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Monaco 2012

May 30, 2012

Monaco 2012

Just heading home from the south of France after another topsy turvy week in F1’s up and down current format.
Monaco’s a special place, a place so far removed from most people’s understanding of normality, that the Grand Prix event becomes a novelty and voyeuristic spectacle that’s hard to take your eyes off for a minute.
As I said in an earlier blog post, this GP isn’t really about the racing itself, it’s about everything else going on around it. It’s an opportunity for the super rich to flex their financial muscles, teams and sponsors to dream up the most extravagant ways of entertaining guests and for anyone taking part in a race around these streets to feel a little bit taller and smugger should they be lucky and skilful enough to get a result.
When I arrived a week and a half ago, the weather forecast was gloomy. Rain, thunder and lightening dominated the whole event, but in the end it never really came. It threatened to play its part in the weekend and spice up what’s often a fairly dull race, and ironically, although in the most part the sun was shining, it was the weather which did play a big role in ensuring the processional motorcade we saw on Sunday.
As the race began most of the front running drivers were planning a standard two stop strategy with the gamblers, in particular Vettel, opting for a one stopper. Having sat out Q3 also enabled him to start the race on prime tyres, the opposite of everyone else.
Shortly after the lights went out, Meteor France predicted ‘significant’ rain around lap 28, forcing everyone to run as long as possible on their dry options.
With Vettel lapping unexpectedly quickly on very used primes after a long first stint and Webber, Rosberg and Co having to run much longer than than initially planned due to the rain that never arrived, the leading pack were forced into a single stop strategy, effectively matching Vettel’s and ending his hopes of a clever victory.
Instead of seeing two different race plans play out in the closing stages, the constant threat of rain, despite the fact that it didn’t arrive until 10 minutes after the chequered flag, rescued the race for Webber, but dictated single stops for all and a pretty tedious queue of cars trundling round to the finish.

On the plus side, the fact that the sun was out meant that the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo could continue uninterrupted. It’s just not quite the same sipping your champaign inside as it is on the open deck of a yacht in the main harbour.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy some pretty spectacular hospitality this week and I have to say I loved it. The ridiculousness of it all is what makes this event so incredible and I don’t begrudge anyone who has the money to be mooring up in the harbour for the week at prices I’d probably be happy to sell my house for. If I was in that position, I’d do it too.
In a town where no one takes a second glance at a red Ferrari, it took chromed Porsches, crystal encrusted Rolls Royces and boats with their own infinity pools to turn heads this week, and I, as ever, feel very lucky to have been able to pop in and be part of it all.

Marc Priestley


From → Formula One

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