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May 29

F1 2013: Monaco GP Recap

Raikkonen Monaco 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

The Monaco GP is all about glitz glamour and controversy and the 2013 edition didn’t disappoint.  Hit the jump for our thoughts on the oldest race on the F1 schedule and some pictures from the beautiful French RIviera.

Vettel Monaco 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

The Monte Carlo, the mind boggling playground of the 1%,  played host to the 71st running of the Monaco GP last weekend and the historic circuit brought it’s own brand of controversy to an already contentious season.

 

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Tires have been the main focus during the first six races of the 2013 season.  There was much speculation that Monaco’s unique characteristics would de-emphasize the tire deficiencies that many fans and some teams have been complaining about all season.  To an extent this was true, Monaco has been a one stop race for a number of years and this year was no exception.  Pirelli projected that a two stop strategy would be faster but the tight layout of the Monaco GP meant that most teams were on a one stop strategy.

Monaco’s low speeds and tight layout seemed to diminish tire wear and as a result many insiders picked the Monaco GP as Mercedes’ best chance for the top step of the podium.  It came as no surprise that the Mercedes cars were quick from first practice all the way through qualifying with Rosberg and Hamilton locking out the first row for the third time this season.

Rosberg Monaco 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

The real question mark was whether the Mercedes would have race pace.  So far this season, both Rosberg and Hamilton have been great in qualifying but their problems with tire degradation have kept them off the podium at most Grand Prix.  When the flag dropped on Sunday Rosberg led a masterful race from flag to flag and the team appeared to have it’s tire issues under control.

According to some, Rosberg’s success wasn’t just a case of getting to grips with the car.  After the Spanish GP Mercedes took part in a tire test with Pirelli (the details of which are nicely detailed here jamesallenonF1.com) and formal protests filed by Red Bull and Ferrari claim that Mercedes gained an unfair advantage, which led to the Mercedes win in Monaco.

It’s difficult to judge how much Mercedes might have benefited from the testing but the slow pace of the opening laps and the fact that the track itself is easy on tires could easily account for Nico Rosberg’s historic win.  Nico replicated his father Keke Rosberg’s 1983 Monaco victory and they become the first father and son to win at Monaco.

The tire controversy wasn’t the only big news at Monaco.  With it’s bumpy surface and lack of run off, the Monaco GP is a treacherous race.  This year a couple of big names were caught out by the bumps and guardrails of Monaco.

Felipe Massa Monaco 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa crashed the F138 at the entrance of Sainte Devote during Saturday morning’s warm up and as a result he wasn’t able to participate in qualifying.  Massa’s bad luck continued on race day when he crashed in the same place after working his way up to 15th position.  Ferrari later confirmed that the second crash was caused by a mechanical failure with the car.

Not wanting to be out done, Romain Grosjean managed to put his car into the barricades four times over the three days of the Monaco GP.  His final shunt ended both his race and the race of Torro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo; earning Grosjean an 10 place penalty for the upcoming Montreal GP.  Grosjean’s return to F1 has been quite contentious and while he has showed some speed he’s also had enough expensive incidents on track to make us suspect that his future with Lotus and perhaps F1 is tenuous at best.

Kimi Raikkonen Monaco 2013

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

Speaking of Lotus,

Kimi Raikkonen continues his historic run of points finishes.  The dark horse of the 2013 championship contenders Raikkonen was on course for a strong finish until an overly aggressive Sergio Perez collided with the Finn at the Nouvelle Chicane on lap 69.  The resulting collision caused a puncture on Raikkonen’s left rear tire and as a result Kimi dropped from 5th to 16th place. In typical Kimi fashion he then drove back up to 10th place during the closing laps; increasing his streak of consecutive points scoring finishes to 23.

© Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.

With his second place finish at Monaco Sebastian Vettel now leads the driver’s championship with a 21 point advantage.  His rivals will be looking to close that gap when Formula 1 travels to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal in two weeks time.

Until then you can check out all the official Monaco results on the super fancy official F1 site.

http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2013/898/