The 2015 Monaco GP was the usual procession at the front until the 65th lap when Mercedes made a very bizarre call to pit Lewis Hamilton for fresh tyres while he was comfortably leading the race when the safety car was deployed for Max Verstappen’s crash on lap 64. The net result being that Hamilton ended up coming back out behind both his team mate, Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third.
The conspiracy theorists will be having a field day; there really was no logical reason for Mercedes to pit Hamilton where track position is all important as overtaking is a tough task with all the armco lining the Monaco circuit. Do I think it was deliberate? no, that would be stupid given Mercedes have just signed the 2014 drivers champion for a further three years, but it was a bad strategic mistake by Mercedes.
Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen who triggered this series of events with his collision with Romain Grosjean had a lively race. First driving into the back of the other Lotus driven by Pastor Maldonado who was having rear brakes issues, damaging his front wing. Then had a terrible pit stop on lap 30, his crew having a tough time reattaching his rear wheels, losing 31 seconds and dropping him to near the back
Over the next 30 laps, Verstappen mounted a resurgence to follow Vettel through past his team mate, Carlos Sainz and Williams’ Valteri Bottas as Sainz and Bottas moved aside to let Vettel lap them. But Grosjean had been warned over the radio about this tactic and the Frenchman pushed Verstappen wide around the outside of the hairpin after letting Vettel through, which ultimately led to the crash between the two drivers and Verstappen’s retirement and subsequent safety car 14 laps from the chequered flag.
The second black mark for me was Red Bull’s decision to have Danill Kyvat move aside for Daniel Ricciardo as the Australian was faster; only to have Ricciardo give the position back when it was apparent that he was not fast enough to overtake Hamilton’s Mercedes. In my view these sort of shenanigans ruin the race and damage the image of F1, this is supposed to be motor racing, not synchronized driving!
Ricciardo employed “not nice” tactics according to Raikkonen to get onto his team mate’s gearbox, the Australian nerfed Kimi Raikkonen wide at Mirabeau, but at the same time, Raikkonen did not allow enough room for Ricciardo so I guess the stewards deemed it a racing incident and took no further action.
On the flipside, a big positive for me personally is that Jenson Button scored Mclaren Honda’s first points in more than two decades finishing the race in eighth place, while team mate Fernando Alonso suffered another mechanical issue retiring his car on lap 43 with overheating which caused gearbox failure.
Force India’s Sergio Perez and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr had solid if very anonymous races to finish in seventh and ninth respectively while Toro’s Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who started from the pit-lane and later got caught napping by Verstappen, claimed the final point after his team mates collision with Grosjean.
Lewis Hamilton was clearly downbeat after the race after driving a flawlessly from the front until the ill fated decision to pull him in for a third set of tyres. Hamilton stopped on track for a while during his in-lap after the chequered flag, probably to collect his thoughts before continuing to Parc Ferme and remained calm in post race interviews, I’m not sure I would have remained calm after such an incident.
2015 Monaco Grand Prix Results
1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:49:18.420
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +4.4
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +6
4. Daniil Kyvat (Red Bull) +11.9
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +13.6
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +14.3
7. Sergio Perez (Force India) +15
8. Jenson Button (McLaren) +16
9. Felipe Nasr (Sauber) +23.6
10. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) +25