Mixed messages from Alonso following Monza qualifying

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso has expressed his delight over qualifying fifth for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix despite appearing to berate his team over the radio during the final qualifying session after Ferrari’s tactics failed to pay off.

With Monza being the fastest circuit on the calendar, it can be highly beneficial for drivers to get in a teammate’s slipstream in order to reduce drag and therefore increase their speed. As they have done in the past two years, Ferrari opted to send their drivers out together on track with Felipe Massa leading from Alonso. By sending them around the circuit line astern, Alonso would benefit from Massa’s slipstream and theoretically post a better time.

However, during their final run, Massa appeared to pull away from Alonso, thus ruining the tactic and forcing the Spanish driver to solely rely on his own pace. He spoke over the radio to his team in Italian, but reports in the paddock from Italian journalists suggest that he may have called his team “stupid” for allowing Massa to pull away.

Eventually, Massa outqualified Alonso to line up in fourth with the Spanish driver fifth. Although the result may appear to be far from ideal for Ferrari, Alonso took to Twitter to express his happiness over his qualifying performance:

In the press session after the race, Alonso insisted that he had thanked his team after qualifying, with this result being a marked improvement from ninth in Belgium last time out.

Alonso had spoken out on Thursday to dismiss any rumors suggesting that he may be unhappy at the team, but this latest incident will only fuel the fire of conspiracy theorists in the paddock.

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

Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Follow@KyleMLavigne