There really is nothing quite like the Monaco GP.
It’s not just the jewel in Formula 1’s crown and the pinnacle of the calendar, but it also provides drivers with the ultimate test of skill as they thread their cars through a Monte Carlo needle, all the while knowing anything less than millimetre-perfect precision could result in them shattering into the barriers.
Such a challenging layout perhaps explains why so few have regularly tamed the beast. Only seven drivers can claim to have won the iconic street race three or more times and none of those are on the current grid.
But the F1 2018 line-up still includes three multiple Monaco winners who have all proved they can master the race in Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, while other drivers, such as Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, have also shone on the track.
Monaco 2018: What we know so far
When’s the Monaco GP on Sky?
So, ahead of this weekend’s race, live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky One, we’ve crunched the stats to work out who has the best Monaco record, and who must be hoping to improve their form…
To give a fair evaluation, when calculating the average race position as well as drivers’ win, pole and podium percentages – we have not considered their Monaco GPs where they drove for a team lower down the grid. IE: Raikkonen at Sauber, Alonso at McLaren (2015-16) or Ricciardo at Toro Rosso.
He may be second on the all-time F1 win list with 64 wins, but it’s fair to say Monaco has not quite felt like home for Hamilton (and that’s despite residing there).
The four-time world champion has only won twice (2008, 2016) in 11 attempts around the principality state – making it one of his least successful F1 tracks – while he also only has one pole position, going on to lose in controversial circumstances on that day in 2015.
He has a steady rate of podiums but Hamilton has consistently struggled next to his team-mate in what is probably the most illuminating statistic.
When collectively comparing Hamilton next to Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, and Jenson Button at McLaren, as well as Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes, he is 7-4 down in the qualifying and race head-to-heads.
Lewis Hamilton: Monaco record (2007-17) Wins 2 (18% win rate) Poles 1 (9% pole rate) Podiums 5 (45% podium rate) Average finishing position 4th Av. places gained in race +1 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 4-7 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 4-7 Sebastian Vettel
Another two-time winner, Vettel has arguably been the most consistent Monaco performer since his breakthrough in 2008, impressively finishing fifth – after starting 19th – on his F1 debut there with Toro Rosso.
In fact, that result remains his lowest race finish around the narrow streets, accumulating five podiums along the way with victories at two different teams in Red Bull (2011) and Ferrari (2017).
Vettel has done a fine job at making up positions during the race, too, but he also only has one pole, while he’s never quite been able to stamp his authority over his team-mate.
Sebastian Vettel: Monaco record (2008-17) Wins 2 (22% win rate) Poles 1 (11% pole rate) Podiums 5 (56% podium rate) Average finishing position 2nd Av. places gained in race +3 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 5-5 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 6-4 Fernando Alonso
He may not have won the race in over 10 years – since his consecutive victories with different teams in 2006 and 2007, in fact – but Alonso has usually been able to out-perform his car’s potential in Monaco.
Though he’s taken part in the race 15 times, that form has been evident in recent races. Take 2014 when he dragged his under-par Ferrari to fourth, or 2016 when he secured an impressive fifth place for McLaren.
Considering he’s never really had the fastest car since his last Monte Carlo victory, Alonso’s average position around the iconic streets is remarkable while he has also frequently dominated his team-mates.
He returns this year after a one-year hiatus for his Indianapolis 500 attempt.
Fernando Alonso: Monaco record (2001, 2003-16) Wins 2 (20% win rate) Poles 2 (20% pole rate) Podiums 4 (40% podium rate) Average finishing position 4th Av. places gained in race +2 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 11-3 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 11-3 Kimi Raikkonen
Like Alonso, Raikkonen is another experienced Monte Carlo competitor with 15 entries, while he has also been relatively consistent with four podiums.
More often than not, however, the Finn has had a competitive car at his disposal and should have more wins to his name than his one back in 2005.
He was certainly unfortunate last year after securing pole ahead of Ferrari team-mate Vettel, and will be looking to bounce back this weekend.
Kimi Raikkonen: Monaco record (2001-09, 2012-17) Wins 1 (7% win rate) Poles 2 (14% pole rate) Podiums 4 (29% podium rate) Average finishing position 6th Av. places gained in race -1 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 8-7 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 6-7 Daniel Ricciardo
Though he has yet to win the iconic event, you could argue that Ricciardo has been the strongest Monaco performer in the last few years.
The Australian has secured podiums in three of his four races there with Red Bull while his only F1 pole position came in the Principality in 2016, when he was incredibly unlucky not to win.
A street-track lover and master, Ricciardo’s time will surely come.
Daniel Ricciardo: Monaco record (2012-17) Wins 0 (0% win rate) Poles 1 (25% pole rate) Podiums 3 (75% podium rate) Average finishing position 3rd Av. places gained in race 0 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 4-2 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 3-2 The other contenders
Though Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen will surely be confident of their chances this weekend, there isn’t really enough data to predict their standing here.
Bottas never really had a chance to impress in Monaco with Williams, only securing his first points-finish there with Mercedes last year. The Finn does, though, look more comfortable around the streets than Verstappen.
The Red Bull driver has crashed four times in three years in Monaco, and 2017 was the first time he finished the race.
The final tables Average finishing position 1. Sebastian Vettel 2nd 2. Daniel Ricciardo 3rd 3=. Fernando Alonso 4th 3=. Lewis Hamilton 4th 5. Kimi Raikkonen 6th Win percentage 1. Sebastian Vettel 22% 2. Fernando Alonso 20% 3. Lewis Hamilton 18% 4. Kimi Raikkonen 7% 5. Daniel Ricciardo 0% Pole percentage 1. Daniel Ricciardo 25% 2. Fernando Alonso 20% 3. Kimi Raikkonen 14% 4. Sebastian Vettel 11% 5. Lewis Hamilton 9% Podium percentage 1. Daniel Ricciardo 75% 2. Sebastian Vettel 56% 3. Lewis Hamilton 45% 4. Fernando Alonso 40% 5. Kimi Raikkonen 29% Average places gained in race 1. Sebastian Vettel 3 2. Fernando Alonso 2 3. Lewis Hamilton 1 4. Daniel Ricciardo 0 5. Kimi Raikkonen -1 Team-mate head-to-head: Qualy 1. Fernando Alonso 11-3 2. Daniel Ricciardo 4-2 3. Kimi Raikkonen 8-7 4. Sebastian Vettel 5-5 5. Lewis Hamilton 4-7 Team-mate head-to-head: Race 1. Fernando Alonso 11-3 2. Sebastian Vettel 6-4 3. Daniel Ricciardo 3-2 4. Kimi Raikkonen 6-7 5. Lewis Hamilton 4-7 Who’s the master?
Sebastian Vettel may have the highest average position and Daniel Ricciardo has arguably shown his best F1 form at the track – but neither have the longevity or pure pace next to their team-mates as this man.
Step forward, Fernando Alonso.
It’s certainly close between them and arguments could be made for all three being the most talented driver on the grid around this circuit, but Alonso takes the nod due to the fact he has frequently out-driven the tools at his disposal.
Whether he will ever taste victory here again is another matter altogether, but don’t be surprised to see Alonso drag his McLaren higher up the grid than it should be this weekend.
The crown jewel in the F1 calendar returns and you can watch the Monaco GP on Sky Sports F1 this weekend, with Saturday and Sunday’s action also on Sky One. Get Sky Sports F1.