Team and drivers report on the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship, in Monte Carlo.
Things weren’t looking very good initially, but the Monaco Grand Prix is one of those races where you need to hang in there until the very end, because anything can happen – and today it did. My opening laps were good – I overtook Adrian [Sutil] and tried to have a go at Fernando [Alonso] at the hairpin. I tapped his rear wheel, so I wasn’t really paying attention when Checo put a really good move on me out of the tunnel under braking for the Harbour Chicane. After the restart, Adrian also made a really good move on me into the hairpin – I didn’t actually think it would be possible because I’d tried it on Fernando earlier and it didn’t work. Then, in the last few laps, Checo and Kimi [Raikkonen] tangled, and suddenly there was a battle behind them because they were circulating slowly in their damaged cars. So I took the opportunity to jump up the inside of Fernando at Rascasse, which was quite fun, and came home sixth. It was a pity that Checo’s late-race retirement meant we couldn’t score more heavily today – that would have been a big boost for the team – but I bagged a decent number of points, and our pace in clear air was good, so there are positives we can take away from today.
I’d had a great race – I’d been overtaking cars through the afternoon – but in my opinion Kimi didn’t leave me enough room when I tried to pass him as we exited the tunnel, and as a result I got squeezed into the wall on the entry to the Harbour Chicane. That was a real shame – I’d overtaken both Jenson and Fernando there, and Jenson had overtaken me there too, but I couldn’t have avoided the crash with Kimi. Of course, any passing manoeuvre at Monaco is risky, but, at the end of the day, you have to leave each other a little room. As a result of our contact, my car’s brake ducts were affected and my front brakes overheated – in fact I basically ran out of brakes. It’s particularly frustrating to retire from a grand prix in which you’ve driven hard and fast, especially when you’re so near to the finish. So, all in all, I’m extremely disappointed – for the team as much as for myself.
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Jenson drove well all afternoon to finish sixth and thereby score a useful eight world championship points. Checo would also have claimed a decent haul of world championship points but for a coming-together with Kimi that compromised the efficacy of his brake ducts and eventually caused him to lose his braking. He’s disappointed, understandably, but the up-side is that he was combative and entertaining on almost every lap – and, more important still, he was very quick. McLaren has won the Monaco Grand Prix 15 times in the past – considerably more often than any other marque – so of course we’re disappointed not to have been able to notch up win number 16 here today. But we were in the mix throughout, and it’s clear that MP4-28’s developmental trend is positive. Our next race will be the Canadian Grand Prix, which we’ve won 13 times in the past, which puts McLaren first-equal in the all-time Canadian Grand Prix win tally alongside Ferrari. We’re not predicting Canadian Grand Prix win number 14 for McLaren in a fortnight’s time, but undoubtedly we’ll be giving it 100% between now and then in our efforts to make ourselves as competitive as we possibly can.