Should slower cars let the front runners pass when racing for position? (Poll)

Alonso found Trulli much easier to pass than di Grassi

Alonso found Trulli much easier to pass than di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi gave Fernando Alonso plenty to think about when the Ferrari driver came up to pass the Virgin driver early in the Monaco Grand Prix.

But after Alonso got past di Grassi he made light work of passing Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli.

Did the other drivers make life too easy for Alonso? Or should di Grassi have yielded as well?


If two cars are racing for position, why should the car in front yield position even if it does have a much quicker car behind?

Enrique Bernoldi famously refused to let David Coulthard by in the same circumstances at Monaco in 2001 – the McLaren driver stared at the rear wing of Bernoldi’s Arrows for 41 laps.

Di Grassi’s defence from Alonso was impressive while it lasted as the VR-01 clearly had vastly less grip and power than the F10. But Alonso clearly wasn’t impressed, waving his hand at the Virgin driver as they climbed towards Massenet on one lap.


For the tail-enders, holding up a faster car can be costly to their race. Pulling off-line to defend position can make their lap times even slower, spoiling their chances of beating other cars that are roughly as quick as they are.

But how slow does a car need to be before defending its position is pointless? Three seconds per lap? Four?

The Lotuses were less than three seconds off the pace at this point in the race. Jaime Alguersuari was only one second faster, so should he have waved Alonso by too?


Should slower cars defend their position from significantly quicker rivals? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should slower cars let much faster cars by when racing for position?

  • Yes - Slower cars should always let much quicker cars past (13%)
  • No - Slower cars should always defend their position from quicker rivals (87%)

Total Voters: 2,902

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149 comments on Should slower cars let the front runners pass when racing for position? (Poll)

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  1. Toncho said on 18th May 2010, 7:02

    I think ALO got furious because Di Grassi was off the race line a bit. That’s part of the game and the stewards didn’t saw anything wrong. IMO nothing really happened, Alo just got frustated (quite understandeble). On the other hand the other drivers defended his position well but ALO was just more focused.
    Interesting that without Di Grassi’s fierce defence ALO could have ended 5th just in front of HAM

  2. Bhudi said on 18th May 2010, 8:04

    De Grasi holding up Alonso was one of the best parts of the race!! That kind of action is what we’ve been yearning for, isn’t it? If you think De Grasi should have let Alonso by earlier, then you’re either watching the wrong sport, or need to check the definition of the words “MOTOR RACE”.

  3. Remengo said on 18th May 2010, 9:06

    I’m ferrari fan, an I agreed that even if Alonso was waiving, De Grassi had all the rights to defended his position and he done it really in a nice way, it was for sure the most interesting part of the race.
    Waiving has been seen many times in the races, is yust pilot’s moment of frustration, I don’t see the reasons of all this fuss about.

  4. Spen said on 18th May 2010, 9:32

    Zero overtaking apart from Alonso who struggled to get past cars 5 seconds slower than him?

    If these guys had just let him past, I would have slept for the whole race, rather than 75% of it.

    Take away the hype created by the media and drivers etc., and it is generally the most boring race on the calendar.

    I’m an avid F1 fan, but always have something else to do whilst watching the Monaco procession.

    I get sick of the media and F1 circus trying to tell us how thrilling it is. Maybe for drivers, but it isn’t going to bring new fans to F1. For me, total boredom.

  5. Manuel F said on 18th May 2010, 10:24

    I can remember at least one precedent of a slower car being showed blue flag in order to let a top driver racing in the same lap to go through and gain positions.
    It was 1999 Austrian Grand Prix, won by Irvine on Coulthard. Hakkinen spun when hit by Coulthard during lap 1, falling in the very last position. His charge through the field, that eventually was worth of the third place, was made easier as the blue flag facilitated his first overtakes (I can remember De La Rosa in the Arrows opening the door to him under blue flag).
    It is notable that in the A1-Ring circuit overtakes were much easier than in other circuits, as Monaco, and Hakkinen performed many successful overtake manoeuvres for position during the race (without blue flags, of course), in the last one passing Frentzen for third in a very aggressive fashion.

  6. MacLeod said on 18th May 2010, 10:52

    Alonso was lucky to start the race at all. I thought a driver must start qualify to enter the race or did they change the rules on that too?

    Moving up is just part of a race so you should have to do any effort to get ahead. Alonso was lucky he didn’t gave him a braketest (maybe because that is dangerous) but he wanted to continue his race.

  7. ranilom said on 18th May 2010, 12:19

    it is all down to be a sporty gentelman or not.
    If I am alone on the track and the car behind me is 3 sec faster, I would let him go, don’t even want to be noticed on tV.
    If I am chasing a car as slow like mine and I am racing that car for position, …sorry, but the guy behind me in a faster car than mine will have to work hard to take my position. Very simple. DeGrassi was racing, Virgin got the much needed publicity for 3 laps or so. Nothing wrong with that.

  8. Hallard said on 18th May 2010, 19:00

    Keith, I am not willing to vote here.

    I do think that slower cars should defend their positions against frontrunners if it makes sense for THEIR OWN race. If it doesnt, then I wont hold it against them if they simply let them past. But I certainly dont want it to be made easier for the fastest guys, simply for their own benefit.

  9. The Limit said on 19th May 2010, 16:00

    Yes they should defend their position. However, I believe it is up to the driver concerned. Even the slow cars are doing 200mph, and to spend the whole race looking in your mirrors must really get on a driver’s nerves and increases the chances of them missing a braking point and crashing. For a back marker, your competition is with the other backmarkers, but from a driver’s perspective, going wheel to wheel with a double world champion and causing him problems can’t harm ones career can it?
    Eddie Irvine certainly made the headlines following his tangle with Aryton Senna back in 1993, which if I am not mistaken did not go down well with the Brazilian.

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