Monthly Archives: May 2016

2016 Monaco Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript from the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix Post-Race Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

Drivers: 1 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 – Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), 3 – Sergio Perez (Force India).

PODIUM INTERVIEWS

(Conducted by Martin Brundle)

Q: Lewis, well done. Finally, 44th victory, your favourite number, what a race.

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Thank God that today went the way that I hoped. Big thank you to the fans that came out today, you really made the weekend. Big thank you to my team for providing me with a great car to see it through to the end. Honestly, I’m kind of lost for words really. I prayed for a day like this and it came through, so I feel truly blessed.

Q: You got the wet tyres a long way so that you could put the slicks straight on but you had a long way to go on those tyres from lap 31?

LH: I’m telling you that was the longest run to get there before I stopped for those tyres. It was crazy how long it was and really difficult to understand how much wheelspin you’re allowed, how much you can use the tyres because you don’t know to what end they’re going to go and I think the last lap was the time they were literally just about to drop off, but as I say thank God they stayed on.

Q: Daniel was chasing you hard, especially on the re-starts?

LH: Yeah. Firstly, big congratulations to this guys [Daniel Ricciardo]. He drove phenomenally all weekend. Just one of the best drivers I’ve raced against, really he did a fantastic job today. That was a lot of pressure I was under and it was incredibly close, particularly on those re-starts but he did a phenomenal job. So I’m looking forward to many more battles with him. I’m sure he’s not that happy, since he started pole and it’s never great to start pole and come second, but he should feel proud of the way he drove.

Q: Daniel, the one that got away my friend.

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- Ha! I don’t even want to talk about the race to be honest. Just want to say thanks to the fans, thanks for sticking out this weather. I guess from the outside we put on a show. Shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was to be honest. Two weekends in a row I’ve been screwed now. It sucks. It hurts. But thanks to everyone for sticking it out, I appreciate it.

Q: Any idea? Can you tell us what happened with the missing tyres on that stop?

DR: No. No idea. I was called into the box. I didn’t make the call. I got called. They should have been ready. It hurts. It hurts. I don’t have anything else to say to be honest.

Q: You had a few scary moments with you front brakes locked up as well. You were so quick on the re-starts but obviously it was a challenge all afternoon out there for grip?

DR: Yeah, I think we had the speed. I think we had the speed in the wet on the start. We pulled away, pitted for inters and we put ourselves in a race with Lewis, which we didn’t need to be in. And then the pit stop was the pit stop. I felt that I was the quickest in all conditions but again second place doesn’t show much for it.

Q: You’ve been on fire all weekend; your day will come,

DR: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Q: OK, third place man: Sergio Pérez, you look a very happy man and rightly so.

Sergio Perez (referred here after as SP):- I’m extremely happy because my team has done a tremendous job – with the strategy, with the calls, with the pit stops. It’s been an amazing day for us certainly my favourite podium with the team, so a very special to have it in Monaco, especially in these race conditions. I want to dedicate this podium to our boss Vijay Mallya. He has been very supportive during these times and I really want to dedicate this one to him.

Q: You had Vettel in your mirrors; Seb was there the whole time. You were so fast on those soft tyres.

SP: I think we did the right call. I think the best strategy for us was the soft at the end. I was controlling the pace at the beginning, then Seb, as you say, had a lot of pace, he was a lot faster than us, but then I think I saved my tyres and when I needed to push I had the tyre life. It was amazing race really with all the calls and everything, so I’m extremely happy.

Q: Well done. Finally, back to you Lewis, just 26 [sic] points behind in the world championship. Game on!

LH: Yeah. I haven’t even thought about that just yet. I forgot to congratulate Sergio today – he did an amazing job today to come up from where he was. Of course we’re in the battle. We’re still going. There’s a long, long way to go and just when you feel like when it couldn’t get any worse it gets better, so I think the message from today for everyone is ‘never give up’.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis Hamilton, what a win, one of those Monaco Grand Prix people will talk about for many years to come. Your first win of the season, in fact 24 points behind Nico Rosberg in the world championship, less than a win, he lost a place on the line. The key, clearly, was the decision to delay the pit stop and go directly onto the slick tyres. Just talk us through that whole communication process, because ironically it was a communication process here 12 months ago that did for you the other way and it’s totally come your way this time.

LH: Yeah, I’m massively overwhelmed. It’s been a long time coming to get this win, not only in this season but to get the grand prix win here. This is one the toughest, if not the toughest, races of the year for us. Just so much pressure on all of us. Honestly, yesterday didn’t go well and of course I could only come here today hoping for the best and just making sure I was focused.

But as soon as it rained it just opened up all the doors of opportunity. Fortunately I was quick enough in the wet, as I usually am here. I think with the strategy it was really just about that the track was drying so quick, but unevenly across the lap, so the first and middle sector were drying up really quick and the last sector was going quite slowly. So it was really kind gauging that and I noticed other people when they came out – Nico I heard had pitted and Sebastian and they weren’t lapping much faster than me, if at all. My tyres weren’t really degrading, so I was like “I got to stay out”.

The team were saying we should move but I knew I would drop behind Daniel, so I eked it out as far as I could and luckily right at the end… I switched just at the right time. Coming back out on those slicks, I tell you, it was so slippery for us all. Trying to get temperature into those tyres and quick reflexes for the big snap oversteers you have, so incredibly exciting. And Daniel drove just phenomenally, as I said before. He was all over the back end of my car. I couldn’t really see a huge amount out of my mirrors, because when it rains it gets so dirty.

