Reflections from Monaco: The dice falls for Vettel, but not McLaren

May 30, 2011

Monaco is always a great spectacle, it is also a bit of an anachronism in terms of F1 tracks, but then that’s what makes it so special. This year’s race also underlined the dangers that are always present when racing takes place, the accident which befell the talented Sergio Perez (who looked like he was going to go well in the race) was very reminiscent of the accident that ended Karl Wendlinger’s F1 career back in 1994, only weeks after the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger. When you see a driver remain still in the car after an accident that is always a very worrying scenario, but the most distressing part was watching Perez’s father clearly beside himself staring at the TV screen in the pit garage and wondering what had happened to his son. Fortunately it looks like Perez and Petrov will be OK, so we got away with it again, the quest for safety is one that should never stop.

Winners

Vettel: It cannot be denied that Sebastian had luck on his side at this race, the big question was how long he had with his tyres, McLaren estimated that they would ‘go over the cliff’ in a few laps, when the red flag allowed him to restart with fresh tyres, I wonder if luck will continue to smile on Seb through the rest of the year, or has he now had his quota?

Racing: Yet again we had an exciting race, and overtaking at Monaco! Some great moves, particular those involving Schumacher and Hamilton (Michael overtaking Lewis at the hairpin, and being overtaken by him at St Devote). Michael, unlike his earlier races, showed how to both overtake and be overtaken while keeping on the road!

Alonso: Another stellar performance from the man who (using Denis Jenkinson’s terminology) is ‘a racing driver ahead of his car’. Alonso could well have won the race if Vettel’s tyres had gone off. Ferrari have done the right thing in signing him up till 2016.

Pastor Maldonado & Williams: OK, Pastor was actually taken out just before the end, while in 5th Place, but this was the second time he had made it into Q3 and had driven a great race. But Rubens did at least get them some points, if only two of them. Keep it up team Willy, we want to see you back where you belong!

DC’s commentary: I have been rather negative on DC as a commentator, and felt that he was very much being propped up by the very experienced Martin Brundle, however in Monaco their roles seemed to have reversed with DC being a lot more authoritative and insightful than his former manager. Sometimes it’s a pleasure to admit you were wrong.

Losers

Regulations: The prospect of Vettel, Alonso and Button battling out in the final laps with different levels of tyre degradation was an amazing prospect, but sadly one that was denied us by the regulations. Perhaps next time they red flag a race they should be prevented from changing tyres?

McLaren: They showed so much potential before the race, and Jenson had been very well positioned to make a bid for the lead, should Vettel and Alonso’s tyres fall away, but it wasn’t to be. I’m sure they’ll be even more determined in Canada to reign in Red Bull.

Hamilton: Lewis can always be expected to provide drama at a Grand Prix. I love the way, like Alonso, he nevers stops racing, no matter where he is in the field. However this time his frustrations seemed to really get the better of him. Ron Dennis once said ‘show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser’. Well Lewis is not a loser, but perhaps he needs to give some thought to being a bit more gracious on those occasions when he is, but then if he did he wouldn’t be Lewis would he?

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3 Responses to “Reflections from Monaco: The dice falls for Vettel, but not McLaren”


  1. The tyre changes under the Red Flag meant that the race finished with a whimper. Although generally a fan, Hamilton was terrible over the weekend. Blaming his team on Saturday, poorly judged moves on Sunday and a general lack of grace. Jenson may not have that out and out speed but he has a brain and character. I thought Lewis would have blown him away but it seems to be Jensen leading McLaren at the moment.

    Although race day looked fairly full, I thought the crowds for Thursday and Saturday looked well down on recent years. Race day at Barcelona also looked well down on attendance.

    It’s also encouraging to see Lotus (sorry Team Lotus). They’ve pulled well clear of the other two teams who really look to be struggling. I would expect this to be the final season for at least one of them.

    • Mark Says:

      Interesting observation on the ‘new’ teams Peter, I guess it may also depend on how things are looking for the new Concorde – it may be worth their while to hang around and at least sell their place.


  2. Virgin just look uncompetitive but Hispania look out of their depth at a technical level / resource level. There’s always something going wrong in free practice. I’m sure they’ll hang in there, as you say, but suspect Hispania will struggle to make races before long.


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