Sunday, 25 May 2014

Monaco Grand Prix: One in the eye for Mercedes...

There were quite a few talking points during the Monaco Grand Prix, but one of the biggest ones has to be the various controversies surrounding the two Mercedes drivers. It all started in qualifying, when a suspect Nico Rosberg locked up in the final minute of Q3, preventing anybody from completing potentially faster laps. In my eyes, it was the only thing that Nico did wrong all weekend and even that incident has been interpreted in a couple of different ways. I'm going to put it out there, and many may not agree, but I think the rest of the controversy really just boiled down to childish petulance from Lewis Hamilton.

The race got underway and Rosberg had a fantastic start to pull away from an already disgruntled Hamilton. There was a safety car after only one lap, when Perez had a coming together in a very awkward area of the circuit. From then on it would prove extremely difficult for Hamilton to get close to putting a move on his teammate and, by the sixty-fifth lap, Lewis was rapidly losing time to Nico. Less than a minute later, he was heard telling his race engineer that he couldn't see out of his left eye and that he had something in it. It was an unfortunate and unusual development, that robbed us of a fight to the chequered flag. To be fair, that immediately opened up another opportunity, as Daniel Ricciardo started closing in on a one-eyed Hamilton. Unfortunately, he was unable to make any moves, mainly due to the Mercedes engine's superior straight line speed, coupled with the difficulty in finding a corner to pass on, around Monaco.

Lewis' petulant side became apparent, after the second safety car period and all of the cars had made their first pit stops. Lewis argued, over the team radio, that he should have been pitted first and earlier. To give him an advantage, he may well have been right, however he would only have been gaining an advantage over his teammate; who was in first place; and who, for that reason, was fully entitled to the more favourable and beneficial strategy.

It's so typical of Lewis Hamilton to feel and display a false sense of entitlement and then throw his toys out of the pram. It's one thing to have something unfairly taken from you, but an entirely different thing to want something you don't have a right to be gifted. His attitude on the podium steps was yet another one of the many times I've felt that a driver has not deserved to be there at all. I can't stand it when a driver is disappointed to be on the podium, whilst some other teams, fans and drivers, just hope and pray for their cars to finish.

Which brings me on to my Driver of the Day. Only this week I've not chosen only a driver, I've chosen a team. Marussia are my Team of the Day, for a wonderful effort that saw them score points for the first time in their history. Its great to see the elation of teams further down the order, when they achieve, what seems to many to be a small success. To them it is a huge accomplishment and this emphasises just how important all of the battles throughout the paddock are.

The success of Marussia all stemmed from the fact that the back of the pack was where all the fun was to be had. Amongst the Marussias, Caterhams and Saubers, there were wild lunges, in the most unlikely of places, and some hefty contact, as drivers got a little overzealous. Adrian Sutil was in the running for my Driver of the Day, as he threw his car in to the smallest of spaces, to complete a couple of fantastic overtaking moves. It was all going so well for him, until he hit the barrier coming out of the tunnel, which resulted in the second safety car period. I just hope that accident doesn't cause him to back off, because it's this kind of aggression that brings the races alive.

The 2014 Monaco Grand Prix wasn't the best we've seen and, in terms of the final result, it wasn't all that unpredictable, but it was the sort of race that kept you on the edge of your seat, with yet another explosive finale.

Check out The F1 Spectator Podcast or use the player in the top left hand corner of this page and listen to The F1 Spectator himself.

The Result:
16Nico RosbergMercedes781:49:27.661125
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes78+9.2 secs218
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault78+9.6 secs315
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari78+32.4 secs512
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes77+1 Lap1110
622Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes77+1 Lap128
719Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes77+1 Lap166
88Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault77+1 Lap144
917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari77+1 Lap212
1020Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes77+1 Lap81
119Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault77+1 Lap22
127Kimi RäikkönenFerrari77+1 Lap6
1310Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault75+3 Laps20
144Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari75+3 Laps19
Ret21Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari59Accident17
Ret77Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes55+23 Laps13
Ret25Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault50+28 Laps7
Ret99Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari23Accident18
Ret26Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault10+68 Laps9
Ret1Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault5+73 Laps4
Ret11Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes0Accident10
Ret13Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault0+78 Laps15