Monaco Grand Prix driver ratings: Charles Leclerc’s day of glory as Perez & Magnussen shock

Thomas Maher
Driver ratings for the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc tops our driver ratings for the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

It was not a thriller but here is how we rated all 20 drivers from the Monaco Grand Prix.

In what was an incredibly processional Monaco Grand Prix, it might have been easier to simply rate all the drivers with a ‘Pass’ or a ‘Fail’ given the lack of action through the field. But let’s try to assign a score to all 20 drivers on the grid, shall we?

2024 Monaco Grand Prix driver ratings

Charles Leclerc – 10

There really was little more Leclerc could do this weekend, short of curing world hunger or getting Alexandra Daddario to pay for a ticket to attend a Grand Prix.

The Monegasque driver became the first driver from the principality to win their home race since Louis Chiron in 1931, and he did it in style. Having looking confident and comfortable through practice, Leclerc ramped up his pace exactly when he needed to at the critical moment in qualifying.

Snatching the most critical pole position of the season, he had to see off Oscar Piastri’s attentions through two separate standing starts and, from there, controlled the pace up front.

Under the weight of his entire hometown willing him on, knowing the hard work of getting into a commanding position, Leclerc didn’t make the error even the late Ayrton Senna made when he was dominating in 1988 by mentally relaxing – despite enjoying a bit of radio banter with his race engineer en route to his first race win in almost two years.

It was the kind of performance Leclerc needs to put in on a more regular basis – he’s clearly capable of these types of highs, now it’s just a case of doing it more often.

Oscar Piastri – 9.5

On his second visit to Monte Carlo, Piastri enjoyed the edge over Lando Norris throughout the weekend as he pushed Leclerc all the way.

Having seemingly lost position to Carlos Sainz at the first start, Piastri braved it out around the outside to take back the position from the Ferrari driver – there wasn’t a millimetre to spare, and the contact was just enough to damage both cars.

Had the red flag not occurred, the damage might have wrecked Piastri’s afternoon but, making the most of the stoppage, McLaren managed to reduce the extent of the downforce loss by means of copious use of their glue guns.

Piling the pressure on in the early stages as Leclerc controlled the pace, Piastri gave it his best effort and may have been able to pounce upon a moment of inattention from Leclerc – but that moment never came.

From there, it was all about keeping focus and not making an error, which is exactly what the Australian did. His star continues to rise.

Carlos Sainz – 8

Third place on a day that could have been utterly disastrous for Sainz if Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen hadn’t started playing dodgems.

Piastri managed to get back around the outside of Sainz through Turn 1, handing impetus back to the McLaren’s momentum, and the slight contact ended up slicing Sainz’s tyre open.

It was a minuscule slice, as Sainz revealed afterward, but it was enough to send Sainz sliding off through Casino Square – his day apparently over, until the red flag was shown for the crash further back.

Given his reprieve, Sainz kept the pressure up on Piastri as much as he could but, sans any strategy options, just had to circulate to bring home the podium.

Lando Norris – 8

A clean weekend from Norris, coming off the back of two events in a row in which he had the edge over Oscar Piastri.

Moving up to third at the first start as Sainz fell aside, the race that could have been vanished when the red flags were shown – a double-pronged McLaren attack could have put Leclerc under serious pressure given Piastri’s slightly compromised car.

All Norris had to do from the second start was keep his nose clean, which he did.

Yuki Tsunoda – 7.5

On a weekend when Sergio Perez’s European slump continued, Yuki Tsunoda continues to underline his potential as the Japanese driver basks in his new-found maturity.

The psychological tricks RB has used to calm his fiery side appear to be working and, having qualified a stellar eighth place, he managed his race from start to finish to frustrate Alex Albon behind him.

Max Verstappen – 7

On a weekend when pretty much everything would be decided by qualifying, it was Verstappen who made the critical error when it mattered and doomed himself to being behind cars he probably shouldn’t have been.

Having been able to ramp up his pace through qualifying to keep in range with Charles Leclerc, he fluffed the final run trying to make up for the deficit of his Red Bull and, from there, consigned himself to starting behind George Russell – a car he really should have been ahead of.

