They call it the most glamorous race on the calendar. I don’t know about that. But, if you want to attend the race live and in person, I am pretty sure it is the most expensive. I will admit, it is beautiful, and full of Glamorous and Beautiful people, but I don’t like it much.
The track winds through the streets of the city, which is what gives it its charm. However, this also makes the track narrow, with no run-off room to speak of. So, if you wreck, you are going into the barriers and that’s all there is to it. Just ask Fernando Alonso. He planted his car in the Armco during the final practice session and ended up missing qualifying completely. That mean he was starting dead last. Starting track position is everything at this race because the track is so narrow and there aren’t many good places to try to overtake another car. As a result, I was prepared for the worst.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber started on Pole, his teammate Sebastian Vettel started second. A Red Bull driver has had pole at every race. Really, it is getting tiresome. I said this last week, but I think it’s time to give somebody else a turn.
Nico Hulkenberg crashed his Williams on the first lap. That started the first of four, count ‘em, four safety car periods in the race. On lap 2 (behind the safety car) McLaren’s Jenson Button pulled off the track with an engine fire. It turns out that one of the mechanics had left something in one of the radiator ducts and the engine overheated. Oops. I betting there’s an opening on the McLaren pit crew now.
When the race started again Alonso started picking off the back markers one after the other. They say you can’t pass in Monaco? Tell that to Alonso. Although I will admit every overtaking maneuver had my heart in my throat.
There were a lot of wrecks, and a lot of mechanical retirements and through it all Mark Webber just kept driving along. He ended up winning, with his teammate second and Renault’s Robert Kubica third.
Alonso meanwhile came in sixth, or wait, maybe that was seventh. The race ended behind the safety car, but somehow Michael Schumacher passed him. This is very much not allowed. After further review, Schumacher was given a 20 second penalty for overtaking behind the safety car. This bumped Alonso back up to seventh and dropped Shumi down to twelfth. Not where he wanted to be.
The next race is in Istanbul (not Constantinople) in two weeks.