Despite the win at Spain GP with Verstappen, Red Bull Racing doesn’t seem to frighten Sebastian Vettel, who is convinced he can threaten Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
"The goal is to look forward, our sight is aimed at the Mercedes. Saturday’s qualifing at Barcelona has been negative and this has influenced Sunday's race. From the point of view of the pure speed, we should have been ahead but we didn’t get it. Congratulations to Red Bull and to Max Verstappen. We have a strong package of updates, some of them will allow us to make progress and the aim is to close the gap with Mercedes rather than watch our backs. We have made progress compared to 2015: there is more adherence, we have increased the aerodynamic load, we have worked on kinetics. If we had competed in last season’s races with this year’s car, we would win by a huge margin, but this applies to everyone. The car suits my driving style, but we are not fast enough to win a race".
The concept about the gap between Ferrari and Mercedes has been discussed by Lapo Elkann after shareholder’s meeting of Exor.
"Ferrari is progressing in the goal given two years ago, which is about closing the gap with Mercedes and increasing the competitive level, getting on the podium".
Being on the podium in Monte Carlo would be an exploit because the last victory for the Ferrari in this circuit goes back to 2001.
"These numbers could be applied to other circuits too. We want to bring back the Ferrari to the top, it is a difficult challenge but is a concrete objective in our mind. We hope that these negative statistics will be debunked very soon and we will start winning again. Monte-Carlo is a circuit where the pilot could make the difference in the race. Here the car is not as important as it is in Barcelona or in another normal track".
As for the Spain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen became the youngest pilot to win a Formula 1 race, at the age of 18, subtracting the primacy to Seb.
"I believe that in both cases there has been an unexpected victory and, when you win a race, you are over the moon. It is something very difficult to realise, but I’m sure that I want to repeat this experience as soon as possible".
Talking about the atmosphere in Mercedes’s box after the accident between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel avoids pronouncing or making parallelism about what happened between him and Mark Webber during the Turkish Grand Prix in 2010.
"In a collision, neither of us does it on purpose. At that time it had been a pressing battle until the end and I have never been convinced to step aside because I had a possibility to win".
The leader of the 2016 Driver Standings, Nico Rosberg, would forget as soon as possible the accident which had excluded both Mercedes at the beginning of the Spain Grand Prix.
"What has happened in Spain is something about the past, we are looking forward to Monaco winning. It is my home race, I live in front of this circuit and it is very special to me. I care about winning this race here because it gives a confidence boost higher than other races".
On wednesday 25st may 2016, on the eve of Monaco Grand Prix, during the press conference was asked to Nico Rosberg if he had faced Lewis Hamilton after the episode of the contact during the first lap at Spain GP.
"Of course we had talked about how to approach this type of situation, but there was no personal discussion. It is something about the past, we are turning this page and the relation between us hasn't changed. I will have the same attitude and I will always try to push to the limit for winning".
Alongside, Max Verstappen assures that for him nothing has changed after the victory in Spain Grand Prix, which has made him the youngest driver to win a race in the history of Formula 1.
"Every driver has some pressures, I try to transform them into positive ones until I have fun and I’m happy. I think that the most important thing is winning, I try to do my best and this thought takes a lot of pressure off me. To be honest I didn’t expect this victory. I got in the car, I found myself leading the race and I tried to do the best I could. The car too was great, otherwise I could not have expressed myself at that level. Could I do the same in Monaco? At this moment both Mercedes are really strong, it will be difficult fighting with them but we will try to be comfortable on this track".
For sure the Dutch driver of Red Bull Racing knows that there was a crazy reaction among the fans in the Netherlands.
"It has been such a special victory. I didn’t go out so much to celebrate the winning, I have preferred to spend time with my family and my friends".
For the updates about the Renault’s engine, which should guarantee a gain of 0.5 for every lap, Max Verstappen affirms that he will use it only during the Canada Grand Prix.
"My beginning with the Red Bull Racing team has been very positive, I have felt comfortable with this engine, but gaining so much would be really positive".
Fifteen years without a victory in this circuit for Ferrari is something that makes people nervous, especially because this omission seems to continue. In the press conference room, Sebastian Vettel continues to use his smartphone as he has never ever done in his life before. He has no Twitter, he doesn’t care about social networks.
"I only use the smartphone for calling".
He has always said, explaining he is not this type of person:
"I like other things, for example when I have won my first Championship I gave myself a chainsaw".
But not today because Sebastian Vettel continues to stare intensely at his smartphone.
"He seems like Hamilton".
Said the journalists. The truth is that the Spain Grand Prix has left a mark. At Montmelò, the Ferrari has found out what they have suspected since the beginning of the season with the first disappointments, or to be clearly inferior compared to Mercedes. Ferrari has found out that all the efforts they had made last winter have produced a few results, but nothing that could justify the promises of Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrivabene. Rash words which nowadays appear as an illusion. Nothing more. Against which the curse of Fernando Alonso weighs more and more.
"I’ve left the Ferrari because I was tired of coming second".
