Monaco GP driver ratings: Verstappen untouchable, Stroll and Perez lambasted

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023. driver ratings

Red Bull's Max Verstappen on track at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

The Monaco Grand Prix driver ratings are in! How do our scores stack up to your post-race analysis?

Ratings explained: Every driver starts the weekend slap bang in the middle with a 5/10 rating and we operate on a sliding scale from there. We take the entire weekend into account, not just the race itself.

However, the scores will be weighted more towards a driver’s race performance, but qualifying performances (good or bad) are also factored into our ratings and, in extreme circumstances, practice will also play a minor part in the overall score.

Max Verstappen came home a comfortable winner as he weathered everything the Monaco Grand Prix could throw at him (including the weather), as well as Fernando Alonso’s best efforts.

So with that, here are’s driver ratings for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen – 9.5

With Red Bull supposedly not quite as amazing in Monte Carlo as at other circuits, Verstappen made all the difference on Saturday as he put in the third sector of his life in order to take the pole position that proved decisive in the fight with Fernando Alonso.

Just how different Verstappen’s race might have been had he started from second, we’ll never know, but the Dutch driver cleared hurdle after hurdle that could have tripped him up – first making it through qualifying and the Q3 session that has been his nemesis in the past two years.

Starts haven’t been his forté either this year, but there were no dramas as he hooked up his getaway to get into Sainte Devote ahead of Alonso before slowly but surely easing away from the Spaniard.

Producing equivalent, or better, lap times to the hard tyre-shod Alonso on his aging mediums, Verstappen never looked seriously in trouble at any point, although his lead bleeding away through traffic midway through the race briefly looked as though it would hand the advantage to Alonso.

Aside from a minor moment at Portier that saw him gently bounce off the armco, Verstappen didn’t put a wheel wrong all weekend – all the way from his inch-perfect third sector to the 78-lap marathon on Sunday.

It’s that minor mistake that means he doesn’t score a perfect 10 for a second successive race, but he was as close to perfection as it’s probably possible to be during such a tricky race.

Fernando Alonso – 9.0

After almost snatching pole position on Saturday, Alonso gave it as good as he could from second place on the grid. Attempting something different to Verstappen by fitting the hard tyre, Alonso gamely held on to keep within pit-stop distance and force the Dutch driver to stay out on track.

The race briefly looked like it might start coming to Alonso as he closed the gap to five seconds through traffic as the balance of power seemed to shift to the hard compound, but Verstappen managed to resume his higher pace after getting through the traffic.

Had Aston Martin gambled on taking the intermediates on Lap 54, just how much pressure could Alonso have put on Verstappen? While the Red Bull driver’s post-stop pace showed he would have had the answer to keep him behind, it would have been fun to see what might have happened had Aston gambled in the other direction…

Esteban Ocon – 9.0

On a weekend where Alpine clearly had a much better understanding of their car, Ocon had the clear advantage in the all-French fight between himself and Pierre Gasly.

Starting from third after Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty, Ocon’s pace was not strong – he quickly fell off the back of the leading duo as he concentrated on keeping Carlos Sainz behind him.

The podium looked like it had gone up in smoke as George Russell came out ahead during the switch to intermediates, but Ocon was the one not to make a mistake and he moved back ahead of the Mercedes driver as a result.

Alpine are slowly asserting themselves into fifth place in the Constructors’, but had the measure of Ferrari in Monaco – if they can do that on a more regular basis, might they be able to close up the 55-point advantage which the Scuderia enjoy?

Lewis Hamilton – 8.0

Having tested out the limits of his upgraded W14 on Saturday and ending up in the wall in FP3, Hamilton put in a great drive on Sunday.

Pitting on Lap 31 to ditch his medium tyres, Hamilton lost out to Russell as a result of his team-mate staying out and the resulting double-stack when they came in for intermediates on Lap 54.

But Hamilton resumed ahead of Russell as Russell skated straight on at Mirabeau. Hamilton then was able to open up a sizeable advantage over Russell, finishing over 12 seconds up the road from his team-mate by the chequered flag.

Charles Leclerc – 7.0

Leclerc’s Monaco curse lifted somewhat this year, with the Monegasque keeping it out of the barriers in qualifying to claim third place. That was until an ill-judged slowdown through the tunnel and blocking Lando Norris, resulting in a three-place grid penalty.

In the end, starting from sixth on the grid, Leclerc had a quiet race en route to the same position – undone by the Mercedes making good progress through the stops.

