Monaco – Today’s 2014 Monaco Grand Prix was all for Nico Rosberg from the start of the day. His British teammate Lewis Hamilton, who for the past few races had been in front of the German, had trouble from the start in passing Rosberg. For one thing, Rosberg had a fantastic start off of the grid. Another was the incident at Lap 65, where Hamilton radioed to the team, “I can’t see out of my left eye – I’ve got some dirt or something in my eye.” In general, Hamilton’s misfortune today was Rosberg’s good weather, with the German winning his second Monaco Grand Prix in a row.
From the very start, the race proved to be typical of this circuit, with a plethora of safety car appearances, retirements, and break downs. At the starting grid, Lotus’ Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire. He was quickly followed by Force India’s Sergio Pérez (MEX), who crashed during Lap 1.
On Lap 5, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel’s (GER) ills of 2014 returned in full force, resulting in his own retirement due to a transmission failure. He was followed at Lap 10 by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (RUS), who had mechanical issues. At Lap 23, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil (GER), who had been making some excellent passes on the inside, crashed into the wall just before the chicane, resulting in his own retirement.
At lap 50, the engine of the Toro Rosso of Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA) caught fire, resulting in it smoking to a stop just after the tunnel. He was joined at Lap 55 by Valtteri Bottas, whose Williams began to smoke at the hairpin. At Lap 62 the last Sauber of the field to not retire, driven by Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, crashed into the wall, resulting in a puncture in the back right tyre.
Of the 14 drivers remaining, only the three on the podium, Rosberg, Hamilton, and Ricciardo, along with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, were not lapped. According to Tom Clarkson of the BBC, Kimi Räikkönen went in for a pit stop at Lap 61, dropping him down from 3rd place due to a puncture with Max Chilton of Marussia. Chilton would finish in 14th, whilst Räikkönen came in 12th. Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) finished in 13th place, between the Briton and the Finn. Caterham’s rookie Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson finished in 11th, the highest of the non-points scoring positions.
On the topic of points scoring, today is a day to celebrate for Marussia and their fans around the world. Their driver Jules Bianchi finished in 9th, scoring the team’s first two world championship points. The question remains as of 10.11 Chicago (15.11 London, 16.11 Monaco) as to whether or not the FIA will take away Bianchi’s points, as he appeared, at least according to the TV feed, to have served a 5 second stop-and-go penalty that was awarded to him, which he served during one of the late safety car laps, an act which is technically against the rules of the sport.
Thankfully for McLaren, both of their drivers finished with points, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) finishing in 10th and Jenson Button (GBR) in 6th. Between them came Williams’ Felipe Massa (BRA) in 7th, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean (FRA) in 8th, and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi (FRA) in 9th. Fourth place was held by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (ESP), with 5th by Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg (GER).
This year’s Monaco Grand Prix was certainly an eventful one, progressing the rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg ever further on. I have no doubt that Mercedes will continue to dominate the 2014 season, however it seems that there is a new face at Red Bull on the up. Ricciardo is on the rise.