2018 Monaco Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: F1 isn't always about wheel-to-wheel racing. It's been like that forever. Some fans tend to forget that. It's also about manufacturers and constructors. It's also about technology. And, it's also about witnessing a performance like at Monaco this year -- a driver overcoming all odds to nurse an ailing car to victory against his pursuers. And that can only happen at a place like Monaco.
TRACK: Of course, the flip side is, that can only happen at a place like Monaco. It takes a track devoid of passing to pull off a feat like Ricciardo did.
EVENT: All those yachts. That view gets you every time.
QUALIFYING: Ricciardo is super human, Verstappen watches the whole affair from the sidelines, and the number ones on Ferrari and Mercedes do their thing.
RACE: Nobody deserved to win Monaco more this year than Ricciardo, and watching him perform with an injured car under the intense pressure he faced while seeing Vettel's attempts foiled by graining tires made the race worth it.
START: The pole sitter at Monaco has one job -- to get away cleanly with the lead. Ricciardo did that, and the rest was history.
RICCIARDO: Once the MGU-K went, it set off a chain reaction of issues with the car, some the common fan may not be aware of, which this excellent ESPNF1 article describes. That makes what Daniel did even more exemplary.
VERSTAPPEN: At first, we thought, well the slowing Sainz in FP3 could easily upset Verstappen's trajectory enough to temper some of the criticism towards Max. However, it does appear Verstappen had enough road and time to straighten the wheel out, tap the brakes, and get the car under control just enough to salvage the situation. Granted, things happen very quickly at Monaco. But, Max being Max, even during a practice run, he had to try to continue the lap at maximum speed.
RED BULL: Their 250th grand prix entry was a win. Just like their 100th and 150th.
VETTEL: Salvaged what he could and more importantly, closed the points gap to Hamilton.
HAMILTON: Salvaged what he could and thankful Verstappen had his problems, or Lewis would have been looking at a fourth place finish.
OCON: Excellent all weekend long, outshining his teammate.
GASLY: A great run by Pierre.
HARTLEY: During all the practice sessions, Brendon looked great and looking like he was going to salvage his career. Then, unlucky circumstances produced a lousy qualifying result which carried over to his race.
SAINZ: Carlos was primed for a better result, but Renault went the wrong way on their strategy.
ALONSO: Fernando should have done Indy again...
LECLERC: Losing brakes at Monaco is not what you ever want. Especially for the hometown hero.
HAAS: Surprising how totally out to lunch they were at Monaco after the season they were having. Especially, after the speed they showed at Barcelona, fully expecting that to carry over to Monaco.
WILLIAMS: A comedy of errors on Sirotkin's car. A plethora of issues with Stroll. Overall, simply a weekend to forget in a season of weekends to forget.
GRID GIRLS: At Baku, we learned that if you sing, you can be a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress on the grid. At Monaco, we learned that you don't have to sing, you just can't hold a number board to be a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress on the grid. However, hold that number board, and all hell breaks loose. It's so complicated understanding all these rules...
INDY: First Ricciardo at Monaco then Will Power at Indy. Australian race fans are celebrating like no other nation can on the greatest day in racing.
ABC: Thank goodness Indy is finally leaving ABC next year. Once the stalwart of sports broadcasting, they have become a sickening display of one inaccurate statement and platitude after another.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Redemption.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1 -- Ricciardo's first victory at Monaco which should have come two years ago. It's also the first time he has won a race from the first two rows. And Monaco is the one and only track Ricciardo has ever gotten pole on.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Ricciardo became the third Australian to win at Monaco. Mark Webber did it in 2010 and 2012 in a Red Bull-Renault. Jack Brabham was the first back in 1959 in a Cooper-Climax from the third starting spot, 20 seconds ahead of Tony Brooks. It was also Brabham's first win as well as the first World Championship Grand Prix victory for an Australian driver. Another first -- the first win for the factory Cooper team (Coopers had won previously in the hands of the Rob Walker Racing Team).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Christian Horner trying to get Ricciardo in mucho trouble with what would have been a major etiquette faux pas, "Give Prince Albert a shooey."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: When talk within the team of retiring the car due to concerns of a massive MGU-K failure damaging the engine, Horner put that to bed when he declared the only strategy one can take at Monaco, "I said 'Look, we're in the lead of the Monaco GP, we're keeping going.'"
SCHEDULE: Both Honda and Renault are bringing major updates to their power units to Canada. Their performance will severely impact Ricciardo and Red Bull's decisions on 2019 and beyond which will set off the dominoes for other decisions throughout the grid.
Copyright © 2018 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.