Monday 19 March 2018 / 06:05 AM


Round 6 of the Formula 1 season took place at the iconic Circuit de Monaco, regarded as the jewel in the F1 crown and for the second year in a row, provided plenty of controversy amongst the front runners.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was absent from this race as he was taking part in an Indycar race. His seat was filled by Jenson Button, who retired at the end of last season. Day 1 saw Free Practice go virtually without incident. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg only managed three laps before an electrical problem retired his car. Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber also got 3 laps in before gearbox issues ended his session early. Championship leaders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel set the pace with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen right on their tails. FP2 saw Jolyon Palmer’s Renault engine break down after just 8 laps, but the bigger issue came from Mercedes who modified settings on both cars which hampered both vehicles, Hamilton going from fastest in FP 1 to 8th in FP2.

Free Practice 3 on day 2 saw all cars complete plenty of laps with no mechanical issues or crashes. Mercedes attempts to rectify the settings changes provided a moderate improvement, however Hamilton’s car remained heavily impacted. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel both set blistering times with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen just off the pace. The Toro Rosso’s and McLarens were also very impressive.

The biggest shock of the two days came in qualifying when Lewis Hamilton failed to make it to Q3 while struggling with the car. He was setting a good time that would’ve put him into Q3 but before he could finish the lap, Stoffel Vandoorne crashed his McLaren just in front of Hamilton which caused a yellow flag and Lewis had to abandon his lap, which saw him qualify in 14th. Q3 ended with Kimi Raikkonen picking up his first pole position since 2008. Vettel was 5 hundredths of a second behind with Bottas 0.002 seconds behind Vettel.

Raikkonen and Vettel got off to great starts with Kimi maintaining the lead up until his pit stop on lap 34 as a direct response to Bottas and Verstappen having pitted in the two laps prior. This saw Vettel claim the lead with Ricciardo slotting in at second place. Ricciardo then pitted and rejoined the race just in front of Bottas and Verstappen, his overcut gaining him two places. Vettel pitted the following lap, 5 laps after his team mate and managed to come back out on the track narrowly in front of Raikkonen, allowing Vettel to retain the lead, with his overcut allowing him to take the lead in a somewhat controversial move, as it appeared to hand Vettel the win so as to further extend his lead over Hamilton in the Championship.

A crash in the last quarter of the race when Button ran up the inside of Wehrlein, saw the Sauber flip onto its side and hit the wall. Wehrlein emerged unscathed while Button’s car was retired. This saw the safety come out for several laps which helped close the field right up. Vettel managed to hold on for the win from his unhappy team mate Raikkonen while Ricciardo held off Bottas and Verstappen to claim the final podium place. Hamilton managed to finish in the points, coming home in 7th place. 7 of the 20 cars ended up being retired.

Final Standings (Top 10)
1 – Vettel (Ferrari)
2 – Raikkonen (Ferrari)
3 – Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4 – Bottas (Mercedes)
5 – Verstappen (Red Bull)
6 – Sainz (Toro Rosso)
7 – Hamilton (Mercedes)
8 – Grosjean (Haas)
9 – Massa (Williams)
10 – Magnussen (Haas)

Drivers Championship (Top 10)
1 – Vettel – 129
2 – Hamilton – 104
3 – Bottas – 75
4 – Raikkonen – 67
5 – Ricciardo – 52
6 – Verstappen – 45
7 – Perez – 34
8 – Sainz – 25
9 – Massa – 20
10 – Ocon – 19

Constructors Championship
1 – Ferrari – 196
2 – Mercedes – 179
3 – Red Bull – 97
4 – Force India – 53
5 – Toro Rosso – 29
6 – Williams – 20
7 – Renault – 14
8 – Haas – 14
9 – Sauber – 4
10 – McLaren – 0

[YouTube – Formula 1]


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About the author

Andrew Ferguson

A rugby league historian and stats buff – most notably as the brains behind the phenomenal Rugby League Project resource – Melbourne-based Andrew has written extensively for Rugby League Review and the Men of League magazine, and is a valued addition to CBS’s rugby league stable.

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