Monaco is the place to shine
One thing you can count on when driving a track like Monaco – drive well and you’ll be noticed. It’s a demanding part of tarmac to drive on at any time, let alone when it rains, like it did on Saturday afternoon for qualifying.
It was a great leveller, and you had some stand out performances because of it. Jean-Eric Vergne got into Q3 for the first time in his career, Giedo Van Der Garde into Q2, Adrian Sutil split the McLarens and Sergio Perez outqualified Jenson Button again.
Of course, once the track dried up on Sunday, there were even more great performances. Out of all of them, Vergne caught our attention, as he built on his career-best qualifying by finishing a strong 8th. With Mark Webber’s future still a source of debate up and down the pitlane, this will have done the Frenchman’s bid for a Red Bull seat just got a well needed shot in the arm.
McLaren make some more progress
Forget the fact that they nearly hit each other on the opening laps. And that Kimi wants to punch Sergio. And that Jenson sounds like a stuck record when he talk after each session (seriously, we switch off the moment he says “I had no grip”). Take all that out of account, and it seems like McLaren are slowly clawing some time back on Formula One’s front runners.
Both cars got into Q3, and were well into the points paying positions throughout the afternoon. Perez’s contact with Raikkonen was an avoidable accident, but was an indication that McLaren are starting to get their heads around just how their 2013 model works.
And let’s think about this – if the Woking squad get better and better, there could be more scuffles between them and the leading cars, and might end up being thorns in the side of championship challengers. Maybe Kimi might get that punch after all.
In one of the most imaginitive link-ups we’ve seen in recent times, Daft Punk were all over the Lotus team thanks to the F1 outfits media partnership with Columbia records. It saw the French duo in Lotus race suits and making appearences with the team’s drivers and on the balcony above the pitbox.
Did it work? Well, the album Random Access Memories went to #1 in the UK recently, so maybe. But the team could only manage a 10th place through Kimi Raikkonen though, so they didn’t exactly #GetLucky now, did they?
Mercedes have opened a can of worms…
We all knew tyres were going to be a point of interest this weekend, but no-one could have predicted the breaking story that Mercedes has conducted a tyre test in the days after the Spanish Grand Prix. Well, Mercedes and Pirelli could have, but they – for obvious reasons – had to remain tight lipped.
From what it sounds, an innocent comment from either Lewis or Nico in the GPDA meeting on Saturday let the cat out of the bag. Other drivers told their bosses, and now we’ve got complaints, protests and inquiries lodged left right and centre.
What do we make of it? Mercedes might just be in the wrong to the point where those lovely Monaco trophies might just meant absolutely nothing. The FIA can come down hard, and if it’s anything like Spygate (which it’s being compared to) then the game might be over for the German marque after just 6 rounds.
… just as Nico has come of age
Mercedes releases a celebratory advert a few days after Nico nabbed the win on Sunday, with the tag line “His drive to school became his road to victory”. Catchy.
Sunday’s performance was the icing on the cake of weekend of impressive driving from Rosberg. He topped every session from Thursday, including the rain-affected qualifying on Saturday, in what was his most assured display of his career – minus the start, we admit.
Despite the controversy of this tyre test, and the supposed prediction by some that the W04 would chew up it’s tyres once more, Rosberg led every lap and fended off both Red Bulls and his teammate Lewis Hamilton. And think about that – who would have predicted the fact that Nico has more pole positions and took the first win this season? Not many, we guess.
We’ve seen the maturation of Nico Rosberg come to fruition in Monaco – now, if they can only dodge the punishment for this pesky tyre test…