Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nico Rosberg Claims 3rd Monaco Grand Prix in Half-Blundered Mercedes AMG Outing

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

What is commonly regarded as the Formula 1 circuit's most prestigious event, the Monaco Grand Prix twist and turns through the streets of Monte Carlo surrounded by extravagance. A race dating back to 1929, the historic event is one of the slowest for grand prix cars in the season. With Formula 1 teams dealing with less dependence on engine horsepower and overall speed, the circuit presents an equalizing circumstance where some of the smaller teams can compete closely to Mercedes AMG and Ferrari. However, at the end of the 78 laps, the Monaco Grand Prix hosted yet another fine performance by the Mercedes AMG team during the early part of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

The Mercedes AMG team captured the front row spots in qualifying for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton clocked a lap of 1-minute, 15.098 seconds to convincing claim the pole making it his fifth pole in six qualifying attempts for 2015. Having won the race on the streets of Monte Carlo with McLaren in 2008, Hamilton held onto the lead through much of this year's race. When 78 laps concluded on the streets of Monte Carlo, the outcome of the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix could be measured as a race Lewis Hamilton had to lose before Rosberg could win.

For what is guaranteed to be debated as a controversial call through remainder of the 2015 Formula 1 season as Hamilton battles for a second-straight world championship, the Mercedes AMG team chose to divide pit strategies between their race cars. With minimal tire wear, a one pit stop strategy was utilized by many drivers and teams. Leading handsomely in the late stages of the grand prix by around 10 seconds over teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton's race was shaped in the events following a crash involving Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean. As a safety car was entering the circuit, Mercedes AMG decided to pit the #44 car of Hamilton for fresh supersoft Pirelli tires. Expecting to come out second behind Rosberg, Hamilton rejoined the field in third as the Ferrari driven by Sebastian Vettel snuck by the #44 Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid. When the race restarted at the end of lap 70, Hamilton's newer tires were not enough of an advantage to contend for the win.


Winning his third-straight Monaco Grand Prix, Germany's Nico Rosberg captured his second-consecutive victory of the 2015 season finishing 4.486 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. With the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix win, the Mercedes AMG driver joined highly exclusive company as a winner of three-consecutive streets of Monte Carlo triumphs. Graham Hill, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna also completed the feat during their careers. Rosberg's effort has again shown a strong potential for the driver to obtain one thing that currently separates him from the other streak winners of the Monaco Grand Prix; a Formula 1 drivers' championship.

The choice of winner Nico Rosberg and second-place Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes AMG decision to place their #44 car driven by Lewis Hamilton on a two-stop plan was clearly a mistake. "I can’t express the way I feel at the moment. I saw the team out in the pit-lane on one of the screens and thought Nico was pitting. I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same. This is a race that’s been close to my heart for years and it’s special to me, so I really wanted to win. The team have been brilliant all year, so I don’t blame them." said Lewis Hamilton in post-race. A mistake that cost Hamilton an almost certain second win on the streets of Monte Carlo, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff publicly apologized to Hamilton for the race-changing decision in post-race. "But this is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here. What happened? In simple terms, we got our numbers wrong.", said Wolff citing a miscalculation of Hamilton's position on the track as the reason for the miscue.

Fouled-up pit planning notwithstanding, Mercedes AMG is still living in the fast lane of the grand prix tour with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. So far this Formula 1 season, Hamilton and Rosberg can claimed podium finishes in all the grand prix events for 2015. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has been the closest challenger to the Mercedes AMG team so far. Splitting the Silver Arrows at Monaco has given the German his fifth podium in six races.


Aside from the fight at the front, the late-race crash was also a talking point following the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix. After battling for several laps, Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso slammed into the rear of the Lotus-Mercedes driven by Romain Grosjean. Both drivers were competing for championship points in the race when the incident happened that was ultimately judged to be Verstappen's fault by the FIA. Following the ruling, Verstappen has been vocal in an argument that Grosjean brake-checkered him causing an unavoidable accident. However, Grosjean has refuted to claim that has been supported by the FIA investigation. For the next race in Canada, Max Verstappen will receive a five-grid position penalty after qualifying.    

As is often the case with the narrow street course event, the Monaco Grand Prix produced some desperately-needed good performances for several drivers and teams. Undergoing a rough transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing for 2015, Russian driver Daniil Kvyat recorded a career-best fourth place result. Kvyat finished one position ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull-Renault. A past Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion, it may be hard to attempt the importance of an eighth-place finish for Jenson Button but it was meaningful for the 2015 season. Button and teammate Fernando Alonso are veteran drivers for McLaren as the team works to iron out the bugs to the all-new Honda hybrid power unit. The eighth-place result was the first time this season that the McLaren-Honda finished in a points-paying position. For Alonso, the Monaco Grand Prix was his third DNF of 2015.

Next for the Formula 1 tour is the first of three stops on the North American continent for 2015. The Canadian Grand Prix is set for Sunday June 7th.

2015 Formula 1

Monaco Grand Prix

Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
4 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
6 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
8 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
9 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
10 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes-Benz
13 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
15 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
16 98 Roberto Merhi Manor Marussia Ferrari
17 28 Will Stevens Manor Marussia Ferrari
18 33 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
19 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
20 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Mercedes-Benz

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