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26/03/2017 Disaster for the Aussie in Oz.

27/11/2016 Desert Decider - Abu Dhabi 2016

13/11/2016 Into-Lagos!

31/10/2016 Mexico City and the Revolving Third Step

23/10/2016 Star-spangled Hamilton

09/10/2016 The Decisive Race?

02/10/2016 Fiery Twist in Malaysia

18/09/2016 Showdown After Sunset

04/09/2016 Rosberg's Cathedral Domination

28/08/2016 A Champion's Drive

31/07/2016 Mercedes' Glorious Homecoming

24/07/2016 Changing of the Guard: Hungary 2016

10/07/2016 [Un]lucky 7?

03/07/2016 2016 Austrian Grand Prix - Sparks Fly in Spielberg

19/06/2016 Whitewash in Baku

12/06/2016 #LH45 in Montreal

29/05/2016 Hammertime in Monaco!

15/05/2016 Spain 2016 - Dazzling Debut

01/05/2016 2016 Russian GP Review - Rosberg Domination

17/04/2016 2016 Chinese Grand Prix - Rosberg Demonstration

03/04/2016 Bahrain 2016: Stunning Debut.

20/03/2016 2016 Australian Grand Prix Review

29/11/2015 Abu Dhabi 2015 Review

15/11/2015 Brazilian Grand Prix Review

10/11/2015 2015 Russian Grand Prix Review

Older stories here

Hammertime in Monaco!

It's Monaco, baby! And it's the 50th anniversary of McLaren's first Monaco Grand Prix – their first ever F1 race.

Felipe Nasr opened Monaco's qualifying action with an engine failure, forcing him to start from the back of the grid. Max Verstappen joined him in 21st after clouting the barrier in the Swimming Pool Both failed to meet the 107% rule so both only raced at the stewards' discretion. Versappen was forced to start from the pit lane after his wheel fused to the car during practice stops. Having to replace the entire hub assembly was a far larger – and longer – job for Sunday morning. Nasr, having also broken parc ferme, joined him there.

The rest of Q1 passed relatively calmly, with Ericsson, Palmer and the Manor pair falling 17th through to 20th.

Bottas was the biggest name to fall in Q2, at a track where Williams traditionally don't do well: he started 11th with teammate Massa even further down in 14th. Gutierrez and Button divided them, Grosjean and Magnussen holding the 8th row.

Alonso's McLaren ran out of pace in Q3 and he qualified 10th, with Kvyat alongside him. Sainz led Perez on row 4, Hulkenberg beating Raikkonen to 5th. Vettel had to settle for 4th, Hamilton 3rd after a turbulent session, Rosberg 2nd and Daniel Ricciardo taking his first pole position for Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen was dropped to 11th after an unscheduled gearbox change, which promoted Sainz through to Bottas.

Haas was the only team to leave the pits with intermediate tyres on while everyone else did sighters on full wets. That Button and McLaren didn't follow suit with Jenson's wet reputation was a little surprising, but it was soon obvious which tyre was the better for the start.

The rain was pouring with 20 minutes to go, Charlie Whiting threatening to start the race under the Safety Car. This came to fruition quarter of an hour later, as Verstappen lined up in the pit exit.

Kvyat reported an issue already on the opening lap. He did eventually start being overtaken as those behind realised how much time they were losing against the leaders. A steering wheel change didn't reboot the car immediately but he was eventually released, but a lap down. Once out on track the car resumed the same problem again.

Running through the pits seemed to fix whatever the glitch was – allowing Kvyat a chance to run at a respectable speed to catch the pack. At least someone would know what it's like to race in the wet at Monaco.

The Safety Car was called in at the end of lap 7, Kvyat staying at the back since he wasn't in the middle of the pack as a lapped car.

Ricciardo led easily, no change in positions in the top 4. Magnussen bailed at the restart from his lowly position to take intermediate tyres. It was a risk, but it might just pay off.

His teammate promptly went straight on into the first corner, but had a long slide with no front wheels from the look of the wreckage. VSC deployed. Replays showed he opened the throttle on a zebra crossing.

Nasr exiting the pits cut across a Toro Rosso. The Sauber would surely be penalised for an unsafe release. Nasr and Button were now on inters.

