A grid penalty for Sam Bird after Friday’s crash saw the iSport drivers starting from a distant 17th and 23rd positions. With points looking unlikely for the second day in a row, the dual focus was on trying to edge into the top ten and then set a fastest lap, picking up the bonus point on offer, and avoiding another call to the insurance company!
The iSport drivers began picking up places immediately, with Marcus Ericsson making another strong start. Sam also had a better time off the grid to put the difficulties experienced during the feature race to bed.
With no pit stop and tyre changes to help, it seemed as if the iSport drivers just had too many places to make up. Ericsson clearly had a speed advantage over those in front, but could not get past P11. Whilst pushing hard at the swimming pool, our man jumped the curb, and flew across the track into the opposite barrier, the car scraping the wall, and coming to rest in flames. Marcus walked away with no damage to himself, except perhaps his pride, commenting as he returned to the garage: “it’s embarrassing every time I have to walk back in here with a trashed car.” On this occasion it seemed as though there might have been a problem with the rear of the car, exonerating the flaming Swede.
Meanwhile, Sam had made good progress with some overtaking manouvres, as well as penalties and mechanical problems hampering opponents. With few laps to go though, the British driver was in P13, and looking unlikely to get past the traffic in front. Putting in a slow lap, Bird gave himself room to launch a final quick lap, and make a final point to anyone watching at Monaco. He succeeded in posting the fastest lap time in the sprint race, but would not receive the bonus point as he finished outside the top ten.
The team are lucky not to have lost too much ground in the title race, but there’s no hiding that Monaco was a disappointing weekend. Paul Jackson revealed that both drivers will be at Headquarters this week to build a new front wing, and experience what the mechanics have to go through after each smash. Valencia is up next, and an improvement will be needed.