2023 Monaco Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Did we lose the last chance for someone to beat Red Bull? Maybe. But history tells us something will happen to mess up both cars in the same race. We hope...
EVENT: How can we sneak onto one of those yachts?
TRACK: If a track were measured by the names of the corners, Monaco would be the world's greatest. Sainte Devote. Beau Rivage. Massenet. Casino. Mirabeau. Grand Hotel Hairpin. Portier. Tunnel. Nouvelle Chicane. Tabac. Louis Chiron. Swimming Pool. La Rascasse.
QUALIFYING: Breathtaking for the most important qualifying session of the year. Verstappen turns a phenomenal third sector to grab pole from a disheartened Aston Martin and Alonso. Ocon shines as well and Perez is crushed.
RACE: What we expected. Until the rain came, then we got some chaos. Still amazing today's drivers can drive an entire race on a circuit like this and only get one very late DNF.
START: Clean starts continue this year ... even at Monaco ... though eventually the tight confines brought cars too close together for a little bumper car action while Hulkenberg's aggressiveness gains him four spots and a pit stop to deal with a flat tire.
VERSTAPPEN: A Senna-sque weekend. One of the greatest qualifying laps in the history of the sport, gaining nearly three tenths in the third sector. Dominating performance on one of the toughest unforgiving tracks in the world. Made the medium tires last 53 laps, way past their expiration mileage. Handled the wet with aplomb despite tapping the wall twice.
PEREZ: So much for being a championship contender. Thrown away with a Q1 crash, where Sergio went into that turn waaaaay too fast.
RED BULL: And that crash allowed everyone to see their floor when the car was lifted up by the crane.
ALONSO: Fernando doesn't believe the extra pit stop they wasted before going to intermediates was a factor in not winning the race.
STROLL: Ruined the chance of the most improbable occurrence -- having every car finish a Monaco GP.
ASTON MARTIN: They are now just one point ahead of Mercedes for second place. One can't help but wonder how many points they squander with Lance Stroll. Especially when you consider how amazing Alonso has been doing.
OCON: Perhaps the best weekend of his career. And yes, that includes his 2021 Hungary win.
ALPINE: A huge haul of points. And a huge sigh of relief. For now...
HAMILTON: We're saying it now. Lewis will not be driving for Ferrari.
RUSSELL: Even George knew that was a well deserved penalty against him.
MERCEDES: Another team whose floor was fully exposed by the Monaco cranes.
SAINZ: Not a happy camper with the strategy calls.
MCLAREN: The Triple Crown livery didn't bring much luck here or at Indy.
HAAS: Spain should be a better outing as Monaco is just not suited for their car.
F2: Dane Frederik Vesti won the feature race from pole, pushing him into the points lead. Jack Doohan had a massive crash which caused his car to ignite, while two cars at speed barely missed him squeezing between the stricken car and the guardrail.
F3: Italian Gabriele Mini took the feature race while Brazilian Gabriel Bortoleto still leads the points. Results of reverse grid sprint races at Monaco aren't worth mentioning...
INDY 500: It was getting a bit silly and ridiculous, constantly red flagging the race so they could have a green flag finish, especially for a one-lap shootout. But we have to admit, that was some one lap shootout. Congrats to Josef Newgarden. He deserved to finally win it.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Glitz.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 39 -- Max Verstappen is now tied with Sebastian Vettel for most wins under the Red Bull banner (Vettel won 38 with Red Bull and one with Toro Rosso). A record Max will own alone very, very soon..
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last time a Frenchman stood on the Monaco podium was Oliver Panis' improbable win in 1996, despite starting 14th, his only career victory. It came about due to wet conditions, massive attrition and timing the switch to slick tires at the perfect moment. It was Ligier's last win. The race set a record for fewest cars to finish a grand prix -- three.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From the official Formula 1 Twitter account:
Who had Fernando down for five podiums in the first six races?
What an incredible start to 2023 Alonso has made.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: The strategy Red Bull told Max Verstappen to do when the rain started falling was quite obvious, "Let [us] know if you need to box to stay on the track. It is as simple as that."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Yuki Tsunoda with a different version of the are you trying to kill me line when his team told him what to do with the failing brakes, "Are you trying to crash me or what?"
SCHEDULE: Spain will give us an excellent idea on how well the upgrades for each team are doing as that is a track everybody has the most data on with all the testing done there.
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