The Mercedes Formula One team once again dominated the rest of the pack at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, giving more weight to claims that its car could win every race this season.
However, despite winning four races in succession before this one, it wasn’t Lewis Hamilton who stood on the top step of the podium – that honour went to teammate Nico Rosberg.
The race was effectively decided on Saturday, anyway, with Rosberg qualifying on pole ahead of Hamilton. However, the German bagged first spot on the grid in contentious circumstances.
In the final stages of qualifying, on the run down to Mirabeau corner Rosberg locked up his front tyres and, claiming he wouldn’t have been able to make the corner, chose to shoot down the escape road.
As he then reversed out onto the track, this put the yellow flags out, meaning other drivers had to slow their pace and effectively scrap their final qualifying laps.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, Rosberg’s reversing manoeuvre took place just as he was entering this zone of track, meaning he had to abort his final lap – which he was quickest on so far.
After qualifying Hamilton was visibly unimpressed with the alleged tactics of Rosberg. The British driver was careful not to outright accuse him of saboagte, remaining tight lipped and responding with “I’m not saying anything” to the inevitable questions flying in from the media.
He was obviously determined to try and beat Rosberg on Sunday, but with the tight and twisty confines of Monaco proving extremely difficult to overtake at, Hamilton had to settle for second. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo followed them home in third.
Ricciardo’s teammate and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel had a less impressive weekend, retiring in the early stages of the race with turbo failure on his Renault engine. It’s just not going right for the German this year.
Jenson Button, driving for T W White and Sons’ local McLaren squad, had a decent result after some difficult races of late. The Brit crossed the line in sixth with teammate Kevin Magnussen finishing 10th to score some solid points for McLaren.
Ferrari had a mixed day – despite making big claims about knowing they need to improve, and besides Alonso’s fourth place finish, Kimi Raikkonen coming home in 12th is not where the Italian constructor wants to be.
In fact, the second Ferrari was beaten by Jules Bianchi of Marussia, who actually use Ferrari engines, further rubbing salt into the Scuderia’s widening wounds.
It’s still a battle between Mercedes for supremacy, but Rosberg’s win took him back to the top of the drivers’ standings, heading Hamilton by just four points. Credit to Hamilton for being so close after not scoring due to mechanical failure in the first race.