It's Only The Moaning That's Boring...
Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle reflects on the difference between what was said before Monaco and what was whinged after the race with the reminder that not every race can be a classic. Perhaps 2012 has been spoiling us this season....
By Martin Brundle. Last Updated: 30/05/12 9:59am
Monaco delivered a race lasting 106 minutes where the top four finished just 1.3 seconds apart. It was an intense race in some respects not least because the teams were trying to second guess the weather, which as usual didn't appear interested in following the fancy radar predictions.
To be fair, the weather in this coastal resort at the foot of mountainous rocks has never been easy to predict.
What is easy to predict is the perennial process of heading to Monaco full of excitement and enthusiasm as many of the world's finest drivers rave about the challenge ahead, and the media wax lyrical about the glitz, glamour and spectacle of this globally famous event. Then after the race comes the inevitable chorus from some quarters whingeing that there is no overtaking in Monaco and the event has become irrelevant. Now that definitely is boring.
Overtaking in Monaco is difficult, and always will be. It's a different challenge to Monza or Melbourne, or wherever, and thankfully so. Had the heavy post-race rain arrived ten minutes earlier there would have been chaos and everyone would have been raving about a great race. Not every cup final is a 5-4 last minute thriller, and nor is every F1 race a classic.
The Drivers' World Championship is beautifully poised with the top three covered by just three points and the top six covered by a race victory. Given that six different drivers have claimed the first six races that counts everybody in.
Jenson Button is only seventh in the title hunt and he would have headed back to his nearby apartment after the race feeling very subdued. A poor qualifying put him in the danger zone for the rush down to turn one where he encountered a flying Kobayashi who had contacted with Grosjean's gyrating Lotus.
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Jenson then spent the rest of the race behind Kovalainen's Caterham until he spun off in a frustrated half move. Timo Glock was chasing him hard in the Marussia early on, too. JB will be urgently looking for the magic dust in Canada next time out, the scene of his amazing victory last year. He will find the magic in tyre carcass and tread temperatures along with an appropriate car set-up and driving style, and these appear well hidden at times.
Lewis was equally unhappy in his McLaren as he radioed in about a poor start, head-butting pieces escaping from his own pit-board, and lack of information which saw him lose two places in pit stop phases. Like Alonso, though, he has scored points in every race so far.
Alonso leads the championship after another typically determined drive to thrid. This time Felipe Massa was largely hanging onto his shirt tails and was one of the most committed drivers I witnessed out on track. Let's hope he's 'back'.
Sebastian came close to making his one stopper work from ninth on the grid but didn't quite have enough grip and would have to settle for fourth.
Nico Rosberg drove a fine race to finish second. His car seems bullet proof unlike his team-mate Michael Schumacher who had another reliability issue. Schumacher's 'pole' was sensational but his grid penalty from the collision in Barcelona with Bruno Senna (correct in my view) meant that starting sixth would involve him with the Grosjean/Alonso scuffle down to the first corner. Fuel pressure issues retired him in the end and it was a great shame because his speed and determination through the weekend deserved at least a podium.
Three drivers squandered their chances. Kimi Raikkonen complained about his steering after an installation lap on Thursday and lost virtually the whole day of running due to later rain. He never really recovered from this and surely should have tolerated the set up for one session and given it more chance.
Grosjean in the other Lotus failed to deliver his potential in qualifying and after a poor start ended up pointing the wrong way before turn one.
Pastor Maldonado undid much of his good work from the victory in Spain with a totally crazy, otherwise totally clumsy, sideswipe on Sergio Perez in Practice Three that would put him down the back of the grid. First corner contact would compound the misery.
Mark Webber was the man on the day to very impressively seal his second Monaco victory in three years, and Red Bull's hat trick. He suffered in the final phase with front tyres that wouldn't fully switch on and come up to temperature, and in the light drizzle in the closing laps he had most to lose as the leader of the pack exploring the grip.
Tyre management was absolutely critical again and we had the strange phenomenon of drivers at the back of the field on fresh tyres with nothing to lose occasionally the best part of three seconds per lap faster that the leaders who were eking out their tyres to the end of the race.
I wonder what's in store for us in Montreal.