Monaco: The Jewel in the Formula 1 crown. I had the opportunity to go to the Monaco Grand Prix last year (A small taste of Monaco); an experience I will never forget for many reasons.
Firstly, it was my first time being in close proximity to the drivers and other F1 personnel I saw Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastian Buemi, Adrian Sutil and Rob Smedley.
Secondly, you get to appreciate how tight the streets are and why so many drivers are “punished” at this circuit. Monaco has the record for the most retirements in one race. In 1996, only 3 of the 21 drivers finished the (wet) race. But in the past 10 years, retirements have been 55% or less.
Something else that becomes very obvious is the glamour and pageantry of the place; yacht-parties, helicopter-taxis, VVIP exclusive tickets etc.
Finally, last year’s Monaco GP also exposed an unbecoming side of a driver I respect and admire. Lewis Hamilton had been showing good pace in Q1 and Q2, and was yet to set a time before the season was red-flagged due to Sergio Perez’s accident.
When the session resumed with 3 minutes left of Q3, the best he could do was 7th place and was later demoted to 9th place because he jumped a chicane while setting his fastest time.
Lewis’s race on Sunday did not pass without incident and he was summoned to the Stewards’ office to explain incidents with Massa and Maldonado. During post-race interviews, he made a bad joke, which was miscontrued by most people and although he apologised immediately, it was one of the biggest gaffes ever made. Monaco is one of the races Lewis desperately wants to win every year and he was clearly frustrated by how that race turned out.
Last year, by Lewis’s own admission, was the worst year of his F1 career so far. We hope that his team doesnt gamble away his chances of a win this time around and that this year’s Monaco Grand Prix is remembered for all the right reasons.