Monaco GP predictions: No Verstappen podium, Leclerc curse over and first Williams points

Pablo Hidalgo
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, looks glum at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

After a thrilling qualifying, it’s time for the Monaco GP race. Always criticised for its lack of excitement and overtaking, this year’s race is sure to be an intriguing one with a variety of events to look forward to.

We at have predicted the top 10 positions for the Monaco GP 2024. And we encourage you, our readers, to make your own predictions for Sunday’s race as well.

Charles Leclerc to end the Monaco curse

10. Alex Albon

It is the perfect time for Williams to score their first Monaco GP point with Albon as their flag bearer. The Thai-British driver put the FW46 in an incredible P9 in qualifying and less than a tenth of a second off Yuki Tsunoda’s P8 time.

Even so, the Williams’ race pace is still worse than Alpine’s, on a circuit where the Enstone-based team enjoys good results.

Moreover, Esteban Ocon starts 11th and Alpine will be able to launch a double attack with either an undercut or an overcut on Albon if they cannot pass him on track during the first stint.

9. Pierre Gasly/Esteban Ocon

If Albon plugs up the track and Alpine has more pace, they can try to play the overcut with Gasly to pass the Williams. That’s assuming it’s him and not Esteban Ocon who is ahead on track before the pit stops window.

Having two cars behind the target position gives Alpine plenty of leverage to play strategically against Williams. In this scenario, the Grove team must be smart to hold position and push when necessary to cover the attack from behind.

8. Yuki Tsunoda

The Japanese driver has not stopped surprising this season and qualified P8.

His race with Albon and the Alpines behind him at the start and Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in front of him indicates that P8 is the best position he is aiming for. And if there are no surprises, it should be.

7. Lewis Hamilton

After being ahead of his team-mate all Friday and Saturday morning, Hamilton was out-qualified by George Russell in Q1, Q2 and Q3.

The seven-time World Champion lacked some spark to qualify in the top five ahead of Russell and Verstappen. It was a great opportunity to achieve his best qualifying of the season so far.

Tomorrow, his aim should be to watch out for attacks from behind rather than to trouble Verstappen. There is more to lose than to gain as a team, which is how Mercedes think of late from recent events at Imola.

6. George Russell

It’s hard to imagine Russell being able to hang on for 78 laps behind a Max Verstappen looking to minimise damage.

True, the Red Bull is not as quick this weekend in Monaco and the Mercedes is not performing as badly as in other races, but the superiority is clear and with Max at the wheel the least that can be expected of him is to make it easy for George.

More key talking points at the 2024 Monaco GP

👉 Haas disqualified from Monaco Grand Prix qualifying due to ‘inadvertent’ breach

👉 Lewis Hamilton points to George Russell’s upgraded front wing for latest qualifying defeat

5. Max Verstappen

P5 sounds too low for Max and the Red Bull. But the truth is that the pace compared to McLaren and Ferrari is not really there for the Milton Keynes-based team in Monaco.

Moreover, before reaching them, he has to pass George Russell’s Mercedes. And both because of the reduced gap in performance between the two this weekend and the difficulties in overtaking in Monte Carlo, it is difficult to think that Max can go any further.

4. Lando Norris

Lando Norris’ position will depend largely on his start. Ferrari’s race pace is very good as seen in Friday’s long runs and McLaren has slightly lower top speed.

This is not particularly important in Monaco, but if you want a minimal overtaking opportunity it is good to have it. Another option will be to use the undercut, but it is hard to see McLaren having much of an advantage over Ferrari for this to happen.

3. Carlos Sainz

The Spanish driver will start on the inside of the grid. This should give him a slight advantage over Oscar Piastri at Turn 1.

However, the Ferrari driver has already acknowledged that his objective for the race is to help Charles Leclerc take the win. Taking risks at the start would not be beneficial for that.

Unless Piastri has a bad start and they can secure the 1-2 from the start. But putting pressure on the Australian and allowing Leclerc to open a comfortable gap to get out of the undercut zone sounds like a better plan.

2. Oscar Piastri

A second place in Monaco is not a bad result at all for Oscar Piastri. The Australian has yet to finish on the podium in Formula 1 and a P2 at one of the most iconic circuits on the calendar is very positive.

If the MCL38 has the pace to beat Ferrari, McLaren can play with the overcut and undercut to try and fight for P1. But even so, the differences in pace and the possibility of executing a successful strategic move will be tricky as degradation is not expected to be high.

1. Charles Leclerc

After a Friday and Saturday where he has been dominant, even without having the fastest car in qualifying, Charles Leclerc has everything to break his curse in Monaco.

The Ferrari driver will start from pole position on a circuit that is very difficult to overtake, with an SF24 that has more top speed and slightly better race performance than the MCL38 at this venue.

After all the various problems he has endured on the streets of his home country, this should finally be the weekend Leclerc has been dreaming of for years. And what could be his first win since Austria 2022.

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