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Monday, May 30, 2011

Monaco or Bust

What is it about Monaco that makes it so special? Is it the archaic street circuit? The glitz and glamour associated with the principality? Perhaps it's the Armco barriers, the fact that one mistake, one tiny error, is guaranteed to end your race right there and then? It might be that overtaking on the circuit is all but impossible?

Whatever the reason I have to say that this GP redeemed F1 for me.  Barca was a very low point for me in this season.  I felt that the tyres had taken much of the racecraft out of the race and that winning or losing was decided by who had the freshest tyres at the right time.  This might well have been the case at Monaco too if it wasn't for the red flag, but at Monaco a pesky little problem like who's on fresh rubber does not decide the outcome of a race, it simply adds to the excitement.

For Monaco this season, on this rubber, signified a revival of the circuit.  The spectacle of a final 10 laps where Vettel, in first, was on old, old rubber; where Alonso (in second) was on old rubber; and where Button (in third) was on relatively new rubber promised a thrilling end to a thrilling encounter.  Monaco came alive with promise for a breathtaking moment, and then it all collapsed when the red flags came out.

To be fair the organisers could have stopped the GP then and there - and perhaps they should have - the fact that all of the runners could change their tyres (and Hamilton could get his rear wing fixed) meant that the promise of a significant battle for the lead all but disappeared.  The only losers from the restart were Pastor Maldonado and Williams who had raced magnificently to sixth place only to be punted off the road by Lewis who appeared to have lost the run of himself during the course of the 78 laps.

It doesn't take away from the race to that point but the last six laps were purely driven for forms sake, all hope of the grand finale had been regulated out.

For all of you conspiracy theorists out there (and Lewis Hamilton who complained that the Toro Rosso's let Vettel through in Spain and then held him up) the red flag came out after a big accident where Sutil hit the barriers coming out of Tabac, gets a puncture and, while he's trying to keep the car going straight Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso bangs Hamilton up the rear wing and hits Petrov.  Race is red flagged and RBR (the sister team) win unopposed.

Is this "Crashgate 2"? Is it Toro Rosso payback to Hamilton? Was it instigated by RBR? Maybe Flav was at the centre of it, given his recent comments that he was not seeking any future role in F1? Was NP Jr. in Monte Carlo? That's Conspiracy theory for you!