The steward’s room was busy after a difficult qualifying session yesterday. As cars slowed around the narrow Monte Carlo street circuit to create space for themselves, competitors coming from behind on their own hot laps were caught up, with several collisions as a result and four cars handed penalties for today’s race.
iSport were both victim and perpetrator, with Sam Bird moving up to pole after a penalty handed to Championship rival Giedo Van De Garde. Marcus Ericsson started twentieth after a five place penalty for running into the back of his team mate whilst trying to set a time.
Spots of rain appeared over the harbor in the moments before the start causing some debate in the pit-lane, but as the cars took the grid, the sun was out and conditions good. From pole, Sam stalled on the green light leaving him half a lap behind the field. Marcus started well, making up several places and soon running in P16. The early laps saw some good times from the iSport pair, with Marcus Ericsson picking off the vehicles in front, and Sam making up twenty seconds in eight laps to catch the back of the grid rapidly. An early pit stop for Marcus in an attempt to gain track position paid off, and a mixture of accidents ahead and sharp handling saw the Swede up to P10 as the halfway mark approached.
Behind him, Sam continued to move through the field, finally moving in behind his teammate in P11. With both drivers firmly set on the point scoring position of P8 and the chance to start at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s sprint race neither was prepared to give way, and a collision at Anthony Noghes as Bird cut inside Ericsson was followed by further contact on the run down to Mirabeau before Ericssons rear wing flew off dramatically and Bird’s tyre deflated.
On a disappointing day for the team, positives were taken from the lack of points scored by their closest rivals, and the speed of the car. iSport continue to have the tools to attack the front end of the grid, providing the drivers can keep calm.
Team principal Paul Jackson, fresh from a hairdryer moment in the iSport garage commented: “They simply raced each other too hard. The guys were frustrated by the positions they found themselves in, and with the traffic they had to contend with. Their commitment to taking points for the team was over exuberant on this occasion.”
“We will deal with it, and we’ll come back” he finished.