Memorial Day races are always something to look forward to whether you’re a fair-weather fan or hardcore racer. One thing the racing community has done a good job of over the years is to help us all commemorate what the day is really about and what freedoms we are thankful for because of the sacrifices of the men and women in our military.
Monaco Grand Prix
The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and especially Lewis Hamilton has been dominant for the first part of the Formula 1 season so far, and the nearest rival, Ferrari at the hands of Sebastian Vettel, looks like it has a long way to go to catch the Silver Arrows squad.
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 24, 2015
Hamilton didn’t put a wheel wrong in qualifying and took the pole, which is essentially a race win because the antiquated track in Monaco is not conducive to passing of any kind. The track, however, makes up for it’s lack of racing excitement with lots of off-track activity. Monaco has become the place to be seen if you’re a celebrity or want to rub elbows with the Royals.
F1 cars outgrew Monaco in the ’70s but has been a mainstay for the series since it began in the 1950s, and the track layout is virtually the same as it was back then.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 22, 2015
Hamilton got off to his usual good race start and began pulling away from Rosberg with Vettel following less than two seconds behind but not making up an significant ground on the leaders. Again, it was a race of follow the leader with few drivers able to pull off passing moves with any regularity, except for a brief period where young Max Verstappen latched onto the back of Vettel’s Ferrari to slip past cars for position as Vettel was lapping the field. Verstappen’s plan almost worked to perfection until he radioed the pits to tell them what he was up to – poor kid.
Team Lotus picked up the radio call and relayed the information to its driver Romain Grosjean who quickly shut the door on the teenager’s passing attempt that sent him head on into the well padded retaining wall. It was a scary looking crash, but luckily for Max, the wall had three layers of plastic barrier protecting him from injury.
The crash brought out the safety car, and effectively changed the complexion of the race as Hamilton’s team thought he had enough time under the Virtual Safety Car to pit, not realizing the actual safety car was pulling out to take over at the front of the field. This meant that the cars bunched up and nullified Hamilton’s 19 second lead. When he exited pit lane he was third behind Vettel’s Ferrari. Rosberg took the gift and drove it home for the win with Hamilton hounding the back of the Ferrari with no place to go. Hamilton said afterwards that he may have contributed to the mixup:
I thought the guys behind were pitting so when the team said stay out, I said these tires would drop in temps. I was concerned they were on options, so with that thinking, I came in with the full confidence that the others had done the same. – Lewis Hamilton
One of the things that got some people’s attention on race day was Bernie Ecclestone’s new idea to use grid boys instead of girls. Sebastian Vettel reacted to this plan with his usual humor.