2008 Season - Monaco
Practice: The Maccas seem to finally be coming to terms and getting a package comparable to that of the Ferraris. Nico looks inspired for once. Luckily for him, he only has to shine once every blue moon to be considered a promising driver. And that he does!
Qualy: DC decides to rush things a little bit and just crash during Qualy, so hopefully he would have that off his chest and won't need to crash during the race. No such luck.
Despite their promising pace during practice, the Maccas end up playing second fiddle to the Ferraris. Massa is, once again, in fron of Kimi in which starts to look like a worrying indicator of an overall mediocracy of the season. Massa first, Kimi second, Lewis third, Heikki fourth, Kubica fifth,...Alonso seventh...do you see a pattern here? (Heikki would have to start from the pits at the race because his engine stalled during the parade lap...he started to look like Barrichello at Ferrari...and people still wonder why neither Lewis nor Alonso wanted to be number two at Macca?)
Race: it rains! Rain+Monaco=sorting the big boys from the little ones, right? Wrong. Nobody qualified as a big boy (Sutil could have, if he didn't start weeping like a baby when he DNF).
The only commendable way to watch this race is with Benny Hill's soundtrack in the background. Green lights, Massa has a good start. Kimi does not. Lewis waves goodbye to him as he breezes past the "Flying Finn" *stiffles a laugh*. Amazingly, there is not a single touch at the first corner, despite the rain and no TC. Maybe the guys are not so bad after all! Of course, it wouldn't be Monaco unless some car at least needs to pitstop for a new wing at the end of Lap 1. Luckily, Button was there to keep the tradition. He tried to overtake Heidfeld, or maybe he was just being dumb. In any case, he is finally last and out of the way.
Sutil slowly climbs up the field in the midst of a pouring rain. Watching this again makes me feel more respect for the skills he showed here than those of Vettel's at Monza and maybe as much as Vettel at Interlagos. Not too shabby.
First stupid mistake from one of the front guys. Hamilton bumps against the walls and ends up with a punctured rear tire. They didn't know by then, but it would be the mistake that would allow him to win here.
Fun moment#1: as the pitwall tells Nando that he is currently the fastest driver on the track he aquaplanned and hit the barriers. Yet another punctured rear tire.
Fun moment#2: at the exact same spot Nando hit the barriers, Coulthard decides that he just loves to crash during race so he also aquaplanned and crash, but unlike Lewis or Nando, his car was destroyed. It didn't help that Bourdais decided that aquaplanning seemed something he wanted to try, too and crashed against DC's back. It's SC time.
Meanwhile, Lewis benefited from Alonso's crash and Kimi's drive through (for not having his tires fully fitted 3 minutes before the race). Nando was back with a vengeance and made the stupidest mistake in a race full of them: he tried to muscle past Heidfeld at the hairpin. You could call it an optimistic move. I call it being a dumbass. So long any hopes of scoring points for Nando.
Massa, which we were all expecting to fail spectacularly, only gifted us with a missed braking point at St.Devote of which he recovered rather elegantly. Kubica, meanwhile, took P1, being the the only of the top drivers which seemed to be up to Monaco's challenge. Ultimately, his strategy was not that good. Kimi tries to emulate Massa at St.Devote...and breaks his wing. D'oh! Glock spins. Piquet crashes at St.Devote. Bad tire strategy compromises Massa's race. Nico is in charge of the scheduled "spectacular crash at Monaco" and smashes his car near the swimming pool area.
Thanks to the crashes, mistakes and a good control of his awful car, Sutil quietly made up to P4 (from P18!). Radio says: "Your next challenge behind you is actually Raikkonen". Truer words were never spoken before...at the exit of the tunnel, Kimi losses his car. You can see him desperately moving the wheel right and left while the car continues in a straight line, unfazed, towards Sutil's car. It was a split second mistake (like Hammy's or Nando's crash against the barriers) but with more notorious consequences. Personally, I think it was a worse mistake from his part when he was out at st.Devote. He didn't seem to have much to do in this crash against Sutil, but it surely looked stupid. Still, despite my own bias, Alonso was the amateur champion of the day for his move on Heidfeld.
In the end, it was all for Hamilton and his lucky crash. Kubica with a very impressive second (the only one that finished with any notable mistakes). Massa had to settle for 3rd.
We have reached the first third of the season. So far, nobody looked like a "different" driver. Massa was the best of the Ferrari vs Macca war. And he looked like anything but a competent top driver. Hamilton kept looking like a mix between Ayrton Senna and Yuji Ide (the end of season will show just how evenly matched those two sides of his personality were). Kimi looked like...crap. Heikki was nothing you would even look at. Kubica is my guy so far, but he never seems to have a strategy to profit from his remarkable performance. Alonso? He was remarkably unremarkable so far.
Ok, see you guys at Montreal (woohoo! My fave track!!!)