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If the headlines for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix—“Rosberg gets another Monaco win”—weren’t signal enough that Nico Rosberg’s win was not exactly how the press were hoping the day would go, teammate Lewis Hamilton’s comments shed more light on how he felt about his German teammate reclaiming the world driver’s championship.

During a safety car period—which is almost guaranteed at Monaco—the team stacked the pitstops and ended Lewis’s chance for victory. Hamilton was questioning the call at the time over the radio and after the race, took the opportunity to offer his thoughts:

“When I was at McLaren we had two strategists and the strategy from my strategist was to get the best overall result for me,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 afterwards.

“Unfortunately [at Mercedes] we have one overall strategist, and he’s amazing, but unfortunately the role in the team is that he has to look out for the number one [driver in the race] and the guy in second has to come second. I knew from the get-go that I had a lesser opportunity to win the race and I needed a miracle to win at a track like this.

“An opportunity occurred where I could have come in. When I was at McLaren, l would have been pulled in on that lap and that may have given me the smallest advantage to get the jump over the Safety Car.”

Hamilton also said he had something in his eye and had to drive with his eye closed:

“I had quite a bit of wind coming in, I got close to Nico in one stage and I got some debris or dirt in my eye,” Hamilton explained.

“I was driving with one eye which is virtually impossible to do.

“Through low speed corners I had to close eye which made it worse, but five laps to go it cleared up and I was able to stay ahead of Daniel.”

Losing the special awareness with a closed eye as you head back to the kitchen is one thing but imagine driving a few laps in Monaco at over 100mph—that would be a real challenge for sure.

The weekend was already running on high emotion as Nico Rosberg’s qualifying gaff was cleared by race stewards but Hamilton still wasn’t convinced that the move wasn’t deliberate prompting team chairman Niki Lauda to try and cool the temperature prior to the race:

“This thing we have with Lewis accusing the other of doing something stupid; I tried to fix this this morning with Lewis but I couldn’t. If they hit each other at the first corner then they have a problem with me.”

Little doubt that Hamilton won’t be sending fruit basket to Rosberg’s house on his birthday.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had a relatively quiet day trundling to 4th in Monaco while teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a race to forget saying that Marussia’s Max Chilton ruined his race:

“I don’t know what he was thinking, but obviously it destroyed my race and after that point the race was gone.

“I had a good position, good speed, but again got nothing out of it. But it wasn’t really our fault.”

Spare a thought too for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg who held off both McLaren’s while letting through faster traffic and managed a 5th place finish in the principality. His teammate fell victim to the McLaren of Jenson Button but Nico managed to keep the Woking boys at bay.

Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado had a fuel supply issue that prevented him from starting the race but his teammate quietly drove to 8th place and proved that perhaps the slow-speed circuits aren’t benefitting the Lotus car.

 

Win

Win

While the press seems preoccupied with nursing their wounded expectations, meanwhile the biggest news of the entire grand prix weekend was the points first ever points finish for Marussia F1! Jules Bianchi was at the right place at the right time and scored a 9th place finish giving the team their first-ever points in Formula 1.

Jules was handed a time penalty which moved his 8th place finish back to 9th and gave the team their first points after four years! An epic achievement for the team and Bianchi said:

“Wow. What a race and what a result for the whole Team. I am just incredibly happy, but first of all I have to pay credit to everyone at the Marussia F1 Team for making this possible. Nobody knows just how much work and determination goes into our races, so today I am thrilled that I have helped them to achieve their long-held target of our first points. To achieve them together makes me very proud.”

Mercedes has a lot to be happy about regardless if a nonplussed Lewis Hamilton is questioning their strategy. The team now has won every race of the season and won in a race that many believe would be much closer than their recent domination. That turned out to be true but the team still had the measure of Red Bull and Ferrari even on slow-speed circuits—something that bodes well for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was reeling in Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at a rapid clip and made a battle of it for second place in the waning laps. The Australian hasn’t put a foot wrong all year and had a race to be proud of given the deficit the team has to Mercedes.

Fail

Fail

It doesn’t bode well for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel who had another issue that saw the 4-time champion to retire from the race on lap 8. His teammate had another good race and this only exacerbates the delta between the champ and Ricciardo.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen had another tragic race with an unscheduled pit stop right after a safety car period and this placed him in the throng of traffic from which he never recovered. He also then had a coming together with McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen at the hairpin that wasn’t the best move of his career.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was having the best race of his career when an engine failure prompted yet another DNF for the Frenchman. JEV is driving very well this year but the reliability of his car is betraying every gain he’s made as a driver in 2014.

