Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Raikkonen pouting on the podium after getting his butt beaten badly by his teammate
    Raikkonen pouting on the podium after getting his butt beaten badly by his teammate. Once ahead, Vettel pulled away from Raikkonen with ease

    Raikkonen now Ferrari 'number 2' – Hamilton

  • New injury doubt after Wehrlein crash
  • Hulkenberg 'exactly' right for Renault – Prost
  • CEO says Pirelli not buying into F1
  • Alonso 'not ready' to commit to 2018 Indy 500
  • F1 now run 'like a Starbucks' – Ecclestone
  • Marchionne lauds historic Monaco victory for Ferrari
  • Alonso hails performance despite DNF
  • Verstappen frustrated to miss podium
  • Vettel: Overcut on Raikkonen not planned

Raikkonen now Ferrari 'number 2' – Hamilton
(GMM) Despite making the podium, Kimi Raikkonen was far from happy after Sunday's Monaco GP.

The pole sitter was leading the prestigious race until the round of pitstops, when his Ferrari teammate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel stayed out longer and re-emerged to win.

"Feelings were hot in the Ferrari garage," Toni Vilander, a broadcaster for Finland's C More and a personal friend of Raikkonen's, said.

"Kimi's engineer was very upset and Kimi was obviously angry. Maybe things went on that we don't know about."

The obvious conclusion – although Ferrari denies it – was that the team deliberately engineered the situation so that Vettel scored maximum points ahead of the Finn.

"We do not give team orders," team boss Maurizio Arrivabene is quoted by Iltalehti.

"They had permission to fight with each other, and they did so," he insisted.

Vettel agreed with his boss that Ferrari's pit strategy simply happened to work out in his favor.

"We are racing, we get along well, I can understand that Kimi's upset," said the German.

But from Mercedes' perspective, Monaco was perhaps the turning point of 2017. The former champions struggled all weekend and now Ferrari might have made a clear move to install Vettel as 'number 1'.

"It's difficult for the leader here to be passed — unless the team decides to favor one car," Lewis Hamilton, now 25 points behind Vettel after six races, said.

"It is clear to me that Ferrari has chosen a number 1 driver."

So will Mercedes now have to follow suit, by making it equally clear that Valtteri Bottas' is Hamilton's wing-man?

"I don't want to answer that question," said Finn Bottas. "I also don't believe it's the right time for it.

"I think I have shown good performance this weekend and the team knows my potential."

What is apparently clear is that Ferrari has definitely moved ahead of Mercedes in the pecking order.

"The Ferraris seem to work everywhere," said Hamilton, "so the next 14 races will be very difficult.

"It's obvious that I cannot afford another weekend like this."

New injury doubt after Wehrlein crash

Pascal Wehrlein
Pascal Wehrlein

(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein will return to hospital in the coming days, following another rollover crash.

The Sauber driver had to miss the start of the 2017 season after injuring his back in a crash during the 'race of champions' winter event.

Now, in Monaco, Wehrlein was once again able to walk away from a similar rollover crash, before slamming McLaren fill-in Jenson Button for the "stupid" overtaking attempt.

The German broadcaster RTL reports that Wehrlein experienced back pain in the aftermath.

"Yes, I'll have to do a scan next week," the 22-year-old confirmed.

Wehrlein is also quoted as saying by Brazil's Globo: "I hope to be ok.

"I hit my head on the barrier again, so I will have to do a new CT scan of my back. We'll see.

"It seems ok, but since I had this injury, I'm not sure," he added.

Hulkenberg 'exactly' right for Renault – Prost

Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg

(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg is "exactly" the right driver to accompany Renault back to the top in F1.

That is the view of Alain Prost, a former Renault number 1 who is now an advisor for the French marque's new works foray.

"Nico is very important in this, as he is exactly what we needed at Renault," the F1 legend told SID news agency.

"He's very charismatic and a strong character who can help make the team better and better," Prost added.

Earlier, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul played down speculation Fernando Alonso might be heading to Renault for 2018, insisting the yellow-colored team's rise might take longer.

"We all want to improve quickly," Prost agrees, "but we also have to be careful.

"I know formula one very well and you cannot set unrealistic goals," said the Frenchman.

And so Hulkenberg is leading Renault for now, and the 29-year-old seems patient to wait for his chance to succeed.

"This is a very important phase for me and my career," he said.

"I believe in this project and I want to work with them to achieve victories and championships.

