Formula 1 | 5 things we learned from Monaco 2017
By Thomas Dodd
- Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claims his third win of the season around streets of Monte Carlo.
- German finishes ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari accused of switching their drivers in pit stops.
- Lewis Hamilton can only finish 7th after disastrous qualifying saw him line up 13th.
MONACO, MONTE-CARLO – It was pretty much a perfect weekend for Ferrari in Monaco, unless your name is Kimi Raikkonen. That and more in our five things we learned from round six of the 2017 Formula 1 world championship.
Sebastian Vettel is number one at Ferrari
It was mooted as being the case earlier in the season but Monaco showed, despite Ferrari’s best attempts to deny it, that the German four-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel has priority at the Scuderia. Kimi Raikkonen made a better start from pole and was in control of a race where the Prancing Horses distanced themselves from the rest around the streets of the principality. But the Finn’s strategy, ultimately decided by the team, was not one of a race winner, and Vettel was able to leapfrog his team mate in the pit stops. Ferrari said there was nothing doing, but Kimi’s face on the podium said it all.
We love Fernando Alonso, and we miss Jenson Button
Support for Fernando Alonso, perhaps out of sympathy in recent years more than anything else, has grown. The Spaniard, who was in Indianapolis for the Indy500, came over the team radio to his former McLaren team-mate just before the start to wish him good luck. “Look after my car” said Alonso. “I’m going to pee in your seat,” came the reply from Button. A wonderfully light-hearted exchange between two drivers already well engraved in F1 folklore. The Briton’s 9th place in Qualifying was something quite special on his racing return (though he would start from the pit lane after a penalty) and his weekend ended in disappointment after tipping Pascal Wehrlein into the barriers.
Qualifying still key at Monaco
Monte Carlo is called the jewel in F1’s crown, and it looks as though that’s enough for everyone. Once again, fans were shown a near procession around the most restricting, albeit unique, racetracks of the world. Hamilton was perhaps hit hardest, after being caught out by yellow flags in qualifying, the Briton was always going to struggle to make an impact in a dry race from 13th on the grid. With all the front-runners disappearing up the road in the early stages, the Mercedes driver struggled to make an impact through the midfield and had to settle for a seventh placed finish behind Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz.
Anothxder tough weekend for Lance Stroll
Six races in and it’s starting to look like Lance Stroll may have bitten off more than he can chew in Formula 1. In fairness Williams did not have a competitive package in the South of France, but it was the nature of the mistakes from the Canadian which once again made us question if he can hack it on the grid. A trip into the barriers on Thursday afternoon gave his team more re-building work to do, and he again failed to make any kind of headway in the race, falling well behind Felipe Massa – who himself was way off the pace. Esteban Ocon, the only other Monaco rookie in the field, did not cover himself in glory either – crashing into the barriers for his first retirement of the year. But there is already 19 points between the Force India and Stroll’s Williams in the standings.
The Indy500 was better
No question Alonso’s participation was the reason for the heightened interest in this year’s race – still arguably the most famous in the world – but those who did make a special endeavour to watch it for the first time were exposed to the excitement that the 500 miles around the Indianapolis motor speedway brings every year. Wheel-to-wheel racing and overtaking at over 200mph from start to finish with the added excitement of watching Alonso duel it out with the best oval racers. The Spaniard proved his worth as one of the best racers on the planet, holding the lead at one stage before (ironically) retiring thanks to a blown Honda engine. The winner, Japan’s Takumo Sato (another ex-Formula 1 teammate of Button) was unknown until virtually the very last lap – when was the last time we could say that about a Formula 1 race?
The Canadian Grand Prix takes place between 9-11 June
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