Webber gives Red Bull third straight Monaco win

2012 Monaco Grand Prix review

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monaco 2012Mark Webber won a tense Monaco Grand Prix, crossing the finishing line with three cars within 1.3 seconds of him.

He soaked up huge pressure from Nico Rosberg in the closing stages as a sprinkling of rain allowed his pursuers to gain on him.

Rosberg in turn had Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel breathing down his neck.

First-lap drama

Webber held his lead from pole position at the start of the race, Rosberg slotting in behind him. But behind there was mayhem.

Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean made slow starts. Alonso appeared on Grosjean’s right and the pair made contact, sending the Lotus towards Michael Schumacher on his left. This second contact turned the Lotus broadside across the track, Grosjean spinning to a halt.

The chasing cars darted around him, with some drivers forced across the first corner – notably Vettel, who climbed up to sixth.

Kamui Kobayashi clipped the Lotus on his way past, flying into the air and coming down with a bump that damaged the car enough for him to have to retire.

Pastor Maldonado ran into the back of Pedro de la Rosa at the first corner, putting both out. The Williams stopped at the hairpin without its front wing and the safety car was despatched, though it didn’t arrive until after the leaders had begun lap two.

Vettel takes the lead

When the race resumed Webber led Rosberg and Hamilton, the latter having to fend off Alonso as they came out of Rascasse. Felipe Massa took up fifth behind his team mate.

The top five had all started on super-softs but Vettel had opted for softs. Behind him were Kimi Raikkonen and Schumacher.

With the teams’ weather radars showing a chance of rain later in the race, the drivers were urged to look after their tyres. This was a stretch for some of them – Raikkonen was one of the first to fall back, holding up a train including Schumacher, Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo and Heikki Kovalainen.

The gap in front of Raikkonen tempted Mercedes to give up waiting for the rain and bring Rosberg in for a pit stop in an attempt to jump Webber. The front runners reacted, with Alonso using a quick in-lap and Ferrari’s superior pit work to jump ahead of Hamilton.

Vettel remained out on his soft tyres, gradually developing a lead. Mercedes told Rosberg of their suspicions Red Bull would use Webber to delay him and protect Vettel – but Rosberg stayed over a second behind Webber and there was little sign of Red Bull using such tactics. “Mark raced his race, I raced my race,” said Vettel afterwards.

When Webber’s lap times dipped below 1’19s Vettel was no longer able to draw away and the team quickly bring him in. It was a well-timed visit – he came out just in front of Hamilton, who was unhappy to discover he’d lost another place. “You should have kept me updated,” he fumed on the radio.

Hamilton had other problems – at one point he complained something was falling off a pit board and hitting him on the head when he passed the pits.

Bad race for Button

The race were going even worse for his team mate. Held up by the flying Kobayashi at turn one, Button spent the opening stint in Kovalainen’s wheel tracks, unable to pass the Caterham.

The team told him he’d been switched the ‘plan B’. He stayed out longer than Kovalainen and when the team thought he was far enough ahead he was told “box now to overtake”. But it didn’t go according to plan, the McLaren returning to the track behind the Caterham once again.

Raikkonen was jumped by Schumacher when he pitted. He lost another place to Hulkenberg when he tried to go up the inside of Perez at the exit of Rascasse while the Sauber driver was heading into the pits. The stewards handed Perez a drive-through penalty.

Webber’s second Monaco win

By now the teams were again worrying about rain – the early forecast had turned to naught, but the latest prediction of rain in the final laps looked more convincing. Sure enough by lap 65 light rain was falling.

Webber looked more tentative as the track became slippery, and Rosberg closed within a second of him. Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Massa joined him, and by lap 70 the six were covered by 3.6 seconds.

The near-impossibility of overtaking at Monaco overrode any rash moves from the front runners, even when they had to pick their way past Kovalainen, who’d damaged the front wing on his Caterham after attacks from Button and Perez.

The track never got wet enough for intermediate tyres. The only driver to try them was Jean-Eric Vergne, who had changed to soft tyres early and decided to gamble.

