Talking points: Is it time for Monaco to change?

Should Monaco change their track layout? (2:09)

Following Lewis Hamilton's comments about the race this past weekend, Jennie Gow and Sam Collins discuss if there's a possibility for the track to be changed to allow for a more exciting race. (2:09)

It didn't provide the most exciting race of the season, but the Monaco Grand Prix weekend was still full of talking points. ESPN's F1 editor Laurence Edmondson, associate editor Nate Saunders and F1 writers Kate Walker and Maurice Hamilton offer their opinions below.

Should Daniel Ricciardo be considered on the same level as Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso as one of the grid's best drivers?

Kate Walker: No. He's certainly won in style, both this year and before, but I think a driver needs to have fought for -- not necessarily won, but fought for -- a championship to be considered one of the greats. To be a "capital G great," so to speak, a driver needs to have won and lost, learned when to go for broke and when to play it safe, and managed the season-long pressure of a title fight. Ricciardo has learned a lot of those lessons, but he's not there yet.

Maurice Hamilton: When considering the grid's best drivers, it's not just about out-and-out speed. The manner of Ricciardo's Monaco win -- completely different to that thrusting drive in China -- ticks another important box when it comes to assessing the repertoire of skills needed by a truly great driver. Absolutely no question he's one of the best on the grid.

Laurence Edmondson: There's no doubt he's capable of winning a title in the right car, but is he capable of four? Two of the others on that list have achieved it, and there is little doubt Alonso would be up there too in the right car. As for Ricciardo, I'm not so sure. If I was setting up a new F1 team, I think I'd still pick Hamilton or Alonso over Ricciardo as my lead driver.

Nate Saunders: Yes. Ricciardo hasn't been given the car to challenge for the title his talent deserves, but he has shown everything he needs to support the fact he's in that elite group now. He can win under pressure, he's the best overtaker in the field, he can pick the right moment to attack -- something his teammate cannot do -- and he can turn in drives like the one on Sunday. There's no debate anymore.

Is Hamilton correct that F1 should change either the layout or format of the Monaco Grand Prix to enhance the spectacle?

KW: Yes. While the circuit hasn't changed loads since its inception, it's not the same circuit that was raced in in either 1929 or 1950. Both the circuit and the race format have evolved before, and it's time for both to evolve again. Stagnation leads to diseased waters, and Monaco needs a new approach if it is going to remain relevant. As things stand, it's a beautiful but dead butterfly slowly turning to dust.

MH: Hamilton talked about how great this race was after he won in 2008 and 2016. His frustration on Sunday is easily understood after having to tool around off the pace; he should blame the tyres, not the circuit. Monaco, for all its faults, is Monaco. Don't mess with it through a knee-jerk reaction that's likely to achieve very little.

LE: Absolutely not. The spectacle on Sunday is rarely the best, but there's nothing on the calendar quite like a pole position lap at Monaco. My fear is that changes to the layout would require new run-off areas and lose some of the intensity that goes with a flying lap. Next year the DRS will be more powerful, and I'd like to see it run through the tunnel -- as was the original plan back in 2011. We could also look at changing the tyre rules for Monaco to induce more pit stops -- perhaps by only having the hyper-soft compound available -- but it would need some serious analysis first.

NS: It would be a brave person who changed Monte Carlo's layout. As for the format of the weekend, I'm open to F1 exploring ideas. Monaco is the highlight of the calendar, but the main event rarely comes anywhere close to the hype around it. There's nothing quite like watching a pole lap at Monte Carlo, but there must be ways to give the race an extra edge to differentiate it as the championship's high point.

Does Alonso have any hope of achieving his preseason goal of fighting for podiums with McLaren?

KW: As one of the grid's most talented drivers, you can't really put anything past Alonso -- given the smallest opportunity he will make of it what he can. In the right race of attrition, an Alonso podium isn't out of the question. But if by fighting you mean on equal terms and in normal circumstances, I think McLaren have as good a chance at a podium this season as I do.

MH: Not a chance -- unless through unusual circumstances such as a wet/dry race and clever strategy. He remains totally capable of a podium at the very least, but his McLaren is having trouble hacking it in the incredibly competitive midfield, never mind getting among the three at the front.

LE: Monaco should have been the McLaren's time to shine -- much like it was for Red Bull -- but Fernando Alonso was outqualified by a Force India and was 1.2s off pole position. That tells you all you need to know about his chances of scoring a podium on merit this year.

NS: Ignoring a freak result, no. That car is not where McLaren expected it to be at this point. Had he been a contender in Monaco, we could have said that when Renault's engine makes a step forward, McLaren will be right there; but instead, the dominance displayed by fellow customer Red Bull showed just how far behind the papaya orange car still is.

After another costly error in Monaco, what should Red Bull do about Max Verstappen?

KW: Either nothing at all or some form of sports therapy. Max is clearly under a lot of pressure right now, and most of that will be internal -- he's so keen not to screw up again that he keeps forcing himself into errors. It's unfortunate but very human. The best thing the team can do right now is help to alleviate that pressure where they can. Max might do well seeing some sort of sports coach who can teach him not to be so hard on himself, but he might not be the sort to respond well to therapy. Banning Jos from the circuit for a handful of races might help; his constant presence is a form of pressure on its own.

MH: There's probably nothing more they can add to what has already been said. It's down to Verstappen now to think about the consequences of another certain win thrown away through no one's fault but his own. If he doesn't realise these incidents can no longer be dismissed as, 'Hey, that's motor racing,' then he'll never learn. Which would be a massive shame for such an outstanding talent.

LE: Red Bull should make Daniel Ricciardo the de facto No.1 driver. Given the championship situation and the power advantage held by Ferrari and Mercedes, it also makes sense if they want to seriously challenge for a title this year. Tell Verstappen he will only be given equal treatment once he's got 75 percent of Ricciardo's tally (he's currently got less than 50 percent) and in the meantime give Ricciardo all preference when it comes to parts, strategy and on-track battles.

NS: Assuming his contract includes those clauses, the threat of demotion needs to be a very real one for Verstappen. The big-money extension he signed last year was a sign of trust but also a sign that Red Bull was investing in him as its long-term future. If he feels his position at the team is untouchable, then all the warnings from Christian Horner and Helmut Marko are pretty meaningless.

Is this the lowest moment in Williams' recent F1 history?

KW: Depends what you mean by low -- they ran Pastor Maldonado, don't forget! On pure results, though? Certainly.

MH: When you're bottom of the championship, it really can't get much lower. When you're struggling and making big changes, all sorts of things go wrong and small details don't get the attention they deserve, the problem on the grid at Monaco probably being a classic example. Losing top technical people, for whatever reason, during the season isn't a good sign. The same thing happened when Williams went through a bad patch in 2013. But it never seemed as low as this.

LE: Serious questions need to be asked of the senior management. The lows this season are probably equal to 2011 and 2013, but it's the speed of the fall from grace that is really concerning. Less than three years ago, the team finished a comfortable third in the constructors' standings, now it will be lucky to finish ninth.

NS: It's got to be. Unlike 2011 or 2013, Williams has very few excuses -- it's invested in some big names to bolster its technical department and it has a very competitive engine. Seeing two Williams' trundle round at the back of Monaco was a new low.