Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Alas, Where Better To Gamble Than Monte Carlo?
MONTE CARLO, MONACO – With such a remarkable weekend in racing including the Indy 500, the Charlotte 600 and the Monaco Formula One race, how does one choose which to blog? I choose the Monaco GP of course! Though the history and pageantry of this GP is without compare, the race is often boring – but not this year! The Red Bull driver, Sebastien Vettel, ended up at the finish line first in an action packed race which saw several drivers retired. Alonso followed in second place in his Ferrari while Jenson Button claimed the final podium finish for McLaren. Vettel’s win can be attributed to a gamble late in the race choosing to stay on his same set of soft tires. Alonso and Button fought hard and were catching the Red Bull driver during those final few laps, and I am sure making the German think twice about his choice.
But alas, where better to gamble than in Monte Carlo!
Lap 68 was the most exciting lap of the race. As the three leaders made their way through traffic the STR-Ferrari of Alguersuari made contact with a blue Renault sending it hard into the barrier. For a few moments it was unclear whether Vettel had been taken out. After the traffic had cleared, it turned out that Renault driver Vasily Petrov, running in 4th at the time, had hit the wall and that Vettel had maintained his lead. The subsequent red flag stopped the race allowing the Red Bull team to change out the German’s car and almost assuring the Red Bull driver the win. Vettel said. "The roulette button must have stopped last night and kept on spinning."
Petrov’s Renault contacted the wall quite hard and the Russian needed to be assisted out of the car. Complaining at first that he had lost sensation in his legs, team boss Jean Alesi happily reported that Petrov was “fine” following a complete check up at Princess Grace Hospital. “It was quite a big impact,” Petrov recounted, “and I could not feel my legs very well after the crash. I thought it was best for the medical team to assist with removing me from the car as it was difficult for me to move and my legs were trapped in the cockpit.”
Vettel, the defending champion, has had a remarkable season winning 5 of the 6 Grand Prix races this year. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was the only other driver to win this year in China. Vettel increased his championship lead to 58 points ahead of Hamilton. Mark Webber follows 6 points behind with Button and Alonso rounding the top 5.
The year is turning out to be a tough one for Ferrari with Alonso’s second place finish at Monaco the best of the year. If not for Petrov’s late crash, it could have been a win for the prancing horse, but that was not to be. “Immediately after the race, I said the fight for the title was getting ever more difficult, not to say impossible,” Alonso said in his Ferrari website blog. “Sure, if Vettel ends up winning a race in which we felt there was a chance of victory, then you get a feeling of disappointment, but that does not mean we will not continue working hard at the track and back home on developing the car. Clearly the gap in the championship is widening all the time. We can do the maths, but neither myself nor the team are used to throwing in the towel.