Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor John Myburgh
Monaco, the coveted prize for Formula One drivers. Ask them and they all say this is the one they want to win.
After yesterday’s controversial qualifying where Rosberg beat Hamilton in the battle for pole the race could not come soon enough, especially after Hamilton’s comments when asked about Rosberg being on pole. “I don’t know if Senna and Prost talked about it but I quite liked the way Senna dealt with it, so I’ll take a page out of his book.”
This statement could have meant a host of things but at Monaco, this did not result in a different Hamilton.
In a race that started very tense and remained full of drama, Rosberg beat Hamilton to the line by almost 10s as the latter had trouble seeing during the closing stages. Ricciardo claimed 3rd for Red Bull Racing but was battling with Hamilton over the last 5 laps trying to find a way past but it was not to be.
Further down the grid, on a day where rumours are saying Caterham is up for sale, Jules Binachi possibly put the nail into the coffin for the Green team by claiming 8th and in doing so Marussia’s first points (9th after taking a 5s penalty).
The race started under cloudy skies with an air temperature of 16˚C and the expected rain never materialised. On the formation lap, Maldonado stalled his Lotus and was pushed off the grid to the end of the pitlane causing Bianchi, Chilton and Gutierrez to start the race out of place which earned them each a 5s stop/go penalty.
As the lights went out and the two Mercedes cars of Rosberg and Hamilton lead the way into Sainte Devote. The German managing to get a great start off the line allowing him to take turn 1 uncontested. Down the grid Ricciardo lost our to both Vettel and Raikkonen, the latter also getting the jump on his teammate Alonso. Considering the relationship between the Ferrari pair this must have really irked the Spaniard.
With all the cars safely through turn 1, a crash was the last thing anyone was expecting but not to disappoint, Perez collided with Button as he tried to go round the outside of Brit at Mirabeau. The result was a safety car while they cleared away the stricken VJM07 and an investigation that would be conducted after the race.
Grosjean, Sutil and Maldonado pitted immediately with Grosjean putting on softs while Sutil switched to supersofts, and Maldonado retired with fuel problem.
At the restart Rosberg managed to get away from his chasing teammate however, third place Vettel had more bad luck. Radioing in with electric problems he was called in to the pits for new tyres and a reset. In doing so it dropped him way down the order but it did not matter. Emerging from the pits he immediately told his team his car was stuck in 1st gear and soon after he was called in to park his car, race over.
Nothing really changed at the front though as the Mercedes cars streaked into the distance, Hamilton pushing Rosberg hard with Raikkonen 3rd, a further 2.5s back. And this set the tone for the race, most of the front runners settling into position for the afternoon.
However further down the grid Sutil was feeling feisty in his Sauber. First taking Grosjean down the inside of turn 6 on lap 10 and then 3 laps later making the same move on Ericsson for 16th. Meanwhile Kvyat called it a day and parked his Toro Rosso in the pits. Elswhere Massa was on the gearbox of his teammate Bottas in 11th, just over a second back having made up some places during the first safety car option not to stop.
By lap 15 Hamilton started having problems with his rears but was told to hold off coming in for fresh rubber. He still managed to keep the gap to Rosberg at about 1s and kept the pressure on the German with the latter starting to have problems with his front tyres 6 laps later.
A third into the race and approaching the pitstop window, Rosberg led Hamilton by 1.4s with Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Alonso following and as if it was scripted a safety car appeared. For all his brilliant overtakes during the race, Sutil lost the rear of his Sauber at the same place Kyvat did in yesterday’s qualifying resulting in a damaged Sauber parked at the Chicane.
With Rosberg leading the Mercedes duo he got first call for new rubber. Hamilton pitted soon after, both getting away cleanly. Vergne though nearly takes out Magnussen as he leaves his pit and earned himself a drive-through penalty for his troubles.
Hamilton was not happy though. Complaining on the radio that the team should have pitted him earlier, “we should have pitted on that lap, you should have called me in guys” and then ending it with “I can’t believe what just happened.”
Meanwhile Raikkonen was forced to make a second stop under the Safety Car after coming together with the lapped Marussia of Chilton. The unexpected pitstop drops him into 14th while Ricciardo moved up to 3rd.
By lap 29, and having oped not to stop at any of the Safety Car periods, Massa found himself in 5th place, not bad for someone who started 16th courtesy of yesterday’s incident with the Caterham of Ericsson.
At the second restart Rosberg led the way again from Hamilton with Ricciardo, Alonso and Massa in pursuit. McLaren rookie Magnussen now found himself in 6th with Vergne, Hulkenberg, Button and Bottas making up the top ten. In a brilliant overtake Hulkenberg slides up and past the inside of Magnussen going through Portier, after the latter was also passed by Vergne who was then called in for his drive-through penalty for unsafe release.
Bianchi was having a great afternoon and on lap 36 wrestled 13th place from Kobayashi in the Caterham at the hairpin. Kobayashi was now enjoying the attention of lone Lotus survivor Grosjean with Ericsson not too far behind either. But the battle of the French drivers was in full swing! Vergne emerged from serving his penalty just ahead of Bianchi, but the Marussia man pounced immediately and passed Vergne for 12th.
