No fun to be had in Monaco Grand Prix even if you’re winning, says Hamilton

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton says he wouldn’t have enjoyed a “boring” Monaco Grand Prix even if he’d finished higher than seventh.

The Mercedes driver lost the championship lead to Max Verstappen in last weekend’s race. He started and finished in seventh place, his worst result of the season so far.

“I probably won’t re-watch this race,” said Hamilton after a frustrating afternoon which saw him lose places to Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel through his first pit stop.

“I’ll probably watch a highlight just to kind of [get] a bit of an understanding of where I lost three places, for example, or potentially three places, two at least.”

Before reaching F1, Hamilton also won at Monaco in Formula 3 and GP2 (now Formula 2). But he has often said the track does not produce satisfying races with modern Formula 1 cars.

“I’m glad the race is over because it was the longest race,” he said. “It was so long.

“I’ve been saying it time and time again, it doesn’t matter what position you’re in, this track is just not fun to race on. Because you don’t see any overtaking, you can’t follow.”

Hamilton is a three-time winner of the 92-year-old grand prix which takes place on the streets of the city he lives in. But victory doesn’t make it a more satisfying race, he said.

“It’s great, of course, when you win the race,” he said. “But even when you’re leading the race and you’re far ahead, it’s also boring. I’m sure for Max it was a pretty chilled afternoon for him.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

118 comments on “No fun to be had in Monaco Grand Prix even if you’re winning, says Hamilton”

  1. Feels like Hamilton’s a bit sour on Monaco! Quite a few comments from him over the past week on how boring a race it is.

    Is it not a race of pure concentration, skill and challenge?

    Methink he doth protest too much as an excuse for his poor form!

    1. Was it boring because there was no (V)SC, which could’ve shaken up the order?
      Was it boring because DRS was ineffective?
      Was it boring because there was no red flag?
      All the rest was the same as before.
      And without those gimmicks and race equalisers it was maybe even the best Monaco race in a long time (score 5 instead of 4).

      1. Disagree on it being the best monaco race in a long time, don’t get me wrong, I loved to see other people up front instead of mercedes, BUT as far as the racing going on it’s one of the worst races of the last 10 years imo, nothing happened basically, and the 2019 race was better, the 2018 one too.

        1. There was more of a strategic battle in 2018, and more of an on track battle in 2019.

      2. It was the worst race in Monaco in some time and that says a lot.
        It was so bad people are calling that piece of action between Gasly and Vettel an overtake.

        1. It was the worst race in Monaco in some time and that says a lot.

          Not for those of us who don’t like the artificial unlapping/closing-up of a SC/Red Flag, or the lucky free stop due to a fortunate VSC, and even less so the overtakes with DRS.

          As bad as Monaco is to overtake, at least this was the purest of racing there we’ve had in a long time.
          But that might be just my PoV.

          1. if definitely is only your pov man.
            20 races like this per year and F1 is bankrupt in 2 years, maybe less. it was a non-event really.

            The drivers don’t enjoy it, the audiece don’t enjoy it. The only people who enjoy it are the ones that are having fun on the spot, and that hardly have anything to do with the action on the track.

            it’s curious that the best race in terms of results for the championship, was also by far the worst of the season.

          2. (it’s) definitely is only your pov man.

            You don’t know if it’s just me, and please don’t refer to me as ‘man’.

            And why do you think I want 20 races like this?
            I thought rating it with a ‘5’ should be clear enough to most.

            I suggest you stick to arguing what you like, and please stop belittling my opinion if you cannot even read the full comment.

          3. Well, the 2018 and 2019 races didn’t have a SC or VSC that significantly changed the situation in the race, the 2018 was the ricciardo-chase with damaged mgu-k and 2019 the hamilton chase by verstappen, including some serious attempt at the end.

            I found them more interesting than 2021, in any case I’m ok with a monaco race a year, just not a lot happening.

