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Monaco: F1 really needs a new winner

2014-05-22 08:17


GOING FOR FIVE: Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton could take his fifth win of 2014 in Monaco this weekend but the sport needs a new winner to keep the excitement alive. Image: AFP

MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Formula 1 2014 desperately needs a fresh winner from the 2014 Monaco GP (April 25) to maintain any semblance of suspense.

Lewis Hamilton will be going for his fifth consecutive win with the F1 season taking on an air of inevitability, just as in 2013 when Sebastian Vettel dominated with ease by winning the final nine races and 13 of 19 overall.

With Mercedes unbeatable for speed, Hamilton looks like he could beat even those incredible numbers with four-times 2013 champion Vettel drifting from contention.

Hamilton said: "The last few races have been incredible. I honestly never expected I'd win four consecutive GP's in my career and I'd love to continue that run here. The car has been strong at every race and I'm sure it'll be the same in Monaco. We should be set for an entertaining weekend."


Hamilton leads team mate Nico Rosberg by only three points because the former retired from the season-opening Australian GP with engine trouble. Rosberg won in Melbourne, meaning Mercedes has won every race so far, and it looks like being a straight contest between the Mercedes drivers as to who wins the title.

Rosberg, who grew up in the principality and won his maiden F1 race here in 2013, commented: "I know I have a fantastic car and I expect it to be very, very quick in Monaco. The race is all about just trying to make the tyres last but this year the tyres are more durable and we have better control on them as a team. It should be a faster race if I'm up front."

Vettel is in fourth place in the Drivers' championship but already 55 points behind leader Hamilton. His more realistic contest is getting the better of his new team mate, Daniel Ricciardo, who is only six points behind him.

Rule changes have blighted Red Bull, which cannot generate the speed it had in 2014 and is beset by technical glitches.

Besides switching to a 1.6 V6 turbo/hybrid 'power unit' from 2013's 2.4 V8 engine, the rule changes focus on boosting cars' energy recovery systems which store energy from braking and waste heat from the engine. F1 has also lowered the race fuel load to 100kg, 60kg less than in 2014.

The cars are also heavier and running with altered gearboxes, exhaust, wings and nose height.


Mercedes has made a far smoother transition and is a huge 113 points clear of Red Bull and 131 ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors' championship.

McLaren driver Jenson Button, 2009 champion, said on Wednesday (May 21): "More than any other 2014 race, I think this event will show us the most pronounced difference between the 'old' F1 and the new. There's far less of an aerodynamic influence here; it's just about bolting as much to the car as possible in a bid to find grip - so I think the engine's influence will be greater."

Over the past 12 months only three drivers have won a race: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel. Some contrast to two years ago, when a different driver won each of the first seven races. And the last time F1 was so predictable was when Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna won all the races during an 18-race period through 1987-88.

A season with only two winners, however, would be a first. Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff told Autosport: "If you look at the performance now, you wonder if it (winning all the races) could happen but then you know there are 14 races to go.


"We haven't had conditions in the race such as safety (pace) cars at the wrong time, or thunderstorms. Also they (the drivers) didn't touch yet. So it's much too early."

Whoever gets pole in Monaco usually wins, given how hard it is to overtake on the narrow and winding circuit so Mercedes, which has also earned every pole, is favoured to make it six consecutive wins.

Vettel, who won from pole in Monaco in 2011, said: "You cannot afford to make one mistake because you could easily crash into the railings. Overtaking is only possible with extreme risk. The best place to overtake is before the harbour chicane as we exit the tunnel at 300km/h and race towards the first-gear chicane.

"Other than that, it's all about patience in Monaco."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Monaco GP this weekend.

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