Lap 10 saw the race resumed. Hamilton half looked at Rosberg but the tunnel certainly isn't an overtaking spot.

Button was running a full second quicker than the leading pack.

Raikkonen knocked his wing off after the hairpin, dragging his wing into the tunnel under the right front wheel. Grosjean had to do a lot of manoeuvring to avoid him, losing ground while the Ferrari now retired at the Nouvelle Chicane. The incident was to be investigated post-race.

Ricciardo demolished the fastest lap while Rosberg struggled to hold off Hamilton.

Verstappen was the first Red Bull to pit for inters, Vettel following suit in the sole Ferrari shortly afterwards.

Hamilton jumped Rosberg and left his teammate standing in Sainz's sights after Hulkenberg pitted for inters. Replays showed it was Rosberg moving over for his teammate, presumably under instruction from the team.

Bottas cleared a Manor and slid off track, which would force him to yield – except Verstappen immediately made the move properly and Bottas had to let them both through and was lucky to hold off Magnussen.

Rosberg was the first Mercedes pitting for inters, maybe as payment for yielding, maybe Hamilton simply more comfortable on the wets.

Kvyat tried to pass Magnussen at Rassecasse and the two collided. Kvyat's suspension was broken but both managed to reverse out of the wall. Kvyat of course then got no further. The incident went under investigation with Kvyat the focus – a banzai dive into the hairpin is unwise at the best of times.

DRS was enabled as Ricciardo switched to inters, the Red Bull now splitting the Mercedes pair.

News came that Rosberg was struggling with brake problems, hence his slow pace compared to his teammate.

Ricciardo caught up with Hamilton, the inters holding up far better than the wets on the dry line.

Ericsson took the first ever race set of ultrasoft tyres, running them from lap 31. Perez (softs) made the same move, as did Magnussen and Button (softs).

Hamilton took ultrasoft tyres and gave away the lead, while Bottas and Grosjean also pitted. Rosberg followed Hamilton to ultrasoft tyres on the same lap.

Verstappen took the soft tyres, while Vettel jumped Rosberg thanks to Nico being held up by his teammate's stop. The exodus continued, with Ricciardo in a lap after his rivals. The tyres, however, weren't ready and supersofts were raced out as fast as possible but cost him 10 seconds. A rare mistake may have just thrown the race easily towards Mercedes.

Magnussen hit the wall again, this time at Mirabeau and under his own steam. His front wing didn't follow him as he continued. However, the Renault was retired at the end of the lap.

Verstappen crashed at Massenet, losing the right hand side of the car and bringing out the VSC.

Hamilton ran wide, was off-line and Ricciardo got alongside and was nearly rammed into the wall. The stewards were quickly on the case. The stewards concluded Hamilton had done nothing wrong.

Wehrlein was investigated for going too fast under the VSC. He was given a 10-second time penalty. He was then investigated for ignoring blue flags.

Nasr was ordered repeatedly to move over for his teammate and resisted repeatedly. Contact was inevitable, Ericsson drove down the inside into Rassecasse and found the door slammed on him. Nasr was spun and pitted, Ericsson continued having jumped over his teammate's front. The VSC was again launched. Nasr reported a smoking car and his teammate pitted a lap later. Nasr was then back into the pits to retire the car. The incident of course went under investigation, but Ericsson also retired within a couple of laps.

Raikkonen was brought in front of the stewards for breach of FIA driving conduct rather than the actual sporting regulations – presumably for taking a car with no steering into the tunnel.

The VSC was thrown for what looked to me like a camera cover landing on the track.

Another lockup into Massenet saw Ricciardo lose more ground to Hamilton, while Alonso was reporting spots of rain on his visor with just 7 laps to go. Sainz was warned that rain was imminent on the penultimate lap.

Hamilton won from Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Sainz, Button and Massa. Beyond the points were Bottas, Gutierrez, Wehrlein, Grosjean and Haryanto. Ericsson, Nasr, Verstappen, Magnussen, Kvyat, Verstappen and Raikkonen failed to reach the flag. Interestingly, not one of them retired for mechanical reasons.

Wehrlein was demoted to 14th by his penalty.

Post-race investigations have not been concluded at the time of publication.

 

Tufty



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