Winners and Losers at the Monaco Grand Prix
26 May 2014 – The 2014 edition of the Monaco Grand Prix was a chaotic affair as Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes 1-2 while perennial backmarkers Marussia finally scored their maiden points in Formula 1. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the Monaco Grand Prix.
For the second successive season it was Mercedes's Nico Rosberg who controlled proceedings around the streets of Monte Carlo to claim the prestigious win. There were doubts over whether Rosberg had secured pole position in a completely sporting manner and while he was cleared by the FIA, some questions remained – with team-mate Lewis Hamilton not exactly believing Rosberg's innocence. This was a crucial victory for Rosberg after four races of being beaten by Hamilton – the German traditionally runs well around the streets where he grew up and in getting to the line first at a circuit which Hamilton adores, it's not only an important win in terms of points, but also the psychology of the leading duo. The pendulum swings back towards Rosberg.
Daniel Ricciardo followed up his maiden podium in Barcelona with another around Monte Carlo. The Australian was 'best of the rest' throughout the weekend and he was hustling his Red Bull RB10 in a manner which eluded team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Ricciardo made a poor getaway but was able to claim positions back when rivals hit trouble – firstly Vettel and then Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen. As Hamilton claimed he struggled with vision, Ricciardo suddenly turned up the wick and pumped in personal best sector times. He scythed into Hamilton's advantage and while he remained in third, it was an impressive showing once again by the youngster.
It's taken four years. There's been hope. Promise. But also heartbreak. Finally, at a chaotic race in Monte Carlo it was Marussia who claimed their maiden Formula 1 points courtesy of Jules Bianchi. The Frenchman had endured a difficult season and it was barely improved when he had to drop to the back of the grid following a gearbox penalty. Nevertheless, he maintained his composure while others around him lost theirs and – via a little contretemps with Kamui Kobayashi – moved up to the fringes of the top 10. More contact from rivals above him left Bianchi in eighth place but Marussia cared little when his five second penalty for lining up in the wrong grid slot demoted him to ninth. It was a richly deserved result for a talented driver and superb to see a backmarker team enjoying their day in the sun.
It seems curt to refer to the man in second as a loser but this was not a good weekend for Lewis Hamilton. It was perhaps no surprise, given Rosberg's form around Monaco, that he had to play second fiddle to his team-mate. But it was the manner in which he played second fiddle which leaves him a loser. The Brit made several questionable comments in the build-up to the race weekend and his demeanour following qualifying was as if he'd lost the championship. He'd improved little 24 hours later and the contrast in body language to Rosberg could not have been clearer. He claimed he was happy with his driving across the weekend but this was a difficult event for the Brit and one not helped by his approach. Next up is Canada and a traditionally happy hunting ground for Hamilton - he'll need to bounce back quickly.
The opening segment to the race was so promising for Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn had endured a woeful 2014 season with little to shout about and had been truly thumped by Fernando Alonso in qualifying. But an error from Alonso at the start, combined with Räikkönen's good getaway, left the Finn in fourth – which became third when Vettel retired. He pulled away from Ricciardo across the opening stint, leading to thoughts that he might be about to end his podium drought. But behind the safety car he was clipped by Max Chilton, who had been given the instruction to un-lap himself, and had to pit for a second time. That dropped him to 15th, from which he could only recover at a gradual rate. His move on Kevin Magnussen was desperate and it earned him a reprimand. From an opening which promised so much, this was a thoroughly disappointing result.
Several teams had miserable races in Monaco. Caterham witnessed Marussia beat them to the points, while a double retirement for Sauber dropped them to 10th in the title battle. Both teams leave Monaco thoroughly underwhelmed. But Toro Rosso had so much promise across the race weekend that a double retirement leaves them bitterly disappointed. Jean-Éric Vergne was heading for a potential top five result at a circuit on which he excels, but a penalty for an unsafe release dropped him down the order – and he was forced to retire when he suffered an exhaust failure. For Daniil Kvyat, Q1 shunt aside, this was a competent Monaco debut and he too was on for points until he suddenly lost time and had to retire. Toro Rosso could have left Monaco with a bagful of points, but instead they left with two broken cars.