"I think this is realistic, even if there are no guarantees in motor sports. But the group has all the prerequisites and the financial possibilities," Hulkenberg added.

CEO says Pirelli not buying into F1
(GMM) Pirelli has played down suggestions the F1 tire supplier might actually buy into the sport.

Liberty Media has invited the teams to become shareholders in the post Bernie-Ecclestone era.

So when asked if Pirelli will get the same offer, the company's CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera told the Italian press in Monaco: "Nobody gave us anything and we did not ask.

"We are part of formula one but it is not a financial investment. Our involvement remains on the technological and marketing side.

"So we see no need to enter with capital," he added.

"But we are committed to formula one, which is the most attractive motor sport in the world."

Asked if Pirelli would welcome a 'tire war', Tronchetti Provera answered: "We are ready to compete, because when we race against others, we usually win."

But Tronchetti Provera thinks Pirelli has delivered what F1 needed as the sport transitioned to the 2017 regulations featuring faster cars.

"If the drivers are happy, it is a sign that we have done a good job," he said.

"But we do not stop. In 2018 we want to give even more fun and entertainment."

The Italian said Pirelli is prepared to work closely with F1's new owners Liberty Media.

"Of course," said Tronchetti Provera. "We think we can bring it to higher levels, although I always keep a special relationship with Bernie (Ecclestone) because he is a friend."

Alonso 'not ready' to commit to 2018 Indy 500

Indy is unfinished business for Alonso
Indy is unfinished business for Alonso

(GMM) Fernando Alonso has suggested he will return to America to bid once again for Indy 500 victory.

Having sat out Monaco last weekend, the Spaniard tasted the lead of the fabled oval race several times on Sunday but retired with a Honda engine failure.

"I saw smoke and said 'It's over', but it was a great experience," the McLaren driver is quoted by Spain's Diario Sport.

"The race was very good, our performance was good, I was in the lead several times in front of the big names of Indycar — we were in it," Alonso added.

So when asked if he will be back for another shot at victory in 2018, he answered: "I felt competitive but if I come back I know what to expect and it would be easier.

"I have enjoyed it a lot, it was one of the best experiences of my career, but I am not ready to say something else about it," he said.

F1 now run 'like a Starbucks' – Ecclestone

Ecclestone is a bitter old man
Ecclestone is a bitter old man

(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at some of the moves already made by F1's new owners Liberty Media.

The sport's long-time 'supremo' was ousted recently and replaced by Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches.

And Ecclestone, 86, told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the trio is already doing "things I would never do or never would have done".

One of them, said the diminutive Briton, is the new emphasis on social media.

"I have never been convinced of this kind of communication because I do not believe it makes a good contribution to formula one," said Ecclestone.

He continued to criticize Liberty: "Formula one is now run like a branch of Starbucks, with someone else always throwing milk into the coffee."

Marchionne lauds historic Monaco victory for Ferrari

Vettel celebrates in Parc Ferme
Vettel celebrates in Parc Ferme

Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne hailed the marque's victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, in which Sebastian Vettel led home team-mate Kimi Räikkönen for a 1-2 finish.

Räikkönen started from pole position and led the opening stint but the pair traded positions following the round of stops, with Vettel running five laps longer than Räikkönen.

Vettel was never headed thereafter and cruised home to register victory, his third of the season, and Ferrari's first in the Principality since Michael Schumacher's triumph in 2001.

With Räikkönen placing second, it was Ferrari's first 1-2 in Formula 1 since Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa achieved the result in Germany in 2010.

The result also moved Ferrari back into the lead of the Constructors' Championship, 17 points clear of Mercedes.

"Something we've been waiting for a long time has finally come to pass, a race which will be part of our history," said Marchionne.

"[It's] not only a victory, but a 1-2 finish at a Grand Prix with a tradition as glorious as Monaco, where Ferrari last won with another 1-2, delivered on that occasion by Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello.

"It was a really exciting race where we saw the real Scuderia.

"My compliments to the drivers and, once again, the whole team, both those at the track and the individuals that work so hard each and every day back in Maranello.

"[This is] a car that is finally giving our tifosi the satisfaction they deserve."

Alonso hails performance despite DNF

Alonso leads
Alonso leads

Fernando Alonso labelled his Indy 500 experience as "one of the best" of his career and reveled in his performance, despite retiring from the race due to an engine failure.

