Key­stone Cops and rob­bers

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT -

Hamil­ton stole the win after a sham­bolic pit­stop wrecked the hopes of the show’s star: Dan Ric­cia­rdo

Track po­si­tion is ev­ery­thing in Monaco. Lewis Hamil­ton learned that the hard way in 2015 when his Mercedes team blun­dered, and this year Daniel Ric­cia­rdo sim­i­larly wit­nessed the re­wards for an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance evap­o­rate be­fore his very eyes.

Lewis un­der­stood the pain. After cel­e­brat­ing his rst win of the sea­son in parc fermé with the in­ex­pli­ca­bly at­ten­dant Justin Bieber, he di­alled the joy down a notch as he con­tem­plated the crushed man on the podium be­side him and found the scene un­nerv­ingly fa­mil­iar.

“It’s never great to start on pole and nish sec­ond,” he said, “but he should feel proud of the way he drove.”

Ric­cia­rdo had been quick all week­end and was ut­terly dom­i­nant when it counted in the nal phase of qual­i­fy­ing. Monaco’s lay­out played to the in­her­ent strengths of the Red Bull chas­sis, par­tic­u­larly its su­pe­rior trac­tion. Pirelli’s new ul­tra­soft com­pound, used here for the rst time in anger after a brief ap­pear­ance in pre-sea­son test­ing, proved to be not that much more grippy than the su­per­soft – on which Ric­cia­rdo can­nily set his fastest time in Q2, thus en­sur­ing he would start the race on that set… the­o­ret­i­cally.

In Q3 Ric­cia­rdo’s rst hot lap proved un­beat­able as both Mercedes were briey hob­bled by fuel-pres­sure in­sta­bil­ity caused by the fuel evap­o­rat­ing in the heat, which did not man­i­fest it­self un­til Hamil­ton was nearly out of the pit­lane. Nico Ros­berg lined up sec­ond and Hamil­ton was third, un­able to con­ceal his glum­ness in a pe­cu­liar post-ses­sion team

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