May 27, 2013

Horse 1492 - Twenty Men Drive Around a Town (Rd.6)

During the Monaco Grand Prix, the award winning wordsmith Jeremy Clarkson wrote this profound saw on Twitter: "I am watching twenty men drive around a town." 
Thursday practice had the two Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton, circulate faster than anyone else and Qualifying on Saturday, was more or less a lottery as to who could put their cars out last on a drying track.
Jean Eric Vergne at one point in Q2 was top of the stack but a bit later in the session; in a matter of maybe thirty seconds, his formerly fastest time was relegated to 16th.
Finally on a fairly dry track in Q3 the order ended up as two Mercedes, two Red Bulls, Alonso's Ferrari and then Raikkonen's Lotus.

The tight, metal-lined streets of Monte-Carlo are such that most races are basically a two hour procession with a war of concentration thrown in for good measure.
None of the top six even so much as erred from a second-and-a-half holding pattern until Felipe Massa suffered a similar brake lock up to the one he had on Thursday and stuffed his Ferrari sideways into a barrier at St.Devote.
The ensuing rush for the teams to change tyres saw Hamilton filed back to fourth; where he remained until the end of the GP.

- Stolen from the BBC

Again the cars would fold back into a holding pattern until, Jules Bianchi moved over on Maldonaldo's Williams, throwing him into a barrier and bringing the race to a stop.
Raikkonen's Lotus faded as it began to chew up its tyres and a late charging Adrian Sutil stormed up through the field as his Force India made better use of its. Elsewhere, Sergio Perez had tried daring moves which had worked on Button, Alonso but didn't quite work on Raikkonen; after they connected, Perez's race was over whilst Raikkonen charged back to the pits to change tyres and recover a point for tenth. Raikkonen later said that Perez should be "punched in the face" to teach him a lesson.

At the end, Nico Rosberg would greet the flag as his father Keke had done so 30 years earlier. Apart from Vettel's fastest lap, every other accolade was Rosberg's, yet again proving how difficult it is to pass. Rosberg was never challenged for the lead and apart from Hamilton's slide as a result of a pitstop, the top five never even once broke rank.

Mr Clarkson's words rang oh so true, "I am watching twenty men drive around a town", for that's pretty well much what we saw. Formula One cars outgrew this circuit possibly as long ago as 1932. However it remains the only track which tests cars in conditions most resembling those on the road. It is slow, cars are perpetually stuck in traffic and the drivers find it tedious - exactly the same as a Wednesday afternoon when the rest of us do what they do at Monaco: watch three million people drive around a town.

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