          4. @jff

            Tell me where did i say tou wanted 20 races likes this. That’s just the number of races we have each season. F1 is not popular because of races like this.

            As for the rest, whatever man, just chill. You’re too nervous for no reason at all.

    2. ian dearing
      27th May 2021, 8:12

      I think its a qualifying of concentration, skill and challenge, and why the weekend to me is practice and qualifying. When you are coasting 5s-10s of those times on a Sunday, knowing that no one can put a move on you, not so much.

    3. @captainpie He said something about ‘you’re doing the same thing lap after lap’. I guess he means the track is so narrow and the cars so large, plus low speeds, there’s not much you can do to change your lines over the course of the race.

    4. I agree, he’s coping

  2. Max seemed happy at the end, so were Carlos and Lando :)

    1. I guess the point Hamiton made went straight over your head.

      1. Fred Fedurch
        27th May 2021, 11:53

        Hamilton had a point? All I read was whine, whine, whine.

      2. The point isn’t going over anybody’s head. Only, nobody believes it.

  3. An enjoyable circuit purely driving-wise but terrible for overtaking, although not because of aero, but lack of room and proper length flat-out sections.

    1. Indeed, I gave it a look and it seemed like they only had 8 sec on the throttle in the tunnel straight!

    2. @jerejj If you mean F1 games (presumably), I often skip Monaco during seasons as I absolutely hate the circuit and find it tedious beyond belief. However, Hamilton (and other drivers) have often gone about how special the place/race is, so I’ve thought it must be more exciting for them.

      1. I skip it cause I invariably put it in the wall within the first 5 laps of any given session…

        1. @tommy-c That too :o)
          The problem is the ‘amount of concentration v. not binning it’ ratio just doesn’t work for me.

  4. Rick Howell
    27th May 2021, 8:01

    Enough Lewis. We get it! You’ve been whining about this track for a week. Just stop already.

    1. ian dearing
      27th May 2021, 8:14

      Thanks for confirming that he has indeed moaned about the track all week, which puts the sour grapes argument to bed.

      1. GS (@gsagostinho)
        27th May 2021, 10:02

        Yep. And if it was Kimi complaining about the same thing, everyone here would be ‘oh he’s so cool, he speaks up his mind and doesn’t care that his opinions might go against the majority.’

        1. Yeah, Kimi is the King of Cool!
          You know why? Because he doesn’t whine for a week!
          He just says: “Bwaaa” and sips his vodka.

        2. Cause the only thing Kimi does complain about is when he can’t have a drink.

    2. Not just a week, this is Hamilton from 2018: “It was intensely boring. (..) There is not a lot of action, you’re just trying to bring it home. (..) When it finished, I was like, ‘thank goodness’.”

      Winning is obviously a bonus, but Hamilton has complained about this race before. There are probably other examples from longer ago.

      1. 2018?…..Hmmm…..Another race where he was beaten on outright pace…..Interesting!

  5. “I’m glad the race is over because it was the longest race,” he said. “It was so long”

    Fact: Fastest ever Monaco GP.

    Sounds like sour grapes. I’m sure I remember him saying he enjoyed Max pushing him all the way last time. His usually likes a close battle.

    1. Indeed, and he probably means longest race of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised, it often is.

      1. I thought Singapore was?

        1. Singapore 2017 was the longest race without ever being stopped.

          1. But if I recall it rained in singapore 2017, in fact I’m absolutely sure it rained, hamilton made a good start and ferraris crashed with verstappen, it’s not fair to compare a wet race to a dry race, you lose a lot of time in the wet, monaco also easily goes over time limit if it rains!

    2. Yeah, this really rather reflects Lewis being on a bit of a downer after a disappointing weekend for him than a well thought out view on the race, doesn’t it @eurobrun.

      I think him losing position more or less was just the effect of an undercut not working well – especially when going to the hards, because it took a bit of time to get temperatures up on the tyres so the overcut proved to be a better way to go.

