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Featured Monaco GP Debrief: Hamilton gets lucky 44 after Ricciardo’s Pit-Stop Disaster

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, May 30, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    Making the most of an epic pit-stop blunder from Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton was able to reignite his championship challenge at the Circuit de Monaco

    Having opened the season with five races where everything seemed to go against him, Lewis Hamilton finally had things go very, very right.

    Putting together the sort of drive that made him a three-time world champion, Hamilton came from third on the grid to beat Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in one of the most exciting Monaco races in recent memory.

    Ricciardo was a considerable favourite after delivering a stunning lap for pole on Saturday, and commanded early proceedings as the race started under wet conditions. However, his hopes of a first win since 2014 went up in flames after a disastrous second pit-stop saw him wait for an extra ten seconds in his box as his mechanics had failed to provide new tyres. From then on it was all Hamilton, who put-together an incredible 47-lap stint on ultra-soft tyres to take the victory.

    Adding to the day’s excitement was an even-more-unlikely podium for Force India’s Sergio Perez, putting the exclamation mark on a race that lived up to the race’s rarely-met expectations. Read on for a look at each of the top three’s equally notable outings at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.

    hamricmonaco.jpg Hamilton rides ultra-softs to improbable victory

    What a difference a year makes.

    In 2015, the Monaco Grand Prix was where it all went wrong for Lewis Hamilton. Under a late safety car, the decision was made to pit Hamilton from the lead, which due to a miscalculation of his gap to the cars behind him, saw him fall all the way to third as teammate Nico Rosberg went on to snatch the victory. In the post-race ceremony, Hamilton looked like a man who couldn’t escape the scene of the crime fast enough – come 2016, the Brit must feel like he has just gotten away with murder.

    It wasn’t just that Hamilton was gifted the lead thanks to the cock-up at Red Bull, but that he was put in a position to seize that opportunity thanks to the misfortune that befell the second-placed Rosberg. Suffering issues with brake temperature that left him well off leader Ricciardo’s pace, the German was quick to move aside just 16 laps into the race – for all the animosity that crops up between those two, it was nice to see such fair play, especially as Hamilton made sure it paid off.

    That’s because Ricciardo and Rosberg aside, Hamilton was absolutely superb in this race. You could argue that twice, Hamilton was disadvantaged by his tyre strategy, first staying on wets while almost everyone else went to inters – somehow not just making them last, but managing to match them for pace – and then taking a pair of ultra-softs 47 laps to the end of the race. It wasn’t just that his ultras well-outlived their expected life either, but that he was able to set the fastest time on them 39 laps into his stint – Ricciardo may feel robbed of a win, but getting that much extra out of such a set is just as criminal.

    Certainly, Sunday was a big morale booster for Hamilton, but it’s not all sunshine from here onwards. Saturday’s quali showed exactly why he still has plenty of cause for concern – both in terms of Rosberg’s pace and his own car’s reliability. And yet, being able to seize this opportunity in such commanding fashion will have him looking to close the gap in a title fight that with Rosberg’s eventual seventh-place (something tells me Lewis might owe Nico Hulkenberg a beer), has finally come to life.

    ricpitmonaco.JPG More doom and gloom for the Honey Badger

    It’s safe to say it hasn’t been a good past two races for Daniel Ricciardo.

    After losing the lead only to watch teammate Max Verstappen claim victory in Barcelona, the motorsport gods were happy to follow up that gut punch with their equivalent of a nut shot in Monaco.

    The story of the stop that blew Ricciardo’s race is pretty simple: the pit wall made the decision to change him to super-softs in what team principal Horner called “plenty of time”, however his mechanics had none readily at hand, which is why the Australian was left sitting in his box as the race slipped away.

    Ricciardo clearly didn’t take it well – his customarily upbeat demeanour reduced to a Hamilton-esque sourness in the post-race ceremony – and that certainly wasn’t helped by the somewhat-controversial move of Hamilton’s out of the nouvelle chicane on lap 37, as the Australian nearly went spinning into the barriers after having his attempt at retaking the lead was ruthlessly blocked. Leaving just enough space to avoid a penalty, Ricciardo was never able to recover, and thus we now have lots of pictures of a very grumpy honey badger.

    So after having the rug pulled out from under him on two consecutive occasions, is there any consolation for Ricciardo? He certainly demonstrated on Saturday how well he can drive with a little added motivation, taking a very impressive pole, and perhaps that carries over to Canada. Moreover, in reaching what is a definite “low point” perhaps the “bright side” is that at just 26, he’s already built the foundations of a very solid career. You’ve got to be good enough to go through both highs and lows, as all the current legends of the sport very well know. In the end this is a team sport, and today, the team missed its mark. It’s understandable – particularly in the current Mercedes-dominated era – that Ricciardo would be so dejected at missing this chance, but the way he’s driving right now, it’s unlikely to be his last.

    perezmonaco.jpg Perez produces Monaco masterclass

    Consider this your yearly reminder that Sergio Perez is a seriously talented racing driver.

    Making 2016 the third-straight year the Mexican has reached a Grand Prix podium, Perez once again demonstrated the race-craft that once made him one of Formula 1’s most sought-after young drivers.