Up front Rosberg and Hamilton was not hanging round. The two teammates trading fastest lap times in what is turning out to be THE teammate battle of the year. The pace was too hot for the Red Bull of Ricciardo and he was left trailing the two Mercedes cars by almost 8s.
Just over halfway into the race Rosberg is warned his fuel will become critical if he did not address his consumption. In every middle section Hamilton drew closer but through Portier and the tunnel Rosberg regained the lost time. While Rosberg was getting constant warnings to save fuel, Hamilton was allowed to race freely however he could still not gain enough on his teammate to make a pass.
Meanwhile Massa finally pitted after 45 laps on the supersoft tyres, dropping the Williams driver from 5th to 11th, just ahead of Bianchi. The Frenchman though was receiving lots of attention from Vergne, trying to find a way past his countryman.On lap 50 Vergne and Bianchi bumped at the hairpin, Vergne jabbing the back of Bianchi’s Marussia in front with shards of carbon flying but nothing serious and they continued on their way, but not for long.
The Renault engine in the back of the Toro Rosso cried ‘no-more’ and ended it’s life with smoke pouring out the back of the car as he nursed it back into the pits, both cars now out of the race.
While running in 9th Gutierrez came under intense pressure from Raikkonen with Massa not too far away. The rookie probably not too comfortable with having the red Ferrari in his mirrors but appeared to be dealing with it just fine. In front of him however we saw the second engine failure of the race, this time in the form of Bottas’ smoking Williams Mercedes.
As Bottas parked his car on the outside of the hairpin, Gutierrez, Raikkonen and Massa passed him, meaning Bianchi was now in 11th, and close to the points. But it was almost not to be as news came through that the Frenchman was being investigated for taking his five-second penalty under the Safety Car.
On lap 62 the pressure became too much for young Gutierrez as he hits barrier at La Rascasse forcing Raikkonen and Massa to take evasive action to miss the damaged Sauber. Gutierrez’s retirement meant Bianchi was up to P10, but with the cloud of a penalty hanging over his head his team urged him to focus on the race.
With 12 laps to go and the race moving into it’s closing stages Ricciardo was setting purple sectors and took the fastest lap of the race, throwing his Red Bull through the corners. The bull smelling blood? Hamilton was 4 s adrift of Rosberg and going backwards complaining “I can’t see out my left eye“. Ricciardo was now lapping between 0.5 and 1s per lap faster than Hamilton and catching the Brit quickly.
With 5 laps remaining Ricciardo was told he is faster than Hamilton and “will catch him”. Hamilton meanwhile was involved in an agitated exchange of words with his team.
Hamilton (annoyed): “Can you keep updated on the times please?!”
Peter Bonnington (calm): “Eight seconds ahead of Ricciardo”
Hamilton (fuming): “I don’t care about Ricciardo! I want to know about Nico”
Peter Bonnington (bewildered): “You’re 5.9 seconds behind”
Talk about building a team spirit!
As the leaders came up behind and passed – the Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Button scrap – it was the latter who took advantage of the confusion with the leaders in their midst as he overtook Magnussen and moved up to 6th.
As if there was not enough drama already, Raikkonen then tried to take Magnussen on the inside of the hairpin, locked up and went straight and into the barriers at slow speed, fast enough to cause damage and send him to the pits. Magnussen, though, continued in 7th but more importantly, Bianchi was now in 8th although he still had a 5s penalty to serve.
Up front though Rosberg won the race by almost 10s, having led every single lap of the race as he did last year, to regain the lead in the World Driver’s Championship. Hamilton just managed to hold off Ricciardo for 2nd while Alonso ended his afternoon in a quiet 4th. Nico Hulkenberg brought home his VJM07 in 5th followed closely by Button and Massa. Bianchi collected the first points for Marussia in 8th (9th after 5s penalty applied) with Grosjean and Magnussen completing the top 10.
In an afternoon where Hamilton was left to ponder on what may have been if he had secured pole yesterday his teammate drove a superb race. And with Hamilton known for being emotional, will he allow this race to get under his skin or will he retaliate like his hero Senna did and beat Nico where it really matters, in the Championship or…
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:21.257||9.600||1|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:24.195||1 lap||1|
|6||Jenson Button||McLaren||1:23.927||1 lap||1|
|7||Felipe Massa||Williams||1:24.091||1 lap||1|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||1:23.003||1 lap||2|
|9||Jules Bianchi||Marussia||1:22.849||1 lap||1|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren||1:21.573||1 lap||1|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham||1:21.823||1 lap||1|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||1:20.330||1 lap||3|
|13||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham||1:26.757||3 laps||2|
|14||Max Chilton||Marussia||1:21.098||3 laps||3|
|R||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||RETIRED||74 laps||2|
|R||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||RETIRED||19 laps||1|
|R||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||RETIRED||29 laps||3|
|R||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||RETIRED||69 laps||1|
|R||Valtteri Bottas||Williams||RETIRED||24 laps||1|
|R||Adrian Sutil||Sauber||RETIRED||56 laps||1|
|R||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||RETIRED||78 laps||0|
|R||Sergio Perez||Force India||RETIRED||78 laps||0|
World Drivers’ Championship
World Constructors’ Championship