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Hamilton wins incident filled Monaco Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
29/05/2016

It's not an expression you'll often here in Monte Carlo, but it's fair to say, all bets are off.

On Tuesday, UBIMET, the official meteorologist to the FIA, forecast that whilst Thursday and Saturday would be fine, Sunday would be damp.

UBIMET was correct.

Following overnight rain, the downpour has continued for most of the morning, and if nothing else all that rubber laid down over the last few days has been washed away.

Of course, a number of drivers will have been delighted to open their curtains this morning, among them Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Max Verstappen, as the rain not only turns the last couple of days on its head, it also the great leveller, meaning that anything can, and probably will, happen.

Over the years such conditions have provided more than their fair share of unanticipated results, with this track hosting a number of such races. Therefore, the best thing to do today, rather than speculating wildly over what might happen and who might come out on top, is to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Indeed, as McLaren celebrates 50 years since its first Grand Prix, which was here at Monaco, let's not forget that the 1966 event played host not only to the F1 circus but Hollywood as John Frankenheimer was in town filming his epic movie Grand Prix.

Will today's race match the theatrics of Frankenheimer's race? Well, hopefully there is little chance of a car attempting to scale the wall on the exit from the tunnel, just as we are unlikely to see anyone heading out in to the harbour. But might we see an irate team boss jump the straw bales (barriers) to berate a careless driver, telling him "you're finished" right in front of the cameras.

We had something of a Hollywood finish in Spain a couple of weeks back, when Max Verstappen took a historic victory, but might the sport yet provide us with something even more special... a Manor on the podium where Jules Bianchi scored his only points, a first win for an American team since god knows when.

Indeed, could the appearance of a Force India on the podium force Vijay Mallya to come out of hiding.

Who knows?

As if his weekend hasn't been dramatic enough, there's a further late scare for Verstappen when his left-front wheel becomes fused on to its thread during a practice pit stop. When the traditional heavy-handed method (hammer time) fails, the team opts to change the entire hub.

The pitlane opens, and having eased off a little, the rain is now falling a lot harder. One by one the cars emerge, each shod with full wets, though the Haas duo opt for inters. Wisely, a lap later, both Gutierrez and Grosjean, who had a bit of a wobble on his installation lap, switch to full wets.

Despite the dramas, one of the first to emerge is Verstappen, his team having done a superb job in sorting out that errant front wheel.

Sadly - a move never even contemplated in the 1966 movie - it is thought that the race will start behind the safety car.

Indeed, ten minutes before the start it is confirmed that the race will start behind the safety car.

Air temperature is 17 degrees and the track temperature is 19 degrees.

Because the race is starting behind the safety car, for the first time at Monaco, there is no warm-up lap, we are straight in to the 'race'.

"I am stuck in constant speed," complains Kvyat. "What the ****," as he drops down through the field to nineteenth.

At the end of the second lap Kvyat pits, he rejoins in last position. However, it is soon cleat that the issue has not been resolved. "This happens to me all the time," he sighs.

For lap after lap the field follows the safety car, red lights flashing.

"The track is ready now," urges Magnussen as the field begins its sixth lap, "we can start racing. Come on!"

"The spray is much better now," confirms Hamilton, "let's get going."

There's some consolation for Kvyat, as he attempts to catch up with the back of the field he posts the fastest lap (1:54.071).

At the end of lap 6, the safety car pulls off, game on! Magnussen pits for inters.

Moments later the VSC is deployed when Palmer goes into the barriers at Ste Devote, the Briton having had a thoroughly miserable weekend. A massive wobble for Hamilton at the hairpin also.

Replay shows Palmer lost it on the pit straight, on the zebra crossing to be exact, clouting the barriers and then being a passenger all the way to Ste Devote.

Button, Nasr and Kvyat all follow Magnussen's example and pit for inters at the end of lap 8.

At the end of lap 9 the VSC is withdrawn. Hamilton is all over Rosberg who is clearly struggling. Ricciardo is already 4.227s up the road.

Raikkonen is in the barriers at Portier, with Grosjean also seeming to be involved. The Finn subsequently retires at T10, as Ericsson and Haryanto pit.

Replay shows Raikkonen hitting the barrier at the hairpin after locking up with Massa and Grosjean getting caught up in the mayhem after the Finn is unable to remove his car from the barriers.

The stewards are to investigate the Raikkonen incident after the race.

At the end of lap 13, Verstappen pits, as does Vettel, the first of the leaders to do so. The German rejoins in 11th.

Out front, as Hamilton remains frustrated behind his Mercedes teammate, Ricciardo posts a new fastest al p (36.677).

Alonso pits at the end of lap 14, as Sainz has a massive wobble in the Swimming Pool which he does well to control.

As Ricciardo posts another fastest lap (35.946), Hulkenberg and Bottas pit.

Hamilton is suddenly ahead of his Mercedes teammate, the Briton having passed Rosberg on the run up the hill from Ste Devote. By the look of it the German was ordered to move aside.

Check out our Sunday gallery, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by -ape-, 30/05/2016 10:18

"Lewis driving was world class , a well deserved win , after Merc's pit blunder last year. Ricciardo can try the same next year.
"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/05/2016 8:55

"Pleased for Lewis that he managed to win, but you have to feel sorry for Ricciardo. He was bumped out of victory to allow Wonder Boy's "Fairy-tale" win last time out. This time the Team screwed the pooch ruined his chances again.

Daniel seems to be a great guy and is a very fast driver. RBR needs to get its act together and stop focusing on Verstappen who has potential, but is still decidedly rough around the edges. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by TokyoAussie, 30/05/2016 4:15

"Lewis would know all too well what it's like for the team to screw up and cost you a Monaco win (see 2015). This year is apparently Ricciardo's turn, but having it happen 2 races back-to-back is a kick in the gut."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Kkiirmki, 29/05/2016 21:17

"Twice now Mercedes have been gifted wins: one at Melbourne (thanks to Ferrari's terrible tyre strategy) and now at Monaco, thanks to Red Bull's shoddy pit stop work. Mercedes don't need to worry about shooting themselves in the foot (like last week) when their rivals a quite adept at doing it themselves. We certainly can't bemoan Mercedes running away with the championship if this is going to happen throughout the season. "

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5. Posted by JackTheCat, 29/05/2016 20:08

"@ F One, yes he's responsible for world famine and the rise of the Islamic State too. <rolleyes>! Grow up!"

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6. Posted by F One, 29/05/2016 19:29

"Hmmm Hamilton cheats his way to victory then. 2 cuts of the chicane, both times to gain advantage over Ricciardo. Red Bull's stupid pit stop didn't help either."

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