"We'll have a meeting to go through the race in detail on Tuesday, to understand what I could do better and what we can do better, then we'll move on and get ready for Baku."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Days like today are the ones we learn the most but that doesn't stop the experience from feeling awful. We had a pretty terrible race day on Sunday, we had a lot of degradation with Valtteri, while still being in the hunt for the podium. Then we machined a wheel nut at the stop, which has never happened to that extent before, and he was forced to retire.
"With Lewis, we just didn't have the pace in the car - it's as simple as that. The undercut looked like the only feasible way of clearing Gasly and there wasn't any mistake, the outlap was good, the pit stop was okay but it just wasn't enough.
"You have to take a weekend like this on the chin - today we lost a few points but this is a long championship, it is going to swing back and forth and in the end we will see in Abu Dhabi who has their nose ahead. We will regroup and look back, as much as it hurts, to learn the lessons and come back stronger."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A really difficult day for the team and lots of areas that we need to look at but we'll come away from here and analyse everything objectively. Retiring a car with an issue at a pitstop is clearly not good enough, the nut was damaged to the point where it was never going to come off so we had no option but to park the car. However, our pace wasn't good enough to challenge Max as we were losing grip towards the end of the stint on soft and couldn't keep up.
"With Lewis it was always going to be a difficult Sunday because we didn't get him far enough up the grid on Saturday. However, we'd hoped to move forward but our attempt at an undercut failed and Lewis was then helpless as he got dragged back with Gasly whilst other cars overcut them both. We've got a busy week ahead of us as we need to get on top of many of our issues ahead of the next race in Baku. However, our difficult days always lead to us learning and improving and we're looking forward to getting back to the race track in few days' time."
Talk about a tale of two halves. Norris has been in great form all weekend, even going so far pre-race as to say this was the best he’s driven in F1. He managed to sneak home in third for another podium, despite having to defend hard from Perez in the closing stages once his tyres were well past their best. Ricciardo on the other hand never really got going. He couldn’t get close enough to the Alfa pair ahead to even try a move, and to add to his misery, was lapped by his team mate. A day to forget for the Aussie.
Lando Norris, 3rd
"Awesome. Monaco podium! It's pretty incredible, I never thought it could happen coming into this weekend at all, so I’m super, super happy. I’m proud of the team for what we’ve achieved this weekend. We’ve made some good progress. We’ve still got more work to do – it’s not like we can let-up now – but another trophy and a lot of points for us, which is pretty awesome. A big thanks to the whole team and everyone back at the factory as well for all the work they’re putting into it. It’s paying off, and I hope this is motivation to work even harder and keep bringing improvements."
Daniel Ricciardo, 12th
“This has just been a bit of a weekend to forget for me, unfortunately. The race was always going to be tricky after a difficult qualifying session yesterday and that’s how it turned out. I struggled a bit at the start on the Medium and that pretty much decided our race.
“The second stint on the Hard was encouraging and the lap-times really started to improve, but by that point there wasn’t much more I could do given how hard it is to pass here. I’ll just have to figure out what happened and just step away for a few days to switch off a little bit before going again in Baku.
“On the positive side, it was a great result for Lando and the team, so congratulations to everyone. It shows the pace is there in the car and that we’ve just got to work at unlocking it, but that will come with time and mileage.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“An iconic racetrack with an iconic Gulf livery and P3 in Monaco. What a Sunday afternoon. Congratulations – and a big thank you – to the entire team, especially to those at the MTC in development and production. Together with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, they gave us a quick car this weekend. The race team here at the track did a great job ensuring we had a reliable car, strategy made all the right calls and we had excellent pit-stops. Monaco is a tough weekend for the whole organisation, but a big thank you to everyone in the team, who made this weekend possible.
“Lando was flying all weekend and gave us a great result. Daniel had a very tough one. We’ll put that behind us as quickly as possible. He was quick in Barcelona and had good speed in the second half of the race here – that’s what we’ll be taking to Azerbaijan. We’ll head home now, reset, recharge the batteries, and turn our thoughts to a very different street race in Baku.”
Aston Martin clearly did their homework, deciding that the overcut was the correct play today. They tried it with both cars, which helped to jump Vettel from seventh to fifth for his first points of the season. It also worked a treat for Stroll who had started outside the top 10 on the hard compound. He ran exceptionally long in the first stint to climb to eighth and built enough of an advantage to hold the position after his stop, for the team's first double points finish of the season.