Sauber’s dual DNF continues to be the exclamation mark of their 2014 season while Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson narrowly missed a points finish with eight cars out of the race. Caterham’s woes were only heaped upon as team owner Tony Fernandes and his Queen’s Park Rangers were moved into the Premier league in football and pulled in a cool £80 million in doing so. The owner gave the team an ultimatum at the beginning of the year and so far they have not delivered while QPR has. The days could be numbered.

WTH

The odd teammate battle at Mercedes seems to be the focus and fodder for everyone and AUTOSPORT revealed that while Lewis may be nonplussed with Nico’s qualifying performance, it was Hamilton who may have drawn first blood in Spain when team boss Toto Wolff revealed that Hamilton turned his engine to maximum performance in the closing laps to protect his lead which was against team protocol. Wolff said:

“It’s never going to happen again,” said Wolff.

“I think they are probably exploring how far you can step up above the line and what the consequences are. But isn’t that normal?

“You have a chance of winning the championship and as long as it is not detrimental to the team spirit, as long as it is not underhand, we will handle the situation in the way we did before.

“The moment it goes in the direction where we believe it is not the spirit of Mercedes Benz we will act accordingly.”

Is this Mercedes enduring its own “Multi 21” moment? Hamilton also took the opportunity to imply that he simply wants a fair fight. He also dropped a hint that the telemetry may prove something other than what the stewards saw when he said:

“We’ve sat down and cleared whatever air was needed to be cleared. We’ve been through the data and seen what needed to be seen – and I wish you guys could see it. Otherwise, we’re good.”

Lewis came under criticism when he tweeted sensitive team telemetry while at McLaren so perhaps he’s learned from that situation.

Meanwhile, as time ticks by, the headlines are all about Lewis and his thoughts that “we’re not friends” even though Marussia has scored its first points. Well, maybe I’m making too much over Marussia’s victory but I’d argue that the paddock is making too much over Lewis’s emotions.

Results

Pos  Driver             Team/Car                  Time/Gap
 1.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1h49m27.661s
 2.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes                   +9.210s
 3.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault           +9.614s
 4.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari                   +32.452s
 5.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes        -1 lap
 6.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes            -1 lap
 7.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes           -1 lap
 8.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault               -1 lap
 9.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari            -1 lap
10.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes            -1 lap
11.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault            -1 lap
12.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari                     -1 lap
13.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault           -3 laps
14.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari           -3 laps

Retirements:

     Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari             59 laps
     Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes          55 laps
     Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault         50 laps
     Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari             23 laps
     Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault         10 laps
     Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault            5 laps
     Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes        0 laps
     Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault               0 laps
REVIEW OVERVIEW
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • rapierman

    ….and the silly season begins.

  • Andreas

    Re Hamilton turning up the wick in Spain – I noticed at the end of that race, that Hamilton had used considerably less fuel than Rosberg, and wondered why his engineer didn’t tell him to turn it up. Seems he didn’t need to :-)

    Good day for Marussia, and Caterham stays 10th in the WCC due to Sauber misfortune. It looks like it could be an interesting season, behind the Merc boys or even among them, if the current situation continues.

  • rapierman

    On a serious note: This race actually had some passing, but mostly late front-runners to mid-field. I’m also noting the tension between Hamilton and Rosberg and Marussia’s celebration of their first points with Bianchi. I give this a 6 out of 10. Looking forward to the next race.

    Vettel’s retirement due to engine issues is making me wonder if the German is actually going to stay with Red Bull at the end of the season. The appearances there are they they are leaning more toward Ricciardo and I’m starting to wonder why that’s happening. Can’t be good for team morale.

    • Where would he go to get a better car? Swap with Alonso? I think he would get the worse of that deal, If Nico / Hamilton is bad imagine Vettel / Hamilton, however if Vettel cant keep pace with Ricciardo then #2 at Mercedes may be the best he can do,

  • It’s expected, the press making a to-do about the front-runners; conspiracy and tension results in post hits. I agree, there are many other compelling story lines this day.

    *Agreed, what a job from Bianchi and Marussia. Say what one will about retirements, Bianchi survived 3(?) penalties and raced through the field to earn those points. The Marussia is CLEARLY better than the (rumored for sale) Caterham, at least in Bianchi’s hands. The Caterhams and Chilton appeared to take different lines lap by lap, the cars all over the place.

    *Hulkenberg on Magnussen in Portier was breathtaking; the entire grandstand gasped, then cheered.

