The 70th running of the Monaco Grand Prix had many twists and turns – honest – so the Badgerometer has been cracked up to being you 5 of the stories that caught Badger GP’s eye!
Hero to zero for Pastor
Two weeks is a long time in F1 it seems. Spanish winner Pastor Maldonado had it all in his hands – first win, spearheading a Williams revival, heading to his favourite track – and then in a few seconds on Saturday morning, it all went out the window.
An immature coming together with Sergio Perez earned him a 10-place penalty. It was a needless act, in the same league as the sideswipe on Lewis Hamilton in Spa last year, and was completely avoidable (we’re choosing to be somewhat doubtful of his excuses…)
The shame is that without the penalty, Pastor would have been firmly in the top ten for the race and on for some strong points to consolidate the Spain win. Saying that, he would’ve been in the middle of the Grosjean-Schumacher-Alonso bumpercar start, so who knows what could have happened.
Lewis may be struggling, but don’t forget Jenson
Australia must feel like an age away in comparison to Monaco for Jenson Button. Remember how the McLaren was the class of the field in Melbourne? On Sunday, even in Monaco, the 2009 champ struggled to to keep up with the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen (not that we’ve got anything against the Finn).
Monaco was the second straight race that Jenson had failed to get out of Q2, while his teammate Hamilton put in pole in Spain (provisionally) and 3rd in Monte Carlo (eventually). That speaks volumes in terms of who’s got the upper hand when it comes to getting the best out of this season’s McLaren.
The tyres, as with everything it seems in 2012, may be a problem. Last season it was easy to get them up to temperature, but making them last was the issue, which is Jenson’s speciality. Lewis has always been hard on his rubber, but that now plays into his hands, especially seeing how important qualifying is seeming to be each and every race.
All about the No.2 drivers
Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber – all respected racing drivers in their own rights, but we all know they have their work cut out for them when it comes to in-house team politics. Sunday was an improvement for all three relative to the rest of the season so far.
Felipe looked more confident and assured in the F2012 when presented with the danger of Monaco. Indeed, if he had repeated his Q2 topping time in Q3, then he would have been ahead of Fernando Alonso on Sunday’s grid. A strong 6th place finish moved him ahead of Michael Schumacher at the foot of the points table.
Michael Schumacher rolled back the years to top the times in Q3, taking pole position in essence, but was punished for his argy-bargy with Senna in Spain. It was a superb lap to put him there though, and we won’t take it away from him. In a season where Nico has taken a pole and a win, Michael can say he’s at least half of that, and without that penalty, who knows what he would’ve gone on to achieve.
As for Mark, we’ll cover him later on.
Romain Grosjean – Jekyl and Hyde?
Grosjean is such a curious case – although he is super quick, he still is prone to making an error that if he kept calm, would rarely occur. There’s just something a little bit too “I’m a 17 year old who’s just passed my test” about him.
Watch him at the start – he gets caught up in a scrap with Alonso in which he should have relented, but keeps his foot in, and even squeezes the Ferrari against the pit wall. When the Spaniard defended and squeezed back, and Schumacher had nowhere to go when the Lotus pushed him into the wall. Grosjean spun out, and 4th place on the grid was thrown away.
It seems the reigning GP2 champion still has a wild side to his driving style that is costing him dearly. Malaysia is another example where he should have relented when being overtaken – again by Schumacher – but pushed to hard and spun the Mercedes round. Another good start and grid position thrown away.
While there is promise in the Frenchman, there are still some kinks to iron out. Experience will come, but now, he needs to be cutting back on these mistakes, as Australia, Malaysia and Monaco could have been career-making performances.
Webber won it on Saturday
The sad fact about Monaco is that it just isn’t a race track anymore. It’s too narrow, it’s in too small of a place, and the tarmac is so smooth that even this season’s Pirellis could last long enough for a one-stopper. But, the history keeps it on the calender. And because of that, Saturday is the most important day of the weekend.
Mark Webber was destined to win this race – bar a poor start or any kind of mistake – all because he grabbed the pole position. In fact, thanks to the nature of the Pirellis, he won the race travelling as slow as he possibly could, just in case he needed to push at any stage of the race. If you look at Sergio Perez’s fastest lap, it was set on fresh rubber by a driver with nothing to race for but pride, and he was a whole second quicker than anything the leading pack had managed.
Monaco has become a time-trial event. Get a good time on the Saturday, you should be in the mix come Sunday. And that didn’t feel like a race this weekend, it felt like a very fast exhibition of car control and precision engineering.