5 of the Most Interesting Radio Messages from 2016 Monaco Grand Prix

Oliver Harden@@OllieHardenFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2016

5 of the Most Interesting Radio Messages from 2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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    From the minute he became a Red Bull driver at the beginning of the 2014 season, Daniel Ricciardo—the self-styled Honey Badger—had established himself as Formula One's smiling assassin.

    The assassin bit was there for all to see at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, where Ricciardo produced one of the best performances of his career in search of his first win in two years and the team's second victory in succession.

    But the smile? That was long gone.

    Ricciardo had been incredibly disappointed with his fourth-place finish in the previous event in Spain, where he led the opening phase of the race before being compromised by an incorrect tyre strategy, and he was determined to make up for that missed opportunity in Monte Carlo.

    While that aggression allowed him to surge to a maiden pole position in qualifying, it left him increasingly flustered in the race, when he was once again the innocent victim of a Red Bull error that allowed Lewis Hamilton to pip the Australian to victory.

    With a look at the tension between Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr at Sauber, Daniil Kvyat's latest dose of bad luck and Sebastian Vettel's frustration with his Ferrari SF16-H, here are the most interesting radio messages from Monaco.

Daniel Ricciardo Channels Spanish GP Frustration in Practice and Qualifying

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    As noted after qualifying, we detected a change in Daniel Ricciardo's attitude following the Spanish Grand Prix, where Formula One's Mr. Nice Guy struggled to smile through the pain of a distant fourth-place finish.

    With Max Verstappen claiming Red Bull's first win since 2014 in his debut race for the team, Ricciardo was devastated with how his side of the garage "threw the win away" by switching him to a three-stop tyre strategy, per Motorsport.com's Darshan Chokhani.

    That sense of injustice, coupled with the fact that Red Bull had long targeted the Monaco GP as a race they could win on merit due to the slow-speed performance of the RB12 chassis, meant Ricciardo was unwilling to let anyone stand in his way on the tight and twisty streets.

    So when the No. 3 car found Kimi Raikkonen dawdling in the final sector of the Monaco lap around 35 minutes into the first free-practice session, the Australian made his feelings abundantly clear.

    Although FP1 in Monte Carlo is among the most pointless, unrepresentative sessions of a given season due to the shortage of grip, Ricciardo was outraged that Raikkonen had ruined his lap and forced him to back off.

    "What a c--t of a bloke," he muttered over the radio while waving his middle finger in the Ferrari driver's direction.

    That episode almost seemed to set the tone for the rest of Ricciardo's weekend, with the Australian driver still offering glimpses of his newfound aggression even when he celebrated his first-ever pole position around 48 hours later.

    "Woo, yes! Yes! Yes!" he roared as he returned to parc ferme. "Thank you, guys. C'mon!

    "My time. F--king my time," Ricciardo told himself, confirming the Monaco weekend, in his mind, was all about making up for the missed opportunity in Spain.

Daniel Ricciardo Loses His Patience Behind Lewis Hamilton After Slow Pit Stop

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    For the second grand prix in succession, Daniel Ricciardo lost the lead through no fault of his own when he entered the pits at the end of Lap 32 to find his Red Bull mechanics weren't there to meet him.

    The time Ricciardo lost—"probably about 10 seconds," as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Motorsport.com's Jonathan Noble—as his crew scurried to his car with a set of supersoft tyres was the time Lewis Hamilton needed to regain first place after stopping for ultrasofts on the previous lap.

    Despite the Mercedes driver's tyres being a step softer than Ricciardo's, the No. 3 car was noticeably faster and soon caught his rival on the drying track, hounding Hamilton around Portier and through the tunnel on Lap 37.

    That pressure led to Hamilton making a mistake at the Nouvelle chicane, running wide and cutting the left-right sequence to gift Ricciardo an opportunity to retake a lead he felt was rightfully his.

    As Ricciardo positioned his car on the outside to make the pass, however, Hamilton moved across to squeeze the Australian toward the barrier, leaving him with no option but to lift off the throttle.

    "What the f--k was that?" Ricciardo commented as he waved his arm at Hamilton with one hand while controlling a slide with the other as his car crossed a damp patch of asphalt.

    With Mr. Nice Guy turning increasingly angry, it was the job of Simon Rennie, Ricciardo's race engineer, to ensure his driver remained calm and composed in a race where a slight loss of concentration would have disastrous consequences.  

    "OK, let's get your head together. You're quicker than him. Let's do him," were Rennie's words of reassurance on Lap 39.

    Radio Ricciardo remained silent for the rest of the afternoon, but a slightly cooler head had no effect on the end result, as he was forced to settle for second in the race they all want to win.

    Rennie, Horner and Co. would almost certainly have offered their apologies the moment their driver crossed the finish line, but Ricciardo—again let down badly by his own team—had his fingers in his ears.

    "Save it...Nothing youse can say can make that any better...Just save it."

Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr Come to Blows After Sauber Team Orders Ignored

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    Hardly "best buddies" since their GP2 days, as the former told Autosport's Lawrence Barretto at the beginning of 2016, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr came dangerously close to wiping each other out in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    After locking up at Turn 1 as he pursued the Brazilian, Ericsson accused Nasr of moving in the braking zone and risking an accident in a desperate effort to keep his Sauber team-mate behind.

    With Nasr again running ahead of the sister car as the Saubers followed Romain Grosjean and Pascal Wehrlein, he was unwilling to let Ericsson past without a fight, encouraging the team to get involved as they searched for a first points finish of 2016.

    "Just swap position, Felipe, swap position," instructed his race engineer on Lap 48.