In the final laps the conditions improved again and although Webber still couldn’t breathe easily, the intensity of the pressure on him eased. He crossed the line with Rosberg 0.6s behind him, and the same margin covering both Alonso and Vettel in the next two places.

Hamilton, who’d been concerned with tyre wear in the final stint, took fifth ahead of Massa. When the rain finally broke after the chequered flag fell, he rued its late arrival.

Force India got both their drivers in the points while Raikkonen ended up ninth behind Hulkenberg. Senna took the final point for Williams.

Perez threw everything he had at Kovalainen and eventually took 11th having started last. Vergne had run seventh after Schumacher retired in the pits, but his second pit stop left him 12th.

Kovalainen defended firmly from Button, who spun trying to pass him at the Swimming Pool and then went off for good at Sainte Devote trying another move. The Caterham driver secured an important 13th place for the team after him last pit stop saw him leave to pits just in front of Timo Glock.

Button was classified last in 16th despite stopping, Narain Karthikeyan finishing two laps down in 15th for HRT.

Webber’s win means F1 sustains its remarkable streak of different winners – six in as many races, a new record for the start of a season. He joins Vettel on 73 points in the championship, but Alonso lies three points ahead of them.

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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100 comments on Webber gives Red Bull third straight Monaco win

  1. F1fanNL (@) said on 27th May 2012, 16:05

    Not bad for a number two driver.

    • Jake (@jakehardyf1) said on 27th May 2012, 16:27

      Oh indeed!

      • brny666 said on 27th May 2012, 16:51

        I seriously don’t understand this. People claim that Red Bull hampered Webbo last year with god knows what excuses. Then why aren’t they doing the same this year?
        Clearly it all came down to Webber not understanding last years car as well as Vettel did and vice versa this year, with the exception that Vettel can do more with an RB8 that he doesn’t understand than Webber could with an RB7.

        • dkpioe said on 27th May 2012, 17:01

          yeh people went over the top last year with conspiracy theories. webber drove good last year, but Vettel drove great, as he just felt that particular car so much better then webber did and got the results. it was a bit of a kick in the guts for webber who in his whole racing career had done well compared to him teammate in all sorts of cars, but unfortunantly last year where redbull had a great car, he couldnt find the feel and didnt get the results. this year its closer between the 2 drivers like it was in 2010. who knows, maybe webber will win the championship if he keeps up his consistency.

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 27th May 2012, 17:04

          Mate, they are joking about what MW said in Silverstone 2010…

        • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 27th May 2012, 20:28

          It has a lot to do with the exhaust blown diffuser, which I don’t think was all to Webber’s tastes. Where as this year, the cars are a more traditional in that sense.

  2. sumedh said on 27th May 2012, 16:07

    What does Hamilton have to do to win a race! Plus, now it even looks that Mclaren don’t have the fastest car anymore.

    • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 27th May 2012, 17:02

      start on pole and pray the team doesnt screw up. Anyway mclaren had said this wasn’t their track. Sad he lost 2 positions though.

    • dkpioe said on 27th May 2012, 17:04

      he has to finish first at the end of the race, he is incapable of that at the moment. how many races has he won in the past 2 years? he has had many opportunities but hasnt taken, like at the start of this year when he was getting poles and not winning the race.

      • sorin (@) said on 28th May 2012, 0:26

        Hamilton these year, was great, he did anything right to win, but this is not enough, because the TEAM screwed up every time when Hamilton had the opportunity to win. EVERY TIME! And this is sad because these are the best years of his career. But i’m not surprised.. Why? Because this happend with Raikkonen, too. In the Mclaren period, Raikkonen was young and very very fast, but the car problems messed up his results.(like Hamilton now). And this demotivates you a lot. And you can’t bring back this years. In my oppinion Mclaren is a such a looser. And i don’t say this because i’m a fan of other team. Too bad for his drivers..

        • Kimi4WC said on 28th May 2012, 5:52

          Actually this was main problem with McLaren ever since 90’s or so.

          Started with Hakkinen. In early 90’s Hakkinen had plenty of really impressive performances but was out due to mechanical failures and such. And even during his winning days McLaren’s reliability did not improve with constant upsets.

