Team-Mate Wars: Monaco

Wednesday 29-May-2013 08:57

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate...

Red Bull Racing
Race: Vettel
Season: Sebastian Vettel 5 - Mark Webber 1
This was supposed to be Mark Webber's manor, the mean streets of Monte Carlo, racing in between the Cartier projects and the Luis Vuitton favelas is traditional Webbo turf. It's no fun if Vettel is quicker. And judging from his reaction on Saturday, Sebastian was so confident he really thought he could have snatched pole. In the race he was all over Hamilton, but such is the expertise and respect between the top guys that they rarely put each other in the barrier - Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Raikkonen are all pretty reliable. That's why Kimi got so agitated when Perez had the audacity to put his car where there was likely to be an accident if he didn't give way. That's not in the grown-up far as he was concerned.

Thankfully for Red Bull they managed to put their anger about the 1000k test aside and get on with the racing. The tyre test is one hell of an issue - the biggest scandal to hit the sport in Jean Todt's tenure as FIA president and one that will reverberate all season long.

Race: Perez
Season: Jenson Button 4 - Sergio Perez 2
Perez may not have finished, but he provided a great deal of excitement. What many people couldn't handle is that it was old-school, difficult overtaking where cars went into corners wheel-to-wheel, on the edge of adhesion, not cruising past easily courtesy of the DRS or the tyre degradation. Button and Perez were equally racy with each other on the opening lap, but it was Perez who won out in the end. And here's the interesting thing for the rest of the season... McLaren have started from so far back they're not in serious contention for either title. But they are gradually creeping closer to the front of races (if the Monaco performance is anything to go by) and so there are going to be more and more instances where Perez mixes it with the Championship contenders. And the Championship contenders are going to have to learn to deal with it better than reacting like a cross between Homer Simpson and a short-arsed Viking.

Race: Rosberg
Season: Lewis Hamilton 3 - Nico Rosberg 3
After he was beaten by Nico again Lewis says he needs to focus on the job in hand and improve. One solution might be to leave the dog at home every race. Lovable though Rosco is, it can only be a distraction. Hamilton has won around Monaco; Rosberg (as we were endlessly reminded at the weekend) has only ever gone to school on its streets. As it was, Lewis deserves a lot of credit for backing off and keeping Vettel at bay at the start when really he could have grabbed the lead into Ste Devote.

As for the business of Hamilton lagging too far behind Rosberg during the pit-stop and coming in too late - there are a whole set of issues about the Safety Car in Monaco that it's difficult to get your head round without knowing the precise detail; from the amount of time it took to be deployed, to the first car it picked up . We've had a lot of timing issues with the official timekeeper this season, so was there something amiss with the delta times as well?

Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 5 - Felipe Massa 1
From the highs of Spain to the misery of Monaco, this was a weekend in which Ferrari were outscored by McLaren and Force India. There was so much odd stuff going on. Hamilton late into the pits, Alonso looking tentative, Massa's car having the same accident for two different reasons, Maldonado almost blocking the track, Jenson not moaning after the race. After Felipe's FP3 accident there was never going to be a contest between the two Scuderia drivers - and as a result everyone got to see the Ferrari floor in great detail as it was hoisted off track. Alonso did carry the fight to Lotus for the restarts, but chose not to go the Perez route.

Race: Raikkonen
Season: Kimi Raikkonen 5 - Romain Grosjean 1
Romain Grosjean's claim that Daniel Ricciardo braked early when he smacked into him at the Nouvelle chicane, was certainly a nouvelle approach. Blame the guy you've just creamed into and whose safety you've just endangered. Romain should have tackled it another way - there is definitely something mesmerising about the Toro Rosso rear wing - look at Jev's rear wing in Singapore. Look at it. It's beautiful, no, no, no, brake. Ooops.

It might have been a line to pursue if there hadn't been a fair amount of 'previous' but with Grosjean you only had to go back to the three Monaco practice sessions for your 'previous'. Presumably none of the corners where he had his solo accidents were to blame... How about blaming Raikkonen instead - that serial grumpiness might be spreading. Kimi was unusually aggressive about Perez in his post-race mumbles. The degree of complicity that Raikkonen required of the two Sauber drivers (at Ste Devote) in his remarkable dash for the line was way above what Perez required of him to stay out of the accident that caused it.

