F1 Monaco Grand Prix 2014 report: Mean streets of Monaco foil Lewis Hamilton’s bid for revenge as Nico Rosberg excels

Rosberg now leads at the top of the standings by four points


He’d threatened Senna-like vengeance on team-mate Nico Rosberg were they to run side-by-side down to the first corner on Sunday, but when it came to it, Lewis Hamilton didn’t get close enough then, or at any other time, on the streets of Monaco.

The rivalry between the two Mercedes team-mates had enlivened the season’s first five races, in a year when victories have so far been divided only between them. But Rosberg’s mistake on the final qualifying runs generated controversy and raised expectations of a mano-a-mano duel after Hamilton made it clear he felt Rosberg had deliberately frustrated his own qualifying effort.

Sadly this was Monaco, a great place to watch these artists at work, but hopeless if you want to see drivers of equal ability in equal cars  trying to overtake.

Rosberg, on the pole he won under a cloud, got the drop when the five red starting lights went out, and for the next 78 laps Hamilton was forced to chase the other Mercedes W05 Hybrid through the metal-lined streets.

One chance had come and gone at the start. The next came when Adrian Sutil crashed his Sauber heavily at the chicane on the 25th lap. Hamilton wanted to come into the pits then, but the team elected to bring in both of their drivers a lap later after the safety car had been deployed.

Read more: Hamilton: Rosberg and I aren't friends

In his heart, Hamilton knew that was the way it had to be. Mercedes have a rule that the guy in front gets the first stop. It worked for him against  Rosberg in Bahrain and  Barcelona where he took narrow victories. Now it worked here for Rosberg.


The third chance was to get close enough to try a pass, but he never quite managed that despite pushing lap after lap and rarely being more than two seconds adrift.

The game of cat and mouse stalemated until the 65th lap, when Hamilton  suddenly dropped from 1.6sec behind to 3.9sec. Gradually that gap grew, to the 9.2sec by which Rosberg eventually won. The reason, as Hamilton explained, was unusual.

“I got some dirt in my eye. I usually make sure my visor is closed but there was quite a bit of wind coming in and when I was close to Nico a bit of dirt got thrown up into my left eye. I can tell you, driving with one eye is just not possible round here! So in the low-speed  corners I was trying to open the visor and clear it out, but that was only making it worse and I lost a lot of time.”

By then he was having to worry less about the growing gap to Rosberg, and more about the way Daniel  Ricciardo was catching him as the Red Bull man sensed a chance of second place.

As Hamilton brushed the barriers twice while  frantically blinking to clear his eye, the Australian got right on to his tail but, like the Brit when he had been in that position with Rosberg, Ricciardo couldn’t quite pull off a move.

Nico Rosberg leading the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg leading the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton “It’s really nice to be on the podium in Monaco,”  Ricciardo declared with his whiter-than-white smile. And well he might have been happy, on a day when two rivals ahead of him met trouble and  Fernando Alonso couldn’t pressure him for long in a Ferrari good enough only for a distant fourth. The  Spaniard finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India and then Jenson Button, with Felipe Massa seventh for Williams.

In the points for the first time in their history, and at the 83rd attempt, were Marussia with Jules Bianchi eighth.  Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate and four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel’s frustrating season continued as he quit on lap eight with a power unit failure.

“The start was not very good and I dropped from third to fifth,” said Ricciardo, “but then Vettel had his problem [his gearbox stuck in first gear] and I was fourth, then I saw [Kimi] Raikonnen get his puncture while we were running under the safety car, so I was third again. I got very close to Lewis at the end. I believe he had an issue so I put the pressure on, but third was the best we could do.”

However angry he might have been the previous night, Hamilton had to suck it up and second wasn’t a disaster.

“This weekend I had very good pace and drove with all my heart and did what I could, fairly,” he said, pointedly. “I leave today quite happy and go to the next race with more energy and determination.”

Meanwhile, Rosberg wore a huge smile as he savoured a great drive to his second  consecutive victory around the streets of Monte Carlo.

“It’s a special win, of course,” he said, after reclaiming the world championship points lead from Hamilton. “Lewis had momentum and results going his way as we came here, but I managed to claw that back this weekend.”

His only real problem was having to save fuel for a while, something he admitted caught him off guard a little.

“That was a tough moment, as I had to change my driving style and use different gears and lift and coast, but the team got me to do what I had to do and once I got in the groove again when the situation had stabilised, it was okay.”

His father Keke won here for Williams in 1983 and now he’s added a third victory to the family name. “It makes me very happy to make my  parents proud and having family and so many friends here makes it all that more special,” he said.

Whether the breach in his friendship with Hamilton was worth the price is still open to considerable debate.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor