Voice of #F1 Fans: @F1theaj’s Race recap – Round 6 Monaco

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@F1theaj’s Race recap – Round 6 Monaco

‘Dan the Man can in Cannes’……. If only the Monaco GP had been held in Cannes and not Monte Carlo……… Well, it was certainly Daniel Ricciardo’s day on Saturday which, if the size of his smile was anything to go by, suggested he had moved on from the disappointment of the last race in Spain. How can we forget that he was totally overshadowed by his new team mate Max Verstappen, who romped to victory in a record breaking debut race with his new team Red Bull (having swapped places with Daniil Kvyat after the Russian GP.) Ricciardo may have found that particular pill a bit easier to swallow if he hadn’t been leading the race when his strategy was changed from a two to a three stopper, effectively handing the win to Max who stayed on the two stop strategy. Ricciardo had something to prove in Monaco and boy did he do it in qualifying. Big time.

Ricciardo had been given the updated Renault engine for the Monaco GP, with Max retaining the original. Not a big deal according to Max, as the Monaco circuit is not power-based and is one of the slower races in the competition. All through free practice Red Bull had been saying this was going to be their race, that they were finally in a position to challenge Mercedes and elbow Ferrari out of their way in the Constructors Standings, but did anyone believe them?

Q1 got off to a dramatic Red Flag after only two minutes when Naser’s 2016 Ferrari spec engine spewed smoke out of the back of his Sauber which then had to be air-lifted over the trees and away from the track.

The second rad flag came ten minutes later when spectacularly the boy wonder and man of the moment, Max Verstappen, glanced a barrier, clipped a bollard at the chicane and then barrelled into a rather inconveniently placed wall. Thankfully, Max was fine but the same can’t be said for his RB12. He will start the race from the pit lane on the Red Bull reserve chassis which will have to be reconfigured over night (which seeing as the forecast was for rain on race day, may not have been as bad as first thought.)

At the beginning of the weekend there were six ‘contenders’ for pole, the usual suspects (Ros, Ham, Vet) along with Rai, Ric and Ves. With Ves out and Rai having a five place grid penalty for premature replacement of a gear box, we were left with four likely pole sitters. (Let’s not forget, though this is Monaco, so anything could have happened).

The remaining six minutes saw Weh, Har, Pal and Eri eliminated.   Vet had the fastest time of 1:14.610 with Daniil getting through to Q2 in P7 (+0.774) and Carlos in P8 (+0.857.)

No big surprises in Q2, with Mag, Gro, Mas, But, Gut and Bot being eliminated. (n.b Gut out qualified Gro for the first time this season.)

It seemed a bit strange that Ros, who was comfortably in P2, should go out and do another lap on fresh purple walled ultrasofts, until it transpired that he had glanced a wall and was concerned that he may have damaged a tyre (the drivers have to start the race using the set of tyres on which they set the fastest time in Q2.)

Then came the strategic coup of the day: Red Bull sent Ricciardo out on the red walled supersoft tyres and yes, he did get through to Q3. Boom!

Daniil made it through to Q3 in P6, with Carlos not far behind in P7.

And the excitement didn’t stop there. The top ten shootout saw Hamilton’s engineers pushing him back to his pit after he sent a radio message saying ‘something is wrong with the engine’ which turned out to be low fuel pressure.

Q3 was pretty much over with Ricciardo’s first flying lap. He set a spectacular 1:13.622. No one had gone below 1:14 all through free practice or qualifying and no one came close in the remainder of Q3. Ros gave it his best shot, as did Ham (eventually, after doing about three warm up laps) and Vet saw his times going backwards from Q2. Carlos out qualified Daniil this time, and moving up a place (due to Rai’s penalty) started from P6, with Daniil (also moving up a place) on P8. Double points for Toro Rosso again this weekend?

