Victims of Circumstance: Monte Carlo 2013

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Adam Macdonald

With so much focus on the declining attraction of the Monaco GP compared to new races, like in Singapore, it seemed fitting that the race was one of the less interesting ones of the year.  That was the case until lap 29, when Felipe Massa carried on his vendetta with the Sainte Devote crash barrier.  The suspension failure brought out the safety car, and the race suddenly came to life.

Massa Sainte Devote

So how could a race, like the one we witnessed on Sunday, be made more interesting?  Well, at the risk of bringing up an old topic which has largely been left to bed at the moment, it comes down to number 1 and 2 drivers again.  Had it been Massa in 2nd behind Rosberg, with Alonso in 3rd position, Massa could have been used as the sacrificial lamb.

Instead of holding back and preserving the tyres after the red flag restart, Sebastian Vettel could have harried Rosberg at the front.  Of course this would have wrecked Vettel’s race and burnt out the tyres at a much quicker rate, but this would also have done the same for Rosberg and not allowed him to play the preservation game instead.  Webber would have then been in prime position to take the victory.  However, as we all know, this would never happen for the RBs, but an interesting thought had it been the Ferraris in that position instead.

So what really happened?

So now down to the business of deciphering the hypothetical situations of the race had lady luck not intervened.

Charles Pic: Poor old Charles was out of the race before any of the real action happened.  Retiring after just 7 laps with an engine going up in flames was unfortunate.  There was nothing he could have done, and for this reason he is awarded 19th position.

Jules Bianchi: After coming together on lap 23, it was unfortunate to see Jules run into Pastor Maldonado, following Maldonado’s skirmish with Max Chilton.  Some have said that Chilton should be punished, but it looks like one of those things in Monaco; crashes happen – and are nothing more than racing incidents.  Jules is awarded 17th position.

Felipe Massa: So the crash in FP3 was Massa’s fault, but the race crash was due to suspension failure on the car.  Surely the suspension was not fixed properly, but was working perfectly before Massa’s original impact with the barrier; so in a roundabout way Massa retiring from the race was a result of his own previous error.  Nevertheless, he is awarded 9th position ahead of Paul Di Resta.

Fernando Alonso: A bad weekend was made worse by a rogue plastic bag getting stuck in the front wing of Fernando’s car.  The Force India’s have looked a good car this year, but the McLaren’s have been nowhere near the Ferrari’s, therefore, Alonso is awarded 6th position ahead of Jenson Button.

Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and the safety car: Safety cars are a thing of Formula One.  Lewis himself admitted that he had made an error by backing off too much behind Nico Rosberg.  It’s unfortunate for Lewis, but the result stands.  Below is a video analysing Massa’s crash and the safety car effect.

Perez and Raikkonen: The saying 6 and two 3s comes to mind.  Aggressive overtaking moves in Monaco are always risky, and aggressive defensive manoeuvres will result in crashes.  No changes for these two.

Daniel Ricciardo: It seems to me that Romain Grosjean is just too eager to impress.  Daniel Ricciardo was completely innocent in this crash, and could not have done anything about it.  He is awarded 13th position, ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

This does now leave Lotus in a less than enviable position.  With a 10 place grid penalty for the next race, Romain Grosjean does not stand a chance of competing with the front runners.  Therefore, the most sensible suggestion would have to be to replace him with last year’s GP2 champion, Davide Valsecchi.  Not only would this give Davide a chance to impress in F1, but also better the chances of Lotus picking up more points.  If they finish only a few points below another team this year in the WCC, will they regret not swapping Romain out for a race?  And, is Romain only staying in the car because Éric Boullier is his manager?

The biggest shame of all is he doesn’t seem to be learning.  Below is a video of his 2009 GP2 crash.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Nico Rosberg = 25 = 1 1
2 Sebastian Vettel = 18 = 3 2
3 Mark Webber = 15 = 4 3
4 Lewis Hamilton = 12 = 2 4
5 Adrian Sutil = 10 = 8 5
6 Fernando Alonso +1 8 +2 6 6
7 Jenson Button -1 6 -2 9 7
8 Jean-Eric Vergne = 4 = 10 8
9 Felipe Massa RETIRED 2 +2 21 9
10 Paul Di Resta +1 1 -1 17 10
11 Kimi Raikkonen +1 0 -1 5 11
12 Nico Hulkenberg +1 0 = 11 12
13 Daniel Ricciardo RETIRED 0 = 11 13
14 Valtteri Bottas +2 0 = 14 14
15 Esteban Gutierrez +2 0 = 19 15
16 Max Chilton +2 0 = 22 16
17 Jules Bianchi RETIRED 0 = 20 17
18 Giedo van der Garde -3 0 = 15 18
19 Charles Pic RETIRED 0 = 18 19
20 Sergio Perez RETIRED 0 = 7 20
21 Romain Grosjean RETIRED 0 = 13 21
22 Pastor Maldonado RETIRED 0 = 16 22

Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Sebastian Vettel 1 107 =
Fernando Alonso 2 94 +16
Kimi Raikkonen 3 80 -6
Nico Rosberg 4 62 +15
Lewis Hamilton 5 53 -9
Felipe Massa 6 49 +4
Mark Webber 7 48 -9
Adrian Sutil 8 30 +14
Romain Grosjean 9 28 +2
Jenson Button 10 25 =
Paul Di Resta 11 18 -10
Jean-Eric Vergne 12 4 -1
Daniel Ricciardo 13 4 -3
Sergio Perez 14 3 -9
Nico Hulkenberg 15 1 -4
Esteban Gutierrez 16 0 =
Valtteri Bottas 17 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 18 0 =
Jules Bianchi 19 0 =
Charles Pic 20 0 =
Giedo van der Garde 21 0 =
Max Chilton 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

There would have been praise for Felipe Massa at how well he had done to battle through the field along with Paul Di Resta.  Paul’s march through the field, after a poor decision in qualifying, went largely unrecognised after the race.  A great shame for him, as SKY did features on the doves instead, as shown in the video below.

One thing that was noted was the incredible march through the field of Kimi Raikkonen.  After coming back out in 16th position, taking a point was impressive.  However, when he comes out with statements like “Perez deserves a punch”, one has to wonder whether that really does any good for the sport.  Raikkonen is clearly going to be angry about what happened, but saying things like that does no good for anybody involved.

Quote of the Day

The world renowned performance psychologist Jim Loehr states, “With confidence, you can reach truly amazing heights; without confidence, even the simplest accomplishments are beyond your grasp.”  Lewis Hamilton didn’t look close to Nico Rosberg at any point over the Monaco GP weekend.

Nico is clearly riding high after 3 pole positions in a row.  So now the honeymoon period is over for Lewis, this will be the real test of his character.  Loehr talks of mental toughness, saying, “It’s a state of mind – you could call it ‘character in action’.”  Can Hamilton prove to everybody that he isn’t just a one season/team wonder, and that he can do as he originally intended to do, and build a team around himself?

All signs at present would suggest Nico drives the team, and Lewis is still trying to join the party.

18 responses to “Victims of Circumstance: Monte Carlo 2013

  1. I can’t quite understand, why everybody is getting so worked up about Kimi’s punch-in-the-face comment? He didn’t really punch him, did he? Have we become so political correctness crazy that even saying something is as bad as doing it?
    This isn’t pottery class at the local non-competitive Waldorf school. It’s a bunch of guys (and hopefully in the future gals, too) pumped up on Adrenaline after a motorcar race. If you shove a micro under someone’s nose so shortly after a race, you have to expect some emotionally charged statements.
    And besides, he was spot-on anyways. There is aggressive and there overly aggressive.

    • The point is what kind of example is Kimi? It’s hardly going to attract new (and younger) fans of the sport.

      • Dont think Kimi cares Adammac39… I don’t look at F1 drivers as role models anyway… too few has balls 😛

        Maybe if they have more female drivers I’ll look at the drivers more than the cars though… :O

      • I don’t think Senna really cared about that either when he went and gave Eddie Irvine a cheeky right hook after the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix for passing him whilst being a lap down.

        Too much consensus is being put on drivers to be “role models” and it is all promoted thanks to the PC H&S society we currently find ourselves in now.

        Emotions are charged, the blood boiling and when it comes to Kimi I don’t think he has ever cared about the media’s portrayal of him to fans whatever age are watching.

    • DS – I agree Kimi can say what he wants but then Perez can drive as aggressive as he wants. The days of “it is too dangerous” is over. I am not saying everyone should go banzai but Perez seemed like the only person on that track that wanted to race. The rest were there for a bus tour or % game.

      Accidents happen, Kimi closed the door on a very naive Perez who will learn from it. He does not have god like status to expect rookies to repect him and not overtake him.. prove it. Why was he not up front racing, trying to get past Hamilton. His car is gentle on its tyres so chances are Hamilton would have lost grip before he did.

      Amigo Perez for WDC 😀

      • All correct, Don. Nobody said that Perez is expected to roll over for more established drivers, but a driver, who fights for the championship and is nerfed off by newcomer with nothing to loose should be allowed to vent his frustration without the PC brigade coming in to pillory him for it afterwards.
        These are the things I like about Kimi, he doesn’t put up a facade, he is like he is. If he gets himself pissed out of his skull and falls off a boat, he doesn’t try to pull off a BS story. Heck, it happened. He says what he thinks and he says it the way he wants to. One of the few genuine, not media-streamlined people left on the grid. 🙂

        • I would have agreed with you until probably one year or so ago, but eversince the ‘leave me alone I know what I’m doing’ I get the impression that Kimi is more and more turning into a caricature of himself, maybe because he himself or Lotus have understood the marketing potential of it? Honestly, vintage Kimi wouldn’t have bothered to talk about Perez afterwards, maybe something like ‘it’s racing, it happens, let’s move on’ if we were lucky…

  2. “Can Hamilton prove to everybody that he isn’t just a one season/team wonder…”
    I have to disagree with this sentiment, he has proven already he’s not a one season wonder. To the dismay of some F1 fans out there, he’s not J. Villeneuve no 2.

  3. “Some have said that Chilton should be punished…”

    Did he not get a drive-through? Surely that is punishment.

    • A drive-through when you are at the back of the field and caused two cars to retire from the race…

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