Alonso fought up front for the bulk of the 200-lap event and headed the pack for several spells, scrapping among Andretti team-mates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.

Alonso was running in the lower reaches of the top 10, and striving to make progress, when he slowed along the main straight on lap 179 when his engine expired.

Alonso received a standing ovation from the spectators as he climbed from his stricken machine, before another teammate, Takuma Sato, went on to take a popular win.

"It's a shame," he told ESPN after the race.

"I think we deserved at least to finish the race and experience the in-lap and all the things, but who knows which position we could be.

"The racing was fun, it was nice. I think the performance was good. We were up there, leading the race for a couple of laps, on the red flag we were leading the race.

"It was a very nice surprise to come here with these big names, big guys, the best in oval racing, and be able to be competitive."

Alonso hinted that he would return to the event in the future.

"Obviously it's very early [to say], I've just finished this one," he commented.

"I feel competitive. If I come back I come back with something that I know, how it will feel. It will be easier the second time than what it has been this one. It was really good fun.

"Thanks to all of IndyCar, thanks to Indianapolis, thanks to the fans, because this has been one of the best experiences in my career."

Verstappen frustrated to miss podium
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has expressed his frustration after missing out on a potential podium finish in Sunday afternoon's Monaco Grand Prix.

Verstappen initially maintained fourth, behind the Ferrari drivers and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, after banging wheels with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo at the start.

He was the first of the frontrunners to pit on lap 32/78, followed by Bottas a lap later, but Ricciardo stayed out longer in the other RB13 and managed to jump both of them.

Bottas and Verstappen lost further time stuck behind the yet-to-stop Carlos Sainz Jr. and, when informed that he was fifth, the Dutch teenager shouted "a f**king disaster" over the radio.

Verstappen was unable to recover lost ground, despite gambling under the Safety Car with a swap back to Ultra Softs, ultimately crossing the line half a second down on Bottas.

"I don't know what's going on behind me, how many people are still in between if you do a stop, and there was still Sainz in between, so that's not great if you want to do an undercut," Verstappen reflected.

"Let's say I jumped Valtteri, I would have got stuck behind Sainz, and you can't get past even on newer tires.

"You could see after the last Safety Car, I was on the softer tire, but as soon as you get within a second it's just really hard to follow and the cars are too wide, so you can't do anything here.

"It's very hard after such a clean weekend to lose out on a podium, but also you can't change it now.

"It's not great what we did, but I guess that's racing, shall I say it like that?"

Verstappen has one podium finish to his name this season, achieved in China.

Vettel: Overcut on Raikkonen not planned

Vettel did not plan to beat his teammate so badly
Vettel did not plan to beat his teammate so badly

Sebastian Vettel insists Ferrari's strategy to run him longer than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was not planned, as he jumped his rival through the pit-stop phase at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Championship leader Vettel lined up from second place on the grid, with Raikkonen on pole, and the pair retained their positions at the start, gradually pulling clear of the pack.

Raikkonen and Vettel were slowed by traffic and rear-tire wear, enabling third-placed Valtteri Bottas to move closer, before the pit window opened.

Raikkonen pitted on lap 34, changing from Ultra Softs to Super Softs, while Vettel stayed out for a further five laps, setting rapid times, and emerged from his stop still in the lead.

From there, Vettel quickly pulled clear, opening an 11-second lead, and maintained his advantage through a late Safety Car period, going on to head a Ferrari 1-2.

Asked if the overcut was planned, Vettel said: "No, not really, I don't think there was… we couldn't plan much, the plan was to try and pull away, which we did.

"Then Valtteri had really good pace, we were struggling more with our rears [tires] and at that point the window opened.

"Valtteri obviously pitted, Kimi responded, [but] for me I think I still had a bit of a gap, nothing to lose in P2, so I tried to push as hard as possible.

"Within two laps I was surprised myself to be able to pull a gap to be able to come out in front."

Vettel conceded that leading away at the restart, following the collision between Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein, had proved a challenge, amid cold tires.

He held on to give Ferrari its first win in Monaco since 2001.

"I could control the race, but after the restart it was really tricky with the cold tires, I think everyone else was really struggling," he said.

"At Turn 1 [on the] first [restart] lap, it was really difficult, but after a couple of laps I was able to control the gap behind.

"It's a fantastic job the team has done, so credit to them – a fantastic weekend for Ferrari."

Vettel now leads Lewis Hamilton by 25 points, after the Briton placed seventh.

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