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5 things we learned from the Monaco Grand Prix

5 things we learned from the Monaco Grand Prix - News

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel moved 25 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One World Championship race after his victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Hamilton, who endured a weekend to forget at the Monte Carlo circuit, finished a distant seventh.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at five things we learned from the sixth round of the championship.


Rule number one at Monaco is track position. So when pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen was hauled in from the lead for his one and only pit stop five laps before team-mate Vettel, pre-race suspicions that Ferrari were attempting to fix a win for the latter only heightened. There will have been few who would have begrudged Ferrari for manipulating the result in favour of their lead driver, given his strong position in the title race, and Hamilton's precarious 13th-placed start after qualifying. So, why did the Italian team feel the need to defend their actions? Team orders are no longer illegal, Raikkonen, already 62 points adrift of Vettel, has little chance of winning the title, and it was imperative that the German took maximum points given Hamilton has not been in contention in Monaco all weekend. But Ferrari's ensuing protests, in which they denied any wrong-doing, only sought to overshadow their first win here for 16 years and their first one-two finish since 2010.


Hamilton put a brave face on his second off-colour display of the season here in Monaco. Indeed the triple world champion, not one to take losing lightly, was surprisingly upbeat on both Saturday - after he qualified 14th - and again on Sunday despite Vettel's win moving him the equivalent of one victory clear in the title race. Yet Hamilton, who hosted a star-studded party in Monaco on Sunday evening, will know that he cannot afford another weekend like this one if he wants to win the championship. The next stop on the calendar is Montreal, a track at which Hamilton has won on five occasions. Further problems for Hamilton there will provide him with little confidence that he can turn this championship deficit around.


Jenson Button took centre stage upon his return to grand prix racing for McLaren - but he will have been seeking a quick exit on Sunday night following his dangerous lunge on Pascal Wehrlein in the closing stages of the race. Wehrlein missed the opening two rounds of the season with a back injury and he admitted that he would undergo a scan this week after he was flipped onto the barriers by Button. The Brit protested his innocence, but the move reeked of a man fed up with staring at the back of an uncompetitive Sauber car for 60 laps. Should this be Button's last appearance in Formula One, it will not be one he remembers with much fondness.


Button was racing in Monaco following Fernando Alonso's participation at the Indianapolis 500. McLaren's hospitality suite in the Monte Carlo paddock was transformed into an American-style diner on Sunday night as members of the British team and VIP guests, which included New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter, threw their support behind the Spaniard. Alonso's progress through the field was greeted with a chorus of cheers, but his demise in the closing stages of the race ensured a hushed silence. Alonso fell foul to yet another Honda engine failure, and it was noticeable that the PR man for the Japanese manufacturer hurried for the closed-off sanctuary of the communications room inside McLaren's motorhome when the camera cut to smoke pluming from the back of Alonso's car.


For all the glitz, glamour and pre-race excitement of Monaco, the grand prix itself rarely delivers - and Sunday's largely-processional affair served only as another reminder of that. It was virtually impossible to overtake here before and the wider cars have made it even harder. Indeed if it was not for Button's wild lunge on Wehrlein than the race would have passed off without any incident at all. A great event? Yes. A great race? Sadly, no.

31 May 2017

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