That’s because the hysterical fingers of Sebastian Vettel on the touch screen perfectly describe the team spirit. Monte- Carlo is a hostile track. Here in this circuit the Ferrari hasn't won a Grand Prix since 2001. This city circuit is the worst place in the world to find turning. Here in Monte-Carlo you need traction and from what we have seen in Barcelona, not only the Mercedes,but the Red Bull too looks better than the Ferrari. Maybe on Sunday’s race things would go better, and then we could smile for a moment, but it will be just a coincidence. Everyone knows that. James Allison, the technician director, knows it, who is preparing a race strategy focused on qualifications and Sebastian Vettel knows it too, who in order to be brave hooks himself on a phrase that seems more like a burial inscription than a battle cry:
"Our purpose is beating both Mercedes, even because on a track like that the car is not as important as it is in Barcelona".
As anticipated before, after the test carried out during the last week on the Barcelona circuit, Renault supplied the new engine specification to Daniel Ricciardo, driver for Red Bull Racing, and to their own pilot, Kevin Magnussen. The update has been anticipated, compared to the debut programme, during the Canada Grand Prix. For this change the French team spent three possible development tokens granted. Haas supplied to Romain Grosjean a new frame. The McLaren mounted, for the qualifying session, a new engine on Fernando Alonso’s car, meanwhile the engine, which had gone out during the last race in Barcelona, is used during the free practices. However the British team decided not to make use of the power unit tested in Barcelona, which is more evolved. On Thursday 26st may 2016, over the first free practice session Lewis Hamilton set a time of three seconds lower than the previous year, during the same session. This result has been encouraged by the use of Ultrasoft tyres and by the asphalting of some sectors of the track. The World Champion precedes his teammate, Nico Rosberg, by 0.101 seconds. Sebastian Vettel, who is in third position, is at 0.419 seconds. The session was interrupted because of the exposure of a red flag, a few minutes before the end, after the car of Nico Rosberg raised a road manhole and drilled a tyre, damaging the car with debris which hit the Jenson’s Button car. Other accidents involved Felipe Massa, who with his car ended up against St. Devote's barriers, while Jolyon Palmer touched the guardrail at Tabaccaio’s turn. During the second session of the free practice, Daniel Ricciardo set the best time, preceding both Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, detached by 0.606 seconds, and Nico Rosberg by 0.899 seconds. Max Verstappen is fourth, while Sebastian Vettel first damages the rear wing, then makes a mistake at the first corner. Other accidents take place again: Romain Grosjean hits the barrier at the exit of the Tunnel, as well as, in the same point, Rio Harvanto damages his car inside the turn. Instead, Kevin Magnussen damages the car at Anthony Noghes’s turn. Daniel Ricciardo has been the fastest of the second free practice session at Monaco Grand Prix, sixth appointment of the 2016 season.
"The credit is all mine, I’m feeling well here, it’s my favourite track of the calendar. I have a new engine and I’m happy about the behaviour of the tyres, I’ve found a good feeling. Today went well , but tomorrow and Sunday are another day. I expect to be first also in qualifying".
A trend reversal compared to this morning, with both Mercedes in front of everyone during the first free practice. The fastest was Lewis Hamilton, in a session ended with a few minutes in advance because of debris on the track following an accident, a situation that led the stewards to expose the red flag and decree the end of the practice.
At the end of the first day of tests, Sebastian Vettel said:
"I don’t care about who is in front of me, anyone who will be we will try to overtake him. If the Red Bull will be ahead, we will try to arrive in front of them; when you are hardly in the top ten we can say that it is not the right place because we are faster, but I’m not worried for Saturday. Here is very different compared to Barcelona as a track and as the conditions, we have tried something during the afternoon, but maybe has not gone as we would have expected. Moreover, I haven’t found the rhythm and I haven’t done any good laps with the Ultrasoft tyres. From this point of view, it hasn’t been a positive day for us, then I have also touched the wall damaging the back of the car, but luckily we have fixed it".
Even if the enemies, or who are considered like that, minimise your problems, then the moment to be worried has arrived. The worst part of the Black Thursday of the Maranello’s team when in the motorhome arrived the support’s words pronounced by Luca Montezemolo during a convention in Bologna:
"The maths comes to an end, anything can happen in Monte-Carlo…".
Said the ex-president, hunted by Sergio Marchionne two years ago, achieving the result of fitting an eventual Ferrari’s winning in Monte-Carlo in the group of the things that may happen. A brutal analysis, but a perfect one. Before Luca Montezemolo, the same concept was expressed by Sebastian Vettel. After two free practice sessions, his car was behind not only his teammate’s one, but also both Mercedes (as usual), both Red Bull and even both Toro Rosso. A complete disaster.
"It has been a negative day. This won’t do".
Vettel doesn’t look forward to Thursday's alibi, which does not count.
"Not everything has worked as we expected and looking at the timesheet it is clear that we didn’t. We struggled too much to find the rhythm".
Struggle which is reflected in unusual nervousness shown by Kimi Raikkonen, known for staying impassive even during more awkward situations. The finnish driver grumble something incomprehensible, then sheltered himself during the statements of circumstance:
"What happened is not a tragedy, try not to describe the situation worse than it is".
