The Monaco Grand Prix threw up plenty of fascinating facts: The fewest retirements in 46 years, the first consecutive winners in over a decade, and yet more astonishing records for that man Lewis Hamilton.
Plus McLaren and Ferrari’s domination continues – and Honda finally get on terms with Super Aguri.
Lewis Hamilton continued his exceptional run of rookie performances – five consecutive podiums, four consecutive second places, five consecutive races led.
Giancarlo Fisichella achieved his best qualifying and race results of the year – fourth in both.
It was also the first time this year that a car other than a BMW followed the leading mix of McLarens and Ferraris home.
But the podium still remains the exclusive domain of McLaren and Ferrari this year.
This means that McLaren and Ferrari between them have scored 132 points from a maximum haul of 145.
Ferrari however failed to a lead a lap for the first time since Hungary last year.
Honda may have finally got a hold on the PR disaster of being beaten by ‘B team’ Super Aguri. Both Hondas reached the final stage of qualifying (though Jenson Button’s got in courtesy of David Coulthard’s infraction) and neither Super Aguri got into the second part.
Monaco has always been tough on cars but this year saw the fewest retirements (three – Christijan Albers was a classified finisher) since 1961. Only one of these was mechanical – Mark Webber’s, his third in a row.
The classification rules were quite different 46 years ago, however – Tony Brooks was classified 13th despite only completing 54 of the 100 laps.
Also that year there were just 16 starters and the cars’ performance had been greatly reduced as engine size was cut to 1.5 litres. At the next round (Zandvoort, the Netherlands) every starter finished, which remains a record.
Also at Monaco in ’61 Stirling Moss became the first person to win consecutive championship Grands Prix at the principality. This year Alonso became the first back-to-back winner since Michael Schumacher in 1994-5 – surprisingly, the German never achieved it at Ferrari.
It was McLaren’s 14th win at Monte-Carlo, pulling them further ahead of second placed Ferrari (eight).
Ferrari drivers have had a rough time in qualifying at Monaco of late. Last year Schumacher started 22nd and finished fifth; Massa rose from 21st to ninth. From 16th on the grid this year Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth.
It was also Bridgestone’s fifth win on the street track, although only two of those wins came in years when there was a tyre war: 1998, when Mika Hakkinen won against Goodyear opposition, and 2001, when Schumacher was victorious in the year of Michelin’s return.
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