          Raikkonen, maybe in 2003 he came close to WC and didn’t win it more or less due to his own performance and not the car. But the 2005 was GIVEN away by McLaren same habbits.

    • BaKano (@bakano) said on 27th May 2012, 17:05

      In terms of race pace, McLaren doesn’t have the fastest car since race 3 if not race 2!

      • sumedh said on 27th May 2012, 17:39

        I think Mclaren could have won in China had they not messed up Button’s pit-stop. Given the amazing drive Lewis put from 24th, I am sure he would have won by a mile had Mclaren put enough fuel in his car (he had a gap of 6 tenths, so even with the extra fuel, he would have still got the pole).

        I think Malaysia, Bahrain and Monaco were the only three races where they didn’t have pace.

    • Tom (@newdecade) said on 27th May 2012, 17:20

      Mclaren haven’t had the fastest car since australia! I don’t know why this belief persists. Their strategies and operational work are also the worst amongst the frontrunners. Unless they make some dramatic improvements soon, this will be another very dry year for them.

      • egsgeg said on 27th May 2012, 18:37

        Qualifying seems to disagree with you there. Give them clean air and they should run away with it.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 28th May 2012, 5:10

        They were still quickest in Malaysia (front row lockout), dominated qualifying in Spain (6 tenths), missed pole by less than a tenth in Bahrain (against a car that ran with less fuel – the Renaults have a fuel advantage. It’s less in Quali given how light everyone is, but it’s still there)

        They were somewhat in the fight for pole in Monaco too. China, they were competitive for pole right until the temperatures went down. Oh McLaren still have the quickest car.

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 28th May 2012, 6:50

          That’s just qualification performance and even there they don’t dominate. The differences between the teams are minuscule. Race pace is a different animal altogether and McLaren definitely isn’t the fastest.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 28th May 2012, 7:22

            I’m just applying the same logic people were when they were saying the Red Bull was fastest even in races… And yes, I’m a McLaren man. Have been since 1998.

  3. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 27th May 2012, 16:13

    It was strange to see the cars coming to the first corner onlap 2, with the marshalls working on Grosjean’s car prety close to the track and the Safety Car not deplyed. Quite dangerous…

    Hats off to Mark. This will be a massive boost in confidence for him. He needs that.

    • timi (@timi) said on 27th May 2012, 17:44

      @fer-no65 yeah! It was so surreal to see them literally 2 metres away from the cars on track. Imagine that, at Eau Rouge!!! Many pants will be soiled haha

    • Tricky (@tricky) said on 27th May 2012, 18:47

      I get the feeling the driver have been warned to back off when there are waved yellows (Vettel and Masa getting drive throughs in the last race for running fast under yellow flags) – and they extra emphasised it for Monaco, hoping not to throw a safety car every time a car crashed. In the end it looked like it was Maldonado stopping that eventually caused the SC.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th May 2012, 0:06

        @tricky They did slowed down, but considering it’s Monaco, they should’ve got the SC out before that. If they deployed it after Maldonado’s car got stuck, it makes no sense as his car was parked in the harpin, at a safe-ish place, and Grosjean was in the middle of the road after a very fast straight…

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 27th May 2012, 23:33

      @fer-no65 I also found it strange. They had plenty of time to put the SC out.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 27th May 2012, 16:13

    Webber still can win with his own! Great!

  5. HoHum (@hohum) said on 27th May 2012, 16:19

    What a race! Wow, the agony the ecstasy, the power the glory, the tyre conservation, Webber was truly magnificent, just watching him conserve his tyres left me awestruck, not through one corner but every corner, not just for one lap but for 78 laps. I have to go now, I’m suffering from adrenalin overload.

    • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 27th May 2012, 16:54

      Hee hee!

    • brny666 said on 27th May 2012, 16:55

      Yes Webber was very good but tyre conservator of the day award surely goes to Vettel running the softs for 48 laps when the car was the heaviest and putting in those lap times after 40+laps on them. I would have given it to Vergne but for him putting on inters at the end and completely ruining his race.

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 28th May 2012, 7:02

      All drivers were conserving their tyres and no one was falling back due to tyre degradation, although Webber slowed down significantly towards the end. I doubt he was better at tyre management than any other driver.