So, we had Ric on pole, starting on the more robust supersofts (so he could run much deeper into the race before having to pit for fresh tyres) on a track on which it is notoriously difficult to overtake and likely to be a one stopper. How would the race develop? Would it be a boring ‘procession’ of cars doing 78 formation laps, would there be a mad dash to try to gain position before turn 1, would a front runner have a momentary lapse of reason and have an unscheduled exit? Race day couldn’t come fast enough……….

As predicted it rained heavily on Sunday and the race started under safety car conditions. (So we were denied the excitement of a proper start and Red Bull’s coup came to naught) Kvyat’s season went from bad to worse as he dropped back through the field and by L2 was down ten places to P16 as his STR11 was stuck in pit limiter mode, unable to go above 60km/h. Changing the steering wheel (quick re-boot) didn’t work and by L4 he was back in the pit lane for a second time, this time as a drive through. This took him through a pit lane cycle and released the car from the pit lane restriction mode. He was further held up at the end of the pit lane, not being allowed to re-enter the race until the stream of cars following the safety car had passed.

The safety car came in on L7 and the race proper started. But not for long as half a lap later Palmer’s Renault ended up in the barrier at St Devote, activating a VSC from L8-10. By L11 Gro, Rai and Mas had all made contact resulting in Rai entering the tunnel with his front wing under his front wheels. Rai retired and was promptly called to the stewards office.

Ros had been holding up the rest of the pack (due to brake problems) but (on team orders) let Ham past at St Devode on L16. Ham promptly started chasing down Riciardo who by this time had a 12s lead. As the track dried out most drivers changed from blue walled full wets to green walled intermediate tyres. Lap21 saw a collision between Mag and Kvy (more woe for Daniil as he received a three position grid penalty for Canada and two penalty points on his licence) Ric came in from the lead on L23, changed to inters and emerged behind Hamilton.

Hamilton was the only driver who did not change onto intermediates tyres but instead stayed on full wets until L31 when he came in to change onto a new set of ultrasoft (purple) tyres. Red Bull apparently had him covered and immediately called Ric into the pits for a new set of supersoft (red) tyres. Then came one gigantic blunder by Red Bull: Ric pulled into his pit AND STAYED THERE FOR OVER 13 (YES THIRTEEN) SECONDS as the team fumbled around trying to locate the new tyres. They weren’t ready for him. Why not? What went wrong? (Let’s not forget Red Bull hold the world record for the fastest pit stop at 1.923s) An aerial shot of Ric emerging from the pit lane neck and neck with Hamilton captured the drama beautifully. Ric was going to come out in front and would have done ….. just…. if it hadn’t been for that extra kink at the end of the pit lane, which gave Ham the edge and he retook the lead. Red Bull had apparently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on a mammoth scale.

So, how would the race pan out? Ric on SS, Ham in US, Per, who had managed to get into 3rd was on softs (as was Vettel in 4th). Any one of the four front runners could lift the winners’ trophy. Per and Vet had the rest of the race covered on softs but how would the SS or US fare? Would the two front runners have to pit again? 46 laps on a set of US tyres predicted to last 20; a tall order for Ham, would Ric have the edge and be able to cover the distance on SS?

A series of incidents (and virtual safety cars) helped the two front runners, as on L33 Mag lost a front wing, Ves crashed at Massenet on L35 and L50 saw Nas and Eri collide after a clumsy attempted overtake by Eri after Nas had repeatedly ignored instructions to let his team mate pass. Ric made a daring lunge on Ham on the exit to the tunnel; Ham defended well but cut a corner (stewards investigated but no action was taken) On L66 Vet almost glanced a barrier at Massenet but made a good recovery, but overall, the order remained pretty constant until the end of the race. Except of course, for the cheeky move by Hul on Ros in the final few metres of the race, snatching sixth place and reducing Rosberg’s lead over Hamilton by a further two points.

So, Hamilton lifted the winner’s trophy, Ricciardo didn’t win (again) and Perez came a surprising third. Well, that’s Monaco for ya!