    *Kimi’s needs a clean race; was it Chilton that tagged him, or vice versa? His holeshot start was impressive. His car looked very different to Alonso’s; multiple stabs at turn in, earlier turn-in. I don’t know if he was more on it or more ragged, but the contrast in behavior and how I perceive his/Alonso’s styles was surprising.

    *Very apparent and odd is Ferrari’s power delivery and traction. Both cars seemed to get initial acceleration down, then light up the tires mid-gear; it was audible, and a contrast to every other car (including back markers). Abrupt -K introduction?

    *Some claim RBR have caught up Merc, or at least were on par chassis-wise. To the naked eye, untrue. Merc rides the bumps better than any other, almost supple, whereas even the Red bull gets rotated and unsettled by them. True that some rotation might be intended, but I’m sure being thrown wide isn’t. Merc can nose-in sharply, w/ less oversteer than others. At the start and re-starts, one could see them easily building gaps on Raikkonen/Ricciardo.

    *Hamilton was in poor form during the podium ceremony. No matter the conspirations, result, his sulking on the podium/during interview had many lambasting his immaturity. I dislike it as well; that being said, I’d rather have some truthful emotion on the grid than cookie cutter monotone interviews. (See Ricciardo)

    *Kudos to Ricciardo; I don’t know if he was faster than Vettel this race or not, but his result points to a solid drive and his demeanor toe’d RBR’s line, yet still oozed charisma. That’s the type of show I like.

    *For the techies; the Monkey Seats were very intricate this race; in person, they looked like new-age pedestals on the cars’ butts. I’m no aero guy; is this that big of a development avenue?

    *Sound-Each team’s car sounds distinct, even those sharing engine manufacturers. Most met my expectations on tonal quality from TV, but much, much better. Ferrari was a pleasant surprise; much more guttural/harsh than the flat growl I expected. It’s prominent turbo and ERS whooshing was present, but overlaid w/ an almost gear-whine sound; very cool, although less “manly” than any Merc-powered car, and while cutting cylinders very lumpy and disconnected.

    Other Randomness

    -In a sea of vulgar, boring yachts, best boat by far? Vector Martini racing boat. Just stunning. I know less than diddle about boats, but it looked like sex on waves, and its startup sounds…

    -The old adage that TV minimizes elevation rings true; the climb up Beau Rivage/Massenet, then down into Casino/hairpin, was breathtaking. The cars looked amazing as they crested and shot down; acceleration looked canon-shot.

    -GP2/Renault Cup were no comparison to F1. For those concerned GP2 close to F1 speeds, don’t be; they’re in different postal codes.

    From a biased vantage point, a great Monaco GP; a shame the Rossberg/Hamilton fight never materialized, visible pressure throughout the field, DRS-less overtaking, mistakes and shunts; I hope it translated well.

  • I was enjoying Sutil’s patented hairpin shooting gallery until he binned it at the chicane. Too bad, love watching Adrian dice in the hairpin.

    • He was rather racy, no? Every time I see tank slapper out the tunnel (like Kvaat in Quali), butt clenches for a Perez like injury. And the marshals here are brave, brave people. Scary stuff.

  • I love the Monaco GP, despite it usually being rather devoid of many overtaking maneuvers. But the history alone is mind bowing. Couple that with those crazy tight streets that don’t allow the smallest mistake and it’s great fun.

    But then this years race was also rather eventful (for a Monaco GP). Hülkenberg had some great passes and Kimi was on a roll…too bad that Chilton ruined his race. Vettel was also on his way to another strong performance when he once again suffered a mechanical failure…Seb and Kimi both have suffered a lot of bad luck this season already. Hopefully that will change.

    Anyway, here are my positives/negatives of the race:

    + Rosberg having a flawless race around the circuit, constantly being under pressure until Lewis dropped back shortly before the end.
    + Hülkenberg showing a brave performance, some great passes and then a good defensive run on supersoft tires that were completely destroyed after he had to change early when the safety car came out. His race really had it all and he was clearly punching above his weight, or rather that of his car.
    + Ricciardo once again with a rock solid performance, squeezing everything out of his Red Bull, even catching up to Lewis in the end.
    + For the second race in a row, Kimi was the quicker Ferrari.

    – For the second race in a row, Kimi suffered from an unfortunate turn of events. Here it was Chilton who needlessly sliced Kimi’s tire while un-lapping himself behind the safety car.
    – Vettel once again suffering from Red Bull’s gremlins.
    – Sauber missing out on a good opportunity to finally win some points after two driver errors.
    – Williams once again not fulfilling its potential.
    – Lewis constantly whining on the radio and then acting like the spoilt child afterwards.

    • Ooops, how could I forget:

      + Bianchi/Marussia with an inspiring drive that is only possible in Monaco.

