May 30, 2016

Mercedes gambles, Red Bull blow it: Hamilton wins in Monaco.

 The slim margin between Hamilton and Ricciardo, but did Lewis cut the chicane on the previous lap?

You might not realize it reading UK racing media this morning but Hamilton's brave gamble to stay on full wet tires on a drying track, long after the rest of the field had switched to the intermediate Pirellis,  was not paying off.

Had the Red Bull not comically botched poor Ricciardo's stop, the Australian would have been a good 10 seconds up the road and set to win his first Monaco GP.

But you can't take too much credit away from Mercedes and Hamilton, gambling on the one stopper was a bold move and luck certainly favored the brave on Sunday.

Many fans will take objection to the move Hamilton used to block Ricciardo exiting the Neuvelle Chicane.  It was a similar move to the one Rosberg made in Spain with the difference that Ricciardo backed off from driving into that cone.    Stewards found he left a car's worth of space,  Ricciardo probably disagrees.   It's racing in Monaco,  Hamilton handing the champagne bottle to Justin Bieber before his team was far more tasteless.

(Lars Baron/Red Bull Content pool)

Now, to the mysteries of the week end.

What happened to Rosberg?   You can idolize Hamilton as much as you want but in now way is Rosberg a driver that in the same healthy car ends almost a lap behind in the rain.  Sorry but, no way.
It's bizarre the team gave no technical justification and we got just vague excuses from Nico himself.

Team orders:  Hamilton would never have moved over had the situation been reversed.    Rumors of threats and recriminations between Hamilton and the team,  threats to leave, sudden calls for unscheduled test drivers, Rosberg's contract renewal, how do they play into it,  just smoke or is there some fire?
Shades of Spa 2014?

Another mystery:  Pirelli brought many different colors of rubber yet they all seem to perform and last the same.  Hamilton had the fastest race lap at the front with a 1:17.939 with the purple Ultra-Soft and Vettel had the second fastest, 1:18.005 on the hardest available, yellow Soft rubber.  

So much for the hoped for spread in strategies,  it must make Ricciardo feel even more miserable, Red Bull could have put whatever tires they had in the pit box rather than running out back to get the yellow ones.    Screwed again.

Sergio Perez-Force India (Fabrizio Cannetti/Flickr)

Great drive for Checo Perez.   Should Ferrari consider him to replace Raikkonen?

The driver market is suddenly buzzing, there are a few unhappy drivers and some very unhappy teams.  It's hard to imagine Palmer staying at Renault next year,  Magnussen did not seem so steady either.   Bottas continues to underwhelm and Massa may possibly retire along with Jenson Button.  Ericsson and Nasr are a bit of a disaster and Kvyat is completely adrift after getting "Marko-slapped".

Interesting.  Red Bull has re-signed with Renault,  they have had a lot of input in the coming 2017 regulations,  shades of the Bernie-Mercedes deal of 2014?  Are Red Bull favoring Verstappen to get an open seat for Hamilton?

Sci-fi?  Maybe, but stranger things have happened in F1.

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes781h 59:29.133
2Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault787.252
3Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes7813.825
4Sebastian VettelFerrari7815.846
5Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda781:25.076
6Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes781:32.999
7Nico RosbergMercedes781:33.290
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari771 Lap
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda771 Lap
10Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes771 Lap
11Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari771 Lap
12Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes771 Lap
13Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari762 Laps
14Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes762 Laps
15Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes744 Laps
-Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari51Collision
-Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari48Collision
-Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault34Spun off
-Kevin MagnussenRenault32Spun off
-Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Ferrari18Collision
-Kimi RaikkonenFerrari10Spun off
-Jolyon PalmerRenault7Spun off

1Nico Rosberg106
2Lewis Hamilton82
3Daniel Ricciardo66
4Kimi Raikkonen61
5Sebastian Vettel60
6Max Verstappen38
7Felipe Massa37
8Valtteri Bottas29
9Sergio Perez23
10Daniil Kvyat22
11Romain Grosjean22
12Fernando Alonso18
13Carlos Sainz16
14Nico Hulkenberg14
15Kevin Magnussen6
16Jenson Button5
17Stoffel Vandoorne1
18Esteban Gutierrez0
19Jolyon Palmer0
20Marcus Ericsson0
21Pascal Wehrlein0
22Felipe Nasr0
23Rio Haryanto0
3Red Bull/Renault112
5Force India/Mercedes37
6Toro Rosso/Ferrari30

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