In the end, to aggravate an already heavy situation, comes the words of an another ex Ferrari’s driver, Fernando Alonso:
"The Ferrari? It is a team destined to be always competitive. Unfortunately, it always missed one last piece".
While waiting to get back on track, after a relaxing day, Jules Bianchi’s family, the F1 driver died at the age of 25 in july 2015 after a long agony, as a result of a serious accident during the Japan Grand Prix in 2014, make known the intention of asking impairment at the FIA. The legal action’s formal letter has been sent during the week before the Monte-Carlo Grand Prix. The lawyer Julian Chamberlayne declares:
"Bianchi family is determined to ensure that this legal procedure calls on every parts involved in order to show the answers and verify the responsibility of every guilty lack".
The theory of the family is that the death of Jules should be avoided. The accident took place during the 43rd lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, in Suzuka. It was pouring rain and Jules Bianchi lost the control of his Marussia at the turn number 7, hit a mobile crane, which was preparing to recover another car that came out just in the right point during the previous lap: Adrian Sutil’s Sauber. In the collision, Jules Bianchi was subjected to serious head injuries. Clearly, that crane mustn’t be there. The FIA investigation, unbelievably, ended up blaming Jules Bianchi, guilty of not having slowed down enough in order to avoid losing the control of his car, despite the exposition of the double yellow flags by the race direction. That reconstruction has been contested by a lot of marshals, who pointed out several shortcomings from the race direction. The double yellow flags oblige drivers to be ready to stop at every moment. Nevertheless, during all the Formula 1 history, none driver has respected them. The statistics talk about 384 cases in the last 8 years. The FIA, responsible for the race's safety, has never thought to intervene or change the rules. Neither has called back the attention of the teams or drivers. In cases of real danger, the race direction has always preferred to use the Safety Car, which hasn’t done at that moment, instead the entrance of the crane on the track. As a rule a very dangerous circumstance, and in that moment, fatal. During the two seconds that Jules Bianchi’s car has left the track and it has crossed the escape out, the driver has pressed both the accelerator and the brake pedal with the feet. The failsafe safety algorithm intended to exclude the accelerator and turn off the engine has been inhibited by torque control, which monitors the rear Brake-by-Wire system. Bianchi’s Marussia had a unique design for the BBW, which has been demonstrated to be incompatible with emergency settings. But that incompatibility has never been noticed by the race director during the previous 14 races. In the end, the fact that Failsafe could not provide the driver’s required torque control may have affected the impact speed, it could not be reliably quantified. Even because Jules Bianchi’s car, in the absence of investigation and judgement procedure presented from FIA, has not been in the availability of this commission. However, it may be that Jules Bianchi was distracted by what was happening, from the fact that his front wheels had blocked and he wasn’t able anymore to steer the car so as to miss the impact with the crane.
Waiting to see how this story will develop, on Saturday 28 may 2016 follow the programme of Monaco Grand Prix. During the third and last free practice session Sebastian Vettel set the best time. The German driver comes first of Lewis Hamilton by 0.018 seconds, and of the other Mercedes’s driver, Nico Rosberg, by 0.122 seconds. Sebastian Vettel is the main character of a little driving problem at the chicane after the Tunnel. Instead, Kimi Raikkonen is obliged to give up the session earlier because of technical problems. During the free practice session, Max Verstappen hits the barrier at Massenet, but the car has been repaired and the Dutch driver can finish the session. Jolyon Palmer damages his car too, after an accident at the Piscine. At the end of the session, the Ferrari is forced to replace the transmission on Kimi Räikkönen’s car: the Finnish driver will be forced to serve a penalty, losing five positions on the starting grid. Before the starting of the qualifying session, Pirelli introduced the new tyres for the 2017 season. It is a very important changement at technician level, which transforms the balance and appearance of the Formula 1 single-seater that will get on track during the next year, the first of the third 3 year-period in a row of P Zero in Formula 1. In 2017 will enter into force a new technical regulation which will include a dramatic increase of the downforce. To achieve the goals set about improving time on the lap, together with the aerodynamic changes, it has been decided to increase the width of the tyres and, then, increase the wheel track. From the new regulations, Formula 1 wants to achieve a reduction of four seconds per lap. A part of this improvement will be assured from the better performance of tyres when cornering and accelerating. The front tyre, currently 245 mm wide, will be 305 mm wide. The rear one will change from 325 mm to 405 mm. The new complete measures will therefore be: 305/670-13 at the front and 405/670-13 at the rear for slick tread tyres (the total diameter will then pass from the current 660 mm to 670 mm). The rim diameter is unchanged: always 13 inches. Plus 60 mm in width for the front, plus 80 mm for the rear. The increase in width is therefore 25% compared to the current measure, and this applies to both slick tires for intermediate and rain.