    "For what reason? Give me a reason why."

    "He's much quicker at the moment. If Marcus will not pull away, you will gain the position back."

    Despite the promise of being handed back the position if Ericsson was unable to overtake Grosjean and Wehrlein, Nasr remained firm and forced a more senior voice to join the conversation. 

    "OK Felipe, this is from the top: we need to swap position now, please. Let's do it, let's get it done. Turn 1."

    With his team-mate still refusing to move aside, Ericsson could sense Nasr was playing games with the pit wall.

    "Guess there's something wrong with his radio?" he asked sarcastically.

    "Sounds like, sounds like," came the response from his race engineer.

    As Ericsson later told Motorsport.com's Charles Bradley, he was then instructed to take matters into his own hands and "go for it," but chose to do so at La Rascasse, where any overtaking manoeuvre requires a degree of compliance.

    A degree of compliance that, on the evidence of Nasr's reluctance to follow team orders, he was never going to receive, with the cars making contact at the double-apexed right hander on Lap 49.

    "Why Marcus did that? Why?" Nasr said with his car pointed in the wrong direction while his team-mate limped away with a broken front wing.

    After immediately pitting for repairs, the Brazilian rejoined the track, but his collision with Ericsson had left his car in need of more than just a little cosmetic surgery. 

    "I see a lot of smoke coming out," Nasr reported on Lap 51. "There is some internal smoke in the car."

    That smoke led to his retirement at the end of that lap, but it was nothing compared to the smoke coming out of the Sauber management's ears by that point.

Daniil Kvyat Suffers More Bad Luck with 'Constant Speed' Problem

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    Daniil Kvyat would have allowed himself a wry smile after qualifying, when he helped himself to a place in the top 10 on a day Max Verstappen, his replacement at Red Bull, ended his session in the barrier.

    With rain falling around Monaco on Sunday morning, the Russian—behind the wheel of one of the leading chassis designs on the grid at Toro Rosso—would have fancied his chances of earning a result just as seismic as the boy wonder's maiden victory in Spain a fortnight earlier.

    Yet his hopes of walking on water were over from the moment he pulled away from the grid, with a suspected electrical problem—as Kvyat later told the team's official website—leaving his car stuck in pit-limiter mode and travelling at a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour.

    Even with the field tip-toeing behind the safety car, Kvyat was left behind by the snake of cars and soon reported the issue to the pit wall.

    "I'm stuck in constant speed, guys," he reported on Lap 1, swearing as he rued his poor luck.

    The Russian returned to the pit lane at the end of that lap to change his steering wheel in an effort to reboot the system, falling a lap behind his competitors as a herd of Toro Rosso mechanics tinkered with his STR11.

    As the third lap of the race began, though, Kvyat still found himself crawling at the back as he rejoined the circuit.

    "I'm still stuck in the constant speed guys, I'm still stuck in the constant speed. It's yeah...It doesn't work, it doesn't work," he sighed before delivering one of the most heartbreaking team radio messages of the season. 

    "Why this happens to me all the time?"

    As he returned to the pits for another inspection, his car suddenly came back to life and he hurried back to rejoin the pack, albeit a lap down.

    Any sympathy for Kvyat quickly evaporated on Lap 20, however, when the Russian—angered by his earlier issues—prodded Kevin Magnussen's Renault through the swimming pool section before trying to unlap himself with a half-hearted move down the inside of La Rascasse.

    "I crashed," Kvyat reported to the pit wall, but Magnussen—with his car blocked alongside the damaged Toro Rosso—suggested it wasn't quite as simple as that.

    "What the f--k did Kvyat do?" he asked in disbelief.

    Kvyat did what Kvyat always does, ending his race with the kind of careless, irresponsible manoeuvre that ultimately cost him a seat at Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel's Frustration with Ferrari Surfaces in Qualifying

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    Still without a win six races into a season he was hoping to ride the Prancing Horse to a fifth world championship, Sebastian Vettel has taken his frustration out on a number of drivers in recent weeks.

    First it was Daniil Kvyat, who was criticised for filling a gap at the first corner of the Chinese Grand Prix, where the Russian's bold move sparked Vettel's collision with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. 

    Kvyat again suffered the wrath of the four-time title winner at the Sochi Autodrom after hitting the German twice in the space of two corners. And in Spain, it was Daniel Ricciardo who received a mouthful for having the audacity—the utter cheek—to attempt to overtake the No. 5 car at Turn 1.

    On qualifying day in Monaco, however, there was a sense that Vettel was finally beginning to realise the root of his problems in 2016 is a little closer to home.

    With Mercedes under attack from Ricciardo's Red Bull, and with Max Verstappen stuck in the fence on the exit of the swimming pool section, there was an opportunity for Vettel—fastest in the final practice session—to sneak a surprise pole position.

    But while Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were increasingly comfortable playing dare with the barriers at the climax of qualifying, Vettel was lacking grip and confidence in the final seconds of Q3.

    "OK, box. The car has just got worse!" he cried on the cool-down lap, swearing as he was forced to settle for a distant fourth with a lap almost a second slower than Ricciardo's pole time.

    It was the first time Vettel—a guardian of the Prancing Horse since his arrival 18 months ago—had even threatened to turn against his own team and criticise his own tools.

    And it encapsulated the growing frustration within Ferrari, who began the season with genuine title-winning aspirations but are now the third-best team on the grid.

    Unless stated, all team radio quotes, as well as timing and tyre data, sourced from the FOM television feed and Pirelli Motorsport's infographic on Twitter.