Daily Archives: May 26, 2013

Mercedes to face FIA over “secret tyre test” with Pirelli

Mercedes have been referred to the FIA by the Monaco Grand Prix stewards, over a secret test of Pirelli tyres after the Spanish Grand Prix.

It is understood that Mercedes applied for permission to the FIA for the test, but were granted the approval on condition that the Pirelli test car was used. However, it has emerged that Mercedes had ran their own car during the test, which would have granted the team an unfair advantage.

Ferrari and Red Bull have protested the test, and are clearly to gain if Mercedes face sanction for running their own car.

However, it should be noted that the result of the Monaco Grand Prix will stand regardless of any action by the FIA.

Points standings after Monaco Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 107
2 Kimi Raikkonen 86
3 Fernando Alonso 78
4 Lewis Hamilton 62
5 Mark Webber 57
6 Nico Rosberg 47
7 Felipe Massa 45
8 Paul di Resta 28
9 Romain Grosjean 26
10 Jenson Button 25
11 Adrian Sutil 16
12 Sergio Perez 12
13 Daniel Ricciardo 7
14 Nico Hulkenberg 5
15 Jean-Eric Vergne 5
16 Valtteri Bottas 0
17 Esteban Gutierrez 0
18 Jules Bianchi 0
19 Charles Pic 0
20 Pastor Maldonado  0
21 Giedo van der Garde  0
22 Max Chilton  0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull 164
2 Ferrari 123
3 Lotus 112
4 Mercedes 109
5 Force India 44
6 McLaren 37
7 Toro Rosso 12
8 Sauber-Ferrari 5
9 Williams-Renault 0
10 Marussia-Cosworth 0
11 Caterham-Renault 0

Rosberg takes first victory of 2013 in eventful Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has become the 4th race winner of the 2013 season, taking a lights-to-flag victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

At the start, Sebastian Vettel put Rosberg and Hamilton under immediate pressure, but was forced to recede into 3rd place. Jenson Button got to work on passing his teammate, but was unable to in the opening laps.

However, the McLaren pair began to clash wheels within a few laps, with Perez cutting two corners while battling Jenson. The Brit took to his team radio to complain, while Perez maintained 7th position.

Mercedes’ strategy of backing the rest of the field up began to materialise, as Nico’s 1:22.5 lap times were several seconds slower than those who had pitted early for new tyres. The top 5 – Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen, were nose-to-tail, while Fernando Alonso in 6th began to slip into the grasp of Perez, Sutil and Button behind.

A cagey first stint limited proceedings until about lap 21, when Rosberg and Hamilton were instructed to turn up the engine and push. This move was copied by the Red Bulls, Raikkonen and Alonso, who all began to catch the leaders again.

A stop for soft tyres for Mark Webber on lap 26 started the pit stop frenzy. While the leaders pitted, Paul di Resta put a brave move on Felipe Massa into Sainte Devote. Felipe’s race didn’t last much longer, as he shunted into the barriers a few laps later, in a similar situation to his crash in Friday practice.

The safety car was deployed, which secured Rosberg’s lead. However, Hamilton was less lucky, being held up while he waited to pit, and slipped to 4th behind Sebastian and Mark.

The safety car pulled in on lap 39, and the racing resumed. Unlike the first stint, there was very little conservative racing, with drivers  immediately getting stuck into fascinating battles up and down the field. Hamilton did his best to get past Webber, while Alonso hunted down Raikkonen. He got slightly wide at Loews, and got a clip from Jenson Button behind as a result, but both drivers were able to continue.

The inter-McLaren battle continued, with Sergio Perez putting a fantastic move on Jenson for 7th place. He then chased down Fernando Alonso for 6th, making another move at the Nouvelle Chicane, but the Ferrari was forced to cut the corner to defend his position.

However, there was no time for the stewards to intervene just yet, as the red flag was out for a crash at Tabac. Pastor Maldonado was squeezed by Max Chilton, and the Williams was launched into the barriers, luckily getting away unscathed.

After a quick scramble where all the drivers changed their tyres, the race restarted 20 minutes later. Alonso was instructed to hand his place back to Perez, and it only got worse for the Spaniard after that – he was soon put under pressure by Adrian Sutil in 7th. A mistake at Loews corner put the Ferrari wide, and Adrian wasted no time in punishing the 2-time world champion.

A crash by Jules Bianchi at Sainte Devote out out double-waved yellows, but the safety car was soon to make another appearance. This time, it was Romain Grosjean who caused a crash on the Monte Carlo circuit, spearing into Daniel Ricciardo at the Nouvelle Chicane, putting both cars out on the spot.

But after the safety car peeled away, the carnage wasn’t over yet. On lap 70, Sergio Perez clashed with Kimi Raikkonen under braking out of the casino tunnel, breaking Perez’s front wing and giving Kimi a puncture. The McLaren retired several laps later with a brake issue, while the Lotus was left stranded in 16th with only a few laps to go.

However, Raikkonen pulled off an amazing raft of overtakes on his final stint, passing Chilton, Van der Garde, Bottas, Gutierrez and Hulkenberg in a matter of laps, and continuing his 23-race streak of points-scoring races.

Up front, Rosberg maintained a 4-second gap to the Red Bulls until the chequered flag, taking an emphatic victory in his home city. Teammate Hamilton chased down Mark Webber for the second half of the race, but couldn’t find a way past. Sutil took an excellent 5th place, with Button, Alonso, Vergne, di Resta and Raikkonen finishing the top 10.

While Mercedes can finally rejoice in their first victory of 2013, it is Sebastian Vettel who gains the most, stretching out an 18-point lead to Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship.

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