Circuit de Monaco
Monaco, 28 May - First, in free practice, Nico Rosberg had a frightening high speed crash when he lost control of his Mercedes coming out of the tunnel, avoiding the wall outside the chicane, but hitting the barrier further down the track. Then Vitantonio Liuzzi also crashed in the Hispania.
And, with only a few minutes remaining of this afternoon’s Q3 grid decider, Sergio Perez had a sickening high impact crash at the chicane. Fortunately, or perhaps more accurately, due to all the work done in the name of safety by the teams and the FIA, the Sauber team was able to announce that the Mexican has concussion and some bruising, but nothing is broken. There is currently no word about whether or not the 21 year old, who is on the books as a student at the Ferrari Driver Academy will be able to take part in tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Inevitably in these situations, it was difficult for anyone to lap faster once the track reopened for business for the final few minutes. This meant the places remained the same to the flag, which worked out in favour of Sebastian Vettel, who will remember this as the day he took his twentieth Formula 1 pole position, all bar one of them with Red Bull Racing.
The German, who has a comfortable lead in the world championship did not actually look so dominant today and, as Fernando Alonso pointed out, the McLarens seemed very fast and Jenson Button ended the day in second spot, ahead of the other Red Bull of Mark Webber.
In their 150º Italias, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro men had hoped to squeeze in two runs in Q3, but the red flag had scuppered that particular strategy: a shame as it looked as though Fernando and Felipe might record their best ever individual qualifying performances of the year. Overall as a team, that’s what they did with the Spaniard on the second row in fourth place and the Brazilian right behind him in sixth, on the outside of Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes, but it might have been even better.
After an opening quintet of races that suggests a new order in Formula 1 with fans and experts alike praising the effect of the various rule changes in terms of producing more exciting racing, it seems that in Monaco, this most traditional of venues might indeed produce a more traditional race.
The arrival of the Soft and Supersoft tyres has led to less degradation than we have seen so far this year and there is even talk of some drivers attempting a one-stop strategy tomorrow. Combine this with the fact that, on the slowest track of the year, the DRS and to a lesser extent, the KERS will be less effective than at other circuits and we might have an old style race where a good start and choosing the best moment to change tyres will see the race decided earlier than usual. One thing’s for sure, the Monaco GP is bound to be as unpredictable as ever.