Rosberg wins “bizarre” Monaco GP
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took his second consecutive victory of the season after a bizarre team miscommunication dropped his teammate and championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, to third behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in yet another dramatic Monaco Grand Prix.
Having started from pole and lead for virtually the entire race around the principality, by as far as 21 seconds at one stage, a late visit the pits following the deployment of the safety car on lap 62 after a dramatic crash between Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, saw the defending champion coming out behind Rosberg and Vettel with no hope of overtaking around the track’s tight confounds.
“We've lost Lewis the grand prix with the mistake. We thought the gap was a different one that it actually was. Then he made a call and said the tyre temperature has dropped and there is no grip any more. A complete misjudgement, we shouldn't have had the overview. We screwed it up for him,” an annoyed Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Sky F1 after the race.
“Lewis had driven flawlessly until then and really delivered a perfect weekend, with a stunning pole lap and a masterful race. There's nothing more to say other than to highlight the grace with which he handled the situation; he was a leader and a true sportsman this afternoon”.
Speaking during the post-race media briefing, a clearly distraught Hamilton, who had earlier shown his disappointment by first ramming his car in the third place finishing board in parc ferme and then stomped-off during the spraying of the champagne, said the decision to bring him in was a collective one and that he had expected Rosberg to pit as well as.
“Obviously I couldn’t see the guys behind so I thought the guys behind were pitting. The team said to stay out, I said 'these tyres are going to drop in temperature,' and what I was assuming was that these guys would be on options and I was on the harder tyre. So, they said to pit. Without thinking I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same,” he said.
“This is a race that has been very close to my heart for many years. It was a great feeling to have that gap in the race. I didn't even have to push that much, I could have had double that lead if I had pushed. You live to fight another day.”
In a race marred by controversy, Red Bull’s Danill Kvyat scored his best finish of the season in fourth but only after teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had to give the position back following a bold move on the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at the Mirabeau hairpin.
Having closed right-up behind Hamilton who was unable to pass Vettel, the Australian’s chance of mounting an attack on a podium position was thwarted after his team had indicated that he must give the position back to Kvyat, if he was unable to pass the Mercedes.
A disgruntled Raikkonen, not only fuming about Ricciardo’s move but also about the alleged lack of blue flags to warn back markers of faster cars, finished sixth ahead Force India’s Sergio Perez.
In a reversal of fortune, former champion Jenson Button scored the first points of the season for the reunited McLaren Honda outfit in eighth while his teammate Fernando Alonso experienced yet another disappointing race by first being slapped with a five second time penalty for punting Perez’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg off at Mirabeau on the opening lap, and then retiring with gearbox failure on lap 42 while running ninth.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr benefitted from Alonso’s misfortune while Carlos Sainz Jr, having started from the pits due to problems in qualifying, came home tenth and the sole finisher for Toro Rosso after his teammate Verstappen’s crash, which saw the Dutchman smashing into the back of Grosjean’s Lotus as the pair battled for tenth.
Verstappen, who became the sport’s youngest point’s finisher earlier this year at age 17, was judged to be at fault for the crash, that his saw car making heavy contact with the barriers at the notorious Sainte Devote turn one, and was given a subsequent five place gird penalty for the next race and two points on his super license.
The next round sees the F1 circus making its first visit to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 7th.
MONACO GRAND PRIX RESULTS
|4.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||+11.965|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+13.608|
|7.||Sergio Perez||Force India||+15.013|
|10.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||+25.056|
|11.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||+26.232|
|15.||Felipe Massa||Williams||+ 1 Lap|
|16.||Roberto Mehri||Manor||+ 2 Laps|
|17.||Will Stevens||Manor||+ 2 Laps|
|DNF||Max Vestappen||Toro Rosso||62 laps, accident|
|DNF||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||42 laps, gearbox|
|DNF||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||5 laps, brakes|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||35|
|8.||Danill Kvyat||Red Bull||17|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Force India||11|
|12.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Toro Rosso||9|
|13.||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||6|
|14.||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||6|
IMAGE sourced from Sky Sports F1
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