May 26, 2013
Mercedes Gets A Helping Hand But Sanctions Are Looming
There is not way around it: even if Monaco is the track that, in theory, puts the least amount of stress on tires and where passing is so difficult Perez with half a front wing gone could keep cars behind at bay for two laps, implications of the so called "secret" Pirelli test with Mercedes after Barcelona loom large.
Not to take too much away from Nico Rosberg, he's been consistently fast and Mercedes were strong in Monaco even last year. Nico drove a great race despite the two safety cars and the red flag. But the tire test, conducted using the 2013 W04 chassis just stinks.
Mercedes is not the only team who got a "special" Pirelli test this season, Ferrari had one after Bahrain but, it was with a 2010 chassis. The Mercedes test was with the current 2013 car, in part with development rubber and in part, and crucially with new "Canada spec" revised Pirellis. For as much as Pirelli and some parts of the motoring press might call it a teacup tempest, it's still 1000 km in a current car. Giorgio Piola had commented Mercedes would run a revised suspension for Monaco and perhaps their improved tire wear comes from that if indeed they used it. What's unknown is if they used the Pirelli session to test their own new components.
As for the rest of the race, we saw Ferrari struggle badly with Massa's bizarre doppelgänger crashes and Alonso forced to settle for the long game, in the end gaining a few points on Raikkonen and losing a few to Hamilton and Vettel.
Perez and Sutil were the joker in the Monaco deck. Perez drove, appropriately I suppose, like someone who has nothing to lose, because he doesn't : his funding seems secure and Mclaren needs him more than Button for the immediate future. His tactic of "I'm going, you either move or we both crash" worked better with "gentleman" Jenson and Alonso than with Raikkonen who ended up with a warning from the FIA.
"Machete" Sutil had a fine race as did Vergne. Vettel and Webber just cruised along, Vettel catching a lucky break with the first safety car. Hamilton either sacrificed his race or was sacrificed by the team, not sure which.
But all this is meaningless if "testgate" is not resolved properly, there are rumors of an exclusion for Mercedes from the Canadian GP!