So trying to defend from him and not always knowing exactly where he was probably one of the toughest if not the toughest races I’ve had for as far as I can remember. Huge respect for him and for the way he drove today and a big, big thank you to the team, especially the new guys on my side of the garage that have taken such a…. it’s been a hard five races to be here, six with yesterday and I think today can take a huge amount of weight off them, knowing that they’ve been doing a great job.

Q: Thank you very much. Daniel, a warm tribute there from Lewis. Clearly they made some moves but there’s no question that on your side there moves that were made that cost you the race. Second race in a row a pit stop has cost you a win. I know you were just looking at the screens there as to the pit stop, the tyres not being ready. Do you understand how that happebed and what are your feelings about the call to come in for inters when you had the race under control in the first place.

DR: Two races in a row, two races in a row. That’s all I can say. We were quick in the wet, we had a comfortable lead, pitted for inters, got stuck behind Lewis and we just effectively put ourselves in a race we didn’t need to be into. Then I got called into the pits for the slicks and the tyres weren’t ready. I didn’t make the call. I didn’t make the late call. I got to the pits and everyone’s running around like headless ‘chooks’.

Massively, massively disappointed. I don’t like being up here being miserable, because I got a podium in Formula One, so it should be a good day, but when it happens two weekends in a row it’s hard to take.

Q: Sergio, coming to you, many congratulations. Lap 31, stopped for slick tyres, clearly a decisive moment for you. Switched on to the soft. That was the key to your podium. Is this your best drive in Formula One – or certainly the most satisfying?

SP: It’s definitely a very special podium. To be in the podium in Monaco, under these conditions… because under normal conditions we wouldn’t make it to the podium in normal pace. We don’t have the pace to do it. Certainly in these conditions it is one of my best races in Formula One. Conditions out there, as Lewis said, were extremely difficult. So easy to make a mistake – at every corner towards the end, every single lap you have to be really focussed. In the dry!

You cannot imagine in that damp conditions. The key… every stop that we had was key for our podium. The first one, by delaying it, I was coming into the pits to fit the Inter tyres and I ask in Turn 15 “how are the Inters doing?” they told me “not that good, it’s your call.” I decided I’d like to go a couple of laps more and that worked really well because we managed to jump Hülkenberg and another one.

That really was key for our race. Then we came together with Sainz into the pits and my team did a fantastic stop, so we managed to overtake him in the pitlane and then the decisive moment was the last one. The last stop. Going to the slick tyre. Pitting one lap before Rosberg and Vettel we managed to jump them and that was very, very good. It was difficult to be out there on the slick tyre and not to make a mistake. Then towards the end I had pressure from Vettel.

I knew it was going to be very long stint on the soft so I was looking after my tyres, especially in these cold conditions. It worked really well. I felt that I had Vettel under control, and it is a fantastic result. For the whole team. Everyone at my team deserves this one. I think we did the best job out there today. For us it means a win, y’know? So very, very pleased, and happy. Yeah, very happy.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Lewis and Daniel. I would like to hear the point of view at each one of you about what happened at the exit of the chicane, when you Daniel tried to overtake Lewis – because Lewis cut the chicane.

DR: From my side, I made a… well I didn’t make a move into the chicane because Lewis defended – but I forced him into defence and by doing so he had a mistake and cut across the chicane, so I came on the radio and said “what’s going to happen here?” Because, yeah, made a mistake and then stayed in the lead. Obviously it was a chance to maybe get the lead for me. So yeah, sure, I questioned it. If he was on his own and made the mistake, fair enough, but obviously he made the mistake through defence and through the battle, so yeah, I’m not sure if they investigated it or not.

Q: They did investigate it, they decided no further action to be taken, during the race. Your side of the story Lewis?

LH: Hard to remember exactly. I think I remember that point. I think I got stuck behind a backmarker or something like that. Got poor traction out of Eight, and Daniel was all over me, so I had to be on the inside line for Turn Ten, I think it was, and being on the inside, it’s a bit more damp than being on the dry line, so locked-up and just missed.

I was aware I wasn’t going to make the full turn and as I did I went off onto the wet patch, with Daniel on the dry track, and coming out I was just on ice. Wet tyres basically, so I was wheel-spinning and sliding on the exit. By the time I’d gained traction, I realised Daniel was kinda… I was ahead but Daniel was right-side of my mirrors, behind my right-rear tyre, so I knew it was close. I don’t feel that I particularly gained an advantage.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to Lewis. What is the most satisfying for you today? Winning? Winning in Monaco, or winning with Nico very far behind you?

LH: I honestly don’t know what happened to Nico today but something must have gone wrong because he backed off for a second, or went slow and I went passed him, as far as I can remember. So he obviously perhaps had something up today. I don’t know what that is yet. But I’ve not thought about Nico until you just mentioned it. Honestly today, I’m sitting here I just can’t believe… whilst being able to brush off the negative of the feeling of the season so far, knowing that we’re that far down and… when you keep falling it’s hard to always come up with innovative ways to keep yourself motivated, to keep yourself… to keep believing.

I’m only human so I think that for everyone we always have battling those demons and those thoughts in your mind and then coming out with a day like today, it just confirms the thoughts, the positive thoughts that I had. To never give up. It’s the same thing my Dad told me when I was seven years old in the boxing ring with some kid punching the lights out of me. Just never give up, keep pushing and eventually you get there. I think today’s just proved again that my Dad was right. So I’ll continue to go with that motto.

