Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix 2017

Sebastian Vettel Wins Monaco Grand Prix 2017

This weekend was F1’s “jewel in the crown”, the Monaco GP. My personal belief is that Monaco is hopelessly out of date, no overtaking, position changes are strategic only and bonafide overtakes often end in disaster with the Armco being so close. And today’s race was no different, all position changes were through pit stop strategy and the few attempted on track overtakes ended in contact and retirement.

The start yielded just one overtake, Lewis Hamilton on Stoffel Vandoorne, there was a little wheel to wheel contact between the Red Bulls and Perez sustained front wing damage which forced him to replace it on lap 18, dropping him back from 7th to 16th place. Button and Wehrlein races almost ended in the pits as Sauber released Wehrlein into the path of Button, forcing the Briton to take avoiding action.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo managed to not only leapfrog his teammate, Max Verstappen, but also the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to move into the final podium spot. The Australian managed this feat by pumping in several fastest laps before stopping for the required change of tire compound. Max Verstappen’s reaction over the team radio was not for the easily offended, “what a beep, beep disaster”.

The lead of the race did change on lap 40, in what many, including myself, expected to happen, the old switcheroo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. I fully expected this to happen as soon as I saw Raikkonen had qualified on pole. Raikkonen was pitted on lap 35 while Vettel was allowed to continue for another five laps before pitting allowing the German to return to the track ahead of Raikkonen.

By pitting Raikkonen first, a whole five laps earlier than Vettel;, Ferrari knew that Vettel would be faster with Raikkonen needing to warm his tires for a couple of laps to get them up to operating temperature. If you want even more evidence, just take a look at the Thunder face of Raikkonen on the podium.

Jenson Button put an exclamation point on his F1 career by making an ambitious lunge down the inside of Pascal Wehrlein at Portier, going into the tunnel, tipping the German’s Sauber onto its side. Button, himself made it to the end of the tunnel before darting down the escape road with broken suspension.

Not to be outdone, Sergio Perez made a crazy lunge down the inside of Danill Kvyat for 9th place at La Rascasse, resulting in retirement for Kvyat and another stop for Perez, dropping him out of the points.

So, my final thoughts, it was a typical Monaco Grand Prix, position change by pit lane strategy. Vettel won the race, he claims that there were no team orders, but the manner in which he gained the lead has to be questioned, given the known quantity of slow warm up of fresh tires. Regardless, there is now a 25 point gap between Vettel and Hamilton in the world drivers championship after the Briton’s 7th place finish.

Monaco Grand Prix 2017 Results

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:44:44.340
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +3.145
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +3.745
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +5.517
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +6.199
6. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) +12.038
7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +15.801
8. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +18.150
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) +19.445
10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +21.443

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