Sebastian Vettel, 5th
“I am happy with fifth place today and it is great for the team to have both cars inside the points. This result is down to great decision-making on the pit wall and having good pace in the car when it mattered. I knew that the two laps before my pit stop would be crucial to our race, and I was able to put in some good lap times on tyres that were past their best, and that made the difference [gaining two places by the overcut]. It was very tight when I came out of the pit lane because I knew [Pierre] Gasly was very close. It is not easy racing wheel-to-wheel up the hill to Casino Square, but we won the drag race, and he had to back out of it. Street circuits can always throw up the unexpected, and we rose to the challenge today.”
Lance Stroll, 8th
“Both cars scoring points in Monaco is a good day for the team. We executed a great strategy and picked up some deserved points for our hard work. It was not easy to race on the hard tyre in the first stint, especially at the start, but I was able to launch well off the line. That gave us a platform for the rest of the race, which came to life late in the stint as we pushed to make the overcut viable or be ready in case the Safety Car came out. We gained three places through the overcut in the end and had strong pace to the end, too. We are still learning every race and we can be proud of the job we did today. We will work hard to keep up this momentum in Baku.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Sebastian produced a truly impressive drive today, finishing fifth after a tough race in which he never put a wheel wrong. He spent the early laps in a solid seventh place, keeping in touch with Lewis [Hamilton] in sixth. Then, in the pit stops, he delivered on an excellent strategy devised by our strategists and engineers to jump both Lewis and Pierre [Gasly]. Checo [Pérez] then jumped Sebastian but he had a net gain of two places: the outcome was P5. The way Sebastian exited the pit lane and held off Pierre up the hill to Casino Square was white-knuckle stuff: in fact, it was the highlight of the race, and Sebastian was duly voted Driver of the Day, which was both welcome and deserved.
"Lance also drove extremely well, pushing hard when it mattered to make the overcut work against Ocon and Giovinazzi. His pace was strong and it was a gutsy performance to gain four positions on a circuit on which gaining places is notoriously difficult. So, overall, we are pleased to have scored a total of 14 world championship points here in Monaco today. Roll on Baku!”
Gasly got off the line well and managed to hold Hamilton behind at bay for the entire race for a very decent sixth position, which extends his run of scoring points in the last four races. As for Tsunoda, he gambled on strategy, running the longest first stint of all after starting on the hard compound tyres. But he didn’t have the pace to make it count and wound up fighting with the two Williams cars down the order.
Pierre Gasly, 6th
“It was a pretty long race and obviously with Lewis behind it wasn’t easy, I couldn’t make any mistakes and just had to focus on my own race ahead, but I really enjoyed it. Finishing P6 today is good, I think we can be happy with that result and it’s the best performance of the season so far. The car felt really good in the first stint but once we put the hards on we really struggled, and it made it pretty difficult on a couple of occasions with Lewis but I’m happy we managed to keep him behind.
"I believe we took the right strategy today, we had to cover ourselves with Lewis’ pitstop, but it didn’t quite work out. It was very tight between Seb and I going up the hill, I was quite surprised to see him and there was maybe just a finger between our tyres, but it was great racing. The car performed well today, even if I think we could have achieved more and there are definitely some areas we still need to improve in compared to some of the cars we’re fighting against. I’m still pleased with this result though, it was important for us to be back up near the front and getting some big points again was great for the team.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 16th
“Starting from P16 we knew it wouldn’t be easy. I struggled for grip in the first lap compared to other cars around me and we lost a few positions, after that I was constantly behind cars, despite having strong pace, so wasn’t able to make my way forward. The main thing for me is my Qualifying performance and how I can improve this. I’m going to work hard ahead of the next race so that we can hopefully be in a point scoring position next time out.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal
“Congratulations to Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen and Honda for this fantastic victory here in Monaco. It was also nice to see spectators here in the grandstands, which added a good atmosphere for the race. Pierre started the race from sixth position and had a good start, defending well against Hamilton and managed his tyres in a very professional way. We called him in for the pitstop on to the hards and even if we struggled while bringing them to the right window, he could defend well against Hamilton.
