The Monaco Grand Prix delivered on its promise to be a processional and borderline boring race on the streets of The Principality, but there were some high points to still be had. Chris Fawcett gives you the low down with the Top 5 from Monte Carlo.

The grid walk

I wish I could begin without a moan but how frustratingly packed was the grid before the start of the race? I was watching the Channel 4 coverage (first time in a while) and the tag-team of David Coulthard and Mark Webber could hardly move, let alone get a decent interview with anyone.

Two ex-drivers, two microphones, and a whole host of celebrities | Image: @YouTube

As a viewer, I was left bemused how anything productive could take place. As a mechanic next to a car, I think I’d be losing my mind. There’s already enough in terms of media and press access before a Grand Prix. The grid walk feature is generally good with the occasional hiccup, but it’s live TV, anything can happen right? It’s a busy area with cameras, presenters, sponsors, team crew, VIP fans…what it doesn’t need is a deluge of “celebs” with another set of paparazzi following them around an active, working grid moments before lights out.

Following the race, articles on numerous fashion and lifestyle websites featured people like Kit Harington, Kris Jenner and Bella Hadid and their escapades around Monaco with details on exactly what they were wearing at any given time. Perhaps they’re fans of the sport and have a general interest, but what really irritates me is how the TV coverage for proper fans can be manipulated by whatever famous person happens to turn up.

The directors need to remember that people tune in for the on-track action, and the organisers should flat out ban the camera-happy people who invade the grid beforehand to take pictures of non-affiliated people.

Moan over…

Drivers – think of the big picture

After paying so much attention to the actual drivers each and every Grand Prix weekend, you could be forgiven for not embracing the huge effort that goes into preparing the cars ready for each session or the massive logistical headache brought about by upgraded parts; getting them to the location, fitting them etc.

Fernando Alonso brought it home to me last season how single-minded some drivers can be in regards to radio transmission, but Lance Stroll put the final nail in the coffin at Monaco when he found himself at the back of the grid asking his team “what’s the point in even racing?”. How about the hundreds of hours that the men and woman of Williams F1 put into making sure you even have a car on the grid? Maybe the possibility of constructors points which help towards funding the team for years to come? If you don’t like it, do something else.

“stuck in monte carlo FML” | Image: Octane Photos

I appreciate the frustration that can be on display from an uncompetitive car, but the fact is, to be on the grid in the first place requires a huge amount of luck, money and skill. No one is going to think less of you if you are a supreme driver outperforming the machinery week in, week out. It didn’t do Fernando Alonso’s stock any harm, he’s still considered among the best on the grid, despite being bereft of a decent car since 2013.

If you’re good enough, your time will come. But remember, be kind to people on your way up because you never know who you’re going to meet on the way back down.

Royalty

I’m not normally one to gush over Royalty, but following the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I must have softened my stance.

In short, it was great to see Princess Charlene taking part in the podium drinks and thoroughly getting stuck into the champers.

https://twitter.com/F1/status/1000834873379110912

Both herself and Prince Albert III genuinely looked to be enjoying the spectacle of a relieved Australian man in a onesie drinking fizzy wine out of a sweaty shoe.

If that can happen in Monaco, I’m sure it would be possible to get Prince Charles legless on the podium steps at Silverstone.

Another year, another disappointment

Any hardened Formula One fan could have guessed that it was going to be a bit of a bore-fest, and this is exactly what it turned out to be, minus a few undercurrents of excitement, it was same old, same old.

While watching, my fiancée had her interest perked when she found out it was the Monaco Grand Prix, so she sat down and watched the start. After a few laps of taking in the reality that these cars could actually drive around the narrow streets of the Principality, she soon found other things to keep herself entertained. This is where the problem lies; barring freak weather conditions, the race generally is far from entertaining.

Standard image of Monaco on race day – Image: Sahara Force India Media

It’s sad, mainly because this is considered the crown jewel of a sport that gets a bad reputation from neutrals as being boring. What message is 70+ laps around Monaco going to do to dispel those thoughts?

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso voiced their concern after the event with the Brit saying it needs a “shake up” and Alonso claiming it was the “most boring race”. If drivers who require 100% attention throughout are coming out with comments such as this, just think about the number of armchair pundits worldwide who must share the same belief.

In short, I believe that Formula One has outgrown Monaco. I’m not saying leave, never to return, but in its current incarnation, this cannot continue if Liberty Media want the sport to grow.

Popular win

Let’s end with something positive; what a well deserved and popular win by Daniel Ricciardo.

I don’t remember a driver as universally liked as the Aussie. He’s a hit on social media, sports the widest smile of anyone and he might be spearheading “shoey” into the Oxford Dictionary.

https://twitter.com/F1/status/1000804755692662784

He did deserve this win when all is said and done; he was quickest over the entire weekend, breaking numerous lap records along the way. There were hearts in mouths when he announced that he had a loss of power during the race – this, of course, stems back to the disappointment of 2016 when he looked to be on course for victory, if not for that pitstop.

Monaco might prove to be an important moment in Danny Ric’s career. He’s at a pivotal stage in terms of negotiating a new contract with Red Bull or looking elsewhere for 2019 onwards. After six races, he shares two victories with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, sitting pretty in third in the championship table.

I dare say that if he was unable to make it to the chequered flag following the MGUK issue, this would be his last season with Red Bull. Now, I’m not so sure, but I honestly do believe that given the opportunity, he would take the title fight to anyone on that grid.

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