It’s very rare that Verstappen leaves points on the table, with he and Leclerc seemingly swapping roles for this weekend as Leclerc produced the Verstappen-esque weekend, while Verstappen himself made a mistake when the chips were down – like Leclerc is known to do.

From there, all Verstappen could do was keep his patience and focus, which he did with ease. Highlighting the difficulty of overtaking in Monte Carlo, even he couldn’t get ahead of Russell despite having much fresher tyres than the Mercedes.

George Russell – 7

With odds in his favour in the intra-Mercedes battle due to having the upgraded front wing, Russell duly delivered on race day as the Brackley-based squad asked him to achieve the impossible and do the entire race distance on a set of mediums.

Tiptoe-ing around for the first half of the race, Russell managed to get the tyres to the chequered flag and even resisted the attentions of a fiesty Max Verstappen as the Dutch driver tried to get past on much fresher tyres.

Knowing that track position is more important than pace in Monte Carlo, Russell kept his head as Verstappen and Hamilton closed up behind, and brought the car home comfortably in fifth.

Mercedes’ development direction finally seems to be going in the right direction, and Russell is delivering at the level expected of him – the big question is whether he can step up in Hamilton fashion when the car’s performance is capable of championships.

Alex Albon – 7

Qualifying in ninth at Monaco in a Williams is impressive, and the British-Thai racer maintained that position throughout the entire race.

Penned in behind Yuki Tsunoda, he explained afterward that he’d struggled to keep his focus with his pace compromised but – like pretty much everyone else – kept his focus enough not to hit anything.

Lewis Hamilton – 6

Without the upgraded front wing as fitted to George Russell’s car, Hamilton was always likely to be behind his teammate – although the statistics of 2024 suggest that would be the case even in cars of the same specification.

Attempting to be aggressive on strategy by pitting Hamilton on Lap 51 in an attempt to clear Verstappen, it resulted in a bizarre radio call from the seven-time F1 World Champion as he stayed in the same position following Red Bull’s stop.

Saying he should have been told the out-lap was critical, it appeared Hamilton had forgotten how an undercut attempt works – if he had more pace in hand on that out-lap, why didn’t he use it?

There are signs that Hamilton’s relationship with Mercedes isn’t quite as rosy as it once was, which is unsurprising as he slowly but surely gets frozen out in favour of the man staying with the team.

Daniel Ricciardo – 6

A good first start came to nought under the red flag, and the rest of his afternoon was decided by his qualifying session after being knocked out in Q2.

There’s little else to say about Ricciardo’s afternoon, who stared at the back of Alonso’s Aston Martin as the Spaniard nursed his medium tyres to the chequered flag.

Pierre Gasly – 6

The French driver took his first points of 2024 in fine style in Monaco, having risen to the occasion by making it into Q3 on Saturday to gain track position over Esteban Ocon.

Gasly did leave the door open for Ocon at Portier, likely not expecting an attack from his teammate due to an alleged pre-race agreement, but could have done more to avoid hitting the back tyre of Ocon.

Righteous indignation isn’t a sufficient enough reason for the contact to have occurred, given Gasly could have eased off the throttle further to prevent contact.

While entitled to aggrievement, would Gasly have kept his nose where he did if it had been another car?

Zhou Guanyu – 5

Zhou branded his afternoon “tame and uneventful”, which is pretty much all that can be said about his race.

Keeping his nose clean, Zhou’s caution at the first start saw him come to a complete stop as the Perez/Magnussen crash unfolded, saving him from costly damage or a DNF.

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Valtteri Bottas – 5.5

A nondescript drive in the midfield to 13th place, but the Finn was the only driver to pull off an on-track overtake on equal terms as he slid past Logan Sargeant into Mirabeau on only slightly fresher hard tyres than the Williams.

Fernando Alonso – 4.5

A “tortuous” afternoon as Alonso branded it afterward, having been forced to swap to the mediums at the restart due to picking the hards for the first start.

