Glitzy and glamorous it may be, but the Monaco Grand Prix is all-too often a rather mundane affair, bereft of action and overtaking prowess and something of a dull procession. Thanks to DRS, Pirelli tyres and – for better or for worse – Lewis Hamilton, the 2011 edition of the world's most famous race was anything but, and what we want to know is who you reckon put the sparkle into F1's glittering crown last weekend.
Sebastian Vettel produced a textbook drive to clinch his fifth victory from just six starts this season to-date – though the Red Bull Racing star inarguably lucked in following, somewhat ironically, a stroke of bad luck – whilst Fernando Alonso demonstrated the ability of a driver to outperform the machinery at his disposal around the narrow, tortuous streets of Monte Carlo and Jenson Button was unfortunate indeed not to claim a second success in the Principality following his finest performance for some time.
So what we want to know now is who impressed you the most in Monaco. Below are a few suggestions, but if you don't agree – or even if you do – make sure to have your say in our comments forum by clicking on the link at the bottom of the article.
Here are who we reckon to be the most deserving candidates for 'Driver of the Day' in the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix:
Sebastian Vettel: Flawless, again, but Lady Luck was shining upon the young German at the weekend. In qualifying, Sergio Pérez's crash arguably denied Hamilton pole position and discounted Vettel's principal rival from the equation for victory, whilst 24 hours later, a botched Red Bull pit-stop looked to have scuppered his chances – only for a safety car period to play right back into his hands and, later, for the red flag to all-but secure him the top step of the podium. The most impressive aspect to Seb's success this time, though, was undoubtedly the completion of 56 laps on the same set of soft-compound Pirelli tyres. On such results, are championships won.
Fernando Alonso: Along with Hamilton, Alonso is the very master of extracting all of the potential and then some from a less-than-competitive car, and there is little question that his Ferrari is no match for either Vettel's Red Bull or Button's McLaren-Mercedes at this stage of 2011. The only current front-runner to have triumphed twice in Monte Carlo, with a truly classy effort weekend-long, the Spaniard demonstrated exactly why. Superb.
Jenson Button: The feistiest performance we have seen from the 2009 F1 World Champion for some time, and whilst his McLaren team-mate was making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Button was magnificent, and would undoubtedly have won but for Red Bull's fortuitous pit-stop mix-up and the subsequent safety car appearance. Charging at the end, whether he would have been able to get past Alonso and Vettel over the final six laps is debatable, but what was indubitable in Monaco, was that Jenson Button was back in the building with a vengeance.
Mark Webber: If there is bad luck to be had in the Red Bull camp in 2011, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be Webber on the receiving end of it. Arriving in the pits for his first stop to find that his team were not ready for him, the Australian dropped right the way down the order from fourth to 15th, but gritty a fighter as he invariably is, the 34-year-old produced a tremendous recovery – and his overtaking manoeuvre on Kamui Kobayashi to reclaim fourth place right at the last gasp was opportunism at its very best.
Kamui Kobayashi: Just the tonic that Sauber needed following team-mate Pérez's hospitalising qualifying shunt, fifth place for Kobayashi marked the exciting young Japanese ace's best finish in F1 to-date – and thoroughly well-deserved it was, too. A solid, combative and impressive performance from lights-out to chequered flag, Japan's rising son continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Pastor Maldonado: You could hardly have blamed Maldonado had he climbed out of his Williams and broken down in floods of tears after Hamilton unceremoniously helped him into the barriers barely a handful of laps from home, for he had just been denied sixth position and the first points of his F1 career, around a circuit at which he has invariably excelled. The Venezuelan rookie has made a genuine step forward over the past couple of races, and is increasingly quietening the naysayers who said he was only on the grand prix grid for his money.
Vitaly Petrov: After Lotus Renault GP inexplicably found itself all-at-sea in qualifying around a track that has habitually suited its cars down to the ground, Petrov gritted his teeth and got down to business on race day. The young Russian was on-course for a clutch of decent points until he found himself blamelessly eliminated in the multiple, red flag-inducing accident caused by Adrian Sutil and made dramatically worse by Jaime Alguersuari. All being well, he will be back in the cockpit for Canada, where he will have chance to make amends.