  6. Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 27th May 2012, 16:44

    This marks the 6th driver in the 6th race to win! Although not a different constructor.

  7. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 27th May 2012, 16:55

    The two Red Bull drivers are in a very good position in the championship along with Alonso, I think it’ll be a close fought battle between Vettel & Alonso! It is entirely possible that it could be 7 different winners, maybe even 8 with the Lotuses being competitive.
    I find it slightly amusing that everyone was complaining about Pirelli and in the one race where the tyres weren’t as crucial it is voted worst of the year!

    • caci99 (@caci99) said on 27th May 2012, 17:33

      I think it is yet down to the tyres the boring race we had today. To me it was obvious no one was pushing and were expecting who would have done the first pit, and if the driver ahead would have gone to pit before, the other one behind would have tried some perfect laps in clean air. Look at the in-lap of Alonso, he was purple on both fist sectors and managed to get ahead of Hamilton after that.
      I think this race should serve as a lesson that tyres in Monaco got to be totally different from other races. They should bring tyres which would allow drivers to push hard, and not the procesional conserving tyres we had today. Recall the radio message to Massa “No need to push, keep your tyres fresh, Hamilton is doing fantastic”.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 27th May 2012, 19:28

        I agree with what Martin Brundle said on commentary; Pirelli have definately made the racing more exciting, just make them slightly more predictable/wider operating window

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th May 2012, 0:20

          So you mean the tyres would be great if they were more like last year?!
          Let’s be serious, this race was all about conserving the tyres, an out of sequence pit-stop or an extra pit-stop would have been disasterous. We know that passing at Monaco is very difficult but many drivers have made passes at Monaco in the past, mostly by the technique of being all-over the car in front for several laps going left, going right, showing a wheel and pressuring them into a mistake, this technique is not viable with these tyres and that is my only criticism of them, but it is a major cirticism as we trade car- on- car duels for a time trial.

        • Kimi4WC said on 28th May 2012, 5:55

          I loved Gerhard Berger’s perspective regarding this season. Diffuser and front wing ban. Top team lost most time as they had most developed systems, middle teams did not loose that much, all this helped to tighten the pack.

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 28th May 2012, 7:07

          @vettel1 The tyres weren’t crucial? Everyone was in the tyre conservation mode. No one was pushing for the limits. There were maybe 5 overtaking attempts in the whole race because any daring manoeuvre could damage the tyres.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 28th May 2012, 7:24

            @maroonjack I doubt it. The Pirellis this year degrade rather than wear. Monaco as a circuit generally induces graining and wear, which the Pirellis have no issue with.

            I think the drivers were a lot closer to the limit this race than they are usually.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 28th May 2012, 8:20

            @raymondu999 Maybe I was watching a different race, but I saw very few overtaking attempts, even for Monaco. I’m not even talking about the successful manoeuvres. I didn’t see drivers pressuring each other, even if they were less than 5 tenths apart. Instead I saw a lot of cruising and I heard radio messages telling the drivers to save the tyres. Towards the end of the race I saw Webber train slowing down because of the tyres. After the race I heard Lewis saying “I could easily have pushed”, which means that he was in a rubber saving mode. And it doesn’t really matter whether it was degradation or wear. The teams and the drivers were forced to take care of the silly putty tyres and there was no place left for real racing. I think it was the most boring Monaco GP in at least a decade and it was largely thanks to Pirelli.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 28th May 2012, 9:19

            @maroonjack It doesn’t matter if it was degradation or wear, but my point in bringing that up was that we were always going to have everlasting tyres in Monaco – everlasting especially for Pirelli.

            Saving tyres in Monaco is not about driving slower necessarily either. Other than Alonso in the first stint, when else did you see them dropping back on purpose to save tyres? Saving your tyres in Monaco means basically to drive just under the limit, and keep your right foot in check, as well as braking slightly under the limit. Staying under the limit in this case is not to slow down, but to keep the car from wheelspining and to keep yourself from locking brakes.

