Button wary of Mercedes’ pace

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2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button has labelled Mercedes as being one of the most impressive teams during the final pre-season test in Barcelona.

Like many drivers, Button is trying to work out the pecking order heading to the first race in Australia in two weeks time, and despite struggling to make sense of the timesheets, he did praise Mercedes’ pace in front of the media.

“I really don’t know who is quick and who isn’t. I’d say that one team that has been consistently quick and consistent on their runs is the Mercedes more than anyone else.”

Following three disappointing seasons since returning to Formula One in 2010, Mercedes have made significant changes for the coming season. Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher has made way for British driver Lewis Hamilton, and F1 stalwart Norbert Haug also left the team’s backroom staff.

McLaren also enter 2013 amid a wave of change following Hamilton’s departure, as well as the exit of Paddy Lowe from their F1 setup. Regardless, Button believes that the team is heading in the right direction.

“I’m happy with the progress we made today.

“I still feel there’s so much more we need to do before the first race, so I’ll be watching closely tomorrow.”

Button went on to underline the importance of track time in the pre-season test, which has been made difficult by the tricky weather conditions in Barcelona.

“We need to get a lot of laps done and that’s because we need to spend a lot of time on the circuit to understand the car a bit more and also just developing the car. Dry weather for two days and circuit temperatures in the twenties, thirties is what we need because I haven’t driven in that condition since Jerez.”

Sergio Perez will have his final run in the MP4-28 tomorrow ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, before Button closes out the test on Sunday.

Formula 1: Ricciardo nurses power unit trouble to win in Monaco

Photo: Getty Images
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Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had dominated the Monaco Grand Prix weekend heading into Sunday, topping every practice session and laying down a lap-record 1:10.810 to secure the pole.

The race itself was also going according to plan for Ricciardo, as he got the jump off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the start to lead into Sainte Devote.

However, on Lap 28, after the leaders all made their lone pit stops of the race, Ricciardo’s day nearly came unglued when he reported a loss of power on his RB14.

With the Red Bull team monitoring the issue, Vettel was able to close back in on Ricciardo and began stalking him for the lead.

However, Ricciardo brilliantly utilized a combination of late-braking and sustained cornering speed to keep Vettel at bay and secure his first victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The victory, Ricciardo’s second of the 2018 Formula 1 season, serves as sweet redemption after a pit stop error cost him a possible victory in 2016, when he settled for second behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel, meanwhile, saw his challenge hampered after a Lap 72 Virtual Safety Car for a crash between Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley – Leclerc suffered brake failure on the run up to the Nouvelle Chicane, and collected Hartley in the process.

When the VSC ended, Vettel could not get his Pirellis back up to temperature, and Ricciardo pulled away in the final laps.

While Vettel ended up second, Hamilton rounded out the podium in third, despite struggling with a graining issue on his Pirelli ultrasofts in the second half of the race. Hamilton held off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who also fended off Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas for fourth – the trio finished up third (Hamilton), fourth (Raikkonen), and fifth (Bottas).

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Force India, with Pierre Gasly coming home a strong seventh for Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth for Renault, while Max Verstappen came home ninth after starting last – Verstappen ran long on his first stint before switching to hypersofts on Lap 48. He ran the hypers all the way to the end to finish ninth.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the final points finisher, coming home tenth for Renault.

Results are below.

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