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) It was quite exciting to see that all three of you were on three different types of tyres – slick tyres. Lewis, you were on the UltraSoft, Daniel on the SuperSoft and Sergio you were on the Soft – and yet the pace seemed to be quite similar between the three of you. Could you each elaborate a bit on how you chose the tyre for the last stint?

LH: Me personally, I didn’t chose the tyres. It was my choice to stay out on the Extreme tyre. I believed that I could eke it out just be able to do one stop, and when I stopped I assume they thought, being that it was damp, the softer tyre would be the quickest to heat up, to warm-up. As I had Daniel behind me on the SuperSoft, I knew that tyre goes a lot further and I tell you, it was 50 laps, 48 laps or whatever it was and, from the readings they showed us before the race, I didn’t know if it was going to last, particularly with the pace that Daniel had.

So to be able to eke that tyre out. There were lots of ups and downs. Lots of times when you had to push, lots of times when you backed off. Daniel dropped back for a little bit so I could look after the tyres, he picked up the pace so I had to use the tyres. So, for me in the car, incredibly exciting, because it was, like a game of chess. It really was like a game of chess against a fantastic opponent.

Q: Daniel, as you were called in, presumably it was a change of heart of what to put on the car that led to the tyres not being ready today?

DR: Yeah, no idea. No idea, so yeah, I didn’t have any tyres for a long part. Then the Supersoft. We had good pace but, you know what it’s like around here. You get behind someone and you lose track position and pace is irrelevant. It doesn’t really matter what you’ve done. I tried to push on Lewis a bit and tried to keep pressure on the whole race.

But then the end, obviously, sitting behind him, trying to push, killed the tyres a bit. That was all. The decision on tyres, I’m not sure who’s it was. I don’t think it changed really in the end what we actually put on. It was not having any tyres for a long period of time.

Q: Sergio, did you play a part in deciding on the Soft or was that just what you were given?

SP: That was always the plan with us, I think, to go for the one stop and we knew that tyre was the best for us for the long duration. We couldn’t make work, or make last either Ultra- or SuperSoft. So that was the main tyre for us that we could go ‘til the end.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Lewis, after another difficult qualifying, after another mechanical issue, what or who helped you the most to keep your head up and basically, how did you spend the rest of Saturday?

LH: Honestly, for me, just God really. I just said my prayers. I’ve had my great friends around me yesterday, watched a movie, I just had good company but honestly it was just in my thoughts. I never pray to win, I pray for everyone’s safety, I pray that I’m able to be the best that I can be and today I think I honestly feel super-satisfied and happy with how I drove. To be able to drive at your best and to be able to do what you come out to achieve is a wonderful feeling inside, so that’s what I’m feeling now and carry that on for the next days, that’s for sure.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Lewis, in the beginning when you saw Daniel disappearing in the wet, did you get nervous that he might get away and did you ask the pits to ask Rosberg to let you pass? And was it actually a real passing manoeuvre or do you think he let you past by himself?

LH: I really don’t know. I don’t remember if… I didn’t ask to be let passed, I had the pace, obviously, on Nico but it’s very hard to overtake but it looked like he had a problem for a second, he pulled to the left and I went by so… I guess I’ll find out afterwards.

Honestly, when I was behind Nico I was only thinking about either finishing where I was and thinking this is a long race, either finishing here or getting past Nico and at least getting some more points than him but then obviously once I got past it was hammer time. I had to try and catch Daniel and he was clocking about three or four tenths, between two and four tenths, slower than me so I was reining him in gently but not quick enough and then he pitted and I was in the lead and after that it was really nerving because the track was drying, I didn’t know if my tyres were going to burn up really quick and he was on a fresh set of intermediates which were for sure much quicker but I managed to just hold him off.

Q: (Andrew Frankl – Forza) Gentlemen, should we salute the marshals who have done a fantastic job, so you could race, removing all the debris and lifting all the cars? I honestly don’t think you could have done it without them and I think they were very very brave.

LH: I personally appreciate you mentioning that. I’ve been racing for such a long time and seen thousands and thousands of marshals that turn up every year to look out for our safety and for sure it’s not mentioned anywhere near enough. So I would like to take that from you and absolutely thank them.

I think today they were risking their lives getting on the track with all these cars coming by but they do it for the love of the sport and I’m massively appreciative of them. And also being able to go on the track knowing that if something was to happen to me in the car, I’m confident that these guys could get me out to safety in the best way possible.

DR: Yeah, absolutely. The marshals here are by far the best in the world. We obviously travel around the world and not taking anything away from wherever else we go but the efficiency and the way they are able to clean up and keep the race going, basically keeping it exciting for the fans, letting us race but still doing it safety, it’s impressive, it’s impressive how they work here. There’s always crashes, there’s always incidents and yeah, they’re able to be very efficient and honestly keep us safe, as Lewis said. So 100 percent appreciate everything they do.

SP: Yeah, what I can say is that I remember my crash in 2011 and they did a fantastic job to get me out of the car in very difficult situations and in the end I just want to thank them because they do an extremely good job. I think it’s the most difficult track for that and they show how good they are, so I really want to thank them a lot for the job they do and their love of the sport. I think they are simply the best marshals in the world.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Daniel, yesterday you ambushed Mercedes with a great strategy, today you’re talking about headless chooks. Who calls the shots, what went wrong, what needs to be done for you to win a race?

