2009 Monaco Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: This season continues to look like a runaway for the Brawn drivers (and just think how much of a runaway it would be if the FIA went with Ecclestone's asinine gold medal system), but we still insist the field will get a lot tighter (as it is, the top nine finishers were on the same lap on such a short circuit with no safety car) as the season moves on. It just may be too late to make a difference as far as the title is concerned.
EVENT: Monaco is on the schedule for the money. Tradition and history as well, but mainly for the money. The race itself is an anachronism with today's cars. But money never falls out of favor.
TRACK: Amazing how these super tight confines can be cleared of incidents so easily, avoiding any safety car periods. And let's face it, the track may not produce much racing, but it sure is fascinating watching these drivers wind through the course with amazing control on the knife edge of disaster.
QUALIFYING: Any doubt about Jenson Button's qualifications as a top driver deserving of his status this year were all put to rest with his brilliant qualifying run for pole position.
RACE: Since everyone knew the racing would not be the highlight, F1 "decided" to make this weekend's "entertainment" revolve around the battle royale between the teams vs. the FIA vs. Mosley vs. Ecclestone.
START: Monaco is the only F1 track where you hold your breath for the entire first lap.
BUTTON: To see the sheer joy in Jenson winning this race makes you remember this is still a sport despite all the politics that so often takes center stage.
BARRICHELLO: We expected Rubens, a very good technical driver who has done well at Monaco before, to finally beat his teammate. Alas, he never could run as quick as Button. We don't know whether that points to Barrichello being past his prime or Button simply having the season of his life.
RAIKKONEN: Finally a podium for Ferrari. And we got to "enjoy" old marble mouth in the post-race press conference. We swear, Kimi has got to be a robot. No one could possibly be that emotionless no matter how hard they try...
MASSA: Felipe adds to the Ferrari optimism heading into the meat of the schedule.
WEBBER: Another fine -- and quiet -- weekend for Mark.
ROSBERG: Nico really needs to take his talent to a team that can properly use it.
ALONSO: Ditto Fernando.
BOURDAIS: Was it the one-stop strategy that gave Sebastien a point? Or was it his driving? More importantly, will this keep his ride a little while longer?
BUEMI: Sebastien, you need to brake before you reach the car in front of you. Oh, and those comments you fired at your teammate last race? Right back at ya!
HAMILTON: Lapped. Again.
KOVALAINEN: So, what is the record for DNFs in a season...?
VETTEL: His streak of always qualifying in the top three this year came to an end. Sebastian is human after all.
TOYOTA: Following in the steps of Honda -- overbudgeted, underwhelming with brief spats of hope, and perhaps bailing.
BMW SAUBER: Horrible. Just horrible. Where did all that promise at the start of the season go?
FORCE INDIA: For this team, a "decent" weekend.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Politics.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 72 -- The number of victories for Mercedes Benz, now tied for fourth on the all time engine wins list with ... Honda.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Monaco was the first of two Grands Prix that Bernie Ecclestone tried to qualify for as a driver in 1958. He failed to make the field. (The other was the British GP, where he failed to make the start.)
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Jenson Button on the joy of winning at Monaco, "Well, before the weekend I said that this Grand Prix doesn't mean anything different to any other Grand Prix. That was a bit of a lie really. It is very special winning here."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Niki Lauda is always good for a quote, sometimes one you cringe over and sometimes one that is spot on. This one is spot on: "For decades Formula One has been the stage for egocentric performers, and the cast grows every day, like cancer."
SCHEDULE: Ferrari is starting to do well and Turkey is Massa's track. Will the old order return?
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