Mercedes Botches Hamilton’s Race, Hands Rosberg The Win In Monaco [79 Pics]

Yesterday’s Monaco Grand Prix was looking pretty boring until Toro Rosso‘s Verstappen misjudged an overtaking maneuver which resulted in a massive crash.

We actually had live on-board footage of that crash and it was seriously scary – but what followed was perhaps even more dramatic.

Mercedes went and pulled Lewis Hamilton into the pits after the safety car came on, thinking that they had enough of a lead over Rosberg and Vettel. They were completely wrong on that one and they ended up handing the win to Rosberg as Lewis couldn’t have been more angry.

In fact, as the cars were stopping on the track after the checkered flag, Lewis drove his Mercedes into the ‘P3 sign’ that was waiting for him on the grid, knocking it down. I’m surprised the commentators didn’t pick up on that as it happened.

Up until then, it had been a pretty straightforward race for Lewis who led start to finish. He had a great start and pulled away from his teammate who was almost holding up Vettel during the first couple of laps.

Red Bull bounced back from their slump to finish P4 and P5 with Kvyat and Ricciardo respectively while McLaren finally got their first points in 2015 with a P8 finish for Jenson Button.

Fernando Alonso had to retire on lap 42 because of a gearbox issue, but up until then, both Honda-powered cars were in the points and were running competitively.

Speaking of slumps, Williams had their worst race of the year with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finishing P14 and P15 – complaining about a lack of traction, even though Massa was taken off by Hulkenberg on the opening hap and had to come into the pits to get a new nose.

Overall, Monaco turned out to be a lot more exciting than probably anybody thought. It’s so hard to overtake, and hearing Lewis Hamilton communicate via team radio “I’ve just lost this race, haven’t I?” to his engineer after Mercedes screwed up, was quite unexpected. He knew there was no way to overtake either Vettel or Rosberg and he stated that after a few laps of trying.

Lewis backed off Vettel during the final 2 laps and started to defend against the surging Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo – the Aussie driver couldn’t get past Hamilton so he had to pull back and allow Kvyat to overtake him (since Kvyat let Ricciardo get by him because his tires were newer).

Right now, Rosberg sits just 10 points behind Hamilton in the Driver Standings and with the Canadian Grand Prix coming up in two weeks time, anything could happen.

10 Random Things We’ve Noticed

– Early on after Hulkenberg’s crash, he didn’t realize that he had to back his car off a bit more in order to avoid driving over his own front wing..which he did, and got himself stuck for a bit because of it. That was a little bit funny.

– It’s kind of hard not to root for McLaren this year, especially when they’re actually being competitive with the middle of the pack. But you know what, those two rookie drivers from Toro Rosso are extremely talented. Perhaps Verstappen a little bit more than Sainz – he seems to have more fight in him.

– Speaking of Verstappen, we have to talk about that crash because it was brutal. Good thing he hit a protective surface because had that have been a hard surface, a wall or even a tire wall, it could have been bad, really really bad. But it just goes to show how well designed these F1 cars are.

– Rubbish penalty call on Alonso! They gave him 5 seconds for what? Making contact with Hulkenberg while locking up under braking and while on the inside? Sure, a rule is a rule but it’s a dumb rule if you ask me. He had the interior and so Hulkenberg should have accounted for any possible mistake by Alonso. Of course in the end it didn’t matter since the McLaren driver had to retire from the race. But still!

– Interesting sequence during the pit stops as Vettel fails to undercut Rosberg on lap 38 but Raikkonen does undercut Ricciardo. So that’s a nice 1 for 2 for Ferrari.

– About Raikkonen. He was almost invisible during the race but ended up with a solid P6 finish. If they manage to get the car set up better for him, he might start to challenge Vettel at..challenging Mercedes, if that makes any sense.

– Back to Toro Rosso and Max Verstappen for a bit. The 17 year old Dutch driver was arguably the biggest star of the day in Monaco. He was going hard at the beginning of the race, taking 7th when Perez pitted, but had to fight his way back into the points after there was a problem with his right rear wheel. The extra-long pit stop cost him 27 seconds yet thanks to a sweet set of supersoft tires, he drove the wheels of the car back into the points, before he unfortunately went over Grosjean’s rear wheel under braking in Turn 1 and had that huge accident that caused Mercedes to screw up Lewis’ strategy and hand the win to his teammate.

– Remember Marussia? Both their cars finished the race (again) and Roberto Merhi finally finished ahead of his teammate Will Stevens. Yeah, that’s all we have to say about this one.

– What do we have to do to get our own names on the sides of those Lotus cars? In the previous race, they had Mad Max written on the side pods (an awesome action-packed movie by the way!) and this weekend it was ‘Pharrell Willaims’. Really guys? Pharrell? What’s next, Taylor Swift?

Sauber had a quiet yet efficient race with Felipe Nasr driving the heck out of that C34. He made up a few places during the first lap and in the end came away with two points as he finished P9. If only they could be more consistent.

Monte Carlo Race Results

1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
7. Sergio Perez, Force India
8. Jenson Button, McLaren
9. Felipe Nasr, Sauber
10. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
11. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
12. Romain Grosjean, Lotus
13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
14. Valtteri Bottas, Williams
15. Felipe Massa, Williams
16. Roberto Merhi, Marussia
17. Will Stevens, Marussia

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