The tests with tyres in force from 2017 will begin in the first days of August, according to a schedule agreed with the participating teams. After the proper presentations, in the afternoon the first phase of the qualifying of the Monaco Grand Prix opens with technical problems to the engine of Felipe Nasr’s Sauber: the race direction exposes the red flag to allow the car to move from the track. When the drivers returned to the track, shortly after Sebastian Vettel set the best time of the session, Max Verstappen finished against the wall at the Piscine: the session was again interrupted by red flags. Q1 is resumed with just over six minutes left; the best eight drivers remain inside the box, and do not try to improve their times. In addition to Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen, the two drivers of the Manor, Rio Haryanto and Passar Wehrlein, Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson were eliminated. In Q2 Lewis Hamilton set a record time of 1 '14"056. But towards the end of Q2 his teammate, Nico Rosberg, lowered the limit again to 1'14"043. The German driver, shortly before setting the time, had also touched the barriers, still in the Piscine area. The two Haas drivers, Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean, the two Williams drivers, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, did not go to the decisive phase of the qualifying session. The decisive phase of qualifying starts with Lewis Hamilton getting stuck on the pit lane, due to a problem with the engine: Mercedes technicians manage to bring the car back to the box and still let the World Champion participate in the session. Nico Hülkenberg set the fastest time, while other drivers decided to make two laps. The German driver's time was improved by Daniel Ricciardo, who runs in 1 '13"622: Nico Rosberg is in second place, while, in the last moments of the session, Lewis Hamilton climbs in third position. Daniel Ricciardo took his first F1 pole position, thus interrupting a series of eleven consecutive Mercedes pole positions. The Australian driver precedes the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
"This is a special circuit, I knew on the eve of the weekend that we would have a good opportunity. Since Thursday everything seemed going well, I had the car in the lead all the time before the weekend and even after Barcelona I felt to have driven very well in the last races ,but not to have gotten the reward I deserved, not the maximum at least, so I arrived this weekend with a lot of confidence and believing very much that I can get in this position, I am very happy to have realised my expectations, I feel great, I always liked this circuit, the car is great now we have a really good package and it is great to be able to make the most of it".
Lewis Hamilton, who will start from the third position, says:
"It has been a tough qualifying and I really don’t know what else to say at the moment. At least I managed to do a lap and all in all it didn’t go as bad as other times... I am happy and grateful to be in third place even with the engine problems. Of course, I think pole was within my reach, but tomorrow in the race I can try to cut our losses. I had a skipped heartbeat and when I had to turn off the engine I thought that I would have another penalty. I thought I could not qualify and I would be tenth, then I wondered if I could do even one lap and, when they told me that we could get back on track, I said : thank God. At least I can start in third place trying to conquer something good. I don’t know if it was a magic lap, but I was definitely trying to do it. It’s hard when you feel you have to do a miracle out of nowhere, pull the rabbit out of your hat, but unfortunately I found myself in that position and with so much pressure on me. I had to do a miracle to get on pole, after a few warm-up laps I did the best I could".
While Nico Rosberg, who scored the second time, says:
"When I saw how much advantage Ricciardo had over us I knew it would be almost impossible to get him. I tried hard, but it wasn’t enough. The fact is that Daniel today was too fast, their pole is fully deserved, that’s all, we were not fast enough. Let’s not forget that this is a one-of-a-kind circuit but, yes, Red Bull has made some huge progress compared to last season and now is there with us and Ferrari. A good fight".
Instead, the words expressed by the Ferrari are completely different:
"The car has just got worst, what the fuck".
Sebastian Vettel, exhausted by another disappointment, shouts a huge curse at the end of the qualifying session ,directed by radio to his car. On the other side of the radio, mechanics, engineers and team executives were shaking their heads. Once again, they didn’t understand anything. Once again, Margherita - the name that Vettel has chosen for his car - has been capricious, behaving in an incomprehensible way, responding randomly to the thousand adjustments attempted by the mechanics during the day. So it started hard, recording a time in the last and perfectly useless free practice of the morning and then, slowly, it slowed down, struggling in Q1, losing in Q2 and completely lost in the decisive Q3, where it finished fourth, for lack of rivals. A remark as irrefutable as brutal, which describes, both in content and spirit, the dramatic period that the team is experiencing, aware that soon there will come the moment when someone will ask for an account ,not so much for the poor results brought home until today, as of how it was possible that at Christmas, and still recently, Sergio Marchionne has been able to overreach himself with the fans and with the shareholders in the face of this situation. Useless to deny it, the real problem for the Maranello team is called Red Bull Racing. Because somehow - beyond the announcements of Marchionne - the idea of being beaten by Mercedes could also be accepted, to fix almost a second place in the Championship standings by those in the paddock called
"The fizzy drinks company".
Is definitely less understandable. The annoyance caused by the resurrection of Daniel Ricciardo is such that, as if by magic, in the paddock begins to spin a conspiracy theory, according to which those of Red Bull Racing would manage the tire pressure at the limit of regulations. But since there are theories in the paddock everywhere, and until there are complaints, they remain theories, the fact remains that managing at the limits of the regulation all the elements of the car is exactly what, in summary, is called Formula 1.
Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel admits:
"Of course I was and am disappointed, very disappointed, because I think the car for what we did from Thursday to today is very competitive, we improved it a lot. This morning, the qualifying's start went very well, I knew that I still had a lot to gain and I wasn’t worried at all, but as qualifying progressed it became increasingly difficult for us to find the grip, the car kept slipping and during the lap I felt very uncomfortable with so many small mistakes simply because we had no grip. Everyone else was getting better, so I wanted to get better too. In the end I did what I could but I didn’t even get close to feeling as comfortable as I was this morning. I’m very disappointed that I wasted a good opportunity to go further. We didn’t, it would be stupid to say that we could go on pole-position because we’re not there, but if you want to hear my opinion, I think the car was up to pole if it would have worked well. Unfortunately we lost the pace and we were slipping too much, it’s a pity".
"We’ll start looking forward in a couple of hours. The race is tomorrow, maybe it will rain, the strategy is different from the other years, it may not be completely clear, but it will depend so much on the leaders. If they drive as safely as years ago where everyone was close and expected only the pit stops could become a boring race, if they push it could be an exciting race. We will not be in front of them, so we will not dictate the pace, we must adapt to what they do in front. There’s a chance of rain tomorrow. It is clear that we are not the favourites but here, with a car that fits you well, you can make a difference in driving".
Recently we also saw the nervous side of Sebastian Vettel, between the curses to Daniil Kvyat and the gestures to Daniel Ricciardo in Spain.
"During a race it is normal that there is tension when you realise that because of other drivers you threw away some good points".
From his side, Kimi Raikkonen, only sixth at the end of qualifying, says:
"Obviously it doesn’t help to qualify sixth, also because there will be a penalty. It’s not a great day for us but it happens, unfortunately I had a small problem this morning and we had to replace the gearbox or some parts of it. We will try to make the most of the situation tomorrow and see where we get. Tomorrow we can only do our best, hope to make the right decisions if it will be Safety Cars or Virtual Safety Cars. There’s always a lot of things that happen in this race, we hope we can have some luck making the right decisions when it counts, that will be the easiest way to recover positions, but you can’t predict what will happen tomorrow".
On Sunday 29 May 2016 it rained on the Monte-Carlo circuit, so the race management decided to start the Monaco Grand Prix behind the Safety car. Both Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr start from the pit lane: the first has replaced the chassis, the second driver has replaced the engine. During the neutralisation period of the race, Daniil Kvjat entered the pits to replace the steering wheel, while Kevin Magnussen decided to use intermediate wet tyres. During the eighth lap Jolyon Palmer lost control of Renault on the pit straight and crashed into the barriers at Sainte Devote.After ten laps behind the Safety Car, with the intensity of the rain falling, the race management decided to kick off the Monaco Grand Prix. Daniel Ricciardo held the lead, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel is fourth, followed by Nico Hülkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr., Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso. During lap 11 Kimi Räikkönen hit the barriers at the hairpin, and stopped, with the front wing finished under the body of the car, in the escape route of the chicane after the tunnel. During lap 14 Sebastian Vettel entered the pits, to mount the intermediate tyres, followed, after a lap by Fernando Alonso. During lap 16th Lewis Hamilton passed Nico Rosberg, very slow in the first part of the race; at the same time Sebastian Vettel, with new tires, tries overtaking Felipe Massa, but finds no space after the tunnel, and keeps the seventh position. During lap 20 both Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa switched to the use of intermediate tyres, while the cars of Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat came into contact at the Rascasse.
During lap 21, Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz Jr. also returned to the pits to change tyres. In this phase of the race Daniel Ricciardo proceeded in first position, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo changed tyres on lap 23, and gave the lead to Lewis Hamilton. The British driver stopped throughout lap 31 and fitted the slick Ultrasoft tyres. Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr go to the Ultrasoft tyres too. Sergio Pérez moved into third place, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hülkenberg. When Daniel Ricciardo returned to the pits to fit the Supersoft tyres, the tyres were not ready yet and the Australian lost almost ten seconds, returning to the track behind Lewis Hamilton. Between lap 31 and lap 35 retired, due to an accident, Kevin Magnussen (at Rascasse) and Max Verstappen (at Massenet). The virtual safety car is established again. During lap 37, after approaching Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo launched the attack on the chicane after the tunnel. However, the british driver defends the position, is put under investigation by the Commissioners, but is cleared by them. Throughout lap 49 the two Sauber cars come into contact at the Rascasse corner: previously the Swiss team had invited, vainly, Felipe Nasr to give up the position to Marcus Ericsson. The Brazilian driver retreated shortly afterwards because of smoke from his cockpit. Marcus Ericsson was also forced to leave the race. During the 58 lap Nico Rosberg tries to pass Fernando Alonso, but goes along to the chicane and tries the position to the McLaren-Honda driver. In the same lap Daniel Ricciardo is author of a locking of the wheels, but remains in the track.
Ten laps after the race direction re-establishes the virtual safety car regime, on the right of the pits, due to the fall of a plastic tarp, which is promptly removed. In the last minutes of the race, the rain on the track falls slightly, without causing difficulties for the drivers. On the last lap Nico Hülkenberg passed Nico Rosberg, right on the finish line. Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, Carlos Sainz Jr., Jenson Button and Felipe Massa.
"Shut up, there is nothing you can say to improve the situation".
