Starting grid for the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix

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The Monaco Grand Prix is the biggest event on the Formula 1 calendar, and in 2014 it has been made all the more tantalizing as the intra-team rivalry at Mercedes boils over for us all to see.

All week long, Lewis Hamilton has been having subtle digs at teammate Nico Rosberg, and this escalated yesterday after qualifying. Whilst on his final flying lap, Rosberg – who was on provisional pole – made a mistake at Mirabeau and went off down a slip road. This brought out the yellow flags, and meant that none of the drivers behind him could improve their times. He had inadvertently given himself pole position, with Hamilton missing out by just 0.059 seconds.

However, Hamilton inferred that there was something more sinister behind Rosberg’s error. The stewards investigated the incident, but ultimately ruled that the German driver had made an innocent error; Hamilton was simply the victim of bad luck.

With the two starting side-by-side on the front row today, we could be set for the closest and most tenuous battle yet.


  • As reported yesterday, Marcus Ericsson has been told by the FIA to start the race from the pit lane as punishment for crashing into Felipe Massa during Q1. The Swede has also received two penalty points on his superlicense.
  • Jules Bianchi will now start from last on the grid (P21) after making a gearbox change overnight. This bumps Max Chilton and Kamui Kobayashi up one place each.
  • Nico Rosberg will start the race from pole position despite the stewards investigating his off-track excursion during Q3 yesterday.
  • All cases of on-track blocking have not been deemed severe enough to warrant a penalty by the stewards. Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Daniil Kvyat and Pastor Maldonado were all under investigation.


1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
10. Sergio Perez Force India
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Valtteri Bottas Williams
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus
15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
16. Felipe Massa Williams
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
18. Adrian Sutil Sauber
19. Max Chilton Marussia
20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia

PIT LANE: Marcus Ericsson Caterham

F1 Preview: 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Photo: Getty Images
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Save for two occasions, in 2006, and 2010, the Australian Grand Prix has served as the season-opening event for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, and this weekend’s event will be the 21st time that the city of Melbourne has kicked off the Formula 1 campaign.

The 2018 season is the fifth one of the current hybrid power unit era, the second season of the current aero regulations, and the second under Liberty Media’s guidance.

Last year saw titans Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari duel for supremacy for most of the season before Mercedes distanced Ferrari late in the season to take the constructor’s title and the driver’s title, with Lewis Hamilton, who is now tied with Sebastian Vettel on four world championships apiece.

Four drivers on the grid have Formula 1 world championships to their name: Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also has a world championship to his name as a two-time titlist in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

So, what can viewers expect from the 2018 curtain-raiser in Australia? A handful of things to watch are below?

2018 Australian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Does Anyone Have Anything for Mercedes?

Only on one day during pre-season testing did a Mercedes driver lead the way – Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the final day of Week 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, all indications were that was by design, with the team focusing the majority of the second week, if not the entire second week, on long runs with their W09 EQ Power+ chassis.

Such a decision is an ominous one, in that it indicates the team is very comfortable with the amount of speed in the car and did not see a need, or desire, to show their hand during testing.

With that in mind, the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas may yet again have the best and fastest cars, and the team looks poised to potentially make it five constructor’s and driver’s championships in a row.

Ferrari and Red Bull Look to End Mercedes Reign

The biggest threats to Mercedes are undoubtedly Ferrari and Red Bull, the only other teams to win in 2017.

And both teams displayed a lot of pace during testing, particularly in the “one-lap speed” category. Ricciardo set a lap record around the Catalunya circuit during the second week, only for Vettel to supplant that mark later in the week. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen led the way during the final day of testing.

It is unknown how that pace will translate over the course of a race distance. Mercedes appeared to have an edge on both Ferrari and Red Bull over long runs and race simulations, but there is also a theory that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had their true long-run form on display.

Still, if a team is going to knock off Mercedes, it will likely be either Ferrari or Red Bull.

McLaren on the Rebound?

Put simply, the previous three seasons for McLaren F1 Team were a bit of a disaster. Their partnership with Honda yielded point totals of 27 (2015), 76 (2016), and 30 (2017) in a three-year venture that was defined by poor reliability and underwhelming power.

The relationship hit a boiling point last year and both entities parted ways ahead of the 2018 season, with McLaren signing a new power unit deal with Renault.

Testing went better than in previous years, though the team continued to battle reliability problems. However, all issues appeared to be minor, needling issues rather than more significant, foundational problems, as the other Renault teams (Red Bull and Renault Sport F1 Team) had solid runs with few reliability issues.

The car does appear to have speed in it, so if the reliability problems are behind them, McLaren could be in for a rebound season.

Stuck in the Midfield Again

Formula 1’s battle amongst the midfield is set to be as fierce as ever as a host of a several teams have a chance at being “best of the rest.”

Sahara Force India has been the frontrunner from the the midfield teams each of the last two years, finishing fourth in the constructor’s title in both 2016 and 2017, though if the steady conflict between drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez continues through 2018, it could hamper their efforts significantly.

Renault Sport F1 Team and Haas F1 Team look to improve on their 2017 form, while Toro Rosso is in a new partnership with Honda power units…and has experienced a surprisingly smooth pre-season as Honda’s 2018 platform looks significantly better, with the team enjoying a solid run of testing with few, if any, reliability problems.

Williams Martini Racing and Alfa Romeo Sauber appear to be at the back of the pack entering the season, but both could battle for points finishes if those ahead of them falter.