Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Get on the glad rags we're off to Monaco.

Well Wednesday has rolled round pretty quick hasn’t it !

Okay then, Monaco it is I suppose.

Firstly, if you’re updating your predictions, you need to do it before midnight on Wednesday. As, for some reason connected with making lots of money and poncing around in sharp suits and stuff, they close the circuit down on Friday to swank around. That means the first practice is this Thursday and as we don’t want the clued up getting to big an advantage, predictions close on Wednesday night before said practice.

You have been warned.

Right that’s the housekeeping out of the way. Monaco is a strange sort of place. It’s not really a circuit that the super fast can win at, nor the super smooth. She takes no prisoners does the Lady Monaco, She and Lady Luck have a riotous old time here. Staying out late at night there’s enough champagne for both of them to get thoroughly razzed up, before rewarding those brave souls that want to flirt with their more dangerous bumps and curves. For a very select few there’s also the long dark slippery tunnel to play around in.

Monaco requires a driver to concentrate 100% for two hours as he threads the car through the narrow tunnel of concrete and armco. He has to be millimetre perfect lap after lap, wheels just brushing the metal skirts and shiny curbs because this place is no respecter of legend or losers. No matter how great the driver is in his own lunch time, if he drops his concentration for a second he’ll be smearing his very expensive carbon ride down the armco before he can think up any excuses as to why he shouldn’t get fired.

The belief that Vettel can’t overtake comes in a large part from this race, he doesn’t like it. Oh he came second last year you cry, but he was never close to Webber and it was only the fact that he had a car that could cruise to the front of the grid that kept him at the front all day. He’s never liked the place and will say so more than once during the weekend.

Hamilton on the other hand glories at this place. He loves, no adores Monaco and seems to feel he has a God given gift to spank the tarmac. The first year he came to Monaco in an F1 car, he just flew around the circuit, drifting the car in total control through the swimming pool complex and round the casino. If you want to thrill at what a car can do when the driver has a hand full of its hair and isn’t worried about getting her a little sweaty, go and find onboard Youtube videos of Hamilton driving a lap of this place. It’s pure petrol heaven.

Webber also likes this place, last year he arrived after a win in Spain and totally dominated the weekend to get his championship run well and truly motoring. This year he blew the race in Spain and hasn’t looked as comfortable as Vettel at all. If he wants to make Vettel work for his championship (because honestly right now it’s Vettels alone to lose) this is where it has to start.

Ferrari also needs to get their act together. They had an opportunity presented to then at the start of the race in Spain and contrived to lose it. I doubt they could have won, but there was a podium there for the taking. As usual with Ferrari when things need calm, mature even headed responses, they reorganise the company and fire a couple of people. First to go is Ferrari's technical director Aldo Costa, who’s going to have “new responsibilities” before this weekend; presumably these responsibilities are cleaning the windows and emptying the bins.
Will this help them get to the front of the grid ? Not a chance. Consistency is how you win championships, not firing all and sundry when it doesn’t go to plan.

At this point in time the FIA are saying there will be DRS on the start finish line during the race, but no DRS in the tunnel for the practice and qualifying. I’m not sure it’ll make too much difference as I don’t think it’ll be a factor.
Fancy go faster buttons and flappy rear wings are not what this place is about, it’s car control and mechanical grip. It wouldn’t surprise me if Redbull don’t even bother to fit their narcissistic KERS system this race just to teach it a lesson.

Meanwhile Pirelli are talking up their tires this weekend with a suggestion that a two stopper might just be possible ..... No I don’t think it’ll happen either. There will be just as many marbles off line to catch the HRT’s and Virgins out as normal. But you never know, the car that can do the fewest stops stands a chance, so maybe the likes of Perez or Di Resta might have a punt at the longs runs to make up a few places. Certainly the Sauber can look after its tires so anything could happen.

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