Mythic Monaco, exurbirant Monaco, special Monaco
The one grand prix in a season that often contains a suprise in the results. The one GP where sheer engine power, the big benefit of the Mercedes engine, is negated. The one GP where you end up in the wall if you place the car 1 inch of it`s line...
But the qualifiers didn`t yield to many suprises though, Rosberg on pole before Hamilton, then Ricciardo before Vettel (beating him 4 out of 6 now) and then both Ferrari`s.
Raikonnen shoots of as a rocket, zooming past Alonso and Ricciardo and after Vettel who also had a good start. On the other hand of the spectrum, Maldonado never got of the grid during the warm up lap and has already retired, but the field gets through the first tricky corner without problems.
It is in corner 5 that Perez receives a bump and the Safety Car is already deployed before the first lap is over...
Lap 4: and we`re off again, but soon Vettel gets a serious problem as his Renault engine starts dying on him, and even though he is pitting, he goes back on track and effectively becoming a driving chicane. It turns out he can`t get out of his first gear anymore, and in lap 8 the team ends his suffering.
Lap 12: perhaps the best illustration of the not so necessary engine power in the princedom, is the fact that a Sauber is battling it out with the Williams`es. In the meantime, Kvyat is forced to the pits and retires.
Lap 19: Stop and Go 5 second penalties are declared for Chilton, Gutteriez and Chilton for not being lined up in position at the start. Kobayashi is in 13th spot now!
Lap 21: As Rosberg leads before Hamilton and Raikonnen, Magnussen has sneaked to 6th, putting in some good hope for the struggling McLaren team.
Lap 23: Both Mercedes are now lapping curent backrunners Grosjean and Ericsson. Compared to other GP`s so far, Monaco only yields them half a second a lap instead of a full one...
Lap 25: Sutil, until then driving great and agressively, makes a breaking error at the exit of the tunnel and puts the Sauber in the wall and resulting in the second safety car, just at a moment teams might get in for tires. During these, Vergne is released straight in front of Magnussen, nearly colliding both cars inside the pit lane. This will be penalised for sure.
Lap 29: Just as the field gets ready to start, Raikonnen has to pit for rubber, putting him in last position. Kobayashi is now in 12th, Tora Tora Tora Kamui!!!
Lap 31: the pack is released again, with Massa currently running 5th as he hasn`t pitted yet.
Lap 38: Drive through for Vergne for an unsafe release that nearly put him into the side of Magnussen. Kobayashi seems to have brake issues (again) as he nearly slided Raikonnen of the track, and starts dropping places to 15th.
Lap 46: As they start lapping again, Hamilton creeps under the wing of Rosberg.
Lap 52: Vergne sees his Renault engine go up in smoke and is yet again forced to retire due to the mechanical parts letting him down.
Lap 57: Bottas Mercedes engine goes up in smoke, putting Bianchi in 11th and very close to points, but almost unnoticed, Hulkenberg has yet again slipped to the top points positions with a 5th place.
Lap 60: Bianchi is under investigation for having done his 5 second penalty under the Safety Car.
Lap 61: Gutteriez, at that time inside the points, puts his nose in the wall and loses a good opportunity to score much needed points for Sauber.
Lap 65: Ricciardo is unleashing his demons, putting down the fastest lap and starting to chase Hamilton. When told about this, Hamilton replies that Ricciardo doesn`t intrest him, he wants to know what Rosberg`s status of his car is. Here is a new Senna and Prost 1988 rivalry seriously in the making, give it one or two more GP`s and the situation is going to explode.
Lap 74: Magnussen gets passed by his teammate Button, just as Ricciardo gets under the wing of Hamilton. However, Raikonnen blocks out Magnussen and both slide in the rail, but can continue their way. But all this tangling means Bianchi is on 8 and Ericsson on 11, let there please be one more retirement in the midfield...
Lap 78: but it is not to be, as Rosberg takes the win before Hamilton and a very close on him Ricciardo. Bianchi gets flagged as 8th, but with the penalty of 5 seconds added to his racetime for the safety car issue, gets classified 9th. Still, after 5 struggling years, these are the first points ever for one of the smaller back teams, and I fear Marussia has nailed it now for sure this season versus Caterham, unless a miracle happens in Singapore... I fear a bit for the future of the Boys in Green, and I think Fernandes is going to indeed pull the plug after the season :-(
1. Rosberg - Mercedes
2. Hamilton - Mercedes
3. Ricciardo - Red Bull Renault
4. Alonso - Ferrari
5. Hulkenberg - Force India Mercedes
6. Buton - McLaren Mercedes
7. Massa - Williams Mercedes
8. Grosjean - Lotus Renault
9. Bianchi - Marussia Ferrari
10. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
11. Ericsson - Caterham Renault
12. Raikonnen - Ferrari
13. Kobayashi - Caterham Renault
14. Chilton - Marussia Ferrari
Well, Monaco delivered. Sure we have the usual suspects on 1 and 2, it was closer then before due to the special circuit Monaco is, it had a lot of actions (and dare I say, overtakes!) and indeed some unexpected results, mainly of course Bianchi!
Man of the Race
Bianchi. Really, there are people going to say that a lot of cars didn`t finsih, but reliabilty and driving correct is a skill as well. And the Marussia`s, even though slow, are reliable, because if you exclude Mercedes, they currently have a highest place of getting cars to the finish!
Team of the Race
Who else: Mercedes. Even on a slow circuit like Monaco, they still dominated, just by a smaller margin then in other races.
The Cult of Chilton
Yep, Max did it again!
Next stop, Canada, but this time I won`t be reporting, as I`m seemingly expected for a BBQ on the other side of the country. Unless it rains cats and dogs, then I`m not putting a foot outside, not to mention I have to turn in my end paper that monday...
Poisoned boarding tactic
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