Ferrari had brought Leclerc in on Lap 44 to take on the mediums, coming in on a double-stack on Lap 55, and the Monegasque had no regrets about the pit call afterward.

“When it started to rain we could have gone onto the inters early, but we decided not to as there were still a lot of cars on slicks,” he said.

“So we decided to wait in the hope of a Safety Car which, 90% of the time, you would expect here in those conditions.

“Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, you might take a different decision but at the time it seemed like a good opportunity to make up a lot of places. I have no regrets about the decisions we made regarding our strategy. It is what it is, but it’s really the grid penalty that worked against us.”

Pierre Gasly – 7.0

While not reaching quite the same heights as his team-mate managed, Gasly put in a solid showing en route to seventh place.

Pitting on Lap 47 to swap his hard tyres for mediums, Gasly was back in just seven laps later to swap to the intermediates.

“On my side, of course it’s good to score important points,” he said.

“But we know it could have been more had things gone our way. We will review everything to see what can be done better for next time.

“Right now, though, we will focus on the positives and that’s the fact the car has been very good all weekend, our upgrades are working and we look forward to Barcelona next weekend.”

Carlos Sainz – 6.5

Sainz had done the hard work of getting into a good track position and was fourth in the early stages as he applied the pressure to Esteban Ocon.

But his silly, vague collision with Ocon at the Nouvelle Chicane resulted in damage to his front wing, with Sainz lucky the end plate fell off and meant he wasn’t forced to pit early on.

The Spaniard was left furious as he was brought in on Lap 33 to get rid of the hards and lost positions as a result, but made another mistake himself in the rain as he slid off at Mirabeau and hit the barriers.

Lando Norris – 6.5

A race of what might have been for Lando Norris, had he not hit the Swimming Pool chicane barrier on his flying lap and put himself on the back foot.

Feeling that a potential eighth or ninth-place grid slot had gone amiss had he been able to get a clean flying lap in, Norris’ misfortunes continued as McLaren brought him into the pits on Lap 50 – he was back in just four laps later to take on the intermediates.

Intriguingly, Norris proved one of the outright quickest drivers on the intermediates in the closing laps, and also put in a fantastic overtaking move around the outside of Yuki Tsunoda as the Japanese driver began to struggle with his brakes.

“That was a pretty good race!” Norris said.

“Perhaps not perfect, we stopped just before the rain which lost us about 20s of race time having to pit again for the inters because the rain was stronger than expected, but unfortunately the stint wasn’t long enough to make the most of the good pace we then had.

“It was very tough out there today, tricky in these conditions. Our pace was good, one of the best on track. We’ll see what we can learn, try to keep improving and do a better job if we can in Barcelona next weekend.” recommends

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Oscar Piastri – 6.5

Piastri continues to justify McLaren’s decision to oust Daniel Ricciardo to get him into the car for this year, with the Australian rookie faring very well for his first outing in Monte Carlo.

Starting from 10th on the hard tyre, Piastri benefitted from Norris’ extra stop to come out in front of his team-mate, only for Norris to sneak back past.

Watching what Norris had done on Tsunoda, Piastri put in the same move into Sainte Devote to claim the last points place.

Valtteri Bottas – 6.5

A nice showing from Valtteri Bottas after a pretty anonymous start to the season, making the most of his upgraded Alfa Romeo.

The Finn had the legs on Zhou Guanyu in qualifying as he made it through to Q2 with a half-second advantage. Bottas was one of the first drivers to make the gamble of swapping to the intermediates and managed to climb up to 11th by the chequered flag – he had started in 15th.

“When you make up four places in Monaco, it’s not a bad result and it’s only a pity we couldn’t get any points from our efforts,” he said.

“The rain helped us a bit by mixing up the race, but we had to take some important decisions and we made all the right calls. It was not easy out there, even on inters, as the track was very wet in places and drier in others, but we chose to play this card before everyone else and we gained ground as a result.”

Yuki Tsunoda – 6.0

This year is seeing Yuki Tsunoda’s emergence as a proper talent, and he was excellent throughout the Monaco weekend.

But it all went wrong in the closing stages, as the brake issues he’d had throughout got worse in the rain, resulting in his angry radio message where he shouted “Are you trying to crash me or what?” as his team tried to massage him through the situation.

“It’s a tough result because we showed good pace and were in control, especially in the dry,” he said.