Says Daniel Ricciardo via radio before taking off his helmet, after the pits missed the tires while the Australian driver was in first position, giving the victory to Lewis Hamilton. Poor Daniel Ricciardo had to settle for second place, ahead of Sergio Perez who knocked Sebastian Vettel off the podium. What about Kimi Raikkonen? A total disaster: on lap 12 the Finnish driver put his Ferrari on the guardrail at Loews and the front wing got stuck under the left tire. Then, Raikkonen was forced to park the car in the escape route out of the Tunnel and retired. Anonymous performance by Nico Rosberg, who obtained the sixth position at the end of the race, even preceded by a talented Fernando Alonso, fifth with McLaren. The circus' highest paid driver is incredibly optimistic for the future. His fifth place win with anger, keeping Nico Rosberg at bay, is in line with his pre-race statements, as he announced that next year he will fight for the victory of the World Championship. Best wishes for him. His many fans hope so. However, it must be said that Nico Rosberg has had several problems: from the start of the race his Mercedes has never appeared at the level of Lewis Hamilton one, to the point that from the boxes via radio asked him to pass it. The British driver, despite the gift made by the mechanics of the Red Bull Racing team, deserved the victory: at the end he drove a long time with Ultrasoft tires and, above all, at the beginning he raced without stopping with wet tires on dry track. All scoring record times.In the Drivers' World Championship standings, the leader remains Nico Rosberg with 106 points, but Lewis Hamilton approaches him (82 points). Daniel Ricciardo follows with 66 points, and Kimi Raikkonen is fourth with 61 points. Sebastian Vettel is back with 60 points.
"Today was my fault, I should have made the podium possible".
Sebastian Vettel takes responsibility for fourth place in the Monaco Grand Prix, behind Mexican Sergio Perez in Force India.
"There is still a lot to do, but I think this weekend we were very fast. Yesterday we didn’t do a good job of putting the car where it belongs, today it was my fault. Sorry, I should have made the podium possible at least, but I think the car was fast this weekend. The pitstop was great, we passed Rosberg, so good work from the guys. When I was behind Massa I was on the intermediate tyres, it was very slippery and easy to make mistakes, but still I am angry with myself because I had to make it possible.It was my race, sometimes there are 78 laps to do but only 5 are the ones that count, and in those 5 laps I could not overcome. If I had succeeded I would not have been there to fight with Rosberg, Perez, Hulkenberg and all the others, I would have been in front, I could have decided when to go slick with a little more margin, I could have created a gap. So that’s where I lost some positions. The atmosphere in the team I think is great, obviously there were a couple of races that were not ideal, today we could have gone better and we did not, however I took the car to the finish. I tried to close the gap on Perez, a couple of times we succeeded, but I was also lucky not to go against the wall in the end, I knew it is difficult here to overcome, I tried to put pressure on him, made some mistakes but nothing that gave me the chance to get close enough to overcome it".
Kimi Raikkonen adds:
"I don’t know exactly why I had to go to the stewards, it’s probably a formality in these cases. I had to park outside, I wasn’t in the tunnel, I had to pass it and park up in the escape routes. It wasn’t a simple race. It has been one of the toughest weekends so far, but we have made a few points in previous races, so we hope to get back in front in the next races. It was difficult to find the grip, yesterday it had gone much better in qualifying but then with the wet it was difficult, I drove as fast as I could but the speed was really very low. Nevertheless, I lost the front and couldn’t get the car back on track. It was a very difficult weekend".
Lewis Hamilton, despite winning the Monaco Grand Prix, honours Daniel Ricciardo:
"Today went the way I was hoping, I thank all the fans and the team for providing me with a great car all weekend to the end. I have no words, I prayed a lot and now I feel privileged after a day like today. Was it a decisive choice to keep the rain tires longer? You never know how it ends, how long the tires will last, on the last lap I had some problems but they held. Congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo who had an exceptional weekend, is one of the best drivers with whom I competed, I can not wait to do other battles with him. I'm sure he is not happy, also because he started from pole position but must be proud of how he drove. Is it an open title fight? I didn’t think about it, the battle is still long, there are many races. Never give up".
While the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, talks mainly about the problems encountered by Nico Rosberg:
"I’m really sorry about Nico. He ran a difficult race with a car that didn’t have the rhythm, also the second pit-stop was slow and he paid some position, making him remain stuck behind Alonso. It is as if all his bad luck had arrived in one day and the result was this seventh place. In the first part of the race we told him to let Lewis pass, as it was our best chance to win the race at that time. These last two weeks have made him stronger, as well as stronger now is our relationship when we argue then we are tied more than before. Victory is key for Lewis. After a series of impressive inconveniences, we needed this victory and it seemed appropriate to send on the podium his mechanic, Nathan Divey".
