Seeking the payoff at Monte Carlo

Seeking the payoff at Monte Carlo

Postby meteorite » Sat May 27, 2017 10:23 pm

It's almost old home week for F1 drivers past and present. The principate on the sunny Meditearranean shoreline of France has generous tax laws, a glorious climate, and is not that far from Maranello and Modena in Italy, important to many drivers. For much of the grid, it will be their home race, on neighbourhood roads they use regularly. That does not make it easy.

Did the accessibility make it easier for Ferrari? They certainly dominated practice and qualifying, to the point that the front-row lockout they achieved was expected. The only surprise was that the fastest time went to Kimi Raikkonen, his first pole in 129 races. But Kimi has been coming on of late, showing much of his old world championship form, and beating his teammate seems to have been destined anyway. Now will Ferrari let them race?

Third was, predictably, Mercedes - but the chauffeur of the Silver Arrow was Valtteri Bottas. Lewis Hamilton struggled all weekend with a car the team simply couldn't get right, and when in Q2 his desperation run that could have got him into the shootout was near the end, Stoffel Vandoorne crashed his McLaren to bring out the yellow and abort Hamilton's challenge. The grid sorted itself out like this:


FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2017 - QUALIFYING

25 28 May 2017 Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo

Starting grid

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:13.117 1:12.231 1:12.178 23
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:13.090 1:12.449 1:12.221 23
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:13.325 1:12.901 1:12.223 30
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:13.078 1:12.697 1:12.496 24
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:13.219 1:13.011 1:12.998 21
6 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:13.526 1:13.397 1:13.162 30
7 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:13.530 1:13.430 1:13.329 23
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:13.786 1:13.203 1:13.349 29
9 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 1:13.723 1:13.453 1:13.613 27
10 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:13.476 1:13.249 20
11 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.899 1:13.516 19
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:13.787 1:13.628 21
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:13.531 1:13.959 20
14 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:13.640 1:14.106 18
15 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:13.796 1:20.529 20
16 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:14.101 7
17 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:14.696 11
18 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:14.893 7
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:15.159 11
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:15.276 11

Q1 107% Time - 1:18.193

Unusually, it was Max Verstappen who took 4th over Daniel Ricciardo's 5th; usually their order is reversed, and it Monaco it is the less experienced drivers who frequently end up in the wall. Many consider Monaco the most demanding circuit in Formula 1. There were signs that Renault's recent engine upgrades have given new hope to RedBull and Toro Rosso, though the mid-pack order shows increasing parity among the powerplant builders.

Jensen Button came out of retirement for one race to stand in for Fernando Alonso and carried the McLaren into the top ten, while Vandoorne was actually ahead of hiim, though penalties relegate them to lower grid positions. But the promise is there.

When the lights go out there should be quite a shootout. Look forward to a pivotal race.
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Re: Seeking the payoff at Monte Carlo

Postby meteorite » Sun May 28, 2017 11:13 pm

The harbour was filled with enough ocean-going yachts side to side along the wharf and anchored in the bay beyond to evacuate the entire population if necessary. The spring sunshine was bright and hot. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene looked on from the finish-line podium. The pits and grid had the maximum allowed quota of expensive-looking gorgeous young women, starlets, models, drivers wives and companions of very heavily monied guests. Drips of elegance and glamour all but puddled on the ground. In short, a routine Grand Prix of Monaco.

The race itself was noisy and fast, but routine. The narrow and winding streets of Monaco afford few places to pass - realistically none unless you are as lucky as you are desperate. Raikkonen in his Ferrari led the race from pole until his crew decided that lap 39 would afford the most opportune time for the mandatory tire change. As leader within the team, he had first choice of when to pit. After he came out, it was VEttel's turn. But Raikkonen was balked somewhat by slower traffic on his out lap, while Vettel, frred into clear air, uncorked a banzai charge the resulted in his emerging from the pit into the lead inches before Kimi came by. Vettel had no problemh olding the lead to the end, Raikkonen a dispirited second under pressure from the two Red Bulls split by Valterri Bottas in his Mercedes. This group ccoverd the only fight that mattered; the rest came in as follows:


FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2017 - RACE RESULT

25 28 May 2017 Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo

Race
Race result
Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 1:44:44.340 25
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 78 +3.145s 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 78 +3.745s 15
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 78 +5.517s 12
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 78 +6.199s 10
6 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 78 +12.038s 8
7 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 +15.801s 6
8 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 78 +18.150s 4
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 78 +19.445s 2
10 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 78 +21.443s 1
11 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 78 +22.737s 0
12 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 78 +23.725s 0
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 78 +49.089s 0
14 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 71 DNF 0
15 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 71 DNF 0
NC 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 66 DNF 0
NC 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 63 DNF 0
NC 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda 57 DNF 0
NC 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 57 DNF 0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 15 DNF 0

Note - Wehrlein received a 5-second time penalty for an unsafe release. Perez received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.

Hamilton. who started 13th after his Q2 run was aborted after a car ahead spun requiring yellow flags to the end of the session, got a couple of breaks when competitors ahead pitted at times propitious for him, or got knocked out.Ocon and Perez were both in collisions not severe enough to eliminate them, but they were slowed. Only 13 of the 20 starters made it to the end. Meanwhile Vettel collected his 45th first place trophy, a gold number handed to him by Prince Albert himself, while Kimi had to take consolation from a silver trophy presented by Princess Charlene, complete with a peck on each cheek.

Every year the drivers complain that their cars have long outgrown usability on the Monaco track, and many enthusiasts keep coming anyway for the Mediterranean sun, the spectacle, the luxury accoutrements, the glamour. And so the race goes on.
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