“With the rain starting, the timing of our pit stop from the mediums to the intermediates was perfect, so the team did a good job with that. The issue with the brakes I had all weekend amplified in the rain, and it was difficult to control and manage the situation. I felt like a passenger from then until the end of the race.

“Of course, I am frustrated, and so is the team, because points were possible today. It’s hard to accept it, there are still things which need to be improved, but there are certainly positives to take from this weekend.”

George Russell – 6.0

A solid result from Russell as he timed the switch from the dry tyres to the intermediates perfectly on Lap 54 after running a long first stint.

The British driver moved up into third place as a result, but immediately made a mistake on his out-lap as he locked up into Mirabeau and handed positions back to Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton.

Worse, he rejoined the track directly into the path of Sergio Perez, resulting in a collision that, inexplicably, both emerged from with seemingly little damage.

As he was given a time penalty for the incident, Russell showed how good he is at thinking his way through a race by requesting Mercedes swap him around with Hamilton in order to gain time on Leclerc, but his pace was enough to make this irrelevant by the chequered flag.

“I’m very disappointed with myself,” Russell said afterward.

“After the pit stop, I was ahead of Lewis and Esteban Ocon and I made a mistake, completely by myself. What’s even worse is that I wasn’t even pushing. I touched the brake and locked up; that cost the team a podium. One-third of the track was extremely wet, another part was quite dry. If you touch the white line when it’s wet, it’s like ice. But ultimately, it’s the same conditions for everyone.”

Nyck de Vries – 5.5

After a tough start to 2023, De Vries put in a solid showing in Monaco as he kept his car out of the barriers and, while not matching the performance level of Tsunoda, steadied the ship considerably.

AlphaTauri were satisfied with the performance level of both drivers in the dry, while De Vries suffered less with brake issues in the wet conditions than what Tsunoda had.

“It was an extremely difficult race with very challenging circumstances,” he said.

“We could have managed the first stint better because I had a huge drop-off in pace and suddenly recovered a lot of speed in the last seven laps on the mediums, before it started raining. Perhaps we could have pushed less on Oscar [Piastri] at the beginning, nevertheless, it was a solid race.

“The intermediates initially didn’t have any temperature or grip, but we kept our nose clean. Overall, I am satisfied with my weekend, no major mistakes in tricky conditions. It was encouraging to see that we were so close to the top 10, and we worked well as a team throughout the weekend to put the cars where they were on the grid, so we’ll take those positives to Barcelona.”

Kevin Magnussen – 5.5

Magnussen’s decent score despite a poor result comes about because of his expertly judged overtake on Logan Sargeant in the early stages, with the Danish driver perfectly gauging his momentum to slingshot past the Williams into Mirabeau.

Attempting a crazy strategy of staying out on the slick tyres, Magnussen ended up going hilariously slowly around the circuit as he tried to make it work, but ended up in the barriers at Rascasse seconds before he would dive into the pits.

It was simply a gamble of a race from Haas, and it didn’t work out on this occasion.

“We tried everything,” he said.

“We tried to do the opposite of everyone, and it didn’t work out. Initially, in the dry, it was looking interesting but then when the rain came, I stayed out hoping for a Safety Car or a red flag, but that didn’t happen of course.

“We ended up last, put the full wets on but we couldn’t get them started at all, so the race was over by then. There are a lot of incentives to take risks when you’re outside the top 10 and that’s what we did today, but it didn’t work out.”

Zhou Guanyu – 5.5

It was a strategic call from Alfa Romeo to bring the Chinese driver in at the end of Lap 1 to ditch his starting softs to take on the hards and see how the race played out.

Zhou kept his nose clean, pitting again on Lap 52 to take on the intermediates to round out the race.

“We had a good race in very difficult conditions and, considering where we started, we can be pleased with the progress we were able to make,” he said after a P13 finish.

“We made the call to pit on Lap 1, an aggressive choice that would have meant finishing the race on just one set of hard tyres. The pace we had on those was quite good and I made up a few places, holding off cars on fresher tyres before the rain started.

“The rain reset everything, we had to do another stop and deal with really difficult conditions: the track was really tricky, every corner could catch you out and I had to be very careful. In the end, we made up six places and it was quite good fun.”

Nico Hulkenberg – 5.0

A great start from Nico Hulkenberg, who vaulted up four places and included an opportunistic divebomb on Logan Sargeant that really annoyed the Williams driver.