From his side, Nico Rosberg explains:
"I’m disappointed. I wanted to win my home race and I couldn’t. I had a very slow pace, far from the best. I was disconcerted by this lack of rhythm at the beginning, I was not at all familiar with the intermediate tyres on my car. Then there was a pit stop problem. Lewis had a chance to win the race, as he did. For the team it was a simple decision, painful for me. Having lost time in the pit, I found myself in traffic and when you are in traffic in Monte Carlo it is over. I was in the Ultrasofts, he was in the soft ones and when it started raining in the last laps my temperatures dropped. He had more grip and passed me. Was it painful? It was more painful the feeling I had driving, it was the worst also because it was a total lack of confidence in those conditions, and trying it in Monaco wasn’t exactly a good thing. This was the most painful aspect, because I realised that with that feeling with the car I was not able to fight for the victory, so the second thing was simply a consequence of this. I don’t have an explanation at the moment. I can tell you that I was not at all familiar with the car. I had to stay far away from the edge or I’d be in the barriers. What we know is that there was a brake problem with those temperatures, a pretty big problem that certainly caused others. It is still too early to say for certain what happened, I have no definitive answers at the moment, it will need a more in-depth analysis".
Daniel Ricciardo expresses few words after the second place of the Monaco Grand Prix, decided by a mistake in his box at the time of the first tyre change. An error that allowed Lewis Hamilton to pass him and win the race.
"Losing like this hurts. I prefer not to comment on the race. I only thank the fans who supported me throughout this weekend. I was called to the pits and so they had to be ready. It hurts, I don’t know what else to say. The second place does not do justice to my race".
Helmut Marko, right-hand man of Dietrich Mateschitz at Red Bull, cannot define the outcome of the Monaco Grand Prix otherwise, won by Lewis Hamilton, who exploited the mistake made in the pits during the tyre change of Daniel Ricciardo.
"We gave the race to Mercedes. Unfortunately there were many misunderstandings but we will investigate. It was a human mistake, all we can do is apologise to Ricciardo".
Christian Horner, the Red Bull’s team principal, adds:
"It’s a very disappointing day. As a team we have to apologise to Daniel for not supporting him properly after his first career pole. The delay in the pits cost him the lead and, despite being then under Lewis, he could not pass him, as often happens here in Monaco. Max made some impressive laps to emerge from the back of the group but unfortunately he crashed in Turn 3 while trying to push to improve his position. We will analyse everything and talk about it. We want to continue in our excellent form in Canada. The mistake cost us a victory at Monte-Carlo, not just any Grand Prix, in a race where we could have beaten Mercedes on track without having to hope for their mistakes. This is enough to show how frustrated we are, like Daniel. It is not comparable to the strategy we opted for in Spain. That was a race in which it was very difficult to predict what was the best tactic between the two and the three stops. In addition, at the end of the race, there was also a puncture to complicate the situation".
Max Verstappen, surprise winner in Spain, failed to repeat the same performance in Monaco:
"I am disappointed by myself and disappointed for the team because they worked very hard to repair the car and I didn’t give them the result they deserved. We were doing well, we were in the points and starting from the pit lane and would have been great finishing in points, but I learned from this mistake and I hope we can get back even stronger in Canada. At the beginning of the race, the circuit was very slippery, I was getting better as the track was drying. Our pace was great and I passed some cars, everything was fine. Then we put on the softs and I went a bit out of line in the wet area, and, at that point, I couldn’t do anything anymore. At the end, during the races, there are ups and downs to repeat, but you have to stay positive and keep pushing. I learn a lot from moments like this, and I’m already focusing on Canada".
If there was a Formula 1 god, he would have spent the afternoon settled on some perch between the Tunnel exit and the Nouvelle Chicane, to wait under the water for the passage of those two fools who took themselves to the windows with the ailerons spaced a few thousandths of a second; and he would have remained there even after the seventy laps of sparks, smoked, and rains, to applaud the triumph of Daniel Ricciardo, the best driver of the moment, and his Red Bull Racing risen. Instead, there is no pagan god to oversee the minimal business of Formula 1. so the efforts of the Australian pilot, applauded by a television audience of 500.000.000 humans, were frustrated by a painful and comical scene. In the key moment of the race, the first pit stop, his team lost the wheels. He couldn’t find them anymore or didn’t know what to put (Soft or intermediate?), and when he, called by his race engineer, went back to the pits, he found no one ready to change his tires. Fifteen awkward seconds, it was in vain before four mechanics dressed in blue were able to complete an operation that now the slowest performed in three seconds. Then Daniel Ricciardo, cursing by radio, left the box, but it was too late, because in the meantime Lewis Hamilton had passed him.
The rest was a long, beautiful, useless chase along the streets of Monaco, only good to affirm a concept that many had already clear: these two, today, are the best in the world. The confirmation comes from the words of the after race. Lewis Hamilton still has a voice full of adrenaline. He had fun as a child and can not stop complimenting the rival:
"Daniel drove phenomenally. He was always attached to my car, he put incredible pressure on me. I was there to defend myself but I didn’t know which way he would try to pass me. It was perhaps the hardest race I remember. I have tremendous respect for him, one of the best drivers I’ve ever run against and I can’t wait to fight with him again. I’m sure he’s not happy with how his race went, he was on pole and he should have won, but he must be proud of how he ran it".
In fact, Ricciardo is not happy. He is angry with the team, which for the second Sunday in a row ,has ruined the race. Now, he has 66 points in the drivers standings, and is third with a distance of 40 points from Nico Rosberg. Without the team’s mistakes, between Barcelona and Monte-Carlo, he would have 98 points and would be second in the standings.
