Rosberg wins Monaco as Mercedes destroy Hamilton’s race
Nico Rosberg made it a hat-trick of wins at the Monaco Grand Prix, as he capitalised on a bad call by the Mercedes pit wall to bring in race leader Lewis Hamilton, for fresh supersoft tyres, after Max Verstappen instigated a red flag incident when he crashed heavily at Sainte Devote.
The first hour and a half of the Monaco Grand Prix was sedate and placid affair with Hamilton apparently cruising to victory, over a dozen seconds ahead Rosberg who in turn was stalked by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
At that point Verstappen, who was on fresh rubber and circulating faster than anyone on track, was attacking the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. The young Toro Rosso rookie literally under the Lotus’ rear wing for a number of laps. On lap 64, of 78, going into Sainte Devote (Turn 1) Grosjean braked and Verstappen did not. The Toro Rosso launched and dug itself into the barrier. Verstappen climbed out unhurt, Grosjean continued and the safety car was deployed.
The real drama ensued thereafter when Mercedes called in Hamilton – at that point way ahead of his rivals – for a change to supersofts, but when the world champion emerged onto the track he was behind Rosberg and side-by-side with Vettel, although the Ferrari was a few centimetres ahead.
From a comfortable first place, Hamilton was suddenly down in third, and with less than ten laps to attack on a circuit where overtaking does not happen – that was that – game over and victory for Rosberg. His third in a row in his hometown, his first ever consecutive F1 victory and ten points shaved off Hamilton’s lead at the top of the standings.
Rosberg said afterwards, “I know it was just a lot of luck today. Lewis drove brilliantly and would have deserved the win for sure but that’s the way it is in racing. It’s difficult in the car to judge what decisions are being made.”
“It was hard to do the restart with the hard tyres which were very cold,” he added. “I know I got lucky , I will just enjoy the moment now. Lewis was a little bit stronger this weekend so I have to work hard.”
Hamilton’s pain was palpable, first on the radio when he asked not to be spoken to when what had happened dawned on him, then stopping just before the tunnel to ponder the loss and driving slowly back to the parc ferme, finally mounting the podium to ‘not celebrate’ his third place.
He said afterwards, “It was not the easiest of races. The team has done amazing all year long, we win and we lose together. I’m sure we will sit down afterwards and try to think of ways we can improve.”
And added that he would “come back and win the next one.”
Immediately after the race Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff made no effort to hide the fact that his team had made a major gaffe, “We thought the gap was different to what it was. A complete misjudgement, I am so sorry. We screwed it up for him.”
For Vettel and Ferrari to split the Silver Arrows pair was a major achievement and certainly not on the cards when the race started. But credit to the Reds for constant and relentless pressure which in the end rewarded them unexpectedly.
Vettel reflected, “We were there in the moment when it mattered and able to pip Lewis when he came out of the pits. Second is a great finish for the team. The thing is these tyres are not made for cooling down and going again.”
“Me and Nico saved the tyres earlier because we maybe knew we couldn’t attack Lewis too much which helped when we restarted but it was incredibly difficult. After a few laps they warm up but at first it was hard,” added the quadruple world champion.
Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo – Sunday, 24 May 2015
|4||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||11.965||12|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||13.608||10|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India||15.013||6|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||25.056||1|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||26.232||0|
|15||Felipe Massa||Williams||1 Lap||0|
|16||Roberto Merhi||Marussia||2 Laps||0|
|17||Will Stevens||Marussia||2 Laps||0|
|Rt||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||DNF||0|