F1: Monaco GP Review

I was planning on posting a race review earlier but I’ve just not got around to it until now. The Monaco GP was an interesting race for a number of reasons. The most important being that Mark Webber has really proven himself to be a legitimate star. Who can argue with back to back wins and pole positions, especially when Vettel is in the other car. Everyone wrote Mark off at the start of the year and doubted he would get the edge at all over Sebastian but just like Button and McLaren, the man who wasn’t given the chance has so far got the better of their teammate. Of course, the two red bull drivers are tied on points, and barring those two retirements from the lead in the first two races, Vettel would be well out in front, but still.

As for the race itself, I actually expected McLaren and Ferrari to be very competitive with red bull in Monaco because of the track not suiting red bull’s car as much as the higher speed circuits. The fact that I was proven emphatically wrong seems very ominous for the rest of the season. Lewis Hamilton stated that he thought red bull were “taking the mickey” because they appeared to not be pushing hard at all and were cruising to the relatively straightforward 1-2 finish.

If they can dominate like that without pushing the car to its absolute limit on what is likely their worst track, imagine what they can do in Turkey and beyond. Assuming they get their reliability problems with their brakes especially ironed out, they could be long gone in the standings by mid season.

As far as the other teams go, none of the new teams finished which doesn’t reflect well on F1 as a whole. Williams had an abysmal race after it looked promising for Rubens after jumping a couple of places in the first lap. Both cars crashed out from some kind of mechanical failure. Rubens’ crash in particular was quick scary looking, especially because he hit the barrier right by a photographer.

It was another reliability hit weekend for Sauber who haven’t really got much to be pleased with so far. Renault had contrasting fortunes with Robert Kubica, although finishing one spot lower than he qualified, it was still a great effort by him and the team to get another podium. His teammate Vitaly Petrov wasn’t able to finish the race.

The only other thing to mention is the much talked about incident involving Alonso and Schumacher where the German tried a sneaky overtake on the last corner as the safety car was coming into the pits on the final lap. In the end, he was penalised for the move by 20 seconds being added on to his time. Mercedes believed that because the safety car was coming in, the race would be back on for the last corner and finishing straight. Ferrari’s understanding was that on the last lap if the safety car is out, it comes in just to allow the leader to finish the race at full speed, but overtaking is still not allowed.

Ross Brawn made a compelling argument, and it is true that the rule is confusing and needs to be clarified, but overall I think Ferrari had the correct interpretation and were right to tell their drivers not to try to overtake the cars in front of them. It’s unfortunate that Schumacher was punished so severely for the mistake. I think he should have just swapped places with Alonso back to 7th but I suppose the rules can’t be changed for each specific occasion, and that was the default penalty that could be given.

Istanbul is only a few days away now and I’m excited. I’ll have a preview of that event soon.