            I appreciate where you’re coming from with this – but the drivers aren’t as much in tyre saving mode as the media would really make you believe, or even the drivers’ quotes. If they were really pushing at only 80% of the tyre’s capabilities, then they could very well take up an extra pitstop and push quite a bit harder – and you’d catch up the guy pushing 80% in no time and because he’s only pushing 80% and on older tyres, you’d get past him soon enough. There is tyre saving this year, yes, but the end result is still a balance between tyre management and pace, and there is far more pace involved than the figures the media and drivers quote to you.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 28th May 2012, 10:07

            @raymondu999 I hear you, but still the race was very unsatisfying. We rarely see successful overtaking moves in Monaco, but this time the drivers weren’t even trying (other than Jenson’s failed attempts). There must be some kind of explanation and I think that the tyres were a contributing factor.

    • BBT (@bbt) said on 27th May 2012, 21:45

      @vettel1

      I find it slightly amusing that everyone was complaining about Pirelli and in the one race where the tyres weren’t as crucial it is voted worst of the year!

      I find this perspective even more amusing, lets agree and say it is a race where the tyres weren’t as crucial, unyet they were far too crucial, so proving the point of those that don’t like the putty rubber…. that is why the race was poor and voted the worst of the year IMO ;-)

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th May 2012, 0:27

        You don’t understand, these tyres are terrific, they just need to be a lot better or different but otherwise they are the best thing since….. well something or other.:-)

      • James Hosford (@hosford90) said on 28th May 2012, 9:59

        Yeah, although I like the Pirellis, I think this race (ironically coz it was more of an old style Bridgestone procession…thereby proving the Pirelli greatness!) actually showed the main problem with Pirelli.

        Whilever there’s degradation, KERS and DRS we get lots of passing, lots of different strategies and lots of unpredictable change like we’ve had. But at Monaco where you can’t pass and tyres a never problem, basically this race was like a Bridgestone procession but worse coz at least then everyone was pushing and looked awesome pushing so hard, instead of the whole race being about conversation.

        Is a bit of an anomaly though. I agree with someone’s earlier post about providing special Monaco tyres. Don’t just give them Medium or Hard meaning they can push without fear of deg, develop a special extra-super-duper-soft, so that even at Monaco they’ll fall of a cliff the way people were in China, actually creating Monaco passing!

        Canada will certainly jump back to the other extreme though. Even in 2010 it was the one race where the Bridgestones were fading and needed 2-3 stops. The Pirellis will fry so bad.

  8. Dizzy said on 27th May 2012, 17:13

    save your tyres, look after your tyres, conserve your tyres, drive to your delta time.
    all you hear in f1 now.

    when you had dull monaco gps in the past at least it was fun watching drivers pushing flat out on the limit inches from the walls. now you don’t even see them drive flat out, there just cruising to save tyres & that just makes things extra dull.

    • Chris (@chriswayne1985c) said on 27th May 2012, 20:11

      I agree. DC said he was looking forward to some good tyre management today. I mean really… what is this? this is not RACING. It’s tyre management. Alain Prost said that he wouldnt like to be racing in this era and when asked about the tyres all he could say was it was “strange”. Tyre managment gets a thumbs down from me. I think its just pure luck now, at certain points in a race certain cars just get into the right operating window and get the tyres going and that just by pure luck. also, the tyres work best when a car is in clean air. if you get passed the first corner in the lead, you most likely to win.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 27th May 2012, 21:03

      I agree with this. As a true racing ans speed fan i can enjoy tracks like Monaco and Hungary even with no overtakes because unlike the casual viewer that only understand overtakes as fun, i can appreciate seeing cars taking corners and turns as fast as they can in hard driving circuits like those. Now it seems more boring because even that isn’t there.
      They are just going round, not in the limit at all and as i said before that’s also a reason why everyone avoided hitting any barriers(yeah i don’t count first lap incidents).

      • I love the Pope said on 28th May 2012, 4:58

        Without the tyres and DRS, all this would be is a really fast parade.

      • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 28th May 2012, 15:32

        I follow F1 since the early 90´s, and I sincerly think that the races we´re watching since last year are the best I ever seen. A few years ago I wasn´t considering attend to a GP or even participate in a F1 forum, but now I´m posting here and by the end of August I´ll watch my first F1 race.
        I think that shows how much my interest for F1 is climbing and I believe that like me many other fans feel the same.