DR: I don’t know. I don’t know to be honest. I think I took Barcelona on the chin and then took it well but two in a row now, and it’s not like we’re in Mercedes’ position, we’re not able to win a race, so to have an opportunity to lead two races in a row and especially here in Monaco. I put it on the front and you wake up and you see thunderstorms and it’s like, OK, there’s a few curved balls coming my way today but I felt I dealt with them as well as I could have and had the pace in the wet at the beginning and again I thought I was controlling everything I had to.

Obviously a big part of it is relying on the team and the strategy but yeah, to get it wrong twice now it definitely hurts. I’m not sure where to go from here, what to do. Obviously they’ve got to understand what’s going on and learn from it but this win I’ll never get back, that’s a fact.

Q: (Sandor Meszaros – Autosport ES Formula Magazin) Checo, can we say that this fantastic Monaco podium finish is another message from you to the top teams?

SP: Well, I hope not only this one, I hope what I have been doing over the past years. I had a really tough time at McLaren and it seems that this is what everyone remembers, my time at McLaren but no one remembers my time at Sauber, my time at Force India. All I can do is keep doing my job, keep doing as well as I can, keep improving as a driver.

I think in the last years I have improved a lot. I’m a more complete driver in all aspects, qualifying, race, race pace, better experience. So if the opportunity ever comes, I will be ready for it and I’m up for it. If not, all I can keep doing is doing my job.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Daniel, you said that the Red Bull is not in a position to win every race now. How far are you from the Mercedes, can you still compete in the next races for victories?

DR: I think Canada is going to be interesting. There’s obviously a lot of… it’s still a street circuit but there’s a long straight and it’s a bit more of a horsepower circuit. I think that will be a sign; if we can be quick in a couple of weeks, then I think we can be quick really for the remainder of the season.

If we can fight for a podium in Canada then we should be able to fight everywhere else. We knew this track would be an opportunity for us to win but yeah, probably in two weeks time we’ll have a better idea really how competitive we can be, not only on these type of circuits but all the others.

Kvyat gets grid penalty for the Canadian GP

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After the Monaco GP this afternoon, Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat has picked up a three-place grid penalty for colliding with Kevin Magnussen in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Kvyat, who went a lap down at the start of the race due to electronics issues, was trying to unlap himself from Magnussen after the Renault driver had made contact with the wall at Tabac.

Magnussen blocked the Russian from advancing at the Swimming Pool, but Kvyat then attempted a move down the inside of La Rascasse, which resulted in contact.

After the investigation, the stewards have given Kvyat a three-place grid penalty for the Canadian Grand Prix and two penalty points, which makes it a total of seven currently on the Russian’s license.

The FIA statement this afternoon said the follwing:-

‘The driver of car #26 [Kvyat], with two small collisions, effectively created an overtaking space which in reality would not have been there if the collision had not occurred.’

Raikkonen escapes penalty for unsafe driving in Monaco GP

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It was announced after the Monaco GP today that Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has escaped a penalty in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix after having been investigated for unsafe driving.

Raikkonen’s Monaco Grand Prix came to a premature end on lap 11, shortly after he had broken his front wing at Grand Hotel Hairpin. Raikkonen tried to continue on during the race, baulking Romain Grosjean at Mirabeau Bas (which then prompted radio anger from the Frenchman) and then retiring in the run-off at Nouvelle Chicane; with the debris from his Ferrari machine collected by the Sauber of Felipe Nasr later on.

After hearing from the Finn, F1’s stewards decided there was no ground to penalise Raikkonen. In an statement given by the FIA this evening, they concluded the following:-

‘The driver, in evidence, stated that he thought initially that he could safely proceed to
the pits to replace the nose. Radio messages confirm this. The team advised the driver that he needed to stop the car as soon as possible. The driver stated that he wanted to stop the car in a safe place and the first available place was the runoff area at Turn 10.’

Ericsson gets three place grid penalty for the Canadian GP

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

It was announced after the Monaco GP this afternoon that Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson has been given a three-place grid drop for the Canadian Grand Prix after his collision with Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr in Monaco today.

Ericsson dived up the inside of Nasr under braking for La Rascasse, but the pair made contact, resulting in damage to both cars, which were then retired from the race.

Shortly before the incident, Sauber instructed Nasr to move over for Ericsson, given the latter’s apparent pace advantage, but the Brazilian did not adhere to the order. As a result  of an investigation by the stewards, Ericsson has also been given two penalty points by the stewards alongside a three place grid penalty for the Canadian GP too.

Meanwhile, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas has been hit with a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points for clashing with Esteban Gutiérrez which drops him to twelfth place.

2016 Monaco Grand Prix Race Review

Monaco-GP

On Saturday, we saw Daniel Ricciardo taking Pole Position for the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Before the start of the race, it was announced that Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr will start from the pitlane due to Verstappen having to change his chassis after his incident in Q1 and Nasr suffering engine failure during his outlap in Q1. Also, Kimi Raikkonen has taken a five place grid penalty after replacing the gearbox after FP3 on Saturday morning.

Just ten minutes before the start of the race, it was announced via Race Control that the race will start under the Safety Car and everyone will start on the wet tyres until further notice.

The Safety Car leading the start of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Safety Car leading the start of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Monaco GP starts under the Safety Car and with the drivers on wet tyres. During the first lap, Daniil Kvyat has reported to his team that his car is stuck in constant speed and doesn’t understand why.

Kvyat is now going further down the grid and has to pit in order to rectify the problem. Even though the Toro Rosso driver will be a lap down on the field, he manages to regain onto the track.