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 23.52.52

Suffice to say, Ricciardo was not pleased with second place. At the end of the race he told the team ‘Nothing you could say would make that any better. Save it’. In his podium interview he said ‘Two weeks in a row now I have been screwed. It sucks. I didn’t make the call, I got called, so they should have been ready. It hurts.’ Trouble at’d mill, I’d say.

It wasn’t the best of races for Toro Rosso. As we’ve seen Daniil retired with penalties. He was quoted as saying ‘This is racing and unfortunately sometimes things like this happen. It’s definitely a missed opportunity, as here in Monaco we had been looking strong all weekend, but all we can do now is to keep on working hard for the next races, starting with Canada in two weeks’ time.’

Carlos won 4 points by finishing 8th and had some good racing throughout, but he was a little disappointed overall. His first pit-stop was slow so he was passed by Perez, Vettel and Hulkenberg. Commenting on his first race in Monaco in the wet he said ‘it’s the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life!’

Mercedes are still top of the league, followed by Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams. Excellent results from Perez and Hulkenberg allowed Force India to overtake Toro Rosso who are now in sixth place. McLaren have overtaken Hass who are still ahead of Renault, Sauber and Manor.

Rosberg’s lead over Hamilton is now down to 24 points, Hamilton is second ahead of Ricciardo who has overtaken Raikkonen an Vettel, Verstappen is in sixth followed by Massa Bottas and Perez with Kvyat in tenth place on 22 points with Carlos in 13th place on 16 points.

Canada next. Will reliability reduce Rosberg’s lead even further; have we seen the beginnings of a Hamilton resurgence; will Ricciardo win again in Canada or will Vettel take his first victory of the year for Ferrari? We’ll just have to wait a little while longer to get an answer to that one.
Disclaimer: TheJudge13 provides a platform for Formula 1 fans to publish their voice on matters relating to Formula 1. The views expressed in Voice of #F1 Fans are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.

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23 responses to “Voice of #F1 Fans: @F1theaj’s Race recap – Round 6 Monaco

  1. It has not been said a lot yet, but jeez, Williams are bad around here. Mediocre performance with a Mercedes powersource. Average driving. Conservative fueling, conservative pitstops, conservative this and that. Like any race really. Were they this dull with Mansell, Prost, Hill, Villeneuve, Montoya?

  2. Love the photo used to caption the article. It says two things – Hamilton is just as able to push rivals too far to the edge of the track, and Ricciardo has the sense to back out when another driver does that and salvage a result.

    Did Rosberg have an issue? Some places I’ve seen claim not, a brake issue is referred to here but not elaborated on. It seems unlikely there wasn’t something wrong – such a deficit can’t be down to driver alone, even in those conditions.

    As for the race – typical Monaco. More often than not the driver who wins isn’t the fastest. Frustrating to watch. You almost wonder if there isn’t something they can do to make things more challenging for the driver as all you need to do is keep it clean. There wasn’t much overtaking in the past either but at least there was more change of drivers fluffing a gearchange or something giving others some chance.

    • Last thing I heard was that the brakes were too cool. Unable to get heat into them. But is that a team error, driver error or a setup error driver/team?

    • Some sources claim that Merc seeing RBR’s blistering pace, they decided to change the set-up slightly in both cars and make them more pointy, i.e. oversteery. Hamilton was fine with it but Rosberg struggled to generate heat in the brakes and tyres leading to a downward spiral. But on Thursday Hamilton was head and shoulders above Rosberg in any case.

      Moreover though, Rosberg is the type of drivers that does his homework over the weekend and builds on it, the same way Prost was and probably Vettel is too. So with changing conditions, he really struggles. While drivers like Hamilton and Alonso adapt a lot easier to whatever is thrown at them.

  3. Nice write up 🙂

    A minor point bought up by a guy at work here:

    Given that there are substantial bonuses built into driver contracts for points / wins, do you think DR has a case to claim extra coin given the team themselves killed virtually certain wins? Would there be a clause about undeniable team c0ck ups affecting race results?

    • Could that become a double-edged sword?

