A race that can be labelled “boring” by some fans and “intriguing” by others, this year’s entry into the Monaco GP folklore may seem a little thin. But what made the Badgerometer? Read on to find out!
Monaco is still the place to be
Every sport needs the jewel in its crown and Formula One has Monte Carlo – it’s rich, it’s lavish and it can make other racing disciplines look on in envy. It still richly deserves it’s place on the F1 calendar, but not just because of the glitz and the glamour. It’s still a real and unique challenge to compete on for each and every team and driver.
Don’t look at the what the race produced on Sunday. Yes, it was close to Russia in terms of on-track excitement, but not every GP can deliver in terms of shock and awe. These sorts of processions do add to the overall drama of a season unfolding; the possible cold war between the Ferrari drivers will be traced back to this race, so might be Mercedes’ looking at where it all went wrong when dissecting the season as a whole (if Ferrari come out on top, naturally).
But with the wider 2017 cars, and harder Pirelli tyres, we were always going to struggle to see a spectacle. Instead, the merit of Monaco being on the calendar is again being questioned, an argument that is ultimately, and unfortunately, futile. Both need each other despite being at odds with each other; you can’t call F1 a glamorous sport without the race, and Monaco wouldn’t treated how it is without it’s F1 heritage. And every so often it works, mainly thanks to a sprinkling of rain, and we all fall in love with it all over again.
Jenson’s forgettable cameo
OK, a show of hands if you were excited that Jenson Button was coming back for one race only in Monaco? Great, thanks.
Now, keep your hands raised if you thought he was going to pull off a miracle in Monaco? Still got them up? Both of you? Great, thanks again.
This is the point where we say “all jokes aside” and then map out exactly where it all went wrong for Jenson over the weekend, but if we take all the lighthearted spots out of Button’s one-off return we’d be left with a miserable former F1 champion slinking off into the sunset after collision damage with a Sauber. And we like him too much to remember him that way.
“And you still haven’t got any good questions, six months on!” 😂 pic.twitter.com/NXYmuiIB1D
— Ky (@FiftyBuckss) May 24, 2017
Instead, let’s look on the bright side – Jenson was back! And he made us all laugh! From telling Ted Kravitz he hadn’t got any better at questioning over the last six months, to overtaking Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in Free Practice, to warning Fernando Alonso over the transatlantic airwaves that he would, well, personalise the Spaniard’s car while he drove it, it was like Button had never been away.
Fernando: “Take care of my car!”
Jenson: “OK, I’m gonna pee in your seat!” 😂😂😂😂😂😂❤️ pic.twitter.com/hdAeqVuRNa
— Ky (@FiftyBuckss) May 28, 2017
Just don’t mention the race. Please.
Mercedes in no man’s land
We’re six races down in 2017 and the fight between Ferrari and Mercedes is the concurrent them at each and every race, so to have one of the main contenders – and for the past three seasons, the dominant team – have a lacklustre weekend is disappointing to say the least.
What went wrong in Monaco? Lewis Hamilton was scuppered by traffic and a red flag in qualifying to end up starting mid-pack, which in Monte Carlo is a disaster, but the fact he, and teammate Valtteri Bottas, struggled to set fast enough lap times to cruise through Q1 and Q2 means the W08 just isn’t as easy to get working as it’s predecessors means recovery drives have become a necessity already.
Where do Mercedes go from here? Was Monaco a one-off caused by their long wheelbase design coupled by a tight twisty circuit, and if so, will Hungary be a problem? Have Ferrari stolen a march with their Spanish upgrade?
Lots of questions, and Mercedes need to find the answers as quick as they can.
The many faces of Kimi Raikkonen
There was a wave of nostalgia and delight that spread through the paddock, thanks to Kimi Raikkonen’s first pole position since France 2008. That’s 129 races, or three Lewis Hamilton, four Sebastian Vettel, one Jenson Button and one Nico Rosberg world championships.
How did Kimi react? As he always does; a simple “Bwoah”, followed by a few short words and a shrug.
Saturday: elation and delight
Sunday: disappointment and anger
We saw both ends of the spectrum with Kimi this #MonacoGP weekend! #F1 pic.twitter.com/rX8FiRFlqs
— Badger GP🏎💨🏁 (@BadgerGP) May 29, 2017
Never change Kimi.
Did Ferrari favour Vettel?
Were we robbed of a smiling Kimi thanks to Ferrari favouring Sebastian Vettel and a biased strategy?
That’s the overwhelming story coming from this year’s race – granted, there wasn’t much else to talk about once the chequered flag dropped – and once you look through the detail it’s clear that there is a small waft of a conspiracy theory in the air. Standard protocol for a race is to pit the leading car first and that’s exactly what they did with Kimi, only his in lap was nearly two seconds slower than Vettel’s, and in the laps after his stop he was baulked by Button’s McLaren and Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber, while Vettel had clear air to eek out a gap.
Is that case closed? Perhaps. That would mean taking the line that Kimi Raikkonen didn’t have the pace to win on Sunday, which would pop the nostalgic bubble we got comfortable in on Saturday night. It would also mean that Kimi can’t win while in a Ferrari, which is something none of us want to admit.