Following less than desired showings at the Monaco Grand Prix, both Lotus F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari have publically stated that they believe Monaco was an isolated incident of poor performance by their respective teams. Essentially, the two Formula 1 driver’s and constructor’s championship hopefuls are telling their fans not to panic just yet.
Crashes were the story of the weekend for half of each of the teams as both Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Romain Grosjean of Lotus had multiple incidents throughout the weekend.
Massa crashed hard during FP3 and would start the race from P21 due to a gearbox penalty that cost him five spots on the starting grid. Race day brought more of the same for Massa as he once again went hard into the wall, a crash that would bring out the safety car for the first time on the day. Both accidents were due to suspension failures and both occurred in the Ste Devote turn. As a result Massa will be going into the Canadian Grand Prix with a new chassis.
Grosjean had several crashes in Monaco, the final coming on race day when he ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo forcing both cars to retire. The incident earned Grosjean his second straight DNF, as well as a 10-spot grid penalty for Canada.
The other half of each team had considerably better races than their counterparts but still finished well below expectations.
Fernando Alonso brought his Ferrari home P7 after qualifying P6 and not looking competitive throughout the race.
Kimi Raikkonen was putting together another solid performance in his Lotus E21 until Sergio Perez came into the Nouvelle chicane too fast and ran into the Finn. That marked the second time the two drivers had literally run into each other this season. The Iceman was running P5 at the time but would be forced to pit to repair a puncture due to the accident, which led to Perez retiring, but Kimi battled back from P16 to P10 in order to save a point.
Both Raikkonen and Alonso maintained their positions in the driver’s points despite their disappointing races, though the gap between them and points leader Sebastian Vettel did widen considerably. Raikkonen is now 21 points behind Vettel while Alonso trails the leader by 29.
Still, both Team Principals are saying that Monaco was not an indication of how the rest of the season will play out for their teams.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has said that he is “determined to regard what happened in Monaco as an isolated incident” and that “Looking at the first six races overall, our car has proved to be strong with very good characteristics in the majority of cases, even if, at times, other teams have proved to be faster.”
Lotus principal Eric Boullier had similar comments concerning his team, saying “As long as Monaco was just a minor blip – and there’s nothing to suggest that it wasn’t – there’s no evidence to suggest we can’t return to consistently strong performances…” With a dash of optimism he added, “One bad race in nineteen doesn’t define your Championship; we just need to ensure that we don’t have another weekend like Monaco.”
Both of these teams still have to be considered strong contenders in the championships. Alonso and Raikkonen are two of the best wheel men in F1 and are more than capable of closing the points gap separating them from Vettel.
Ferrari is looking like the more complete team between the two, and perhaps the most solid team on the grid, and is currently sitting in second in the constructor’s points. Lotus is hanging tough in third place in the constructor’s championship at the moment, but Mercedes AMG is only three points behind them.
There really is no reason to believe that Monaco was anything more than a random poor weekend for either of these teams. Both have had a week off to forget about the struggles they encountered on the streets of Monte Carlo and to prep for Montreal where I expect them to be back to competing for the win.
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