This weekend Formula 1 was on its grandest stage of all with the Monaco Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing was able to take yet another pole position with Mark Webber carrying momentum from the Spanish Grand Prix. However, we all know that Monaco can yield some surprising results and nothing would be a guarantee.
Those surprises would not creep up this weekend as Mark Webber dominated his second event in a row. The Australian led flag to flag in what would be a Red Bull Racing 1-2. The result would thrust RBR to the top of the Constructor’s leaderboard. The race would be prove to be a little frustrating for Webber as every time he would open up a large lead, the safety car would be deployed and ruin any advantage he could build. Sebastian Vettel would offer little challenge to his teammate and settle for a very happy second position. The strong result would also give both Webber and Vettel a co-share of the Driver’s Championship at 78 points a piece.
Robert Kubica would help Renault to their second consecutive podium as he put together a very solid performance from start to finish. Behind him was a rather low key Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was Ferrari’s only real hope this weekend as Fernando Alonso would crash out of FP3 and skip qualifying. That being said, Alonso would put together an inspired drive and finish in the sixth position after starting from the pits. What was remarkable about the drive was the 70 some odd laps that his hard Bridgestone tires would survive to help the Ferrari strategy. Alonso would not finish without some controversy however. A late race incident involving Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok brought out a safety car with only a few laps to go. It should be mentioned that this incident was actually pretty frightening as Trulli’s car would mount the roll hoop and go right over the Indian driver’s head. Thankfully he was ok after the crash. Oh yeah…back to the incident…On the final lap the safety car pulled in and the field charged like 15 feet and crossed the finish line. Michael would actually pass Alonso during that twenty feet which according to the regs is a no no. The FiA could have let the race finish under the safety car…but instead elected for this ridiculous restart. The track was green and the cars launched forward and Schumacher took advantage. However the stewards didn’t think so and slapped Michael with a 20sec penalty dropping him to 12th overall. Mercedes is apparently appealing the penalty and I can’t say that I blame them. This is what happens when the FiA does stupid crap like this. Why can the safety car not go the last 20ft. to the line? Who knows…also the first and probably only reason why I hate a driver in the stewards panel. If you think that Damon Hill was not partial and fair…you are dead wrong. No love lost there and the key reason why former drivers with grudges against current pilots should not be aloud. Yet, then again this is like the only case where this would happen.
There were a few incidents during the race that proved more interesting than the relatively boring race. The Williams F1 team has a lot of work to do on this two week break. The team had two mechanical failures that led to heavy impacts during the event. Rubens is really showing how frustrating it is to drive for the privateer entry. After crashing heavily, the Brazilian threw his steering wheel on to the racing surface and had it ran over by an HRT car. Probably the moment of the race with the most comedic value. I laughed uncontrollably for about five minutes and even ingested some coffee down the wrong pipe. Needless to say Rubens will be given a fine as the steering wheel must be reattached. Lewis Hamilton also threw his toy out of the pram when the McLaren boys came over the radio about halfway through the race and told him to conserve his brakes because they were showing heavy degradation. He then through a WTF!?!? response over the radio and really let the crew have it. Bob Varsha had very valid points on the US coverage as he basically said it was not Lewis’s place to lash out at the team over the radio and that he had developed a nasty little reputation for crying. I agree.
All in all it was the same prcession that is Monaco but the battles towards the back made things a bit more entertaining than usual. I think the FiA may have fixed the ovetaking issue but Monaco is only so wide. The next event on the calendar will be in two weeks time as the circus heads to Turkey. The event has suffered from a lack of attendance but I always love seeing the cars going through turn 8!
4 Thoughts to “F1 – Grand Prix of Monaco”
I’m still a bit perplexed about the Schumacher bruhaha. Yes, I understand that the regulations are clear that if the final lap is lead by the safety car, that even if it pulls into the pits, the drivers take the checkers with no overtaking. However, the regulations are also very clear as to what the green flag means! Green flag and lights means RACE!
Yeah Doug, I agree. The FIA’s cryptic rulebook once again comes into play. Ross had valid points when he tried to defend his driver. But in the end, the FIA’s archaic governance of the race again leaves the competitors guessing as to what rules apply in the current situation.
Apparently Alonso was asking his team repeatedly if he could overtake after the SC pulled in on the way to the checkers and the team told him over and over that he could not overtake. Ross interpreted things differently, but unlike the diffuser deal last year, the FIA found in favor of Ferrari.
It sounds like the SC should have pulled in, and the track should have remained yellow. The screwup comes when the track goes green. That’s when you get conflicting regulations.
There is a really simple fix to this kind of mess. Race control could get on the horn to all the drivers or teams and tell them, “SC pulling in this lap, overtaking will not be allowed between the SC line and the start/finish line per regulations.”
I get really tired of the FIA’s approach to governing their cash cow sport. In the end, the FIA publishes a sometimes ambiguous set of rules and the teams are expected to know every nuance of said rulebook, or else the hammer falls. This again could have been a simple matter of direction from race control that there would be no overtaking after the SC pulled in, or simply reverting Schumi to 7th. Instead, the FIA is once again called into question for their governance through the appeal process.
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