With the news that the Safety Car will be in at the end of Lap 7, everyone is looking forward to racing in Monaco; even though Ricciardo backed up the grid before setting the hammer down.

Daniel Ricciardo leads the grid on Lap 8 of the Monaco Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Daniel Ricciardo leads the grid on Lap 8 of the Monaco Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

And on Lap 8, the race began and we are racing in Monaco with Ricciardo leading the two Mercedes drivers as they headed into Sainte Devote. The Virtual Safety Car was then deployed at Sainte Devote as Jolyon Palmer crashes into the barriers after lightening up the rear tyres on the start finish straight. This has been a miserable weekend for the British driver who hasn’t had the best start to his F1 career.

As this is ongoing on the track, Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button pit for Intermediate tyres to test the limits of the Monaco track. The Virtual Safety Car ended on Lap 11 and we are back racing in Monaco once again. Ricciardo on Lap 11 leads Rosberg by 3.3 seconds.

On the same lap, on the exit of the Lowes hairpin, Kimi Raikkonen hitting the wall with Romain Grosjean hitting Raikkonen and Felipe Massa also nearly getting involved in this as well; which saw Grosjean able to get going again as Raikkonen has sustained damage to his front wing and officially retiring from the race; with the stewards looking at the incident after the race.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 18 in second place at the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 18 in second place at the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 16 saw Lewis Hamilton finally getting past Nico Rosberg on the way down to Matinee corner after Rosberg has been struggling to get onto the pace of Ricciardo in front of him and has now got 13 seconds to make up in the process. We also see a battle between Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso for sixth place.

On Lap 21 of the race, at the Rascasse corner Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen had an incident with each other after Kvyat tries to pass Magnussen at the Swimming Pool corner and there was no gap for Kvyat to go and hit Magnussen in the process. This incident will now be investigated by the stewards.

Lewis Hamilton leads the race on Lap 28. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the race on Lap 28. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

With Ricciardo making his pitstop at the end of Lap 23 for Intermediate tyres, Hamilton now leads the Grand Prix ahead of his team mate as Max Verstappen is now up to tenth place after starting from the pitlane and is absolutely flying at this stage of the race so far; with an hour and seventeen minutes left of the race to run.

With Hamilton leading the race and losing up to a second a lap by Lap 28; Hamilton had to react to what Ricciardo was doing on the track (who was catching him up very quickly indeed) and could be taking a gamble in order to undercut him later in the race by maybe moving onto the Slick tyres instead of the Intermediate tyres.

With drivers such as Felipe Nasr and Kevin Magnussen all pitting for slick tyres; all eyes are upon Hamilton who is slowly starting to struggle to keep Ricciardo behind him and he pits at the end of Lap 31 and hands the lead of the race back to Ricciardo who pits at the end of Lap 32. But with his tyres not ready at his pit stop, Ricciardo loses the lead of the race to Hamilton as a result of that.

Daniel Ricciardo catching Lewis Hamilton. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Daniel Ricciardo catching Lewis Hamilton. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 35, Ricciardo has caught up Hamilton and with backmarkers on the circuit, anything could happen. On the same lap, Max Verstappen officially retires from the race after crashing at the Maintee corner and the Virtual Safety Car has been deployed in order to recover the Red Bull.

Two laps later after the chicane after the tunnel, Ricciardo tries to pass Hamilton for position but wasn’t given it and he waves his arm in the air in disgust. This incident is now under investigation by the stewards. Lap 43 sees Hamilton leading the race by 0.4 seconds. The stewards announce that no further action between Hamilton and Ricciardo after the incident on Lap 35.

On Lap 50, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr after being instructed by the Sauber team to swap places collide into each other at the Rascasse corner after Ericsson decided to take matters into his own hands; leaving a high amount of debris onto the track which brings out the Virtual Safety Car for the third time and investigation ongoing by the stewards as both drivers retire from the race.

The fight between Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo for the lead of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The fight between Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo for the lead of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 56 sees Hamilton leading Ricciardo by 1.5 seconds. There was talks by Lap 61 that a small rain shower could hit the Monaco circuit with 8 laps remaining and this also provides more uncertainty to the end of the race. The battle between Perez and Vettel was ongoing for third place; with Vettel closing the gap on the Mexican driver very quickly indeed.

Lap 66 saw Hamilton leading Ricciardo by 2.5 seconds; which is the biggest lead he has had in the race as tyres start to grain and lose grip. On Lap 68, the Virtual Safety Car was then deployed for the fourth time after a cover was put onto the track on the start/finish straight of the circuit that flew off an balcony.

Lewis Hamilton leading the latter stages of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leading the latter stages of the Monaco GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Hamilton leads the field on Lap 73 by 2.9 seconds as there are spots of rain reaching the Monaco circuit. In the final two laps of the race, the rain was starting to progress heavily and many drivers such as Sainz Jr reporting drops of rain on his helmet.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Monaco GP ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in second place and Sergio Perez in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Monaco GP ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in second place and Sergio Perez in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Hamilton leads Ricciardo on the final lap of the race by 5.8 seconds and wins the Monaco Grand Prix which is his first win of the 2016 season. Ricciardo is a credible second 7.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Perez finished in third place 13.8 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel was a credible fourth 15.8 seconds behind Verstappen and Alonso finished fifth 1.25 seconds behind Hamilton

Hulkenberg was sixth 1.32.9 seconds behind Hamilton, Rosberg was seventh 1.33.2 seconds behind Hamilton, Sainz Jr was eighth 1 lap behind Hamilton, Button was ninth  1 lap behind Hamilton and Massa was tenth 1 lap behind Hamilton.

