The Armchair F1 Fan: Monaco Fallout

Well blow me down, Monaco gave us a very exciting, tense, nervous, superb race. Now I may seem to be putting this in a very sarcastic way, given I am quite sarcastic, but I do genuinely say that the race was enjoyable. The other reason I probably seem to be sarcastic is the fact that usual, most year, in fact, Monaco tends to be a very dull and boring Grand Prix. Not a lot of overtaking takes place, hardly any incidents and only some action around the pit stops if someone has a slow one, and yes this happened in the Grand Prix but it was not all that happened.

To start off we began under the safety, which considering the cars were struggling to get out of the pit lane to get to the grid I could understand, I may not have agreed with it completely but I did understand why.This kept up for 7 laps, around 3-4 laps too long in my opinion, and an issue that seems to rear its ugly head whenever it rains in Formula 1, something I may do a blog on in the future during the offseason or a race when it really affects it. Ricciardo then, seemingly zoomed off in the distance as Hamilton tried and failed to overtake Rosberg, who was going considerably slower than Ricciardo. This continued for a further few laps until Rosberg was told over the radio by the team to either speed up or let Hamilton through, he let Hamilton through. No matter how much this hurt Rosberg, for the team it needed to be done as it was allowing Ricciardo to romp away with the win. Hamilton proceeded to drive off 2 seconds a lap faster than Rosberg who was struggling on his full wet tyres and just simply could not get the tyre into the temperature window that was needed for them to function optimally.

Hamilton went after Ricciardo, slowly reeling him in until Ricciardo pitted on lap 23 to go onto the intermediate tyre. Hamilton, however, decided to stay on the full wets until he went to slicks. The reason he got away with it at Monaco, and something that I think you will not see happen on other tracks, is due to the corners been so slow, the hairpin been the slowest where the cars are going as slow as 25 miles per hour in the wet, meant that the temperature in the tyre did not build up so the full wet did not fall apart as it would on nearly every other track.

The moment for slicks came on lap 31 for Hamilton who pitted for the ultra softs and Ricciardo came in a lap later for what he received was super softs, the next grade up from Hamiltons tyres. But this wasn’t the full story. If Ricciardo had a decent stop he would have been ahead of Hamilton, due to the pit lane been very wet still when Hamilton pitted he struggled in the first part of the lap. Yet Red bull had a catastrophic pit stop, and an apparent miscommunication from the pit wall to mechanics meant they initial brought out the wrong tyres, or no tyres, instead of the super softs. This lead to Ricciardo sitting in the pit lane for a further 6-7 seconds, and he lost the lead, and subsequently, the race to Hamilton. Now if the pit stop, for Ricciardo, had been decent, we would not be hearing and reading about how Hamilton and Mercedes pulled a superb move to stay on the full wets and bring Hamilton the race win. Instead, we would have been heard and reading about how well Ricciardo drove and controlled the race from start to finish, chose the best moments to pit from full wets to inters and then from inters to the slick tyres. But on Ricciardo’s part of the race we are now hearing and reading about how the team ‘screwed him’, which were his words, out of 2 consecutive races and the loss of 20 points to his tally, 13 in Spain, going from 1st to fourth, 1st been 25 4th been 12 points and an additional 7 from only getting 18 in Monaco instead of 25.

Now Ricciardo fans will point to the incident on lap 37 ad say Hamilton him off and gave him no space. Yes, you guys have a point he did seemingly chop him off, but Hamilton, even if Ricciardo got alongside, would have had the inside for Tabac corner and Ricciardo would have had to back off just before, also the stewards took no further action.

The following rest of the race was tense to watch could Ricciardo overtake Hamilton, Perez was flying in 3rd, could he and Vettel just catch up to leading pair, what the hell happened to Rosberg, who was now down in 6th behind Alonso with Hulkenberg for the company behind him.

The rest of the race was bursts of enjoyment slowed down with sporadic virtual safety car moments for all the fans to take a breather, take stock of what’s happened and prepare for more. Rosberg failing to get by the Mclaren of Alonso, and to compound the misery of it all for Rosberg was overtaken by Hulkenberg on the home stretch on the last lap when rain return to Monaco and Rosberg’s tyres had cried enough and lost all temperature. With Hamilton holding off Ricciardo, who finally succumbed to locking up his left front on two separate occasions coming into rascasse, had to deal with graining on his tyres. Perez, superbly held off Vettel to keep his 3rd place, and final spot on the podium, and for me could have been the driver of the race very easily.

We had moments of stupidity from Kvyat on lap 21, and Ericsons, even more, bonkers and stupid move on his own team mate on lap 50 meaning both retired from the race and brought out some of those virtual safety cars. Verstappen gave us some much loved overtakes, something he seems to excel at, until his crash at the top of the hill into casino square on lap 35, and Raikkonen loses it early on, on lap 11, losing his nose, getting it trapped under his front tyres, not realising it and unable to turn trapping Grosjean as they both came out of the hairpin. Finally, one final crash to take note of, Palmers crash after the safety car went in as he went over the zebra crossing on the start and finish straight he had wheel spin, in 5th gear and the car just jolted to the left, nothing he could have done to catch that in the slightest.

So the race result was as follows:

  1. Hamilton
  2. Ricciardo
  3. Perez
  4. Vettel
  5. Alonso
  6. Hulkenberg
  7. Rosberg
  8. Sainz
  9. Button
  10. Massa
  11. Bottas
  12. Gutierrez
  13. Grosjean
  14. Wehrlein
  15. Haryanto

Not been classified and retiring are:

  • Ericsson
  • Nasr
  • Verstappen
  • Magnussen
  • Kvyat
  • Raikonnen
  • Palmer

 

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