Circuit de Monaco
The Monaco Grand Prix delivers on its promise of an entertaining race
The 2011 Formula Season has been one of the most entertaining on record so far, and curiosity was high as to whether the "Jewel in the Crown" event in Monte Carlo could live up to the others. It certainly did, delivering spectacle by the boat-load, including a restart with only six laps of the race remaining.
There was no question about the weather either. For the 69th running of the Monaco Grand Prix the sun shone for the whole day, creating the perfect relaxed atmosphere for the race.
Timo and Jérôme both got off to good starts, holding their positions off the grid and keeping their noses clean in the opening laps. Running Options, Timo was slightly quicker in the opening laps than Jérôme, who was on Primes, and was trading lap times with the Kovalainen's Lotus in front of him.
After the Finn stopped, Timo came in for his first, and as it turned out only, pit-stop on lap 22, narrowly failing to jump Heikki as he rejoined the track. Sadly, after just another 12 laps, a right-rear suspension failure forced him to retire, pulling up in the Swimming Pool section of the track.
Meanwhile, Jérôme was running consistently, looking after his tyres with a view to switching to a one-stop race. This was looking good until the deployment of the Safety Car after Massa's accident in the tunnel meant that he would have to switch to Options earlier than we would ideally have liked, but it was still worth a go.
After the restart, both Team Lotus drivers stopped and Jérôme was able to keep them behind him for a lengthy period, until he went off line in order to let Nick Heidfeld through under a blue flag. At this point he lost all grip because of the marbles and was forced to pit for another set of tyres.
With just six laps to go, the red flags came out after a big crash involving Petrov and Alguersuari and the race was temporarily suspended to clear the cars and debris. The focus then turned to the grid until the race was restarted 20 minutes later behind the safety car. Jérôme ran to the finish without incident and crossed the line in 15th position.
“I was having a good race until the problem with the rear suspension. Even though the cars in front were slightly quicker, we were keeping up with them and we could have a bit of a fight. But unfortunately the right rear push-rod was damaged and collapsed in the chicane in the harbour - lucky it happened at a slow part of the track. So it’s a bit disappointing after what has been a good weekend for us. We had a good qualifying yesterday and today we had a good possibility to finish the race. Unfortunately this was not the case. I want to thank the team for a good weekend after two very busy weeks for all of us.”
“It was a pretty good race for me, which was all about keeping the tyres alive. After starting on the Soft Prime tyre, the car wasn't as quick, but we decided during the race that we could make a one-stop work. Then the Safety Car came out a few laps earlier than we would have chosen to stop and so we had to switch to the Super Softs at that point. It went okay for 30 laps but then when Heidfeld passed I got some pick-up from the marbles and I couldn't clean the tyres again. I just lost grip and the Lotuses were able to pass me, and that was it. Still, a great first Monaco Grand Prix and I look forward to many more. It’s a real privilege to race a Formula One car here.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“We predicted yesterday that the race would be incident-filled and that we would need to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that came our way, and this is exactly what both drivers did today. It was a difficult decision to start both cars on a split strategy, but one that ultimately paid off at different stages in the race.
It was a difficult decision to start both cars on a split strategy
We had information from Timo’s first stint on the Option tyre that made us feel confident that, when the safety car came out, we could switch Jérôme to a one-stop and take the track position that we were getting from the strategy. Jérôme had done a great job of defending against Lotus for around 15 laps but unfortunately, due to running wide for a blue flag, he picked up some marbles and was unable to stay in front. Timo drove a strong first stint to keep in touch with the guys in front. Throughout the weekend he has demonstrated great skill and faultless performances but unfortunately we believe his right rear push-rod failed in the race, so we will go away and analyse what led to that. All in all it has been a challenging but rewarding couple of weeks of back to back racing and we will return to our base to prepare for our trip across to Canada in two weeks’ time.”
Source: Marussia Virgin