Nico Rosberg still leads the Driver’s Championship with 108 points, Lewis Hamilton is in second place with 82 points, Daniel Ricciardo is in third place with 66 points, Kimi Raikkonen is in fourth place with 61 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fifth place with 60 points, Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 38 points, Felipe Massa is in seventh place with 36 points, Valtteri Bottas is in eighth place with 29 points, Sergio Perez is in ninth place with 22 points and Daniil Kvyat is in tenth place with 22 points.

Mercedes still lead the Constructors Championship with 188 points, Ferrari is in second place with 121 points, Red Bull is in third place with 112 points, Williams is in fourth place with 66 points, Force India is in fifth place with 37 points, Toro Rosso is in sixth place with 30 points, McLaren is in seventh place with 24 points, Haas is in eighth place with 6 points and Renault is in ninth place with 6 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an reasonable weekend and have shown that they can still race near the front when they have the opportunity to do so. Button getting ninth place has been the biggest surprise of the race. Jenson drove a superb race to gain ninth today despite a defensive race and it is very well deserved. And for him to secure this result shows that he did a brilliant job and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals; he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he was signed by the team.

With Alonso also gaining points with a fifth place at the team’s fifteenth anniversary is a fantastic achievement and this just shows despite this that even though it is still clear that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car, they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races.

Massa did an okay job to get tenth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Hulkenberg, Sainz Jr and Alonso for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just how much promise he has as a driver if he has the car underneath him to do so and that he is a talented and promising racing driver.

Sainz Jr battled his way through to get eighth place today.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Sainz Jr may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Toro Rosso this weekend but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Rosberg had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh, scoring more points for the Mercedes team who seem to have having some problems extracting pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Rosberg scored points on a tough day

Hulkenberg did a great job to get sixth place today. It is a result that Hulkenberg needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position just before the finish line on the final lap. But in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Vettel did a great job to get fourth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race  despite not winning the battle with Perez and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Perez deserves a mention and has to be my biggest surprise of the day. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points which just solidify Force India’s status in the Constructors Championship and gaining the team’s first podium in Monaco. But he needs to keep the momentum going and see if he can get back to the front in Canada in two weeks time.

Ricciardo drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium today. And it was a shame that once again, Red Bull let him down but what a fantastic job from him all weekend and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Canada.

All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win at Monaco and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are still the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Lewis for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his first race of the season.

With Canada not far away, many will wondering if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely and we also have the in-season test as well which I will be covering every day.

Red Bull and Toro Rosso secure Renault engines until the 2018 season

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It was announced this morning that Red Bull and Toro Rosso have both signed two-year deals to run Renault power over until the end of 2018.

Red Bull has used Renault power since 2007, winning its four world titles in the V8 era with the French manufacturer, but the relationship broke down last season after a second consecutive year with an uncompetitive power unit. Unable to secure a supply of engines elsewhere for 2016, Red Bull stuck with Renault this season and badged its power units under the name of watch manufacturer TAG Heuer.

Toro Rosso has had to make do with year-old Ferrari engines this year, but under the new deal will have an up-to-date power unit until 2018 as well as the freedom to badge it with a sponsor’s name.

Significant upgrades over the winter and ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix have seen Renault narrow the gap to class-leaders Mercedes and Ferrari, with Red Bull winning the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago and taking pole position in Monaco this weekend.

In an interview with the media this morning, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the progress had been key to the new deal. Horner stated the following:-

‘We are delighted to extend our partnership which has proved very successful over time. After the reconstruction that Renault has undertaken, clear progress has been made which has made it logical to continue with the TAG Heuer badged engine.’

In his own statement to the media this morning, Jérôme Stoll, president of Renault Sport Racing, added the following:-

‘We are very pleased to partner with two such strong teams as Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Having competitive partners demonstrates the confidence both have in the improved Renault power unit and in our organisation as a whole.’

2016 Monaco Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference Transcript

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Here’s the official transcript from the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix Post-Qualifying Press Conference as provided by the FIA as follows:-

DRIVERS

1 – Daniel RICCIARDO (Red Bull Racing)

2 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)

3 – Lewis HAMILTON (Mercedes)

TV UNILATERAL

Daniel, your first Formula One pole and what a place to do it.

Daniel Ricciardo (referred here after as DR):- Yeah, definitely a special place. I knew coming into the weekend we’d have a shot at it and it looked good from Thursday. Yeah, I sort of had it in my mind the whole time coming into the weekend. I think also, after Barcelona I felt like… the last few races I feel like I’ve been driving well but haven’t go maximum reward, so I came into this weekend with a lot of a confidence and a lot of belief that I could be in this position now and yeah, I’m very happy to have fulfilled that. It feels good, I’ve always enjoyed this place, obviously the car is good, we’ve got a good package behind us now and it’s nice to be able to make the most out of it.

Very well done. Nico, first time since 2012 no Mercedes on pole position here in Monaco. Red Bull and Daniel clearly pushed you very hard today, you brushed a barrier during Q2, but where did it get away from you today when it really counted at the end?

Nico Rosberg (referred here after as NR):- I don’t think it really went away from me; it never was with me, because Daniel was just quick today and yeah, so they got a well-deserved pole and that’s it. I just wasn’t quick enough.

