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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Rosberg shines at home // German proves his worth with a dominant win

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Can the questions about Nico Rosberg now stop? First the thought was that he was in F1 because of his father’s success. Then the thought was that he’d get a pasting from a returning Michael Schumacher, but after proving the doubters wrong, he wasn’t given credit as the media cited poor Schumacher performance as the reason that Rosberg had, easily, come out on top. Then, when Schumacher retired for a second time, one of F1’s fastest drivers entered Rosberg’s lair, with similar doubts as three years earlier.

And again Nico Rosberg is impressing and staking his claim as Mercedes number one driver. He may be 15 points behind Hamilton, but he has had two retirements due to car failures in the first five races, as well as being instructed to finish behind Hamilton in Malaysia, despite being by far the quicker Mercedes.

Rosberg joins illustrious group

What more did Rosberg have to do over the weekend to show his dominance? He was fastest through each of the practice sessions, pushing the limits but not damaging the car. In fact his weekend was in most danger in third free practice, when he glanced the barrier in Portier, millimetres from a large shunt that would have risked his whole weekend.

Rosberg came back with an unbeatable time
Credit: Daimler AG

Other than that, only the wildlife stood in the way of Rosberg’s second career victory as he survived a nerve-wracking wet Q1 by progressing in eighth, where every lap counted. Then he proved his pace in a damp Q2 session where the timing of a switch to slick tyres was all important - setting the third best time was more than enough to set up a shootout for pole with his teammate and the Red Bulls. While the Red Bulls set the pace early in the session, Rosberg came back with an unbeatable time which was enough to set pole by a tenth of a second.

Having teammate Lewis Hamilton alongside on the grid was all important, it is near impossible for a car to jump a whole row at the start in Monaco. That allowed the German to get away with a lackadaisical start. Hamilton also allowed Rosberg to monitor his pace in the first stint as the Briton soaked up the pressure.

And then when the safety car was called, appearing to offer an advantage to Mercedes, it was Rosberg who judged the pace right, rather than Hamilton who slowed too much and was passed by the Red Bulls when he changed to soft tyres. Even when Rosberg lost his shield, he defended well, which admittedly was easier due to Monaco’s tight and twisty nature, and never looked in danger, surviving two safety car restarts and a red flag.

Punchy Sutil comes up with career result

Adrian Sutil was just starting to crumble to the performances of Paul di Resta in the other Force India but showed what he was all about in Monaco with an aggressive drive to fifth place, matching his best result since the 2010 Belgian GP. Despite losing out to Jenson Button at Mirabeau on lap one, Sutil got down to business and proved that you can overtake in Monaco, even at Fairmont/Loews hairpin.

He overtook some of the best drivers in the world at a track where you can’t overtake

He overtook some of the best drivers in the world at a track where you can’t overtake, catching Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso napping and maintaining position thereafter before profiting on Sergio Pérez and Kimi Räikkönen getting far too close for comfort, resulting in a pit stop to repair a puncture for the Finn and an eventual retirement for the Mexican. That left him in fifth on the way to a great result for the team and provided some retribution for Di Resta’s early season form.

Speaking of Paul di Resta, the Scot recovered from an abysmal Saturday with a controlled drive to ninth. Di Resta gambled, hoping that a safety car would be needed to recover Charles Pic’s stricken Caterham. Despite the plan backfiring, the strategy appeared to be working and benefitted from the red flag, allowing him to change his tyres, although Di Resta felt this hampered his strategy. Ninth was a very respectable result for Di Resta after Saturday’s issues, especially when you consider that it was a double points finish for the Silverstone-based team.

Vergne back on form

Vergne got his season back on form with a great weekend
Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Jean-Éric Vergne got his season back on form with a great weekend, making the most of the damp conditions to solve his qualifying issues and make it into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career. This being Monaco, Vergne was keen to cash in on this improved performance and did so by matching his best ever race result in eighth for the fourth time. While it wasn’t his most exciting race, he did what was necessary and kept with the pack, benefitting as those ahead collided.

Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo was robbed of an opportunity to make it an even better day for Toro Rosso as Romain Grosjean proved that he can still crash, even late in the race. Ricciardo looked set for points but was robbed as Grosjean braked too late and launched over the Australian. The result brings Vergne within two points of Ricciardo in the championship standings.

Weekend to forget for some

While some shone in the bright lights of Monaco, others appeared to resemble a rabbit in the headlights. Felipe Massa managed the impressive feat of repeating the same accident two days straight, particularly because they were due to different causes. His teammate Fernando Alonso had one of his poorest races in years as he was mugged several times in by simple moves by Adrian Sutil and Jenson Button, finishing seventh on a day when consolidation was crucial for the championship. Luckily for Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen fared even worse, getting too defensive with Sergio Pérez, resulting in a puncture; although the Finn did well to salvage a point on the final lap.

How many more chances does the Frenchman deserve?

Elsewhere Romain Grosjean managed four crashes over the weekend, the last the most spectacular as he ran into the back of Ricciardo, earning himself yet another penalty which will really hamper him in Canada. It begs the question, how many more chances does the Frenchman deserve? Meanwhile Briton Max Chilton caused a red flag with a very dangerous manoeuvre. In my latest blog post, I discuss whether he should have faced more than a drive-through for such a boneheaded incident. It’s fair to say that some drivers will be glad to see the back of Monaco.

Despite the thoughts of David Coulthard, I really enjoyed the weekend’s racing, with the weather spicing up the grid, causing some desperate drivers on Sunday. Some channelled their anger to move through the pack while others saw the red mist and provided an incident-packed GP where tyres were the last thing drivers were worried about, at least in the last 30 laps. This is unlikely to be repeated as Monaco doesn’t stress the rubber and allows those who are struggling on tyres to hold position - not to mention there was a red flag allowing for a free tyre change. Regardless, I can’t imagine that Montreal will serve up a drab processional affair either.