  • Chuck C

    If Bianchi doesn’t sweep Drive of the Race, I’ll be disappointed. :)

    • A wonderful drive! How many penalties was he saddled with? Was it two or three? And still he finished 8th reduced to 9th after final penalty?

    • As much as I enjoyed his run, there are other contenders. I would be equally satisfied with Rosberg, Hülkenberg or Ricciardo. But then given that this may well be his only chance to win the prestigious F1B-Drive-Of-The-Race-Award in a long time, I guess he really should get it.

      • UAN

        I’d give Rosberg drive of the race. He was in a mega battle with Lewis, often mostly with a second or so gap, give or take. Then having to maintain that for 10-15 laps while he was in fuel savings. He was flawless with tremendous pressure and the stakes unbelievably high.

      • Rick T

        I’ve been a marussia fan since virgin racing. I am normally excited by a 15th place finish but seeing Jules get 9th I think I woke up my wife and kids.
        Jules gets my vote, and if Jules doesn’t win the holkenberg should, the amount of pressure that was piled on him shower why he should be in the dancing horse then kimi.

  • UAN

    As far as I’m aware, he was saddled with two, which effectively one. He lined up improperly at the start (I think Maldonado’s stall confused some of the younger drivers, with one getting out of sorts and it escalating from there).

    From that, he got a 5 second penalty, but then he served it under the SC which isn’t allowed. So he got another 5 second penalty for that, which added 5 seconds to his time – which was the whole point of the first penalty, nullified by pitting and taking it under the SC. Not sure it’s being “saddled” with penalties, it’s not like he had to over come drive thrus and the like. Still a great result and I’m happy for the team – how long this has been in the making. It does help when everyone was tripping over themselves – Kimi taking out Mag, SUT and GUT shooting themselves in the foot.

    A h/t to Chilton for setting up the Kimi circumstance ;).

    • UAN

      this was in reply to NC’s comment above “A wonderful drive! How many penalties was he saddled with? Was it two or three? And still he finished 8th reduced to 9th after final penalty?”

  • So…was Spain Mercedes version of Multi 21? Lewis ignoring protocol and turning the wick all the way up to win the race and keep Nico behind him when he was clearly quicker on new tires? In the end, he finished with a win and enough fuel for the FIA but it seems enough of an issue that both Toto and Nikki revealed it to the press in defense of Nico.

    • rapierman

      I dunno if that was it, but today’s race removed all doubts that there’s a big rift showing up.

  • dude

    I have to say huge kudos to the Monaco marshals which did such a great job. I thought the race is pretty boring (typical Monaco), the multiple safety cars gave it a false sense of excitement.

    I think after some of the Lewis comments, he needed this 2nd place to get grounded and go forward.

    • I’m afraid that Hamilton may fall prey to his own “mind games”. Jackie Steward said the other day that whatever happens outside the cockpit, once you’re in the driver’s seat, you need to stow away your emotions and that makes sense to me. In the past (e.g. his 2011 season) we’ve seen that this might be Lewis’ biggest problem and this race once again hinted at this. Lewis must not allow himself to get worked up about this so much.

      For instance, say he really believes that he’s hungrier than Nico and then loses in Monaco, what does that tell us? In order not to demotivate himself, he then needs another narrative that could explain this, like Nico cheated or the team favored Nico, etc. But now we get into territory that is extremely unhealthy, both for him as well as for the team, ultimately diminishing his chances. He should therefore be careful not to let himself or the media push him into that direction. He doesn’t need to be Nico’s friend, but there should be a base level of respect towards Nico and a whole lot of respect towards the team if he wants to have long term success.

      Luckily, I think Lauda makes for a great mentor in that regard as he knows all sides of this from first hand experience and he’s not shy to be blunt about it. Lewis should really heed his advice and be careful about what outsiders and particularly the media tell him.

  • UAN

    There’s an error on the Front Page stat regarding Grojean. He did not run 54 laps on his supersofts for his first stint.

    He had a puncture (probably from the Perez incident), and pitted at the end of lap one and went on to the primes. In fact, he did not even run one complete lap of the SS (unless he crossed the start/finish line before he boxed).

    • UAN

      Reading his comments, it may be that Grojean ran 54 laps of the super softs at the end of the race (pitting a second time just before the 2nd safety car).

      • Pirelli sent me an email that said the longest stint of the race was 54 laps on supersofts but you’re right, it may have been his second stint. I’ll change it. Thanks for catching that.

  • F1derbar

    Is it just me or are the Monaco trophies the dumbest looking things ever?