The Inside Line: Hamilton gets Bieber's seal of approval

Kunal Shah 31/05/2016
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Hamilton charged to a pole finish in France.

Lewis Hamilton finally won a Grand Prix after a long drought that lasted close to eight months. He was cheered on by his new friend Justin Bieber – musical collaboration, ‘just good friends’ or a full-blown bromance? Sorry Niki Lauda, Hamilton seems to have moved on quickly.

The one Bieber song that Red Bull Racing must dedicate to Daniel Ricciardo is ‘Is It Too Late To Say Sorry’ after the “screwed” pitstop which cost the Australian a race win.

To top it off, Red Bull Racing came up with the most ridiculous justification for their error. Should Ricciardo move on or stay put and hope for the best? Is the ‘Baby Webber’ to the ‘Baby Vettel’? And we’re convinced that Max Verstappen’s only possible weakness is the Monaco Grand Prix.

Did Red Bull Racing gift the race to Mercedes to settle their debt from Spain? If Pirelli’s ultra softs can last 47 laps, does that mean that the hards would last two race distances? If so, that’s longer than what the Honda engine lasts!

What the hell happened to Nico Rosberg, does he deserve to be world champion after a drive like this? And a BIG cheer for Force India and Sergio Perez after their podium finish!

We also tell you why Fernando Alonso should play football before every race, how Sauber are learning from the best, and why McLaren-Honda will finally win races in 2022.

Tune in to Episode 18 below!

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Rosberg baffled by lack of pace in Monaco

F1i 29/05/2016
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Hamilton passed Rosberg on lap 16.

Nico Rosberg appeared to be on the back foot at the Monaco Grand Prix as soon as the Safety Car released the field after seven low-speed laps. On lap 16 the German driver let team mate Hamilton past on the run up the hill to Casino Square.

Five laps later, the Mercedes driver pitted for a set of intermediate tyres but was still left chasing performance as leaders Ricciardo and Hamilton disappeared into the distance. As he changed rubber again on lap 32 to take on the ultra-soft tyres, a lengthy stop enabled Vettel”s Ferrari to undercut the Mercedes.

“I’m definitely baffled by that lack of pace initially,” Rosberg admitted from the outset.

“There was just no confidence in the car on the intermediates. And after that, it didn’t go my way during the pitstops. We had an issue which delayed the stop, and then we got traffic,  cars went by and that was it.”

Given his relative underperformance early, Rosberg was asked by Mercedes’ Paddy Low to give way to Hamilton in order to allow the defending world champion a shot at racing leader Ricciardo. The championship leader complied with the order but obviously took no joy in doing so.

“It was pretty simple, I was far off the pace and Lewis still had a chance to win the race. So it was quite straightforward from the team to give the other guy a chance to win.

“It’s always been like that. It was painful, but a simple decision at the time.”

To add insult to injury, Rosberg’s afternoon of racing ended with another disappointment when Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg out-dragged the Mercedes on the run-up to the checkered flag, which pushed Rosberg down another spot to seventh overall.

“He had soft tyres on and a lot more rubber left. I was on the ultra-softs and when it started drizzling the temperatures went back down. He just had more grip.”

Rosberg’s  championship lead over Hamilton has now dwindled down to 24 points, or one race win, but the German was rather frustrated with his immediate performance rather than with the current points gap with his rival.

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Monaco GP Top 10: Hamilton wins

Sport360 staff 29/05/2016

Lewis Hamilton pulled off a tactical masterstroke and benefited from a Red Bull pit-stop blunder to win the Monaco Grand Prix and get his championship challenge firmly back on track.

Pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line of a fascinating weather-hit race in second while Force India’s Sergio Perez completed the podium places.

Championship leader Nico Rosberg struggled in the early wet conditions – at one stage he was instructed by Mercedes to move over for a much-faster Hamilton – and finished seventh, 93 seconds behind his team-mate, after Nico Hulkenberg pipped him on the line.

It allowed Hamilton, who ended an eight-race losing streak here, to dramatically slash the gap to Rosberg to 24 points in his quest to become the only British driver to win four championships.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Ferrari with Jenson Button completing a double-points finish for McLaren on their 50th anniversary after he crossed the line in ninth.

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