"Two races in a row, two in a row. I can’t say anything else. We were comfortable at first. Then they called me in the box to put the slicks and when I entered the box they were not ready. I stopped and saw everyone around the car shaking like chickens slit their throats. I’m really disappointed. Very disappointed".
Meanwhile, Maurizio Arrivabene promises:
"In Canada, in two weeks, we will bring some important developments and then you will see a whole other Ferrari".
It sounds like a rescue announcement, but it’s actually a small surrender. Already, because the team principal of Ferrari, since the day of his inauguration, has always said against the traditional policy of important developments to be mounted on the car during the crucial moments of the season:
"We don’t have to go for tears but we have to propose to every single race some small news that allows us to progress in a linear way towards a certain direction".
A philosophy contradicted by the announcement of the news for Canada. So the questions come automatically: what happened? What is the reason for this sudden deviation? The impression - judging also by the speeches perceived in the Ferrari motorhome after another disappointment - is that it is a small involuntary turn of communication, dictated by despair. The engineers and drivers have lost the thread of the season, the competition is taking off, and the risk that fans, shareholders, and especially Sergio Marchionne lose patience is very, very concrete. In Canada, as expected, engine updates will bring, but it won’t do any good if Ferrari’s engineers can’t figure out - Arrivabene’s own words - the real problem with this car. Although the team principal would have done better to explain the problems, because there are many. The main one seems to be that inexplicable phenomenon of a stall that paralyses the SF16H that manifests on Saturday, around 2:40 p.m. Maurizio Arrivabene explains:
"It happened in Barcelona and the same thing happened here, to a lesser extent in terms of detachment, but as much as difficult. So we have to try to understand the problem, because it is absurd that we cannot improve what we did in Q1. We’re talking about tyre and other things, but we’re looking at what’s going on. But there is a problem".
"I think it’s not just about tyres, it’s about cars. Being in front of the grid, we shouldn’t have done any aggressive strategy to try to do better. Therefore, I repeat that the presence of Felipe (Massa) is not and should not be an excuse. We are in Monaco and if it was not Felipe it would have been another driver, so it was right at that time to make an aggressive strategy, but this is the result of mistakes that were made earlier. I saw the guys in the box very loaded and the demonstration is that they managed to make a crazy pit stop. My goal is to make sure they stay focused, turn the page and keep them focused on the race, because there are still fifteen races left and therefore it is not the case to fall down nor even to give up. It is obvious that you have to understand the problems and when you understand them you are already closer to the solution. The team must turn the page race after race and work with goals".
"Cars are very different from each other, so you may have a problem that apparently looks the same, but it’s not. It is enough to change the asphalt of a track and you cannot compare neither the car nor the track with that of the previous year. The problem continues to be Mercedes. There are tracks where a certain chassis performance is required, while others are less. We saw a very strong Red Bull in terms of downforce, but the problem is definitely not them. For us, it’s qualifying. In Barcelona, although we had not done well at this moment, we could still be on the top step of the podium. Our problem remains the qualifying session. In Canada we will bring other updates and I think we will see the car in a different condition".
Then, in the transition to the third session, Q3, the decisive one, the car stops progressing. As if in those five minutes of Saturday the pistons were blocked. Just talking: here in Monaco, Ricciardo between Q1 and Q3 improved by 1.2 seconds. Ferrari of 0.055 seconds. From what depends on it, it is a mystery. What is not a mystery is that in this way Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen can hardly qualify in the first rows. Starting from behind you expose yourself to a series of risks, all of them existential. From accidents (Alonso in 2012 lost a World Championship to qualify eighth) to obstruction. Moreover, the car continues to appear very delicate. After the many breakups of this season, even in Monte-Carlo Kimi Raikkonen had to pay a heavy penalty on the starting grid for replacing the gearbox. When a team has to recover all the performance disadvantages that Ferrari had accumulated against Mercedes, some difficulties on reliability must be taken into account. But not being able to close a race weekend without some breakup is really too much. All this has ended up compromising even what, until a few months ago, seemed to be the main asset of the team: the serenity of the drivers. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have become the shadow of themselves. The German driver is less smiling and at driving he became inaccurate and uneven, as he had only been in his worst year at Red Bull Racing. The impression is that he begins to wonder about the actual ability of this Ferrari, to meet the needs of an industrial-technological-competitive like the new hybrid F1. Even Kimi Raikkonen, despite the classification crowns him the first driver of the Maranello team, in front of the first difficulties seems to be back the Baltic enigma of darker times. Ferrari, in these times of black crisis, does not just need a talented guy, it also needs a fighting temperament. Also because in the meantime, the enemy ranks has become thicker and fiercer, does not yet include Force India, but certainly includes Red Bull Racing. Even if Arrivabene, perhaps a little disorderly, try to deny it:
"I don't think so. If Ferrari’s problem now becomes Red Bull, I’m going home. There are circuits where certain characteristics of the car benefit some teams. That’s what happened here with Red Bull. I can only recommend to my guys to take as a reference point the best team, that is Mercedes, if the World Constructor Championship will say something else, then we will see".