    Bahrain 2014, Russia 2015, Perez added Monaco to the list with a quintessential drive around the principality. There was no spectacular pass to be had, but Perez simply drove the perfect race: banging in consistently fast laps, pouncing during the pit-windows and making no mistakes. A well-deserved podium if there ever was one.

    The question now is – as it has been after each of his Force India podiums: are we going to see Perez in a big team ever again? Since leaving McLaren after just one year in 2013, the Mexican has developed a reputation as a driver who performs best when given a whiff of the podium. Over the course of a whole season, perhaps he cedes the spotlight to teammate Nico Hulkenberg a little too often, and that could hurt him if a Ferrari or Williams desires consistency in their next hires, but few can go from the unremarkable to the spectacular like Perez, and that will continue to keep him on their shortlist. Who knows? If he rises to the occasion a few more times over the rest of this season, he could very well be at the top of it.

    Is Hamilton now the in-form Mercedes driver? Was Ricciardo unjustly deprived of a victory? Has Perez done enough to earn a look from one of F1’s bigger teams? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2016
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  2. Tim.E


    This is what just a few drivers thought of Ricciardo's pitting incident.
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  3. Yeah, well after an almost embarrassingly superior qualifying lap like Ricciardo produced I'd be grinning in relief at the pit incompetence to.
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  4. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    To me, the race-craft award goes to Hamilton for shutting the door on Ricciardo...twice. Not blocking, but surely a talent that is very very rare. Ask Rosberg.
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  5. Dan Allen

    Dan Allen
    I am the Pastor Maldonado of RaceDepartment.

    EDIT: Unnecessary flaming.
  6. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    Agree 100%.
    Ricardo's pit blunder aside, that drive from Hamilton was truly one for the ages. Stunning stuff!
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  7. Same thing happened to Hamilton last year. Hamilton's situation was even worse since they called him in at the worst time.
  8. Michael Watts

    Michael Watts
    XB1 Gamertag: michaei watts Premium

    I don't think I could make softs last 47 laps.. that is ridiculous on what is considered the most challenging track in the world.
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  9. Reggie Blain

    Reggie Blain

    Congrats to Hamilton and Mercedes for an Amazing drive and Strategy, Bad luck for Ricciardo and Red Bull... At the end of the day F1 is a team sport and Red Bull let Ricciardo down... Mercedes put them under pressure with there Strategy and they made a Rookie Mistake!!!! Amazing drive by Lewis after being stuck behind Rosberg at the start of the Race and Making the Ultra soft Tyre last for that many laps

    well deserved WIN
  10. Qazdar Karim

    Qazdar Karim

    Monaco has a smooth surface and slow corners + the low temps that day, so tyres are not really stressed on that track, UltraSofts wouldn't last 5 laps on the spanish circuit for example :)
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  11. Sean Rogers

    Sean Rogers
    TinShedRacing Premium

    Perez was more impressive in the Force India to finish 3rd than Hamilton to was to win. Danny Ric was my driver of the Grand Prix weekend, he was smashing them.
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  12. Lewis brought up the idea of pitting to the team, not the other way around. It was very disappointing to learn that because the way he conducted himself made it seem like it was 100% the team's fault.
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  13. I might have missed that but you'd think they would do their job and inform him that it was a bad idea.
  14. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    Actually it was both the teams and the drivers fault.
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  15. My impressions from Monaco

    First of all, most importantly, it was competitive enough to keep my interest for the whole race. For the first time this season. Mercedes dominating is not necessarily boring, but Mercedes dominating with only one of their cars capable of winning definitely is.

    Hamilton - good drive, a bit of luck thrown in. Nobody can deny him that this season.

    Ricciardo - good drive, good weekend. But was he 'smashing them'? He put in a good quali lap, but one of his main competitiors was slightly compromised and maybe didn't get the chance to go as fast as he could. Also if he was 'smashing them' how come Hamilton set fastest race lap, towards the end, on tyres that surely wouldn't have been in as good condition as Ricciardo's?
  16. Boby Kim

    Boby Kim
    There is no spoon...

    Pretty good race from Hamilton. The way he managed those ultra softs was amazing. But the driver of the race for me is Max...eh... i mean Perez. The pace was just amazing. Hopefully they can continue this performance during the rest of the season. Lets roll to Canada.
  17. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    maybe because he was the one dictating the tempo, and not Ricciardo? the dude was stuck for like the entire race after his pitstop for inters
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  18. I get your point - but not quite the whole race, he started dropping back a bit towards the end, I'd say a 4 or 5 second gap for the last few laps - enough space to put in a lap.

    But, by then, there would be a 'but what's the point' argument. Last few laps, close enough to benefit if anything goes wrong for Hamilton - maybe he didn't do anything faster because, by then, there was just no point. By that time, the priority was finishing second, not heroics or stats.

    There are unanswered questions, enough for me to think that Ricciardo and Hamilton - Checo too - had excellent races, but to pick one out as having dominated the others is unwarranted and perhaps inaccurate.
  19. It could be Ricciardo's tires got worn out chasing for so long. And the one time Lewis made a mistake and squibbled all over to keep his position, Ricciardo was actively denied.

    Well, I don't disagree. Lewis made the call and the team didn't actively question it, it was just the engineer confirming in a dubious tone.
  20. But what did Kimi, he just said that eat your penalty i'm tired zzZZZzzz...and hit the railing.
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