"As for Yuki, he’s never competed here in any other category, so this was his first race in Monaco, a track which is of course quite a difficult one to learn in a Formula 1 car. After showing a very good performance in FP1 he had a small accident in FP2, but he could continue to grow his confidence around the track during the Saturday morning session. Qualifying was more difficult for him, he lost some time with the weighbridge and wasn’t able to complete an additional lap, which meant he just missed out on Q2 by a small margin. Today he had a clean race and I’m sure he has gained a lot of experience here in Monaco, which will help him in the future. It’s good that we finished P6 as now we’re back where we started the season and I hope that we can have similar performances in the upcoming races.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“Leaving Monaco with points is obviously good. However, we’re slightly disappointed that it’s not more! Sebastian managed to sneak in front of Pierre at the pitstop, which is quite frustrating for us, as he’d had a solid opening stint, but this is something we can go away and review as a team.
"Yuki's race was fairly uneventful, given his qualifying position it was clear his race would be heavily influenced by traffic, we tried to do something with the strategy during the race, but it was fairly straight-forward so what we could do was limited. He drove a clean race with no mistakes and for sure has picked up experience which he will put to good use going forward. The package has performed reasonably well here and although the next races are quite different the expectation is that we can also be competitive in the upcoming Grands Prix.”
Ocon had a solid race, one-stopping his way to ninth overall and managing to absorb an awful lot of pressure from behind despite running the less favoured medium compound tyres for his second stint. Alonso though couldn’t make the same impact, also choosing the run the medium and soft compounds when the hard tyre proved to be the better option. He came home outside the points – the first time he’s done so in Monaco when he’s seen the chequered flag.
Esteban Ocon, 9th
“It’s been a positive race for us today with ninth place and our fourth points-scoring finish in a row. We managed to overtake Giovinazzi on our strategy – thanks to a great pit stop from the team – but we missed out on Stroll who was very quick on the harder tyres. I’m happy to score points again, especially after defending so much at the end. I think we can take some good things from this race on a weekend that was not easy for us. We’ve learnt a lot, we’ve been taught a few things, which will only help us moving forward. I’m sure there’s more to come from us.”
Fernando Alonso, 13th
“It was a disappointing weekend as we didn’t score points. As a team, we were expecting more coming into this one. My race wasn’t too bad, starting seventeenth and finishing thirteenth, overtaking two cars on the first lap with some risks. Our second stint was quite long on the softs, but they seemed to work quite well. I am satisfied with the race but starting so far back in Monaco is always difficult and we need to improve for Baku.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director
“It was a tough race for us today. A difficult qualifying made it a challenge in the streets of Monaco where overtaking is nearly impossible. Both drivers made a good start and Fernando gained some positions on the first lap. After that it was the usual Monaco race with very few overtakes. Esteban did well on his first stint and after his pit stop he was able to jump (Antonio) Giovinazzi for ninth, but we lost out to (Lance) Stroll who was on a different strategy. The bottom line is that it’s a poor weekend for us after two encouraging performances in Portugal and Spain. We trust that it’s a one-off and for Baku we’ll go back to where we were before Monaco. Nevertheless, our competitors in the championship have made the most of this race so we need to do better.”
The team managed to carry their good show of pace from practice both into qualifying and then the race for the first time this season, with Giovinazzi coming home for his first points of the year. Raikkonen couldn’t quite match that but still finished a few places higher than he started. If they can keep this form going, it won’t be too long before the Finnish veteran opens his points tally this season.
Kimi Raikkonen, 11th
“It wasn’t the busiest afternoon for me today, we moved up a few places but not much else happened. That’s how it often goes here. We showed some good pace and this should help us in the next races, but here in Monaco passing is so hard even if you have a big pace advantage. It is what it is but we can be happy for the team scoring its first point of the season.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 10th
“It’s really good to finally be back in the points. The pace throughout the weekend was really good and this top 10 finish is the reward for it. On a different track, where overtaking is possible, we could have been in P8, but we need to be happy with this result and the way the team delivered an excellent weekend. We have done a lot of progress and this point will work as a good motivation for all of us, with so many races still ahead of us. I’m looking forward to Baku now, another street race on a track I love. If we produce another great weekend like this, we will have all it takes to bring home another good result.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It’s great to finally be off the mark and bring home the top ten finish we deserved. We have made great steps forward in the last year, and especially lately: the pace we have shown throughout the weekend demonstrates it. We had a car in Q3 for the first time and continued putting both in Q2; we had the pace to make progress and everyone, from the crew to the drivers and the pitwall, did a very fine job today. Our good race pace would have allowed us to finish even higher on any other track, but we can be very pleased with what we showed. It’s a big motivation boost for everyone in the team and can give us confidence to do even better in the next few races, starting in Baku.”