  6. It felt very long for those of us who managed to stay awake on Sunday too. Terrible place for a race, completely unfit for the task.

    1. Counting the cars that overtook or at least overcut the bus kept me awake

    2. @paulguitar Which is why it is sooo GOOOOD!

    3. TV director didnt help either. What was that! Did they let the intern do Monaco?

  7. “Success Has Many Friends, Failure is an Orphan”

  8. It’s not a good look on F1 when it’s most decorated figure riles against it’s supposed ‘crown jewel’.

    I’m not necessarily agreeing with Lewis here. He’s won Monaco three times, twice through luck and once through sheer defensive mastery. I’m relatively sure I remember him being happy on the podium all three times. He’s also a man with self-admitted atrocious memory, so I’m not surprised he’s forgotten how he felt when he won the races.

    But Lewis is missing a big point here, in that the 2021 Monaco GP needed to happen. It was the first race of the season that was coming back after the covid year, a sign or beacon that the F1 world, in Europe at least, is going back to normal.

    1. I meant its, not it’s.

      1. It’s an important correction @wsrgo, Kudos for your attention to detail :) Completely agree of course.

    2. Lewis is not missing anything @wsrgo, he’s saying what needed to be said. It’s a stupid place to race F1 cars and it only happens for the empty reason of social status. Lewis might even be the only person who can make a dent in the utterly shallow, self-admiring nonsense of F1 going there.

      1. @zann At least it has racing heritage going for it, which is more than can be said for Sochi and Abu Dhabi. F1 going there isn’t self absorbed, just greedy.

        1. Bernie understood the importance of status to building F1 @wsrgo, fair enough. Also F1 cars used to be slower, less aero, narrower and more agile. So yes Monaco has heritage, but it doesn’t have racing any more. And yes F1 is driven by money, but part of that is it needs viewers, who in the main tune in for racing don’t we, more than to view a plump, bald man who is the son of someone and various tax exiles and their moored yachts.

    3. Self admitted atrocious memory?
      I would rather called an evasive comment for him to comfortably make use of his ‘selective memory.’

      Just a thought.

  9. Monaco is all about Saturday which again was immensely entertaining. Unfortunately after the race no one seems to remember this, Hamilton included (or maybe he just doesn’t want to remember it). It’s still a fantastic weekend for me at least, and the efforts of turning a country into a racetrack has always fascinated me. Bah humbug Lewis.

  10. If we’re experimenting with race formats then it seems to me that Monaco would be the perfect place to try something different. It’s been clear for quite some time that the Monaco track doesn’t allow for proper racing with modern F1 cars, and I’m fairly certain next year’s cars will have the same problem here. I’d be in favour of testing some kind of time trial format for the race. Then we could maybe have the drivers pushing flat out on a Sunday rather than driving seconds off the pace without the risk of being overtaken. You can tell most drivers aren’t near the limit for the majority of the race because there were virtually no driver errors on Sunday. The only one of note I can recall being the famously memed Stroll incident when they cut away from the only side by side action of the race, although it is possible there were some the director missed.

  11. I don’t necessarily agree with Hamilton about the Monaco GP usually beeing a borefest which is in desperate needs for alterations.
    But he has one point: The racing this year was worse than ever. Of course overtaking has always been difficult/impossible but at least the cars could follow each other. This year they were all cruising at about a 2 second gap to each other. So we did not only have zero overtaking, we didn’t even have cars chasing each other.

  12. It will happen eventually and it has been on the table for a while now. This is still first time I have a feeling that you can read between the lines that his retirement is coming closer.

    His race was bad there is no way around it and he should be angry about that but if you’re saying something like that out loud it makes you wonder. I was expecting him to say that he wants to be back on top in Baku but no.

    Or this is taken out of context and he didn’t mean it but still it might be closer than you think.

