Race Report: Rosberg claims 3rd Monaco win

The Monaco Grand Prix can produce processional racing—that’s because it is the shortest track on the calendar and the tightest as well. Regardless, the sheer idea of driving these Formula1 cars in the streets of Monaco is as exciting to me today as it was back in 1972 and it most likely will be that way until I am finally finished with F1.

The 2015 Monaco Grand Prix wasn’t a rain-soaked event nor was there prolific passing—there usually isn’t. It was, however, an interesting race nonetheless with some terrific drives from Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo. Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez just to name a few.

In the end, Nico Rosberg won his third-straight Monaco Grand Prix and did so at the expense of Lewis Hamilton who looked set for a comfortable win thanks to dodgy team strategy.

Win

Win

Clearly Nico Rosberg gets a win this weekend both figuratively and literally. A terrible pit calculation that called Lewis Hamilton in from the lead with a handful of laps remaining left the door wide open for Rosberg to win his third Monaco Grand Prix in succession and places him among rare air with names such as Sir Jackie Stewart with three wins.

Another win for Sebastian Vettel for holding off a charging Lewis Hamilton on fresh super-soft tires to secure a second place was making the most of the gift Mercedes handed him but you have to be there to take the prize and he did a nice job of it.

For me, a big win is afforded to Sergio Perez for taking a B-spec 2014 car to 7th place as well as Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen who all ran in the top-10 and gained much-needed points.

The day could also be viewed as a win for Red Bull with a 4th and 5th for Kvyat and Ricciardo respectively on a track that relied more on Adrian Newey’s aero magic than on Renault shove at the back of the car.

A big win for Jenson Button for giving McLaren their first points of the season in a well-deserved 8th and for finding the pace to be competitive in the streets of Monaco.

Fail

Fail

Lewis Hamilton suffered a serious fail when he led comfortably and looked poised for his second Monaco win only to have his race scuttled by his own team’s strategy. It’s not ridiculous that Lewis would trust his team implicitly but what was ridiculous is that his team, chalked full of engineering and strategy geniuses, didn’t trust that Lewis could keep all comers behind him on the streets of Monaco regardless of what tires they fitted.

A fail for penalties for Alonso and Verstappen as attempts to pass at Monaco shouldn’t be punished. Keep punishing drivers for the slightest passing attempt that doesn’t quite work and you’ll only prevent future attempts.

Lotus suffered a fail when Pasto Maldonado’s brakes failed. The Venezuelan was running very well only to have his car retire or brake issues. This hurt all the more as Grosjean only managed 12th after the Verstappen collision.

A fail for McLaren for having issues yet again for Fernando Alonso with gearbox and electrical failures.

WTH

A big WTH for Mercedes strategists for completely screwing Lewis Hamilton out of a win given that sacrificing track position may work on big circuits and several laps to go but at Monaco with 10 laps, that just doesn’t work.

Another WTH moment for Williams who managed to beat Marussia and that’s about it. The only team they beat was a team who spent most of the race getting out of the way of other cars. That’s just sad.

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MIE

Hamilton did say that he got the wrong impression from seeing the team ready with tyres in the pit lane on one of the big TV screens around the track. From this he believed that both Rosberg and Vettel had come in for fresh super soft. As a result he asked for new tyres. While Wolff indicated that the team were thinking of changing Hamilton’s tyres anyway, as the indication of the gap just after the virtual safety car came out showed they would have enough time. With both team and driver thinking about stopping I wonder if anyone was… Read more »

jakobusvdl

Really bad luck for Hamilton, he had the race in his pocket, so its a pity that events turned against him, but not more than that. For Mercedes, they look a bit foolish, but in reality it was a fast changing situation, and it went against them. The net effect for Mercedes, they lost a 1 – 2 finish and got a 1 – 3. You wouldn’t think that from the hysterical comments on some of the UK based F1 fan forums. As NC highlights, other teams had more to be upset about – Lotus, Williams and McLaren to name… Read more »

Fred Talmadge

US TS also suggested some confusion about the Virtual safety car and then the real safety car coming out, which they didn’t elaborate and I don’t understand.

The Captain

Hamilton had a 19-23 second lead ( I can’t remember now, and Merc made a mistake and thought it was even greater.) when the virtual safety car came out. Under a virtual safety car all cars drive to a set time so all the gaps between the cars are kept the same as they where before the virtual safety car. But then the regular safety car was deployed and caught Hamilton in the second sector. When the regular safety car is out the drivers are allowed then to close up to the people in front (there is no more driving… Read more »

Fred Talmadge

The VSC is a confusing rule to me, but that explains it. Yes a couple a small mistakes added up to huge problem for Hamilton and MB.

Negative Camber

I’m with you Fred, I think the VSC could be explained a little more on our US broadcast. just how it works, what the teams see when it is engaged etc. These are packages I would think Will buxton would be perfectly suited and situated to get but they don’t do any of those. Not sure why.

oryan_dunn

But there is precious little time to describe the VSC when they have to describe how Max Verstappen is the youngest driver ever in F1!!

jakobusvdl

Thanks for that explanation Captain, the UK sky commentators also struggled to clarify the difference between the virtual and actual safety car. Also in their race to jump on the Mercedes ‘blunder’ I don’t think they got around to mentioning that other teams made the tactic work.

The Captain

I want to give props to Jos Verstappen for having the foresight to have named his kid “The Seventeen Year Old” as a first name. Talk about playing the long con. Who would have known that fist name would have paid off so much in the end?

I would also like to give the Laugh Out Loud award to Lee Diffey for during what must have been the 6th or 7th time he had said it, was literally in the middle of yelling “Remember this kid is only seventee….” as Max ran into the Back of Grosjean.

jakobusvdl

Tee hee, a classic moment

Peter Riva

My take on Monaco:
1. Australian drivers seem to think F1 is a contact sport. Ricciardi hip checked Kimi. Front tire into Kimi’s rear tire. And no penalty, of course, because everyone loved the smiling assassin.
2. Mercedes really did not understand the VSC rules. The VSC does not last a minimum of one lap. If it had…
3. You NEVER stop racing at Monaco -a “safety” change of tire for Hamilton was stupid and as it turns out costly.
4. Best part of the day? Vettel’s trotting back to martin Brundel and saying “I’m Happy!” Farrell’s tune anyone?

jakobusvdl

Good call Peter,
I think that ‘contact sport’ observation applies across all nationalities. Just from what we saw at Monaco it also applies to spaniards and Dutch drivers, and a certain Venezuelan has made a career of it, and his french team mate was on yhat path for a while. And of course a monagasque got his nose rubbed in it when he thought that at Spa last year…..
And point 4, spot on, great to see Vettel being a bit cheeky

Samouri

Lewis drove an absolute dominating and fantastic race, which he had complete control from the start. The only things that I was concerned with that could possibly cost him victory, were mechanical failure and a safety car being called out. Both Maldonado and Verstappen had me worried in that regard, and Verstappen who I feared in his exuberance would make a move and eventually he did, which cost Lewis a well deserved win.

jakobusvdl

It had a bit of a negative impact on Grosjean’s race too

Samouri

For sure!