Attempting to help Stroll out by creating a gap on track as he nursed his own medium tyres, Alonso duly moved up a position when Stroll took himself out of contention at the chicane, and crossed the line in 11th – the Spaniard later explaining that he’d been under the impression he was in 10th.

It’s been an odd couple of weeks for Alonso, with a dip in his own form coming at the same time as Aston Martin’s own relative slump. Is his motivation starting to dip as it becomes apparent wins and podiums are no longer on the cards?

Logan Sargeant – 4

Logan Sargeant took part in the Monaco Grand Prix, and completed the race in 15th without hitting anything while being overtaken by Bottas. And overtook Zhou at Mirabeau, while enjoying his fresh medium tyres. It could have been far worse.

Nico Hulkenberg – 4

The German driver finished qualifying a quarter of a second clear of Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen on Saturday, justifying a higher score than Magnussen despite their two races ending at the same point.

Relegated to the back alongside Magnussen as a result of the Haas team’s technical breach, Hulkenberg’s onboard replay showed that he could see the potential carnage unfolding as Magnussen and Perez went toe to toe.

But even Hulkenberg’s attempts at caution proved insufficient as the gap he eventually dived into proved too small, and his car was tagged by Perez’s broken Red Bull.

“That was unnecessary,” was his summation on team radio, which pretty much said everything that needed to be said about the crash.

Lance Stroll – 3.5

Stroll looked set to benefit from Alonso’s best efforts to create a gap for him to benefit from a free pit stop but, just six laps later, the Canadian made an error at the chicane and burst his left-rear tyre against the barriers.

Despite this, he finished the race and even pulled off a brave pass on Zhou through the tunnel, as well as a pass on Sargeant.

Given the top 10 finished in the same order they started the race, Stroll’s error didn’t cost him any points – nor make Alonso’s work have been in vain.

Esteban Ocon – 3

Assessing purely on driving, Ocon’s collision with Pierre Gasly wasn’t all that egregious. Having started from 11th, Ocon took advantage of a big gap opening up at the apex of Portier and he promptly dived into it.

There was nothing particularly wayward or dangerous in how he positioned his car and, had Gasly been a rival car, Ocon’s move could be judged to be an opportune moment of genius on the opening lap of the race.

However, the context is that Gasly is Ocon’s teammate and a pre-race agreement had allegedly been in place to not race each other at the start. As a result, Gasly left a gap open that he may not have done had it been a rival car behind him.

With this in mind, Ocon’s move changes into being a moment of greedy opportunism tinged with aggression as he ran Gasly out of room – again, something that would have been fine versus a rival.

To his credit, Ocon has held his hands up and apologised to maintain the peace between two teammates with known tension in their history, but the chances of him staying with Enstone for 2025 – already shrinking – now seem minuscule.

Sergio Perez – 2

He made it through a race start and the first corner, which is more than I could do.

Perez was fortunate to escape injury in what was a terrifying crash going up the hill – an incident which could have been far worse had he and Magnussen been any further up the order.

While Magnussen has to take the majority of the blame for the collision, Perez wasn’t completely blameless. Knowing the Haas was there and likely had more momentum than him going up the hill, Perez should have left a little more room and allowed the natural curvature going up the hill to establish his position instead of trying to squeeze the Haas out.

Had Perez been unaware of Magnussen’s presence, perhaps the incident could be assessed more sympathetically, but replays showed Perez was clearly aware of Magnussen’s presence. Yet he still tried to squeeze the unsqueezable.

Kevin Magnussen – 2

Like Perez, Magnussen managed to start his race and negotiate a corner, and attempted to capitalise on his medium tyres by using his better momentum to put Perez under pressure up the hill.

But taking a risk on squeezing into a gap that very much required the cooperation of Perez always put Magnussen at risk, and that risk duly became a big crash.

As he pointed out afterward, he couldn’t exactly disappear but, equally, there was nothing stopping Magnussen from easing off the throttle and picking his battles after what had already been a bad weekend for Haas.

Given his 10 penalty points, he can consider himself very lucky that the incident didn’t warrant an intervention from the stewards, or he may not have needed to catch his flight to Montreal.

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