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Winners and Losers - Monaco

25 May 2015

The dramatic end to the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2015 gave us one rather lucky winner, and another very obvious loser, in Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. However, there were plenty of other fascinating plotlines being played out behind them, with those involved experiencing some very contrasting fortunes. We take a team-by-team look at the real story of Sunday’s 78-lap race…

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, P1
Lewis Hamilton, P3

What can one say about Mercedes? They win and lose as a team, of course, but in reality it was only Hamilton - who so deserved to win - who really lost out. Granted Mercedes missed out on a one-two finish, but they got a one-three so it was hardly disastrous. But for Hamilton, who had comprehensively outdriven Rosberg on his home circuit, the bizarre decision to bring him alone in for a late stop was the most bitter of all pills to swallow for the newly re-signed world champion.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, P6

Ferrari’s race pace, at least in Vettel’s hands, was good enough for them to have won had they been able to qualify on the front row. The German kept Rosberg honest throughout, and though he lucked into P2 through Mercedes’ mistake with Hamilton, he kept the pressure up and deserved that luck. Raikkonen was again patchy, but he deserved fourth or fifth and was unlucky to get beaten to the latter by Ricciardo.

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, P4
Daniel Ricciardo, P5

Red Bull looked much better here, and Kvyat easily had his best F1 showing on his way to fourth. When Ricciardo, who drove his usual sensible but feisty race, was faster on fresh tyres at the end the Russian duly conceded the place to him. But when Ricciardo had failed to dislodge either Hamilton or Vettel by the final lap, the agreement was that he would hand it back, which he did. 22 points brings the team within striking distance of Williams.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P7
Nico Hulkenberg, P11

Force India wanted to spring a surprise and they did. Perez drove a terrific race which thoroughly deserved seventh, perhaps even sixth. Hulkenberg was unlucky to get turfed off by Alonso at Mirabeau on the opening lap, but had himself done something similar to Massa at Ste Devote. After a stop for a new nose he drove hard and fast and just missed a point.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P8
Fernando Alonso, Retired lap 42, gearbox

At one stage McLaren seemed set for a double points score, but Alonso’s car, running ninth, lost gears and failed on the 42nd lap. Button, however, fought hard for eighth with qualifying-style laps every time, and the MP4-30 was more competitive than at any time so far this season. Four points for the new McLaren-Honda alliance was a major boost, Alonso’s retirement notwithstanding.

Sauber

Felipe Nasr, P9
Marcus Ericsson, P13

Nasr was one of the stars of the race, making up places in the first-lap melees and driving the wheels off his C34 to score two unexpected points. Ericsson was also pushing hard, but less lucky making progress early on.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, P10
Max Verstappen, Retired lap 63, accident

Besides Hamilton, Verstappen was the star of the show. He was pushing along hard in eighth on merit then took seventh when Perez pitted, but a long stop when the right rear wheel wouldn’t go on properly cost him 27s. He fought back from that, then used a set of supersoft tyres fitted on lap 46 to really claw his way back towards the points. He cleverly latched on to Vettel and slipped past rivals when the Ferrari driver lapped then, but eventually came unstuck when he went over Grosjean’s rear wheel under braking for Ste Devote. That was the incident that turned the race, and for the accident he received a five-place grid penalty for the next round in Canada. Sainz did a fine job not just to climb to the final point after starting from the pit lane, but also to make a set of soft Pirellis last from the 12th to the 78th lap.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, P12
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 6, brakes

Lotus deserved better than 12th, but Grosjean lost time in the Verstappen incident when he’d been running eighth, and Maldonado was an early retirement with brake problems.

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, P14
Felipe Massa, P15

Williams’ whole weekend was a disaster. Compounding basic lack of grip and traction, Massa got taken off by Hulkenberg at Ste Devote on the opening lap and had to pit for a new nose. Their failure to score, and Red Bull’s fourth and fifth places, brings the latter within striking distance for third place in the constructors’ stakes.

Marussia

Roberto Merhi, P16
Will Stevens, P17

Yet again both Marussias finished, but finally Merhi got the better of Stevens, who lost a lot of grip and time after sustaining front wing damage early on.