Nico Rosberg in Free Practice 3 for the 2013 British Grand Prix

Martin’s Grand Prix Review: Monaco

A chap I know called Martin provides a review of each Grand Prix that succinctly describes the activity that has gone on over the weekend.  I had a chat with him today, and agreed that I would post some here to see if they generate any comment, debate or feedback.  Here is Martin’s Monaco review…

Rosberg wins amid tyre controversy

Bad weekend all round for Grosjean and Massa

 

Monaco is the jewel in the F1 crown, from the plethora of opulent yachts in in the harbour, to the iconic Loews hairpin. Only the rich and the beautiful (these terms do not always go together) come here in person. This year, they saw a very local boy win the race.

 

With the protests from Red Bull and Ferrari ringing around the paddock over the Pirelli and Mercedes tyre testing , the two Mercedes duly put their cars on the front row in a damp qualifying, with Rosberg edging out Hamilton for Pole. The sprint to the first corner is short here, and both Rosberg and Hamilton held off the challenge from the Red Bulls to keep their places. It was clear from the outset that the Mercedes strategy was to drive slowly enough to preserve tyres without allowing the opportunity to pass – lap times were several seconds off normal. The strategy worked up to a point, but at the first pit stops, the Red Bulls managed to get past Hamilton. As expected here, there were several nudges and crunches. The most spectacular were Bianchi’s squeezing of Maldonado which briefly saw the Venezuelan airborne and caused a red flag on the race, and Grosjean’s mistimed crash into the back of Ricciardo. And then there was Perez, trying as best he could to use the tunnel exit into the chicane as a passing place, but managing to annoy Button (again) and Raikkonen with his suicidal lunges. This led to his undoing as he chose to aim for a diminishing gap to pass the Finn which left both cars with Damage. Raikkonen had to pit (he later said Perez should get punched in the face) and dropped from 5th to 13th, though drove brilliantly over the last four laps to regain 10th place and his record of points-scoring finishes. Perez also tried to pit, but when he got to the entrance, there was no room amid the traffic, so he retired instead. Vettel underlined the generally slow pace by chucking in the fastest lap at the end in a time 2 seconds better than the race pace. The weekend was a total mess for Grosjean and Massa. The Frenchman crashed three times in practice, and picked up a 10 place drop for Canada for the crash with Ricciardo. Massa uncharacteristically crashed into the barrier on the start-finish straight in practice and then to prove it wasn’t a fluke, did the same thing at the same place in the race. And so Rosberg – who went to a school within yards of the circuit here – took the win, Vettel and Webber joining him on the podium. Quote of the day is Vettel’s response when asked how they could improve overtaking here – “move a few buildings…”.

 

We move continents to arrive at Canada on June 9th. Somehow, I doubt the Mercedes blocking tactic will work here…

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