Let sleeping dogs lie, or so the phrase goes. Not in this Sett and not on our watch – this is the final part of our Monaco Grand Prix driver analysis.

Mercedes

  • Qualifying: Schumacher (5th) Rosberg (7th)
  • Race: Rosberg (11th) Schumacher (DNF)

rosbergThe Nightmare On… Monaco Street. Yep, this race was an utter disaster for the Brackley-based outfit, despite having looked rather promising on Saturday afternoon.

Qualifying was the high point for Michael Schumacher, who took a season-best fifth on the grid thanks to the Perez red flag drama. Rosberg meanwhile was seventh – not too shabby.

But it all went wrong for Michael at the lights. Having been one of the best starters this season he bogged down on his particular getaway and dropped to tenth (with Nico among those to speed past). There was then a bold move on Lewis Hamilton but as the laps ticked down it was clear his car wasn’t up to keeping the McLaren at bay. Lewis got past, Michael stopped and plummeted down the order. As the safety car arrived on lap 30 Michael’s day ended with a cooked engine.

Rosberg meanwhile also dropped down the order following his first pitstop. From there he made up little ground, coming home 11th largely thanks to several cars in front of his dropping out. Following solid points in Spain this was a real step backwards.

Badger’s Best: Rosberg

Team Lotus

  • Qualifying: Kovalainen (18th) Trulli (19th)
  • Race: Trulli (13th) Kovalainen (14th)

trulliThe Lotus Position: too fast for their 2010 rivals Virgin but too slow to genuinely challenge the established teams. As it has been for much of this season so it was again in Monaco.

It’s not all limbo-enduced gloom though. Team Tony’s week got off to a good start when they were given the go-ahead to keep using the Lotus name, so long as they put ‘Team’ in front of it  at all times and the Malaysian entrepreneur doesn’t start impersonating Colin Chapman in the paddock. A shame, that second one.

Jarno Trulli hadn’t been out-qualified in Monaco since his F3 days until Heikki got one over on his twelve months ago, and the Finn added to Jarno’s misery by doing it again this year. The Italian seems a bit fed up of this F1 lark at times, but he actually came home ahead of Heikki in 13th (equalling the team’s best finish of the season, set by Jarno in Australia). That’s got to be worth something, and it nets the Italian Badger’s Best for Monaco. Still, it’s not 2004, is it Jarno?

Badger’s Best: Trulli

Virgin

  • Qualifying: Glock (21) d’Ambrosio (22)
  • Race: d’Ambrosio (15) Glock (DNF)

glockChirpy Germany Chappy Timo Glock was impressively close to the Lotus cars in qualifying (just six-tenths shy, in fact) but his race lasted only 30 laps before suspension issues forced him from proceedings. His team-mate meanwhile was 0.8 off the sister Virgin, which isn’t really good enough from a driver who took a GP2 race win here twelve months ago. Jerome then came home 15th, ahead of the Hispanias but on the same lap as Liuzzi.

It’s hard to gauge how Virgin are doing, being as we see them so little. What seems clear is that they are relatively comfortable in their battle to stay ahead of Hispania but quite a way off the Team Lotus boys. Positions 21 and 22 are theirs, for what that’s worth.

Badger’s Best: Glock

Hispania

  • Qualifying: Liuzzi (24) Karthikeyan (23) *
  • Race: Liuzzi (16) Karthikeyan (17)

liuzziIf it’s tough gauging where the Virgin cars are at keeping tabs on the grid-propping Hispanias is near impossible.

Though it’s probably not as tough as driving the Spanish squads cars on a street circuit. It would probably have been easier to pilot Red Bull’s floating gin palace around Monte Carlo than the 2011 Hispania, and that’s perhaps why they simply didn’t bother in qualy (that and a smattering of crash damage/technical issues). They were allowed to race and, to their credit both Liuzzi and Karthikeyan finished. Several laps down and with their drivers in quite a lot of discomfort, we’d have to assume, but they got there.

Liuzzi now 5-0 up in the qualifying battle) finished ahead of Karthikeyan in the race and you have to wonder whether the Indian racer is enjoying this. It must be pretty tough for Tonio, but at least he’s emerging from the weekends as his team’s best driver; Karthikeyan is, more than anyone else, just making up the numbers.

Badger’s Best: Liuzzi

 

* Neither Hispania driver set a time during qualifying

Driver character graphics provided by Unlap – purveyors of BadgerGP T-Shirts and more motor-sport themed threads