Nico Rosberg (Q.1, R.1)
After four consecutive pole positions, Nico Rosberg finally brought Mercedes their first victory of the 2013 season. It was the team’s first victory in the principality since Manfred von Brauschvitsch took the flag at the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Rudolf Caracciola. Mercedes have been unmatched in one-lap pace since China, but the nature of the 2013 Pirelli tyres have left them underwhelming during the races. Monaco’s merciless walls allow little in the way of overtaking and Monaco was always going to be Mercedes’s best opportunity at scoring their first victory since last year’s Chinese Grand Prix. Rosberg was unchallenged all race, out-pacing team-mate Lewis Hamilton throughout and taking an easy victory ahead of the pair of pursuing Red Bulls after setting the fastest lap in all four pre-race sessions. Nico’s now only 15 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the standings and with three pole positions under his belt, Rosberg might yet place himself to overtake the 2008 World Champion any race now.
Sebastian Vettel (Q.3, R.2)
It was a race of damage limitation for the reigning World Champion. Sebastian never looked in a position to challenge for the lead Rosberg was allowed to pull away as the Red Bull driver struggled to find a way past Lewis Hamilton. Regardless of the result, Vettel increased his championship lead over Raikkonen and Alonso and is now 21 and 29 points ahead of both. With no team having come out and shown supremacy yet this year the championship could very much be decided between the most consistent drivers. With Vettel averaging over 17 points per race he’s put himself in the hot seat to take another crown this year.
Adrian Sutil (Q.8, R.5)
Adrian brought home the bacon for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix and finished in a convincing fifth position. While di Resta struggled in qualifying, it was Sutil who put himself in eighth for Sunday’s race, some nine positions ahead of his team-mate. di Resta, who benefitted most from the two safety car periods and the red flag stoppage, scrambled home a lowly ninth. McLaren looked a lot stronger this weekend and Force India cannot expect to keep them at bay all season if their drivers are being knocked out in Q1. The team hasn’t scored points in Canada in their last two attempts, but with the VJM06 and two competent drivers at the wheel they may come good in two weeks time.
Jean-Eric Vergne (Q.10, R.8)
For the first time since the opening round of the season, Jean-Eric Vergne showed he was able to be a strong challenge to Daniel Ricciardo. It will be doubly disappointing for the Australian to have lost here as his history at the venue suggests it’s one of his stronger events. Vergne headed his team-mate in qualifying and acted upon his better position to come in a strong eighth after 78 laps. Ricciardo was in traffic all race, but had only himself to blame after setting a time some seven tenths slower than the Frenchman on Saturday. The gap between the two has closed to two points and with a Red Bull seat expected to be vacated for 2014 the next few races will be crucial in affirming his superiority in the squad. Coulthard, the last Red Bull retiree, announced his retirement at the 2008 British Grand Prix. With two races to go until this year’s race, what are the odds Webber will follow the same route?
Giedo van der Garde (Q.15, R.15)
Van der Garde secured Caterham’s first Q2 result of 2013, vastly out-pacing team-mate Pic in the challenging Q1 conditions. His race was less successful and he collided with Maldonado during the opening laps, sending him to the pit lane and the back of the field. None the less, Giedo has now out-qualified his team-mate for the last two races. Now that we’re back in Europe, the Dutchman looks to be finding his feet.
Romain Grosjean (Q.13, R.RET)
After crashing in every practice session during the weekend, Grosjean continued the trend in the race, collecting Ricciardo on the run to the Nouvelle Chicane. He’s scored 30% of Raikkonen’s total and Lotus certainly won’t be happy with this weekend’s performance. You can be sure test driver Davide Valsecchi will be grinning from ear to ear with every passing race; the 26-year-old won the GP2 title a year after Grosjean and certainly can’t do any worse than Romain is at the present.
Pastor Maldonado (Q.16, R.RET)
Not for the first time this year, Pastor Maldonado couldn’t have been happy with his own result and that of the team this weekend. Though he managed to secure the fastest lap time in Q1 – a result that will surely have brought smiles to the less-than-satisfied Williams pit wall – the so-called Monaco expert was beaten by his team-mate in the second session and didn’t look like making much progress throughout the race. An incident with Max Chilton brought out the red flag after a spectacular accident prematurely ended Maldonado’s race. The Williams drought continues and, despite major car modifications for the sixth round of the season, doesn’t have an end in sight.
Sergio Perez (Q.7, R.RET)
Whether or not he is completely at fault for his ambitious late-race move on Raikkonen is debatable, but the young Mexican will be ruing the incident now. He’s out-qualified team-mate Button two times on the trot and was looking racey on Sunday, having aggressively passed Jenson after losing track position early in the event. A number of attempts on other drivers followed at the same corner, though most ended in off-track excursions. It was a case of one chance too many for Sergio and he pushed his luck an inch too far when attempting to pass Raikkonen into the Nouvelle Chicane. His attempt sent Raikkonen out of the points (though the Finn was to recover and take 10th on the final lap) and ultimately ended Perez’s race. After being told to drive more aggressively after Malaysia, Sergio might yet be asked to curtail his ambition for Canada in two weeks time.