Pitting at the end of the first lap as Haas had planned pre-race, Hulkenberg swapped to the hard tyre to try making it to the end of the race.

But his race was spoiled by a time penalty for the Sargeant move, which seemed a little harsh considering both drivers made the corner, with Hulkenberg ‘serving’ the penalty on Lap 54 when he swapped to the intermediates.

The stewards then ruled he hadn’t served the penalty properly, and he was given another 10-second penalty.

“We got a penalty – we don’t know what for on Lap 1,” said disgruntled Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.

“Again, inconsistency from the FIA there, but it seems to be what now is normal.”

Alex Albon – 5.0

A quiet race from Alex Albon, but no particular dramas aside from chronic tyre degradation as Williams seemed to suffer the most of all 10 teams.

Starting from 13th, he pitted on Lap 18 to swap to the hard tyre as his mediums had given up.

“It was a boring but tough race,” Albon summed up afterward.

“The rain was fun and created something but it didn’t really change our result or shake things up as much as I thought it would. A lot of drivers started on the hard tyres which created a bit of a train but the hard tyre was so much better than the medium tyre.

“It was basically a race you wanted to be on the hard tyres as soon as possible. We tried to hold onto it a little bit and grained massively on the mediums. The pace was good for a short time but once the tyres overheated, it was difficult to do anything more.”

Logan Sargeant – 2

Not a good race for Sargeant in terms of speed but the American managed to keep his nose clean without hitting the barriers or one of the umpteen cars that swamped him as his medium tyres went off.

Having ditched the mediums for hards, Sargeant almost immediately picked up a puncture and, from there, his race turned into one of survival and gaining experience.

Aside from being forced to back it up at the hairpin in the rain, Sargeant managed to get through the race and was philosophical about his first visit to the streets.

“It started okay with the first 10 laps or so then I had a lot of degradation on the medium tyre,” he said.

“Once we did get on the hard, we had a puncture within a couple of laps and so had to box for the qualy tyre and take that long, so that was far from ideal.

“Once the rain came it was about learning about the inter tyre. I had a couple of small lock-ups in the wet which I need to clean up so, all in all, not a great day but we’ll take what we can from it and move on.

“There are positives; I’ve driven the car in the wet now so I know what it’s like and I don’t think it was too bad at times, just suffered with a lot of deg. It would have been interesting to see how that hard stint went so it was unfortunate to pick that puncture up.”

Sergio Perez – 1.5

Given his reputation as a street circuit specialist, Sergio Perez really needed his Monaco Grand Prix weekend to go well to underline his credentials as a championship challenger.

But, on a weekend where Verstappen was sublime, Perez put in one of the inconsistent weekends that he occasionally produces and are possibly the reason why Red Bull are reluctant to intervene when he does take the fight to Verstappen – they know that the Mexican will eventually show that inconsistency.

Perez’s weekend was wrecked the second he completely missed his braking point into Sainte Devote, and his race never really got going either as he ended up being blocked at the hairpin on the first lap and picked up some damage.

From there, it didn’t improve. Between barrier contact at the Swimming Pool, a dodgy pit strategy from Red Bull as he pitted for mediums on Lap 34 before three stops in the final 25 laps as the team changed him from intermediates to wets and then back again, and the occasional desperate lunge, Perez was double-lapped by the man he hopes to beat to top spot this year.

Monaco was the highest high of Perez’s 2022, will this be the lowest low of 2023?

Lance Stroll – 1

Given the inherent potential of the AMR23, which Alonso was proving up front, Lance Stroll never really showed up for the Monaco GP weekend.

After picking up some floor damage at Tabac in qualifying that resulted in him being knocked out in Q2, the Canadian had a dodgy start to the race as he tried to squeeze into a gap half the width of an F1 car on the outside of the approach to the hairpin – resulting in Lap 1 damage that sent him to the back of the pack.

While Stroll gave it his best to try recovering, including a gamble to swap to the intermediates on Lap 51, he developed brake issues later on that resulted in a rather embarrassing end to his race as he clouted the barriers at the hairpin before, moments later, bashing it off the barriers at the next corner in what might have been a computer game tactic to balance out the damage to his front end!

Stroll is on less than a third of the points scored by Alonso over the first six races, with only Saudi Arabia’s reliability issue being the significant difference in terms of fortune. With just a point between Aston Martin and Mercedes in the Constructors’, at what point does Lawrence Stroll start having to justify his son’s position?