    • BBT (@bbt) said on 27th May 2012, 21:47

      Totally agree, I hate it… but I love F1 so much as a long time fan, I just can’t bring myself to walk away, F1 2012 style is so painful though. :-(

    • Benjamin Lowry (@bplowry) said on 28th May 2012, 5:26

      What it comes down to is that they could drive flat out if they went for a two or three stop strategy. The nature of the circuit and the relative lack of tyre degradation (compared to other circuits, at least) means that, at Monaco, a one stop strategy, if you can manage it, is faster than any other strategy they could have tried. This was just a case of the drivers trying to complete the race as quickly as possible, and that happened to involve them trying to preserve their tyres.

      • Dizzy said on 28th May 2012, 13:47

        But we’ve had the same ‘save your tyre’ crap at all the other races this year. It was no more or less extreme at Monaco than in the other 5 races.

        Thats the problem with F1 2012, Nobody is ever pushing anywhere close to flat out because of these crappy comedy tyres.

  9. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 27th May 2012, 17:21

    I got bored of the race. Cars were just following each other. Maybe its amazing for drivers to be on, but it’s boring for spectators to watch on TV. Or, Maybe it’s just me. I think even Steve slater was running out of things to talk about since cars were just following each other. At one point he even talked about how Rob Smedley’s Italian-ish accent is helping brazilian massa understand him better. And then he got really excited on the last lap about rosberg passing webber, but I dont think rosberg was trying to.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 27th May 2012, 18:35

      @hatebreeder what were you expecting at Monaco, really? I want to know…

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th May 2012, 0:36

        @fer-no65, What we had in the past was a series of car on car battles where the attacking driver kept trying to pressure the driver in front into a mistake, with different tyres Rosberg had the speed to be showing Webber a wheel all around the trackj, ditto Alonso-Hamilton and so on through the field.

      • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 28th May 2012, 4:41

        rain. or massive car pile up like last year. :P
        No actually, just rain.
        @fer-no65 Dont get angry with me man, its just my opinion. I didnt ask you to take offence.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th May 2012, 17:37

          For me, I never wish for rain, and this weekend the threat of it had me on the edge of my seat hoping that nothing would throw NR a curveball to his second place finish. So I was on pins and needles just hoping that NR wouldn’t make a mistake while pressuring MW and being pressured by FA. So I find that if I’m really rooting for a driver, the concern that he have a good race adds a great deal to the excitement of a race, even when there isn’t a ton of action.

  10. robk23 (@robk23) said on 27th May 2012, 18:15

    I left the living room on lap 8 and came back 20 laps later and not much had happened. Very disappointing after some of the fantastic races we’ve had so far this year.

    • Kimi4WC said on 28th May 2012, 5:58

      I left after another idiot call by Lotus to let Kimi stay on track for 18 laps while he was having issue with traction that lead him to loose even more time than two pit stops – and opening the window for leaders to pit.

      • Kimi4WC said on 28th May 2012, 6:01

        This is another example that Lotus is lacking killer instinct in race decisions and if they keen on doing this, I dont see any wrongs in why they didn’t win a race so far and I wouldn’t expect them to win for the rest of the season even with a more than capable car.

  11. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 27th May 2012, 21:39

    An intriguing race but not a very satisfying one. Since they managed to go much longer on the supersofts than the year before, I thought the last stint on the softs would be a doddle, but it wasn’t. It was really weird seeing Vettel be faster than the guys behind him even though they had 30 laps less on their tyres. From the comments after the race I learned that it was due to problems getting temperature into the soft tyres.

    I think last year’s race was more interesting because no-one was anticipating the one-stop strategy, and drivers seemed to be pushing a bit more. This year, with the field so close, no-one could afford to drop back into traffic after a pit stop, so it looked as though they were taking it very carefully. Even the Caterhams and the Marussias were lapping within one second of the leaders.