    1. @qeki As with most of these quotes, it was probably given in answer to a question we don’t know. And then it could have been truncated to focus on the interesting bit. Everyone expects a losing driver to “learn from this weekend and come back stronger at the next race”, so that part isn’t really news. Although it could be slightly misleading to leave it out (if it was there in the first place!)

  13. Hamilton is a clown, he should stop his F1 career now to give place for better and young talents.

  14. Sean Morton
    27th May 2021, 10:37

    Mercedes are boring but I don’t hear sir Lewis moaning about them…

  15. I’ll bet right now that if Bottas had managed to get in front of Max at the start, Max would’ve pushed and attacked and pushed until he found a way past him.

    The fact of the matter is that it is possible to overtake, really really difficult but possible.

    Even with the current aero, there was an immense battle in 2016 after RBR stuffed up with Ricciardo, there was a huge battle in 2019 where Max very nearly pulled off an overtake on Hamilton.

    My thoughts are more along the lines of drivers are so conscious of getting “some” points vs zero they just don’t try to pass and just settle for whatever position they’re in because it’s only 1 race out of 23. If it was 1 race out of (say) 16, there’d be a much higher premium on finishing position which might actually get a few of them to consider attacking harder.

    1. “Max would’ve pushed and attacked and pushed until he found a way past him.”

      Oh, like 2019, when he tried to pass Hamilton and crashed into him?

    2. I like the idea of that scenario @dbradock. However, I seriously doubt that Max would succeed in passing that way.

      Far more likely is that he would just have pushed Bottas, then would have dropped back a bit to about 2-3 seconds behind and once Bottas came in for the pitstop (let’s assume it does not go as bad as it did for Bottas there) would then do the overcut, pit 2-6 laps later than Bottas and regain the lead much like how Vettel and Perez gained places.

  16. Was the ‘Whining Vettel’ now been replaced by ‘Whining Hamilton’?

    1. He is fast becoming a really unpleasant person, throwing his team under the bus, the same team that enabled him to get all his records by providing him with an unbeatable car.

      1. This I dont understand. He owes so much to this team. So much, really.. people out there regard him as the goat as a result of that teams performance…. You would think he kisses the ground they walk on

      2. He’s been very unpleasant for a long time imo, Remember back to London live an F1 show event, Every driver was there showing of in their cars except Hamilton he was sulking because Nico had the lead in the championship. I certainley dont regard him as the goat hes just lucky to be driving the most dominat F1 car in history with a very weak team mate.

      3. He has not done that at all. They had a bad weekend, and they are all grown-ups. If they all pretended all was well with their performance then they’re not be the kind of people who have amassed the incredible record they have.

        He praises his team more than any driver I have heard past or present, it’s something that is especially obvious if you pay attention.

        But it seems where Hamilton is concerned, reaction to anything at all that is not sycophantic to the team creates hysteria. It’s really very odd.

        1. Hysteria? Really? Posters haven’t done that at all.

          1. Nonsense then… No other driver attracts this vitriol, it’s ridiculous. ‘Really unpleasant person’, ‘throwing his team under the bus’, despite years worth of him having been incredibly complimentary and appreciative of his team, and giving every indication of being actually a really pleasant person.

          2. That’s fair. I just found ‘hysteria’ to be equivalent vitriol. But LH does have a bit of a reputation. See 2016 when he seemed not all that complimentary and appreciative.

            Really pleasant person? Of that I have no doubt, but we just have to be mindful of when we are talking about, and how close to the race weekend and the heat of the battle it is, vs away from the track and a race weekend. All drivers have their game face and their personal face. If they weren’t all (for the most part) fantastic individuals they wouldn’t have attracted the backing they have from the getgo.

          3. You’re right,@robbie, ‘hysteria’ was overdoing it a bit…:)

            I personally never mind a bit of frustration being shown by drivers. I thought, for example, Max’s reaction to being denied his last Q3 lap was understandable and very amusing/entertaining! These people are winners, they show frustration from time to time.