7 of 20 Drivers Retired from Today’s Monaco Grand Prix. Why?

35 percent of the drivers who started the race didn’t finish. Here’s what happened.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED May 28, 2017 7:01 PM
7 of 20 Drivers Retired from Today’s Monaco Grand Prix. Why?

The 2017 Monaco Grand Prix ended just about the way everybody expected: with a Ferrari one-two, and then a tangle of Mercedes and Red Bull behind. Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari extended his championship lead over second place competitor Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG Petronas from six to 25 points, with the two at 129 and 104 championship points, respectively. With six races over, and 14 remaining this season, the points equivalent of an entire race win separates the two—making for a challenging, though not necessarily insurmountable, obstacle in the way of a possible fourth World Drivers' Championship title for Lewis Hamilton...or a fifth cakewalk to a trophy for Vettel.

With the summary out of the way, it's time to talk about the race's retirements. Three of the teams with some of the stronger prospects in Monaco relative to the rest of the season—a group comprised of Sauber, McLaren-Honda, and Renault—all came into the weekend with high hopes. These three teams alone, however, ended up responsible for five of the race's seven retirements, with both McLarens, both Saubers, a Renault, a Williams, and a Toro Rosso dropping out prior to the checkered flag.

Nico Hülkenberg pulled off to the side of the road in a plume of white, oily smoke, his transmission having presumably cracked open, piddling its oil on the hot exhaust and onto the racetrack. Pascal Wehrlein and Jenson Button came together before the tunnel when Button made what was too daring an overtake attempt, damaging his own suspension. Wehrlein, in a moment of what must have been serious deja vu, was rolled into the barrier, in what looked initially to be a serious impact. The collective breaths of millions were sighed in relief when Wehrlein spoke on the radio, confirming he was okay...if feeling a bit claustrophobic.

Marcus Ericsson and Stoffel Vandoorne both found themselves skidding into the wall after turn one—Ericsson during the safety car, and Vandoorne when the safety car returned to the pits. Lance Stroll, for once in his career, suffered a retirement he cannot be blamed for. After complaining of brake temperature issues during the safety car period, he found himself with brakes that were too hot when racing resumed. His retirement was, according to Sky F1's broadcast, due to brake problems.

Daniil Kvyat was the victim of a botched overtake attempt by Sergio Perez, one in which Perez took advantage of a gap clumsily opened and then closed by Kvyat, a trivial case of lack of situational awareness costing both drivers. Perez, incensed with the loss position incurred from Kvyat's lapse of awareness, said over the radio, "Stop fucking around" to at Kvyat.

Didn't catch the race? Well, you didn't miss much. These were the highlights of but another predictably bland Monaco Grand Prix.