    As happy as I am to have seen Webber win, I’m feeling a little bit deflated at seeing McLaren struggle so much. Consider this: both McLaren drivers have been outscored by Nico Rosberg at every grand prix except the first two (when Rosberg didn’t score at all). What I found particularly galling was seeing Vettel come out 2 metres in front of Hamilton; it was inevitable that Alonso got by, given how much quicker he was (later in the press conference he admitted he should have kept going even longer to attack Rosberg and Webber, though at that time they were unaware of the tyre-warm-up problems of the softs). Perhaps it was just the superior pit work of the Red Bull team that made the difference. On another day, a fifth place might have been reasonable damage limitation, but with all four guys ahead of Hamilton serious title contenders, this was a pretty miserable day for Hamilton and his fans.

    What to say of Button? He certainly didn’t have the car underneath him that Vettel did. Having been stuck behind Kovalainen for the entire first stint, one might have hoped he would have a lot of life left in his tyres, and do what Vettel did: go long in the first stint, and do quick laps. It’s certainly something Button would have been capable of in last year’s MP-26, but the MP-27 is starting to look like a bit of a dog. I so hoped this would be McLaren’s year, and they did start out well, but they had better sort out their problems quickly.

  12. Valentino (@valentino) said on 27th May 2012, 22:21

    What happened with other teams protesting regarding Red Bull floor?

    • themagicofspeed (@) said on 27th May 2012, 22:45

      They didnt have the backbone because appeals cost too much and Masechitz is probably paying the FIA to turn a blind eye, so it would be futile. A’la 2011…

      • Valentino (@valentino) said on 27th May 2012, 22:55

        So you’re saying that Ferrari has no money, and Todd likes Red Bull?

        • themagicofspeed (@) said on 27th May 2012, 23:05

          Ferrari do have money, or maybe they dont, who knows. If they do, they obviously arent using it right given that their car is still painfully lacking. And my point about the FIA goes back to a long held suspicion dating back to last year. I cannot understand how, at any given race, Red Bull can be behind in free practice, behind in Q1, and Q2, but then come Q3, Vettel goes like 0.8s faster than before, in the space of 15 mins. Something was not right with last year’s Red Bull. It is extremely difficult to make up 0.8s in the space of a season, let alone from one session to another, unless something drastic is changed on the car that is probably outside the rules. And if my suspicion is correct, the Red Bull Cars went through scrutineering dozens of times last season, and other than a see-through ‘clampdown’ on off-throttle blowing, the FIA didnt think to check how it was possible. Something there, is not right..

        • themagicofspeed (@) said on 27th May 2012, 23:14

          Even Ferrari in 02,04 could not turn around a deficit of say, 0.5s on average in practice and quali, to a significant time advantage, from one session to another. There is much to suggest some dirty work, more than likely software related, because the FIA only routinely check source codes (software programs) at the start of the weekend before practice, and after the race. They can easily and quickly change settings (such as off-throttle blowing) via the telemetry, and erase the tracking data so as to pretend that never happened. It would be difficult to keep up for a whole season, but they are professionals.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th May 2012, 0:48

            I understood that the OTB was legitimately programmable until the end of Q3, with several mapping options available on the wheel I believe Vettel was given as much OTB as he needed to secure pole and then drove a more reliability friendly program in the race.

  13. themagicofspeed (@) said on 27th May 2012, 22:32

    Great race, shame about Michael. Its a shame that even if he had been allowed to start from pole and led the race, it would all have been in vain anyway because of unreliability. Reminds me loosely of Suzuka 2006, where an incompetent engine builder cost him and the team the championship. To this day i pray whoever was responsible for that got their head kicked in. I remember that cold October morning sat on my front room floor, in tears. Assuming he retires at the end of the year, we just lost our only chance of ever seeing Schuey win again. And its all thanks to the FIA and a certain incompetent little rookie called Bruno, whose uncle would have urinated all over him and hung him out to dry when it comes to driving talent.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th May 2012, 23:32

      @themagicofspeed Schumacher’s had poor reliability this year but it’s been the exception rather than the rule in his career. It’s a bit much to be complaining about it costing him championships when he’s enjoyed better reliability than almost every other world champion:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/02/14/champion-of-champions-in-stats/

      • themagicofspeed (@) said on 27th May 2012, 23:46

        I agree in that he has had an amazing career, and better reliability than almost anyone else. In Suzuka 2006 though, that race of all races, it was totally heartbreaking (personally anyway). I knew it would be the last few races of his career (at Ferrari at least) and to see him bow out with an 8th title would have been amazing. To lose that because of something as trivial as engine failure was gut-wrenching.

