Sunday, 26 May 2013

Like Father Like Son, Nico does it with style.

Finally Mercedes convert a pole into a win and a well deserved win it was for Nico, so much for Hamilton blowing him away and the team being built around the multi-million dollar signing.

Yes, I think we can put to bed the idea that Nico is some second rate driver that is in it to make up the numbers. The last few weeks have seen him really step up his game with a succession of poles and classy races. Mercedes have been knocking on the door of the Ferrari, Redbull big boys club for some time now and today they gain entry.

I doubt it’ll happen again this year, Monaco is a race all of its own. Nowhere else is it so difficult to overtake and control a race from the front. There just isn’t the room to make a 50/50 move up the inside and rely on the run off to save the blushes. Here you commit to the move and hope the other driver sees you coming. Get it wrong and bang it’s goodnight to your career Mr Grosjean, who I expect will have the book thrown at him his antic this weekend. If he was walking a tight rope before, now the Lotus board must be looking at ending his career sooner rather than later.

No Grosjean, you're doing it wrong You're not a porn star, stop trying to mount him !!!


So , yeah a win for Rosberg and I think he truly deserves it. He stuck it on pole on Saturday on a damp changeable track.  Then on a bright clear sunny Sunday he was fast, control the race pace, and looked after the tyres. For the first half of the race until Massa’s car tried to kill him and the first safety car was called out. He had Lewis behind him to play tail gunner for him making sure the Merc could look after its tyres without having to defend the lead. Hamilton played the dutiful team mate, never getting too close whilst holding up the Redbull.  Until the safety car when the pitwall called them both in and asked Lewis to slow down to allow the team time to reset after servicing Nico, who as leader got first dibs.
Normally a safety car will pick up the first car to reach it, in this car Vettels Redbull, and then wait until the race leader joins the snake. Then the cars in front of the leader are waved past until the race leader is behind the safety car. Except this time the wave past started whilst Nico was in the pits. So Vettel and Webber were waved past in time catch Nico as he left the pits and joined the queue, just ahead of Hamilton who had slowed to allow the team to get his tyres ready. So from a potential one two, Merc found themselves first and forth with Vettel breathing down Nico neck.

But this is Monaco and a determined driver can keep a driver that is looking to pick up points rather than risk wiping out a nose and losing everything, behind him. Nico carried on as if it was only Lewis behind him and never let Vettel get within two seconds of him.  Hamilton had a few pops at Webber in third but didn’t have the traction out of the slow corners to really challenge the grumpy Ozzy in the braking zones. A bit of weaving around and a cheeky lunge up the inside of Rascas were all he managed, but Webber is more than a match for that and eventually bagged the third spot on the podium with ease.

So Rosbergs second career win and there was no gifting or last man standing about this one. On a day when lesser drivers showed how easily it is to screw the thing up royally, he kept it simple and didn’t try to do anything stupid or clever. He was lucky Vettel didn’t jump him when he was in the pits during the safety car, but that’s part of the game here.  A race win he can be proud of and one to really get inside the head of Lewis with. Will he do it again ... I don’t think so, unless Mercedes found something special with their extra test after Bahrain .. ho ho.

Vettel second and you could probably call that fortuitous. I think he was waved passed the safety car early but there you go. He didn’t really seem to be having a go at Nico when he got there, and had only tried to pass Lewis on the first few opening laps. I think he was keeping an eye on the bigger picture where Nico isn’t likely to be hunting for the ultimate prize so why risk a DNF over a few extra points. Webber wasn’t going to do anything stupid (probably, you never know with him) so enjoy the ride and see if Nico makes a mistake.
He did grab the fastest lap at the end, like a big child. Just to prove a point though.

Webber spent most of the race watching Hamilton burn his tyres out trying to get past. Again he didn’t really have to do much so a third place was about what he deserved.

I think Hamilton in fourth was unlucky, as I say. But he was never really in with a shot at beating Nico, who was dialed in to the circuit all weekend.  I think he knew that and seemed pretty happy with the result in the end.  This is still the “learning year with a new team” phase of things, with the title out of reach for either Merc driver so a win here and a second there don’t mean that much. But if Nico continues to deliver the poles on Saturday and the points paying finishes ahead of Lewis on Sunday things might get a little fraught towards the end of the year.

Sutil fifth for Force India and this is a fully deserved result. He mugged Alonso and Button for seventh and eighth and showed you can make a pass at Monaco if you’re committed and not an idiot. This was good solid driving from soft hands Sutil and shows how well that Force India goes when the playing field is a bit more even. I expect them to go well in Canada too.

Button was sixth and should have done better really. He spent a lot of the race being passed by his new team mate and complaining about it to the team. Like Hamilton, he’s suddenly got a team mate that isn’t too impressed with how good his PR is. Jenson is in very grave danger of being seen as “that old bloke that used to be something” Come on man, McLaren needs a team leader, someone to pick it up by the boot straps and drive it forward. Not someone to whinge to the team that he’s been past by his team mate. You will notice the lack of simpering Girlfriend and gurning big nosed father team Button; even they don’t want to be seen around the pits with Jenson these days!

Alonso was seventh and I think we’ll just sum this one up as a bad day at the office. The car apparently had a bit of debris in the front win (probably from Masses accident). Which was causing the car to handle badly; yeah right, this is El Alonso who tamed a car that tried to kill him in 2012. Even Perez, who appears to have had Maldonado’s balls grafted onto him sometime between China and Bahrain, went past the Spaniard like he was asleep. With Vettel on the Podium things are starting to slip for Ferrari and they need a run of good results to get it all back on track.. soon.

Vergne was eighth, and is this week’s Torro Rosso driver looking for Webber seats next year.  

Di Resta did alright in the end after the team forgot that qualifying had started and it isn’t a practice session on Saturday afternoon. On a drying track he got left out on inters that were well past their sell by date and he ended up seventeenth. Pretty much a death sentence for point scoring here, but a bit of luck with the safety car and the usual idiots on the road left him up in the heady heights of ninth. Sutil has come in and made a solid bid for number 1 status so a driver like this shows the lad has some spunk after all. Canada could be a top five result for either Force India driver and may decide the direction he development path goes. Scottish or German.

Kimi gets tenth after being assaulted by Perez who was trying just a bit too hard. To be fair to Perez though, Kimi was wandering around the racing line like a drunk looking for the last dregs as the night winds down at a particularly rough wedding. You have to commit to over taking after the tunnel, as you go into the tunnel. So Perez was up the inside and I think Kimi was thinking about the post race party rather than where Perez might be trying to surprise him. By the time he’d turned into the hairpin, Perez was already there and the next thing the Fin was limping into the pits with a rear puncture.  But give the man his dues here, rather than park it and hit the ice cream chillier, he bolted on some sticky rubber and went for broke. Nicking tenth off Hulkenberg on the last lap. Good old Kimi.

Right last place then, Perez parked it up before the end so he wasn’t moving as the flag for the end to the race dropped. So it’s the turn of the ever reliable Van Der Garde to be our last placed driver again. Who despite being really rubbish, had Caterham’s best qualifying result to date and so he’ll probably keep his job until the end of the year. Which is good news for some of us!

  Right I'm off to the Jim Clark Rally to take pictures and getting wet next weekend, If you’re there let me no via the blog and we can discuss Jenson and how long before he heads for retirement oblivion at Sauber or *shudder* Williams.

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