      Final round: Ricciardo is a sure 2nd place behind the leader, but only one second off. A few laps remain. Positions as they stand would secure RBR WCC position X. But, Ricciardo goes for the win, dive-bombs, crashes, game over. WCC pos down one rung for RBR worth apx. $20m.

      Spicey/One-Eye: We phuckin’ told you to hold position!

      Smiles: But I was going for the win! I’m a racer and I still caaaall Austraaaaalia hoooooome!

      Spicey/One-Eye: *Pulls out contract* Oh well, that’ll be $20m please. Will that be cash, or card? GG no RE.

      Can of worms? Dunno. For me, a path best not explored from a driver’s perspective.

      @WTF_F1

  4. I don’t think I have ever seen such a pit stop before, when the driver has been called into the pits. It is a bit different if a driver arrives unexpectedly.
    Are Red Bull doing things deliberately to get as much publicity as possible? Last race they allowed Verstappen to win… and it was almost all that people could talk about. At Monaco they lost Ricciardo the win due to a terrible pit stop, and everyone is talking about Red Bull again. Which would get more publicity, Ricciardo winning or the lash up that prevented it?

    • I don’t think they screwed Ric in purpose.

      But one thing is for certain. Ric will see where RBR are next year with the new regs and if he feels the team cannot challenge for titles and/or start pampering the new golden boy (Mad Max), he’ll probably move to Ferrari.

      • I always struggle to understand how people are so fast and sure to assume that when a team screws-up on something during a race the driver will move here or there, but normally to a certain team. and than when someone hints at “conspiracy theories” taking over and leading the reasoning such people not only asks for an explanation but keeps insisting on having one.

        • That’s because people like an explanation when someone accuses them of something. Sad fact is that the accuser in this particular case doesn’t have balls.

          • what balls sizes if any are needed to explain why all you wrote was conspiracies theories when all you wrote was not only exactly that but all of it was others sayings being recycled.

          • Jesus Christ do you ever stop??!!!!!!!!

            And stop up voting your damn comment!!!

          • As to stopping, I did at the very beginning even so I was repeatedly challenged, but hey it is more a matter of what one would like to hear or not.

          • Don’t hide behind that b*llsh*t salvu. I(the accusé) told you multiple times that you (the accuser) have permission to discuss it. At the article I wrote at least 2 times. At other articles again. I even invited you to my twitter. Yet you always accuse but never explain. It just seems that you like to yell and poke the bear but when he wakes up you piss your pants. Again hit me up on twitter. @bruznic I give you all permissions you need. Freedom to say what you want. How you want. But please stop the b*llsh*t here.

          • I actually did after being (repeatedly) challenged gave you an explanation, repeat, yours was repeated recycled conspiracy theories, nothing more nothing less, that of course is my personal opinion.

          • That’s not an explanation if I ask you what conspiracy do you mean. Because I made it clear that I do not understand what or which you mean.

  5. can someone explain why under the VSC it is clear that upon the moment of restart the gaps between the cars are totally different? Isn’t it supposed to be that gaps are maintained? During the first one Ricciardo got right up to Hams tail.

    • The drivers are given a time to drive to. If they drive too slow then those behind can catch up. Simple as that.

        • VSC can be fine, but IN THE AFFECTED SECTOR they should all put the Pitlane Limiter on… Otherwise it’s dangerous when marshals are working 3m from cars, who may or may not be warming up their tires.

          • Le mans don’t struggle to get it to work. Is wec becoming the better of f1 or is it that already?

          • Good one that, yours, fully agree, in the affected sector it should be mandated that they should all put the speed limiter on between one VSC light board and another, yes it is dangerous, more so in Monaco with no run off areas which means marshals having to be on the actual racing tarmac to do their job. this subject of fully controlled speed limit for all was debated on here at the time of VSC introduction, there were some who said that it was the way it was going to happen, some others said that it was going to be triggered by race control and those that were pushing forward this later suggestion when told on here that it was not legally possible for race control to do so themselves lambasted me for it.

    • Not being able to understand what I mean is your problem not mine.

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