While they had several entertaining battles, the two drivers from Williams couldn’t make much progress forward today in the team’s 750th Grand Prix. Latifi in particular came under immense pressure from Tsunoda behind but drove a mistake free race to keep the AlphaTauri at bay.
George Russell, 14th
"It was a pretty straightforward race and we finished where we deserved to be with the pace of the car. The race was uneventful, with nothing too exciting going on, but that’s just Monaco sometimes. The performance wasn’t as good as we had hoped but that wouldn’t have changed the result. Nevertheless, putting this car flat out around the streets of Monaco, lap after lap was really fun. Next up is Baku and we will keep on pushing."
Nicholas Latifi, 15th
"It was a very tricky race, probably the trickiest race I have done so far in Formula One, but I think I managed it quite well. It is definitely a track that doesn’t suit our car, either on low or high fuel, with the low speed corners and the bumps. It was very tough out there to manage, but I feel like I looked after the tyres as best I could. I did have some more pace than George at various points in the race, but ultimately, we wouldn’t have been in the position to score points. There was no Monaco chaos, but that’s just how it goes sometimes here."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"Today has been difficult and with no incidents, we weren’t able to make much progress. George lost a place at the start to Alonso, but Nicholas was able to overtake Tsunoda, who had started on the Hard tyre. From there we were locked in a private battle between our own cars and Tsunoda. We were able to manage the cars and tyres, and although we struggled a little in the opening stint, the pace was improved on the Hard tyre and we were able to hold off Tsunoda during the final few laps, with Nicholas doing a great job to stay ahead of a much quicker car.
"We always expected this weekend to be tough but having not raced on the streets in Monaco for a couple of years, it was good to come back and learn a few more things about the FW43B on a very different style of circuit. Some of this will help us directly at future events in 2021 and the rest will be valuable when we return to Monte Carlo next year.
"Our attention now turns to Azerbaijan and a very different street circuit race in Baku."
The two Haas drivers tussled off the line but kept it clean, with Schumacher forcing his way through down the inside of the hairpin in a brave move on the opening lap. But Mazepin got the place back midway through the race when Schumacher started to suffer with a fuel pressure issue, and therefore opted to let his team mate through. Valuable laps and no mistakes is still a solid day out for both rookies.
Mick Schumacher, 18th
“We had a small issue for a few laps and unfortunately I lost a lot of time to the guys ahead and I had to let Nikita (Mazepin) by because we didn’t manage to fix it before. After that the pace was quite good, I felt we were quite close to matching the pace in the midfield which was good, and we caught up to Nikita. We didn’t do a switchback which was okay, it was understandable – obviously, we had quite a few guys behind us so there was going to be blue flags. Overall, lots learned this weekend, with some positives and some negatives but we live and we learn I guess. I’m already looking forward to Baku.”
Nikita Mazepin, 17th
“The race was very intense. Ever since I started racing in single-seaters I haven’t had so much required concentration, because on this track, even though we’re one of the slowest teams, everything flies by so much. There was a moment when I was going through Turn 14, I just felt like I touched the wall, and that’s where Charles (Leclerc) went off yesterday, I mean there was just really no margin for mistakes. The car was quite difficult to drive fast out there but we’ve made good progress within my internal team since Barcelona and that’s a very positive picture.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It’s a good thing at this race that we got to the end of it with both cars unharmed. Mick (Schumacher) had a temporary power issue which we think was related to the fuel pressure pick up, it was unfortunate, but he was able to keep going at least. We did good laps and the guys learned a lot about Monte Carlo – which is always a tough race. Obviously, there was no big event that happened that would have allowed us any opportunity. Once you start to get into the blue flags, tyre temperatures come down and you just keep falling back, and that’s what happened to us today. Onwards and upwards – ready for the next one.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"Monaco provided quite a few surprises from start to finish with all three compounds seen at the start, as well as three different teams on the podium and four different strategies in the top 10. This underlines how all the tyres brought here were suitable race tyres that played an important role. Nonetheless, the soft to hard strategy used by Verstappen and all the top six proved to be the most popular run plan. Quite unusually, there were no safety cars in Monaco this year, which often influence the strategy, but from the tyre point of view, we're satisfied with the performance. This was demonstrated also by the race lap record from three years ago being broken by Hamilton on softs towards the end of the grand prix. Congratulations to Verstappen for the win, and also for leading the championship for the first time."