Welcome to the Scrutineering Bay, a collection of all things opinionated. No topic is safe from scrutineering when there’s a bunch of Badger writers around!  After the action-packed start to the season, F1 returns to the glamours principality of Monaco for the most famous race in the calendar.  Can 2011’s new gimmicks make Monaco more of a party than a procession on the track or will the partying be mainly in the casinos and on Flavio’s yacht?  Without further ado, this week’s topic for debate is simply…

What will happen in Monte Carlo?

Jimmy:

I’m about to fall flat on my face, but here goes: Pastor Maldonado will out-qualify Rubens Barrichello, in a straight fight, around the streets of Monte Carlo.

Six years of watching GP2 have not been wasted: I know for a fact that Pastor is absolutely mega on those streets. He won the Formula Renault 3.5 event there in 2006, then his maiden GP2 race at the principality from pole in 2007. He was second (again from pole) in 2008 before winning in 2009 and finishing runner-up to Sergio Perez in 2010. No junior formula driver has shown more promise there in recent years and, as such, you have to believe he can pull something out of the bag there in an F1 car.

Added to that, Rubens head seems to have dropped a little of late, what with the dire start his team have made to the 2011 campaign. Pastor meanwhile is on a high following his top ten qualy result in Spain, and will be eager to prove that was no fluke. Nowhere will give him a better chance to do that than Monaco.

That said, I also think he’ll crash at least one during practice, but that’s a given, isn’t it?

Ben:

Monaco, Monaco, Monaco. From the poolside glitz and glamour to the thunder and fury of the cars in action, the tiny principality offers the ultimate test of F1 car control. Where greats are made, forged under the azure Monaco sky.

Goodness, that’s a bit flowery isn’t it? It probably just reflects that I’m more excited about this year’s Monaco GP than any from previous years. Will the tyres make a difference? Will the other driver aids do anything worthwhile? Will I manage to sit still long enough to watch it? Who knows.

Anyway, I suppose the purpose of this nugget of text is for me to predict things that’ll happen. Would you hate me terribly if I said I have absolutely no idea? (This may, or may not, have been evident from my previous efforts at predicting things).

I suppose, if I had to, I’d go with:

  • Hamilton to win. I don’t know why. I just feel it.
  • Vettel to retire. That’s right – I’m sticking my neck out. It’s got to happen sooner or later, right?
  • Me to be fascinated by Lewis Hamilton’s teeth.
  • Brundle to come up with something scripted for the start of the race. Eddie to look like he’s mainlining speed, as he rushes around the paddock grabbing various bemused team staff to be interviewed.
  • Brundle to interview some celebrity who has no idea why they’re there.

Tessa:

After reading a horoscope recently which said I would be “inspired by those closest to you”, I decided that stealing Jimmy von Weeks’ horoscope-based F1 predictions was the perfect way to fulfil my astrological destiny!  So here it goes, Badgerscopes for Monaco…

  • Sebastian Vettel – Cancer “There are many varieties of clutter. While you might benefit from clearing out certain cupboards, this involves emotional clutter. You’ve been holding on to various feelings or resentments for far too long.”
    • Badgerscope interpretation:  Clear out Webber once and for all, it’ll do your inner psyche wonders.  Ideally on the first lap.
  • Mark Webber – Virgo “Don’t let others blame you for what are really their mistakes. As a Virgo you have a tendency to be self-critical anyway. Consequently, the conviction with which certain individuals state their case could make you feel that, somehow, you’re responsible. You’re not. It’s a simple fact. Tell them exactly that.”
    • Badgerscope interpretation:  Don’t beat yourself up, Mark!  Be your own No 1 driver this weekend in Monaco – and show that young whipper-snapper Vettel who’s the daddy at Red Bull.  Chaka Khan comes highly recommended as pre-race motivating music.
  • Fernando Alonso – Leo (the lion!!) “First, ask some serious questions. Then take it slowly. What you learn could substantially alter your strategy.”
    • Badgerscope interpretation:  go and confront the team about why the car is sooo rubbish, threaten to go to Red Bull, then sit back let them panic as they strip Felipe Massa’s car, motor-home, special towels and give them all to you.  It may not be a winning weekend, but it’ll be fun all the same.
  • Jenson Button – Capricorn “Over the past year or so you’ve invested considerable thought, time and most importantly, heart, in domestic and family matters. And you’re beginning to get a return on those efforts. Now that these have been dealt with, it’s time to shower just as much love and attention on you and your interests.”
    • Badgerscope interpretation:  you’ve spent far too much time with Jessica, your girlfriend – which is fine, but if you want to do well at Monaco this weekend you’ll need to ignore her completely and get down to the important business of trying to win races.  If you do, you may well be lucky enough to get a 2nd place at Monte Carlo!
  • Rubens Barrichello – Gemini “In certain situations you’ve little choice but to go along with what’s been decided. If you want to discuss changes, do so later.”
    • Badgerscope interpretation:  Don’t bother trying to argue with the strategists at Williams – you may know that they’re utterly wrong, but keep quiet for now, be happy with the back of the grid, and wait until after the race to tell them they’re all blah blah blahhing.

Adam:

Of the current grid, Schumacher’s won it 5 times, Alonso’s done it twice and the Lewis Hamilton,Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli have all won the Monaco Grand Prix.  They’ve all hadpole positions around the streets too, bar Lewis.

It’s surprising not to see Sebastian Vettel in the list of Monaco honours, sure he hasn’t beenknocking around as long as the others, but he’s been towards if not at the front regularly since 2009.   Is Monaco a jewel in his crown that he’ll finally acquire this weekend – it could well beand if he does, his confidence will just rise to a whole new level and it’ll take an even quickerLewis Hamilton to slow his championship charge.

As for Monaco itself I believe that this week will produce a corker of a grand prix – the new Pirelli tyres with their rapid degradation should give drivers some all too tempting overtaking opportunities and well, with the confines of the circuit being the barriers, the odd’s are good thatwe’ll get the first safety car of 2011.  I cannot wait, it’s going to be brilliant.

Well that’s what the Badger’s writers are thinking about Monaco, but what do you, our glorious readers this will happen in Monaco – make your comments, no matter how weird or wonderful, below!

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