Thanks very much. Lewis, there’s obviously a story behind your qualifying today: the engine problem at the beginning of Q3 and dramatically being wheeled back into your garage. How much did that upset your rhythm? On your final run there you were on target for pole but the final sector was just no quite there.

Lewis Hamilton (referred here after as LH):- Yeah, it was a difficult qualifying; I don’t really know what to say at the moment. The good thing is that I did get out to do a lap at least. It wasn’t as bad as some of the races have been in that respect, with the engine problems. I’m grateful to be up in third. Obviously pole was there for the taking I think, but nonetheless I will do what I can in the race tomorrow to salvage what I can from today’s result.

Thanks you for that. Coming back to our polesitter, Daniel Ricciardo. You did your Q2 run on the supersoft tyre, so tactically and strategically Red Bull are trying something here, it means you’ll be able to run a longer first stint in the grand prix tomorrow than either of the gentlemen either side of you. Your thoughts on that; the part you played in that decision and what it will do for you.

DR: Yeah, we’ll see tomorrow if it works. The plan was to go out on the ultrasoft in the first run in Q2 and at least try and do a good enough lap with that and then we had the time on our side and we thought ‘let’s try and see what a supersoft can do’. We just feel maybe it opens up a few more options for the race tomorrow. Yeah, we did a good lap on that, and then yeah it sort of set us up well for Q3, knowing that I had the ultrasoft and that step in grip and I think I was able to maximise that and do that lap, so let’s see. I think today were sitting pretty and hopefully it turns in our favour tomorrow.

PRESS CONFERENCE

We’ll start with our polesitter Daniel Ricciardo, just to say it once again. Do you think you’ll be able to sleep tonight and how much would a win mean to you, particularly after what happened two weeks ago in Spain?

DR: Yeah, I’ll certainly be able to sleep tonight, I think. I’ll probably sleep easier knowing that I achieved what I set out to do. The whole week has been a lot of anticipation, a lot of excitement, so obviously the race now is hopefully the more controlled part, but anyways it’s cool to get my first pole. Monaco has always been a good track for me in previous categories. I’ve always loved it here. It’s a good day. I’m going to enjoy it while I can and 24 hours from now I’ll hopefully be back here.

Okay, very well done. Nico, famously you’ve won here for the last three years running. You didn’t know that Daniel had done that Q2 time on the supersoft until you sat down next to him before the press conference. Now that you’ve had a few minutes to think about that, how do you see tomorrow’s grand prix unfolding and what do you think he’s got up his sleeve.

NR: Yeah, I was very surprised by his time in the first part of Q3. I though I was looking good with my time but then I looked on the board and he was three tenths up the road, so I knew that was going to be difficult to reach. I gave it everything anyways but it wasn’t quite enough. For tomorrow? I don’t know. I have more grip at the start, maybe that can help me hopefully. Because I experienced that in China, starting with stiffer tyres, or harder tyres than everybody else – that was not good. Who knows, maybe that can play in my favour. And if not; strategy-wise no idea. Let’s see, we’re fine with our strategy for sure.

Thanks a lot. Coming back to you Lewis, you mentioned briefly in the unilateral about your engine situation. Do you know the problem was? Is there still in your mind a lingering question about it for the race or did they get across to you that they think it’s going to be fine, that they fixed it?

LH: I don’t know what the problem was, so I honestly can’t comment.

Be that as it may, what do you think you can achieve tomorrow?

LH: If the car keeps going I will be fighting as hard as I can with these guys. You can’t overtake here so… Daniel’s on a potentially better strategy than we will be on but, you know, hopefully it rains! That would be pretty amazing.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Peter Farkas – Auto Motor) Daniel, considering that the last race has been won by your team-mate, a new guy who has just been promoted to Red Bull just before that, how important was it for you personally to make you mark now and get your first pole position exactly in that moment.

DR: I think every race I’m treating as as-important as the other. I think from the start of the season, obviously I started off with Dany as my team-mate and wanted to make my mark. I think the whole season I’ve been qualifying really well and I feel I’ve been maximising everything. The race, let’s say didn’t turn into my favour in Spain but obviously I wanted to bounce-back – not that I feel it’s anything I did – but bounce back and have a good weekend here. I’ve always said it: this is a real circuit; it’s a drivers’ circuit and, like any in Formula One, sure, you need a car to help you out – and I’ve got that, I’ve definitely got that here – but that extra bit of confidence and commitment I think goes a long way. From Thursday I’ve felt good in the car. Little tweaks throughout the weekend and I think it’s brought us to this pole position. So it’s definitely a nice feeling.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – globoesporte.com) To Lewis. It’s not very clear, when you came to the pits your time has any relation with the problem you had? The time you registered, it has some limiation or not?

LH: In Q3? No, I had one lap to do it. Makes a big difference when you have a banker lap and work on it. I only had one lap so it was inevitable that I’d get P3.

Q: (Ralf Bach – Autobild) A question to Daniel. What was the main reason for the pole: the engine update, the chassis itself or the big Australian balls?

DR: Big Australian balls!

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Just continuing that theme Daniel – kind of – you’ve been saying for a while now that you felt very confident of Monaco – dare I say the ‘W’ word? – and that was the package you had then. You have a package now, Renault have brought forward this upgrade for Monaco, how different, how much better is the package, compared with, say, two races ago? And b) What is the most enjoyable part of the circuit on that lap from your point of view?

