Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 24. toukokuuta 2015

Monaco GP: Against all odds Rosberg made it the third win in-a-row in Monaco!

Just in the morning I wrote that I had a strong hunch that Hamilton was going to drive from pole to victory today. That, however, wasn´t exactly what happened on the streets of the Principality today! Hamilton had every reason to win the race though. The Briton took a strong start and maintained his lead. Sebastian made strong effort to get past Rosberg going into turn one but the German Mercedes pilot wasn´t going to surrender so Sebastian had to settle for third. Kvyat in his Red Bull took an impressive start and made his way past his team-mate Ricciardo. Kimi´s start was decent as well but all the Iceman could do was to keep his 6th place. Already on the second lap Alonso in his McLaren collided with Force India´s Hulkenberg causing the German to hit the barrier. Hulkenberg had a front wing damage and he had to pit for a new front wing. A few laps later Alonso was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision.

Soon it became obvious that Rosberg couldn´t quite match Hamilton´s pace and in no time there was a several-second gap between the Mercedes team-mates. Further down in the back Verstappen´s driving caught my eye. Maldonado had some brake issues in his E23 and Verstappen didn´t hesitate to overtake the Venezuelan making his way up to P8. Maldonado was the first one to retire from the race only a couple of laps later. But despite Maldonado´s difficulties the overtaking move was impressive.

Little by little Kimi managed to close the gap to Ricciardo in P5. When Kvyat pitted for a fresh set of prime tyres, Kimi jumped 5th. The Iceman was already within DRS distance from the Australian and tried to put up a fight. At the same time on lap 30 Verstappen made his first and only pit stop. Everything didn´t go to plan: there were difficulties with getting one of the rear tyres attached. Max dropped down to P13 behind Bottas when he rejoined the track. Such a pity! Though I knew there were more overtaking moves to come ;)

Ricciardo pitted one lap before Kimi did and Kimi benefitted from this strategy making his way ahead of Ricciardo in P5! In terms of the top three the order remained unchanged after the first pit stops: Hamilton had a firm lead, Rosberg was second and Sebastian third. Although Nico seemed to be within Sebastian´s reach there were minimal chances to overtake. I was so sure Hamilton was going to cruise to the victory! On lap 43 Alonso had to retire due to a technical failure, which was actually no surprise.

Not everyone was on a 1-stop strategy. Verstappen in his Toro Rosso pitted for second time on lap 47. Some 10 laps later we saw some brilliant overtaking moves from this highly talented Dutchman. Sebastian in P3 was lapping cars and Verstappen came up with clever strategy: he drove as close to Sebastian as he could and when Bottas was shown blue flags and the Finn had to slow down to let Sebastian past, Verstappen benefitted from the situation by attacking Bottas right after Sebastian. This was an absolutely genius move, which Verstappen repeated a moment later. This young man really knew how to put up an entertaining show! On lap 61 Verstappen tried to use this same strategy to get past Grosjean in P10 but Grosjean had been adviced about Verstappen´s move on the team radio and it didn´t work out for the third time. With 14 more laps to go Verstappen tried to make his way past Grosjean but the attempt lead into a collision and Verstappen crashed into the barrier nose first in high speed. Luckily Verstappen got away with no injuries but what a shame that he couldn´t finish the race! I´m sure he would have finished in the points!

Safety car was deploeyd due to Verstappen´s crash. The race took a strange turn as Hamilton was called to the pits when safety car came out. At that point Hamilton had about a 19-second lead over his team-mate but it turned out not to be enough when Hamilton rejoined the track: the Briton dropped down to P3! Rosberg took the lead clearly but for a moment it was unclear whether Sebastian had been ahead of Hamilton when crossing the white line. But Sebastian had been an inch ahead and the second place was his! Hamilton must have been devastated when the reality hit him in the race! It turned out to be a mistake made by the team: they had calculated the gap between Hamilton and Rosberg wrong... After the re-start Hamilton tried everything to make his way past Sebastian but not even the fresh set of option tyres helped him succeed in that! Hamilton had dominated the race from the very start but during the safety car episode his convincing lead turned into disappointing P3.

Ricciardo had also pitted during the safety car and Kimi in P5 lost the position to the Australian on the closing laps. Ricciardo even hit Kimi´s car when overtaking the Iceman but the collision caused no further action by the stewards. We saw team orders from Red Bull today: Kvyat let his team-mate Ricciardo past because the Australian was much quicker on the new super soft tyres and the team thought Ricciardo could have had a chance to attack on Hamilton and Vettel. However, by the final lap of the race Ricciardo hadn´t been able to make an overtaking move so the team told him to give his position back to Kvyat, which seemed like a fair move. So Rosberg took his third win in-a-row on the streets of Monte Carlo in a very lucky way! Sebastian finished second and Hamilton was absolutely devastated having to settle for third. Kvyat finished 4th, Ricciardo 5th, Kimi 6th, Perez 7th, Button scored his first points for McLaren Honda by finishing 8th, Nasr 9th and Sainz 10th. Bottas in his Williams was left out of points in P14 so it was an utterly poor race for Williams.

The beginning of the race didn´t seem too exciting but the turn at the end caught me by surprise! I still consider it unbelievable that Hamilton didn´t win the race. In terms of the championship the result today really spices things up: there´s only a 10-point gap between the Mercedes team-mates in favor of Hamilton. Some people say there isn´t such thing as luck in Formula 1 but even Nico himself admitted that he got really lucky today. Sebastian was clearly very happy about his second place. So was I! :D Sebastian seems so comfortable in the SF15-T, I know he´ll take the struggle to Mercedes this year. In terms of Kimi I really hope that in Canada there´ll finally be the long-awaited problem-free weekend for the Iceman!

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