    • Dave (@dworsley) said on 27th May 2012, 23:37

      you have problems

    • Kevin Campos (@kcampos12) said on 28th May 2012, 1:55

      @themagicofspeed you are a very passionate F1 fan :)

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th May 2012, 14:21

        @themagicofspeed…It was thanks to the FIA that MS got to keep his WDC from 94 in spite of illegal Benettons, and whacking DH…I could go on and on about how the FIA has helped MS to break the records he did throughout his career, and you cry over the failing of an EIGHTH WDC? Boo hoo…And you blame Senna because MS drove into the back of him and took himself and Senna out of that race and cost himself 5 spots on the grid in Monaco? Very poor imho. I admire that you are an avid F1 fan, but you seem blindedly in favour of MS moreso than I am blindedly against him.

        • themagicofspeed (@) said on 28th May 2012, 17:38

          @robbie – I blame Senna because if you look at his onboard footage just before the crash, he starts to brake much earlier than normal for that particular corner, which caught Schumacher off-guard, and at close to 180mph you dont have very much time to react. There is no exscuse. The drivers informally agree to refrain from ridiculous defensive driving actions in the braking zone (Martin Brundle often refers to this) which includes stupidly early braking. For reasons we have clearly seen, they have agreed between themselves to not do this in the interests of safety. Michael was simply trying to pass, and Senna basically brake-tested him. Check the FIA Sporting Regulations 2012 and it will be in there in ‘Unsafe/Unsportsmanlike driving deemed unnaceptable under (whatever article it is, dont have it infront of me) can be punished by the stewards of the meeting with (list of penalties etc).. To me, Senna’s driving clearly qualified as breaching both the sporting code, and the driver’s own agreement.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th May 2012, 22:02

            His tyres were shot. Everybody knew he was going to brake earlier. Everybody except for Schumacher apparently.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 29th May 2012, 17:51

            Sounds like you shouldn’t be blaming Senna if you are so clear that he breached both the sporting code and the driver’s own agreement. The blame should go to the FIA or the stewards, and yet they found MS to be the one at fault. Sounds like all Senna was guilty of is his tires going over the cliff which is so common this year that MS should have been aware of that possibility and tried to overtake somewhere else, such was the sitting duck Senna had become if he was needing to start braking earlier than previously. So if you somehow think MS was unfairly penalized it would be a first for the FIA to blatantly err against MS…usually the decisions have gone his way, or any penalties toward him have been relatively meaningless.

            You are right…MS was simply trying to pass…right through Senna’s car apparently.

  14. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 27th May 2012, 23:25

    It was mentioned in the commentary that Damon Hill would eat his microphone if Hamilton didn’t get pole and a win.

    Damon – would you like soup or salad with that?

    A well judged win from Mark but I think it’s going to be Alonso for the WDC, he just keeps it up there at the front of the field.

  15. Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone) said on 28th May 2012, 1:45

    Alonso king of luck! He make contact with Grosjean and then others drives where out of the race for this but Alonso remain intact! Alonso, King of Luck!!!

    • Dragon (@dragon) said on 28th May 2012, 2:00

      King of supreme skill, I’m sure you meant to say. As for Grosjean, I don’t want to have a go at him without having seen onboard footage, but if I were a driver starting near him I’d be nervous about what kind of aggressive stunt he’ll pull at the start.
      Loved Webber’s win, and enjoyed the race. I know Monaco’s generally a procession, so the lack of overtakes didn’t bother me, and instead I enjoyed the amazing display of high quality driving by the top 6 (I can finally include Massa in this group).
      And speaking of Felipe, I really hope this kind of form continues. It’s highly unlikely, but if he could just find the sweet spot of that Ferrari and make this year 7 from 7, I couldn’t care less if the race was a snooze.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 28th May 2012, 2:36

      Ferrari, King of strength!

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