Monaco F1 – All The News and Views

Monaco Grand Prix – All The Stats

May 24 (Reuters) – Statistics for Sunday’s Monaco Formula One Grand Prix (Round six of 20 races):

Lap distance: 3.337km. Total distance: 260.286km (78 laps)

Race lap record: One minute 17.939 seconds, Lewis Hamilton (Britain), Mercedes, 2016.

2016 pole: Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1:13.622

2016 winner: Hamilton

GP MONACO F1/2016 – MONTECARLO
Picture: Pirelli

WINS

Champions Mercedes have won 54 of 64 races since the introduction of the 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrid power units in 2014.

Mercedes’ triple world champion Hamilton has 55 career victories, putting him second in the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher (91). Vettel has 44, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso is on 32 and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen 20.

Ferrari have won 226 races, McLaren 182, Williams 114, Mercedes 67 and Red Bull 52. McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.

POLE POSITION

Mercedes have been on pole in 60 of the last 64 races.

Hamilton has 64 poles so far, one short of the late Ayrton Senna’s career total and five behind Schumacher’s record 68.

PODIUM

Hamilton has 108 podiums to date and is second on the all-time list behind Schumacher (155). Vettel has 91, Raikkonen 85.

POINTS

Force India’s Mexican Sergio Perez has finished the last 15 races in the points, the longest current run among those on the grid.

Force India are also the only team to have scored with both cars in every race this season.

McLaren are the only team yet to score in 2017.

MONACO

The last five races have all seen the safety car deployed.

Mercedes have won the last four Monaco Grands Prix (Nico Rosberg in 2013, 2014, 2015) and Hamilton in 2016.

Ferrari have not won in Monaco since 2001, with Michael Schumacher.

The driver on pole has won 10 of the last 16 races in Monaco. In 1996, Frenchman Olivier Panis won from 14th on the starting grid — the lowest winning start position to date.

Since 1950, only 10 times has the race been won by a driver starting lower than third.

With Rosberg retired and Alonso absent, four former Monaco winners will be on Sunday’s grid: Vettel (2011), Button (2009), Hamilton (2008, 2016), Raikkonen (2005).

MILESTONE

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna’s first win in Monaco, with Lotus. He won there six times in all and remains the only Brazilian to have won in the principality. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Greg Stutchbury)
Button Not Interested
Button may have a contract for 2018 but says replacing Alonso is a Monaco one-off; “I don’t want to be racing in F1 for a whole season”; 37-year-old Briton claims to have had two full-time offers for 2017

Jenson Button has played down a 2018 return to the Formula 1 grid, insisting he is only replacing Fernando Alonso in Monaco as a “one-off”.

With Alonso escaping McLaren-Honda’s current malaise to compete at the Indianapolis 500, Button is taking time out of what is expected to be a full-time retirement for F1’s blue riband event.

But while the 37-year-old Briton claims he is enjoying life away from the sport and that his return will be short lived, it is he who has a McLaren contract for next season, rather than Alonso.

The Spaniard has warned he is likely to leave at the end of the year if the Woking team fail to provide proof they can be race winners in the future.

However, in an interview with Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz ahead of his Monaco return, Button maintained his time in F1 is up.

“Of course when the chance came to race in Monaco I was going to take it,” Button, who is set to take part in his 306th F1 race, said. “I don’t want to be racing in F1 for a whole season because I’ve done my time in F1.

“I’ve loved most of my career but it was time for me to have a break. To come back for the Monaco GP – that is just the dream.”

Button is eager to make the most of his time back in the McLaren garage, vowing to be “larger than life” once the weekend action begins.

That is despite the fact he is stepping into a team without a 2017 championship point, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Alonso struggling in an MCL32 which seems incapable of competing with F1’s elite due to Honda’s persistent engine woes.

Williams Doing It Different

Felipe Massa says the Williams Martini Racing team is working ‘completely differently’ compared to his previous seasons with the team following a positive start to the season.

The Brazilian made a surprise return to both Williams and F1 ahead of the 2017 season just weeks after ‘retiring’ from the series but has quickly proven his worth with a pair of top six finishes from the opening five races.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/Pirelli

Indeed, Massa has stressed he took his time in accepting Williams’ offer to return – as a replacement for Mercedes-bound Valtteri Bottas – because he wanted to see a restructure in the way the team operates.

