F1: Five Classic Monaco Grand Prix Moments

The field makes it way through the streets of Monte Carlo during the start of the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. © Steve Gregory; image sourced via Wikipedia Commons.

Part of the famous Triple Crown of Motorsport, the jewel in the F1 calendar is hoping to sparkle once again in 2019.

Now Monaco doesn’t always produce good racing, but has created some memorable and surprising moments over the years.

5: 2008 Monaco Grand Prix – Hamilton overcomes early puncture
Lewis Hamilton limps back to the pits in his McLaren with a puncture, during the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix. Image sourced from autoblog.com

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa started on pole position for the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix, and held the lead early on.

Massa’s main title rival, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, jumped the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen into turn 1 for second. However on Lap 6, Hamilton lost control in the wet conditions and clipped the wall at Tabac.

This resulted in a puncture for the Brit, and forced an early pit stop and was fuelled for a longer second stint.

This created a great strategy and as the track dried, Hamilton was able to stay out. Subsequently, he emerged from his second pit-stop 13 seconds ahead of Massa, who was still yet to stop.

A late safety car and slow laps on the restart, meant the race ended at the 2 hour mark on Lap 76. Hamilton took his first victory in Monaco, something that seemed unlikely in the early stages.

4: 1984 Monaco Grand Prix – Senna almost wins on debut
Ayrton Senna celebrates what he thought was a well-earnt victory for Toleman, after the shortened 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. Image sourced from silodrome.com

The 1984 Monaco Grand Prix was held in treacherous conditions. Toleman driver Ayrton Senna would put on a show around the streets that day.

Starting from 13th on the grid, Senna started carving his way through the field, showing his wet weather skills. He was soon up to second, and past the likes of Rene Arnoux and Niki Lauda.

The Brazilian chased down race leader Alain Prost and was reeling in the Frenchman as a ridiculous speed, who was waving for the race to be stopped.

Eventually, clerk of the course Jacky Ickx declared conditions too poor to race, and the red flag was shown. Senna had passed Prost’s McLaren as he slowed for the red flag over the line on Lap 32.

However the rules stated the race result would be taken from Lap 31, and gave the win to Prost.

This became controversial due to Ickx making the decision before consulting the stewards. In addition, Ickx was also associated with Porsche, who were McLaren’s engine supplier at the time.

Ironically if Prost had continued until the 75% mark and finished second, he would have collected more points than he did for the win. And with title rival Niki Lauda retiring, it could have given Prost the title he eventually lost by just half a point.

3: 1996 Monaco Grand Prix- Panis takes unlikely victory
Olivier Panis raises his fists in victory after the famous 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. Image sourced from deviantart.com

Olivier Panis and Ligier made a dream strategy call in a mixed conditions to take a famous F1 victory. Panis started the race from 14th after suffering a misfire in Qualifying.

In a race of attrition, Panis stayed in control and took advantage of the misfortune of others around him. As the track started to dry, Ligier pitted Panis onto slicks early, a strategic masterstroke that jumped Panis up to fourth place.

This then became third, after Williams’ Damon Hill suffered engine failure on Lap 40. 20 laps later, Panis found himself into the lead, after Benetton’s Jean Alesi suffered suspension failure.

Despite being chased down in the closing stages by McLaren’s David Coulthard, Panis held on to take victory. It was Ligier’s first win in 15 seasons and first with engine supplier Mugen Motorsports.

At the end of the race, Panis, Coulthard and Johnny Herbert’s Sauber were the only classified finishers. Fourth-placed Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a lap down, but pitted instead of taking the chequered flag.

2: 2016 Monaco Grand Prix – Riccardo’s pit-stop heartbreak
A muted Daniel Ricciardo shakes hand with 2016 Monaco Grand Prix winner, Lewis Hamilton, during the podium ceremony. © Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo was comfortably leading the Monaco Grand Prix and was on course for victory. But an ill-timed error in the pit lane caused heartbreak for the Australian.

After taking a stunning pole position on Saturday, Riccardo led the race in torrential conditions.

On Lap 24 Riccardo pitted for Intermediate tyres, but Mercedes left Lewis Hamilton out on full wets, to wait until the track dried to slicks.

Ricciardo quickly caught Hamilton, but was unable to pass due to the nature of Monaco.

Hamilton pitted for slicks on Lap 31, and Ricciardo followed next lap to cover off the undercut.

However, despite calling Ricciardo in to pit the team didn’t have the tyres ready.

After a long stop, Riccardo emerged behind Hamilton and despite efforts to pass the Mercedes, Hamilton held the lead.

Hamilton eventually pulled away from Ricciardo, setting fastest lap on Lap 71.

As rain started to fall again during the final laps, Hamilton took the chequered flag for his second victory in Monaco.

A despondent Riccardo finished second while Force India’s Sergio Perez took an impressive third. On the team radio, Ricciardo was inconsolable and showed his frustrations during the podium ceremony.

1: 1988 – Senna’s Monaco Masterclass
The dominant McLaren MP4/4 of Ayrton Senna during the 1998 Monaco Grand Prix. Image sourced from salracing.com

After his impressive debut in 1984, Ayrton Senna soon became the master of Monaco, and was on another level in 1988. Using the dominant McLaren MP4/4, Senna took pole by an astounding 1.4 seconds over team-mate Alain Prost in qualifying

Leading away from pole, Senna was on another level of pace, some 50 seconds clear of the pack. However, as the race drew closer to the end, Senna recieved an order from the McLaren pit wall to slow down.

Then on Lap 67, the unthinkable happened. Senna lost concentration and crashed at Portier, and handed an unlikely victory to Prost.

Senna was so angry with the incident, he left the circuit immediately and went home to his Monaco apartment. McLaren only heard from him later that evening, while the team was packing up.

Despite his crash, Senna showed some of the most dominant pace ever seen in an F1 race.

Senna even commented that he reached another level spiritually that day, and was ‘beyond his conscious understanding.’