Lewis Hamilton has called on Monaco’s organisers to ring the changes after lamenting Sunday’s processional affair as the “most boring race” of his career.
Ricciardo was down on power for much of the race after engine gremlins struck with 50 laps still remaining. But the Australian never came under threat at a circuit where overtaking is, and always has been, virtually impossible.
Indeed the top six crossed the line in the order they qualified.
“Thank God that’s over,” Hamilton said on the Mercedes‘ radio at the conclusion of the Grand Prix. “That was the most boring race I’ve ever participated in.”
The Brit, 33, later said: “We were just cruising around from lap six, literally cruising, so it wasn’t really racing.
“Monaco has got the biggest build-up and it is the most special race of the year, but Formula One needs to apply a different schedule here.
“From a racing driver’s point of view, we were never pushing. It was insane how little I was pushing. I was 10 seconds behind, but I was conflicted because in my heart I wanted to win this race, but the team just asked me to bring the car home.”
Hamilton added: “What can we do to make this one better? I spoke to Prince Albert the other day and said maybe we should make it longer. There are more roads so maybe we can change this great track and make it even better.
“Or maybe the format should change. You shouldn’t be able to do a one-stop race here. There has to be some mixed-up things. Maybe we need two races?”
Hamilton was not alone in his view, with Fernando Alonso, a former winner at Monte Carlo and double world champion, also taking aim at Sunday’s spectacle.
“This was probably the most boring race ever,” Alonso, who retired in the closing stages, said.
“The sport needs to think a little bit about the show because this is very disappointing.
“We probably need to give something to the fans at the end of the race just to pay back the ticket.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
The inaugural race, which is penned in for October of next year, passed its first hurdle when the City Commission approved the 10-year proposal on Thursday. A further vote will be put to the Miami County later this month.
F1 is set to face opposition from local groups, with large parts of the city likely to be affected, but the sport’s American owner Liberty Media is confident of getting an agreement over the line.
Sean Bratches, F1’s commercial boss, was in Miami on Thursday to run through the proposal which, if fully approved, will be the biggest coup of Liberty’s reign so far. Bratches said Miami “represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world’s most iconic cities.”
The proposed 2.6mile track includes the port, runs along Biscayne Boulevard and loops around the American Airlines Arena, home of NBA side Miami Heat.
Hamilton gave the track the thumbs down last week, however, writing on Instagram: “OK, so I’ve just seen the design of the Miami track. Nah bruh, it’s not the one. Let me design it.”
Adding to his social media remarks, Hamilton said: “Miami is a super-cool place and I was very excited to hear about it, but when I saw the layout I was like ‘meh’. It could be a lot more fun.
“I know Miami quite well so there are a few better locations to put the track.”
Hamilton, who was speaking ahead of this week’s Spanish Grand Prix, added: “All the great golfers design golf courses, but no top racing drivers have ever designed a track.
“Maybe it is a hit but if there is time and anyone wants to approach me or any of the drivers, I am sure we can give some good insight, and how the layout can be better.”
A spokesperson for F1 told Press Association Sport that the track could yet be adapted.
F1’s owners have made no secret of their desire to stage more races in America, with New York and Las Vegas also under consideration. A deal to race in Miami would also be the first struck in the post-Bernie Ecclestone era.
Hamilton heads into the opening leg of the European season here in Barcelona with a four-point championship lead over Sebastian Vettel after he won fortuitously in Azerbaijan last time out.
The 33-year-old Englishman, who spent last weekend at the Met Gala in New York, is yet to sign an extension to his Mercedes contract which expires at the end of the season.
Hamilton and Mercedes had hoped to get his new deal over the line before March’s opening rubber in Melbourne, but appear no closer to an announcement.
“When it’s signed, it’s signed,” Hamilton said. “Formula One is shifting and we don’t know what the sport is doing.
“All the teams come to the end of an agreement in 2020 so there is that, and my future to determine. I have got to decide how long I want to do it, how long I plan to be here, and that is why I am taking my time.”
Lewis Hamilton was subdued in his celebrations while his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was left devastated after the defending world champion claimed an unlikely victory in Sunday’s incident-packed Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Their conflicting emotions summed up the range of moods following an extraordinary contest that saw two Safety Car interventions, championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari outwitted and beaten and the Red Bull drivers crash into each other.
Bottas had looked likely to win until he was hit by a puncture after running over debris in the final laps and gifted victory to his team-mate.
It was Hamilton’s first win this year and 63rd of his career and lifted him beyond Vettel back to the top of the title standings.
Hamilton had struggled to keep pace with Vettel and Bottas for much of the race and said it felt “a bit odd” to end up victorious after both men hit trouble in the closing laps.
Race win = GONE 😫
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 29, 2018
Chasing Bottas after the final re-start, Vettel made a lunge to pass him at the first corner, but succeeded only in out-braking himself and locking up as he speared off circuit before rejoining to finish fourth.
Bottas then retired with the end in sight when he suffered a dramatic puncture after running over debris left on the main straight.
“It was really quite an emotional race to be honest,” said Hamilton. “Valtteri did such an exceptional job and really deserved to have the win and Sebastian also did a great job.
“It feels a little bit odd to be up here, but I’ve got to take it. I didn’t give up, I kept pushing, but it was an untidy race for me.”
Hamilton’s first win in seven races stretching back to last October took him to 70 points in the championship ahead of Vettel on 66 and Kimi Raikkonen on 48. Bottas has 40.
Bottas, in dark glasses, said: “It was just unfortunate. Unlucky. Ten pints of beer and maybe I will be fine… I will get through it. You always have to get through it – it is a part of racing, but at the moment it is painful.
“Street circuits are difficult. There are always going to be crashes. I didn’t know I had run over anything, or seen anything. Just unlucky.”
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda blamed the poor work in clearing the track after the multiple accidents for Bottas’s misfortune.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 29, 2018
“It was good and bad today,” he said. “Why didn’t they clean up the circuit properly? There was so much time to do it… It was a disaster for Bottas and for Lewis it was really good.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was philosophical.
“The win was really his, for Valtteri, but he pulled away at the re-start and ran over a huge chunk of debris. I just feel for him. There was even a tiny chance to win this race on normal strategy, but it cannot change the reality for us that we are a bit behind Ferrari at the moment.
“I guess, in the end, Lewis has got his Melbourne win back.”
In the season-opening race in Melbourne, Hamilton led until Ferrari took advantage of a Safety Car deployment to help Vettel take victory.
Provided by AFP Sport