However, with Paddy Lowe and Dirk de Beer coming on board over the winter, Massa believes the team is working better than it has done since he first joined in 2014.

“I think to be honest what I see in this team this year is completely different to what I saw in the last three years, in terms of mentality for developing, areas for developing, I think I see the team in a much more connect working together in so many different areas including aerodynamic that I believe we can have a much better developing to the season compared to what I saw in the last three years.

“For sure you need to make things work in the car, the only time you’re 100 per cent sure is when you’re trying the car. But the mentality, the working is definitely completely different than what happened in the last three years. I really believe that the working now is a lot more correct, intelligent, and very good connection.”

Crediting much of this with Lowe and de Beer, though Massa says there is still more to come from Williams he is now confident it can make a step in performance.

“Paddy, Dirk de Beer, so many other people that were inside but something was missing. I think there was not really a connection but now people are trying to improve in all areas. Definitely we are still at the beginning. Still so many things we need to do, but the working is much different. “

Ricciardo Has New Strategy

Daniel Ricciardo jokes that he has a new strategy for Monaco this year — no pitstops, just keep going all the way to the chequered flag.

The rules do not allow him to do that, of course, but the comment underlines the lingering pain of last year when the Australian seized pole position but was robbed of victory by a pitstop bungle.

“It sucks. It hurts,” said the Red Bull driver, who finished second to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, at the time. “I got to the pits and everyone’s running around like headless chooks (chickens).”

Picture: Aron Suveg/Red Bull Content Pool

The pole position was the only one that escaped champions Mercedes last year and Ricciardo took some solace when he then won in Malaysia after Hamilton suffered engine failure.

Title rivals Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, separated by just six points and with two wins apiece, will be the favorites in Sunday’s showcase race around the metal-fenced streets.

But Ricciardo reckons he can again muscle in on the action, even if his car’s Renault engine is down on power.

“Regardless of where the car is at come Monaco, I’m certainly confident going there,” he said at the previous Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished third.

“I certainly feel like I run those streets … I already get excited thinking about Monaco, I love that place. It’s cool,” he added.

“The memories of last year are still more sweet than bitter so I’m just excited to get another chance this year.”

MILESTONES IN MIND

Both Hamilton and Vettel have their own milestones in mind on what promises to be a sunny week in the Mediterranean principality for the two multiple title winners.

Vettel, the championship leader, is aiming to become the first Ferrari driver to win in Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001 — almost ancient history as far as Formula One is concerned.

Hamilton meanwhile can equal his late, great idol Ayrton Senna’s career tally of 65 pole positions on the 30th anniversary of the Brazilian’s first Monaco win.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
World Copyright: Andy Hone/Pirelli

Mercedes are going for their fifth successive Monaco win, with Hamilton triumphant last year after three victories in succession for now-retired champion Nico Rosberg.

The title duel, in the sixth and slowest round of the championship, will also be about absent friends and returning heroes.

Mexican Sergio Perez, third last year for Force India ahead of Vettel, is now going for his 16th successive points finish.

The wider and faster cars could also make overtaking rarer than ever at a circuit where it is notoriously difficult to pass but where accidents are commonplace.

“Overtaking? Just no chance,” French driver Romain Grosjean told Reuters.

“Some places it’s going to be very tight. But on the other hand, it’s going to be faster and we’re going to have more grip and more downforce so we’ll love it.”

Wehrlein Step Forward

Fresh from his first top-ten finish for 2017, Pascal Wehrlein is “positive” that Sauber will take another step forward at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monte Carlo street race offers the best opportunity for Formula 1’s under-powered teams to score points. And that’s exactly what Sauber are dealing with this season.

Running year-old Ferrari power units, the team is off the pace.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Picture: Andy Hone/Pirelli

That, though, didn’t stop Wehrlein from finishing P8 at the previous race in Spain.

It was the German’s first top-ten result of the campaign and he is now hoping to add a second this weekend in Monaco.

“Racing in Monaco is always special – it is fascinating and challenging at the same time, but also because of the tradition and the exciting Formula 1 races in the past,” he said.

“It is a real challenge for us drivers, as we need to drive very precisely. In order to be fast we are forced to drive the cars millimetres away from the barriers, but I like these kinds of challenges.

“Looking back on the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, we travel with good memories to Monte Carlo.

Main: Force India Formula 1 Team