Sunday, 24 May 2015

Rosberg takes three Monaco wins in a row as Mercedes mess up Hamilton in wrong strategy call

(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Nico Rosberg took a surprise victory at this afternoon’s Monaco Grand Prix after the Brackley based outfit made a grievous strategy call with Lewis Hamilton who was called into the pit-lane under the safety car after Max Verstappen made massive contact with Romain Grosjean just before the end of the race as the pair went into Turn 1.

Hamilton finished the race in third place as a result of the strategy error as Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished the race in second place. The result means that Rosberg has now closed the gap in the champion to Hamilton.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat claimed his best ever Formula One result as the Russian finished the race in fourth place just ahead of his team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Speaking following the race Kvyat commented by saying:

'I am happy with today’s race, it was my best finish in Formula One and it was a great result for the team to finish fourth and fifth. I had a good start and was able to control my race from then on. We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster Supersoft  tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.'

Daniel Ricciardo commented saying:

'It was a good race today and a good result for the team. I had some fun in the last few laps trying to get close to Hamilton and Vettel to fight for a podium position. I knew we were in a position to attack in the end which made it exciting I think. The team worked well, Dany let me past to have a crack at the podium and I gave back the place on the last lap when I couldn’t get past Hamilton. I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.'

Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner stated:

'It was a great result for the team today and we maximised every opportunity that came our way in the race. It was all fairly static until the last safety car, which gave us the opportunity to have a free stop with Daniel and put a set of Supersofts on the car. He was able to get past Kimi on what was a great move to grab fifth. As Daniel was on the faster tyre, we switched the cars to see if he could have a go at the two guys fighting ahead, on the understanding that if he didn’t make the place he would give it back to Dany on the last lap. Dany drove a very strong race, his best race so far this season and best ever result in F1. It was a great team performance and I think that was the best result we could have hoped for today.'

Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who started the race in sixth place was right when he said it would be a tough race as the Finn ended the race in sixth place despite the fact that he was involved in an incident with Daniel Ricciardo towards the end of the race as the pair clashed. Ricciardo was investigated for the incident but it was put down as a racing incident.

The Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez did a great job as the Mexican finished the race in seventh place. Speaking following the race the Mexican stated:

“I’m very happy right now. As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun. I was able to attack Kimi [Raikkonen], but there wasn’t an opportunity to get the position. It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship. It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximising our opportunities.'

It was an absolutely fantastic race for the McLaren-Honda Formula One Team as Jenson Button picked up the Woking based outfit’s first points of the season with Jenson Button finishing the race in eighth place.

The Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr finished the race in the points for the Swiss outfit as he ended the race in 9th place just ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz. Speaking following the race the Brazilian stated:

'It was a great race, and I am happy to have scored points again. It is an amazing feeling being rewarded after such a difficult weekend. It was an exhausting race, as I did my best to extract the most out of the car. The team did a very good job by choosing the correct strategy and calling me in for the pit stops at the right times. The points are for everyone in the team.'

The Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s Nico Hulkenberg finished the race just outside the points in eleventh place. The Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean finished the race in 12th place.

Speaking following the race, Nico Hulkenberg commented saying:

'My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando [Alonso] more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up. I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. The only damage was to the front wing, but getting back to the pits and changing the wing cost me a lot of time. My race was already compromised then - it is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you're on the back foot the whole time. In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time. It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximise the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.'

Sahara Force India Formula One Team Principal and Managing Director Dr Vijay Mallya commented saying:

'Monaco always gives us an opportunity to shine and seventh place for Sergio is a fantastic result for the team. We did most of the hard work yesterday in qualifying and Sergio delivered a faultless performance this afternoon. He should be very proud of scoring his first points in Monaco. I feel very disappointed for Nico who was unlucky to be hit by Fernando. He had similar pace to Sergio and would surely have scored good points as well. With six points we have moved up to sixth in the championship. The team is doing a tremendous job and the result today helps keep the pressure on the teams around us.'

Following the race the Lotus F1 Team's Romain Grosjean commented saying:

“I didn’t see much of the accident with Verstappen, just his car flying past me in the air! Overtaking in Monaco is difficult and I think he gained that bit of experience today. It’s good to know he’s okay, as it was a bit dangerous for both of us, and it cost us what would have been a hard-earned point. Until then my race had been going pretty well when you consider where we started. The car felt good and the strategy was working well. After the accident, I turned around which established all four wheels were there, then looked in the mirrors to see if the rear wing was still there too, then got on with my race.”

Lotus F1'a Deputy Team Principal Frederico Gastaldi commented saying:

'What a frustrating day for both our drivers. Pastor was in a great position to score well but a technical issue meant he had to retire. Romain was also looking like getting a point after his penalty-place start but was robbed of that by an incident. The positives are that both drivers remain optimistic and full of praise for the car. Monaco is always a unique event and for us we started something special with our new relationship with Pharrell Williams. We’re looking forward to Canada for many reasons.'

The Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson finished the race in 13th place just ahead of the Williams Martini Racing Team’s Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Speaking following the race Ericsson stated:

Finishing 13th is disappointing, but starting from 17th we knew that it was going to be a difficult race. We need to analyse the data to get a better understanding. Then we can learn from it and do better next time. In general the balance of the car felt good, and I think at some points during the race the pace was quite strong.'

Sauber F1 Team Principal Monisha Keltenborn commented saying

'An encouraging result, especially when you take into account how the weekend had gone up to the race. Felipe drove a good race. In Monaco you need to drive intelligently and be patient while waiting for chances. This is what he has done. Marcus did the same, unfortunately was not rewarded with points, but he also put in a solid performance. The whole team did a very good job – here at the track and also at the factory in Hinwil.'

Sauber's Trackside Engineering Director Giampaolo Dall'Ara commented saying

'Earning two points here in Monaco is undoubtedly a good achievement, especially when considering our practice results. Felipe achieved the best out of his 14th starting position, which was also thanks to a few retirements. He was able to keep up well from the start on, so we adapted our strategy to our direct competitors. During the safety car period we called him in for his second pit stop, because we expected not to loose a position. Marcus was stuck in traffic more, so we went for a different strategy with his first pit stop planned early in the race. Felipe and Marcus both did a good job. Driving a troublefree race on this street circuit over 78 laps is not at all easy.'

The Manor Marussia F1 Team’s duo of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi finished the race in 16th and 17th place while the Lotus F1 Team’s Pastor Maldonado, McLaren Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen were the only drivers who retired from the race. Speaking following the event Maldonado commented saying:

'I had a problem with the brakes and I could feel the pedal pressure wasn’t right from very early on and that compromised our race from the off. It got worse and worse so we had to retire the car. It’s a shame for the team, we had a good car here, very good pace for the race and I think a strong strategy. There’s potential in the car, we just need to carry on, work hard, and look forward in the championship.'

Drivers’ Championship

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 126 Points
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 116
3 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 98
4 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari 60
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing Team 42
6 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Team 39
7 Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing 35
8 Daniil Kvyat Infiniti Red Bull Racing 17
9 Felipe Nast Sauber F1 Team 16
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team 16
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India Formula One Team 11
12 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Toro Rosso 9
13 Nico Hulkenberg Sahara Force India Formula One Team 6
14 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso 6
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team 5
16 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 4

Constructors Championship

1 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 242 Points
2 Scuderia Ferrari 158
3 Williams Martini Racing Team 81
4 Infiniti Red Bull Racing 52
5 Sauber F1 Team 21
6 Sahara Force India Formula One Team 17
7 Lotus F1 Team 16
8 Scuderia Toro Rosso 15
9 McLaren Honda 4

© Ben Johnston 2015

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