DR: Enjoyable part of the circuit, I’ll start with that. I’ve always loved Turn 12, 13, 14. Tabac and the Swimming Pool. It’s fun. It’s got really really nice flow, skip across the kerbs. It’s cool. Even the second part now, 15 and 16, it’s a little bit more open and I think probably it’s grown on me over the weekend, it’s quite fun, you can carry a lot of speed through there. So, yeah , the last sector is what I enjoy the most. As for… yeah, I think the car has been working well from the start of the season. I think it’s getting better and better, which is really nice. Had the update here from the power unit. That was working well, I think. You can just feel it pulls a little bit more, so in some practice sessions we didn’t run, let’s say, full power, so it was more like the older spec and you can feel it pull a bit more, up the hill for example out of Turn One. So it’ll be interesting when we get to longer straights, Canada the next one, and Max will have it in there as well, so it’ll be interesting to see where we stand there.

Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sports) To the Mercedes drivers, after the winter testing you expected Ferrari will be your main rival. It is a surprise or a shock that Red Bull is so fast now?

NR: They’ve done a very good job in recent races. They’ve progressed very quickly and now another big step with the engine. We always expected them to be a tough competitor but we did see Ferrari as our closest competitors and now we need to question that. Of course Monaco is a very unique track, so let’s not come to any conclusions here – but for sure it’s them, Ferrari and us. We all seem to be very close here and hopefully the next race we’ll be a bit further ahead again.

Any thoughts Lewis?

LH: Same as Nico.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Lewis, obviously a very frustrating day today. Tomorrow very crucial race for you in terms of the season. How will you balance control and aggression considering you need to score lots of points?

LH: Today was the crucial day so… tomorrow’s just another day. What will be, will be. I will do whatever I can. There’s many races still ahead. I don’t really expect too much from tomorrow. I’m going in with the goal, of course, of trying to overtake the two cars in front – but we shall see.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Daniel, you had the speed on whatever tyre anyway, so this Q2 on the supersoft, do you see it as a risk or a joker? Why did you go offset to somebody you could have beaten anyway?

DR: I think we feel it’s not going to change too much off the start and then it just opens up… as we saw Q2, my lap was quicker on the supersoft than on the ultrasoft, so I don’t think there’s that much difference in the tyre. The pure performance. I mean sure, there’s a few tenths, but I don’t think as much as what we thought coming into the weekend. And then I think obviously it should have a little bit better tyre life. It just opens up maybe a few more windows in the race, and here it’s so important obviously to come out and be in clean air and not come out in traffic, so it could just open up a bigger window for us tomorrow and give us a bit more freedom when to pit.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Lewis, you said before that you needed to try to overtake the two cars in front of you. After what happened in Spain, do you think that that can affect your approach at the start tomorrow or not?

LH: I don’t think so but there’s very little room into turn one anyway so I doubt that there’s going to be much room there. I think it’s more the long-term game, it’s a long race, so I’ll try and do the best I can with the time that I have.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Lewis and Nico, what is the meaning of another team fighting with Mercedes, considering that for the last two years and a half we didn’t have it, if Red Bull confirms (it is competitive) from the next races ahead?

LH: What does it mean? Means we have a race. I think it’s great for the sport.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) For you, in terms of the two Mercedes?

LH: It’s even better, because obviously that could enable the gap between the two of us. I look at it as a positive.

NR: Same, good battle, that’s it.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Lewis, just to draw a line under your problems today, the car was presumably was perfect in Q2, sitting in the garage, and then you drove out and the car just stopped? What actually happened?

LH: Yeah, I was just accelerating and then I had a loss of power all the way down the pit lane and I didn’t know if it would come back. They asked me to make an adjustment on the switches, which I did, but it was just not idling. Once I stopped, it wouldn’t idle very well, it was hiccupping all the time so I had to switch off, I obviously lost my first run. I’d already done three warm-up laps to get in sync with everyone else, so by the time I pushed, my tyres perhaps weren’t as good as the fresh tyres that they had had and then as I say, the banker lap is always super helpful in Q3, I did the best I could on that lap. Obviously I will go back and see if I could have done any better but anyways, it is what it is, as I said.

Q: (Christopher Joseph – Chicane) Daniel, obviously a career objective achieved today, highly emotion, highly elated, tomorrow how are you going to manage your emotions during this race?

DR: No different. I think winning a race is a bit more than getting a pole. I’ve experienced that a few times a few years ago. I feel it’s been a long time coming, this, so it’s just more…I feel it should have come sooner but obviously I’m happy that I’ve done it but yeah, no other feelings or anything. Coming into the race, it’s just carry the confidence from the weekend into tomorrow and execute a good start and then pick a good window to pit in.

Q: (Silvia Arias – Parabrisas) We saw wonderful laps, incredible laps today and in these days but I would like to ask Nico, we saw you so aggressively and nearly flying. Do you have time to enjoy these laps or under pressure you don’t have any time to feel what you are doing?

NR: Well, for sure, this is probably the most enjoyable qualifying in the whole season because the track is just thrilling, and to be on the edge with the most grip you have in the weekend with the most power, the most fuel, it’s really exciting.

DR: I can’t speak highly enough about driving an F1 car around here. The faster the better in a way. Sure, it can be a bit of a blur but we’re in control and yeah, it’s like the closer you get to the barriers, the more you want to keep pushing the limits then every time you think you’re going to touch but you don’t the next time you go now, I’m going to get closer, a bit closer so it’s fun. For sure the reason why we do it I think is to have this adrenalin that we have around here.