Force India
Race: Sutil
Season: Paul Di Resta 3 - Adrian Sutil 3
Adrian Sutil produced too beautiful vignettes of overtaking moves at the Loew's hairpin. With 78 laps to play with he was careful not to show his hand too early or too regularly in the dash to the inside of the hairpin, so he was able to use the element of surprise (on the first lap, everyone does it). Paul Di Resta got a bum deal from qualifying, but was handed a lifeline when the cars got to change tyres at the re-start. Even so, he'd have preferred to use up that extra set of Inters in qualifying.

Race: Hulkenberg
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 5 - Esteban Gutierrez 1
Sauber's quiet season continued with Hulkenberg on for a token point, until overtaken by a Finnish blur at the end.

Race: Maldonado
Season: Maldonado 4 - Bottas 2
Maldonado threatened to get into Q3 with some stellar laps in practice and qualifying, but where he ended up was a disappointment. His form up to the last minutes of Q2 was really good. It was an extraordinary qualifying session. One minute till the end of Q2 and Grosjean was P1 - one minute after and he was P13.

Toro Rosso
Race: Vergne
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 3 - Jean-Eric Vergne 3
Vergne was mixing it with some exalted company by the end of the race. Toro Rosso definitely look like they have the edge on Sauber and Williams this year, but with Force India now a strong contender at the front, they need all the points they can get when the opportunities arise, because there are few car breakers like Monaco.

Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 6 - Max Chilton 0
Chilton continues to close the gap between himself and Bianchi, and although he finished in a dizzying P14 while Jules retired - Bianchi suffered a host of gremlins and still couldn't be shrugged off.

Race: Van der Garde
Season: Giedo van der Garde 2 - Charles Pic 4
Van der Garde produced a fantastic qualifying performance - but you have to wonder where Heikki Kovalainen could have put that car on Saturday. With such a high attrition rate at Monaco, this is the track where you need to keep the car in one piece to collect that elusive P11 or P12 which means so much at the end of the season. Giedo lost that part of the plot on the opening lap.

The Kimi is Disappointed File: "It was a really disappointing day. Because of one stupid move from Sergio we've lost a lot of points to Sebastian in the Championship and you can't afford to lose ground like that."

Star of the Race
Alonso 2, Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Perez 1, Rosberg 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Vettel 2, Raikkonen 1, Grosjean 1, Alonso 1, Button 1

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Incandescent 2 - Exciting 3 - Dull 1

Sat on the Naughty Step
Maldonado 1, Vettel 1, Gutierrez 1, Van der Garde 1, Hulkenberg 1, Grosjean 1

Media Watch
It was interesting listening to the same overtaking moves being described by two different commentary teams. While James Allen and Allan McNish were fretting a bit about the Button and Perez contact; Ben Edwards and David Coulthard were revelling in it. "If you don't have a go, you'll never know," DC chirped. Flitting between both BBC commentary boxes was the substantial chassis of former Jordan technical director Gary Anderson. After a lifetime in motorsport he's certainly got the hang of the risks of overtaking. "There's only one line through that chicane," worried Gary, "it's either I pass, or you turn in on me and we both crash."
The chicane at Monaco is no different from the chicane at the end of the back straight in Canada. It's a high-speed last minute lunge, and there is an option to cut the chicane. Both places are where you'd expect cars to overtake and where you would expect to have to defend.

Eddie Jordan talking about Nico Rosberg: "He's sorted out the tyre problems he possibly thought he had."

Eddie Jordan talking about Jenson's different teams. "...he doesn't seem as confident as he was when he was with B.A."
Do you want an 'R' with that?

Allan McNish on the Perez versus Button spat: "It's always exciting when two drivers are at it in the same"

Gary Anderson: "That Safety Car came out at the best time and at the worst time."

Andrew Davies

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