Monaco Grand Prix: Max Verstappen leads F1 driver rankings ahead of iconic race

The biggest weekend in motorsports is here, including the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. It's one of the oldest races on the calendar and a race most drivers hope to win at least once in their careers.

The grid comes to Monaco for Round 8 of the 2024 Formula One season on the heels of an exciting pair of races. The Miami Grand Prix saw McLaren's Lando Norris take his first career Grand Prix victory. Last time out in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Norris nearly made it two in a row and chased down three-time defending champion Max Verstappen in the closing laps. Verstappen held on for victory to extend his championship lead.

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Beyond Norris and Verstappen, many drivers have impressed in the first third of the season. Here's how our Formula One driver power rankings look ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix:

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: F1 schedule, how to watch, and odds for race winner

2024 Formula One driver rankings: Pre-Monaco Grand Prix

Note: These drivers are ranked on how they've performed relative to their competition and their car's pace, not simply by their finishing place in the most recent race.

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Verstappen and Red Bull looked well off the pace in Imola ahead of qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Despite issues finding the best window for the car, Verstappen managed to post the top times in each qualifying session and tied the record for consecutive pole positions in Formula One history.

Come race day, Norris pushed him in the closing laps but Verstappen held on. Considering that teammate Sergio Pérez couldn't break the top 10 in qualifying and could only muster eighth on race day, this was far from a cakewalk Verstappen victory.

2. Lando Norris, McLaren

McLaren looked quick leading up to qualifying and both Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri followed through with that pace on Saturday. Piastri got the better of Norris by 0.017 seconds in Q3 but Piastri's penalty slated Norris to the front row.

Norris made the most of it on race day, looking vulnerable early on before closing the gap to Verstappen as the laps ticked down to the checkered flag. If the race was two laps longer, he may have taken victory and moved to the top of the rankings.

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3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Leclerc notched his fourth podium finish of the year in Imola despite Ferrari looking like the third-fastest car for the weekend. Piastri's penalty opened the door for a podium but, given the pace from McLaren all weekend, he did well to stay ahead of Piastri following their pit stops. He had the better of teammate Carlos Sainz pace-wise over the course of the race as well.

4. Oscar Piastri, McLaren

If not for the qualifying penalty, Piastri could've sealed his first podium finish of the season. Instead, he started fifth and spent the first part of the race stuck behind Carlos Sainz's Ferrari. He undercut Sainz during the pit stop sequence and settled in behind Sainz's teammate Charles Leclerc. Penalty or not, he's making the most of the pace brought on by recent McLaren updates.

5. Yuki Tsunoda, RB

Tsunoda made it to Q3 in qualifying and, despite posting a slower time than in Q2, started seventh on the grid come Sunday's race. In RB's home race, Tsunoda only lost positions to objectively faster cars on race day: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Pérez, and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin). It's his fourth top-10 Grand Prix result in what's often the seventh-fastest car over the course of a race weekend.

6. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

Hulkenberg just missed out on a top-10 finish following another strong qualifying performance. He was in the top 10 of Q1, Q2, and Q3, ending up 10th on the starting grid. He lost out to Pérez and Stroll in cars that are much faster on race day. Tsunoda kept him from securing a points finish but he was very close.

7. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Sainz was on the back foot compared to Leclerc throughout the weekend. He's since reported an aerodynamic issue that impacted his pace. He started fourth and finished fifth by doing enough to stay ahead of the Mercedes runners but behind the McLaren cars and Verstappen. It's far from a banner performance but exactly the consistency to keep him in these rankings.

8. George Russell, Mercedes

On the whole, Mercedes looked like a distant fourth-fastest car in the weekend. Russell managed to qualify 0.001 seconds behind Sainz despite the pace difference and nearly three-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. He started sixth and held the position comfortably for a while before a questionable second pit stop dropped him to seventh, albeit with a bonus point for the fastest lap.

9. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

Piastri blocked Magnussen in qualifying and he ended up starting the race 18th on the grid. No matter; the Haas driver made up multiple spots in the first lap and cut through the lower midfield throughout the race. He ended the race with the most places gained (six) and managed to finish just 1.1 seconds behind Hulkenberg in a quietly strong weekend.

10. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Like Russell, Hamilton had a relatively ho-hum afternoon in Imola. The Mercedes driver tied his best Grand Prix result of the season thanks to Russell's late pit stop. Sixth looked like the best Mercedes could do for a weekend in which Verstappen's Red Bull, both Ferraris, and both McLarens looked well out of reach. Decent but not exceptional.

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2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Schedule and how to watch


All times ET.

  • Free Practice 1: Friday, May 24, 7:30 a.m.

  • Free Practice 2: Friday, May 24, 11 a.m.

  • Free Practice 3: Saturday, May 25, 6:30 a.m.

  • Qualifying: Saturday, May 25, 10 a.m.

  • 2024 Monaco Grand Prix: Sunday, May 26, 9 a.m.

TV, streaming info

  • TV:

    • Free Practices 1, 2 and 3: ESPN2

    • Qualifying: ESPN

    • 2024 Monaco Grand Prix: ABC

  • Streaming: ESPN+; F1 TV Pro; fuboTV

How to watch: Don't miss another Formula One race this season with a subscription to fuboTV

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Formula 1: Max Verstappen leads driver rankings ahead of Monaco GP