*** THE PITSTOP PRINCESS IS CURRENTLY ENJOYING A RESTORATIVE BREAK IN AN NHS HEALTH SPA. IN TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE, THE PART OF ‘THE NARRATOR’ WILL BE PLAYED BY MONEYBALL ***
After being asked to guest-write this blog, I watched the full race and post-race reaction on All4 in the wee small hours of Sunday night. (I skipped the pre-race dinner with royalty, as I object to modern-day slavery…)
After a weekend where competitors spectacularly blew up in other sports (Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup, Chelsea gifting Arsene a new contract instead of the boot, Alonso – literally – in Indy, and ‘everyone else but the eventual winner’ in the PGA Championship), would the Monaco GP have the same drama?
No, of course not. For the most part, it was a procession, punctuated only by pit-stop leap-frogs, ‘optimistic’ passing attempts and some drivers forgetting how cold brakes and tyres work (i.e. they don’t).
Still, it was beautiful weather in a stunning backdrop, and Vettel’s (deserved) victory really sets up the remainder of the season, particularly the next race in Canada. Can we just assume it’ll be Mercedes’ to win? The frequency of their off weekends seems to be increasing…
There were some funny moments in the coverage too, notably:
· Jaw-dropping naivety from a 3-time world champion in qualifying: crashes are inevitable – get a time in, you arrogant idiot!
· Channel 4’s foreshadowing of a controversial winner with the #1984 pre-race segment;
· DC morphing into Donald Trump with his outrageous tan and genuine lines such as "I'm a big fan of beautiful ladies". Oh dear god. (The Sky Sports grid-walker obviously heard it too – she was all actual pointy elbows when DC was trying to steal an interviewee…)
· On the grid-walk, Webber asking Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeeeene – "What can you do, mate?" Really Mark? The answer is “Disappoint”, as usual;
· Button and Alonso’s radio love-in, which seemed genuinely warm… …like Button’s pee;
· Bottas’s dead-pan response to "Only if you're comfortable, strat6". Well played, sir, well played.
· Max confounding pundits with wit, grace and maturity after the race – "That's racing – today we were unlucky". Bet that’s not what he said in the motorhome, though…
· Beauty and the F1 Geek refusing to take her eyes off the screen and stopping her son from chatting to her with the putdown “Shhh Harry - it's Chris Hemsworth”. True story.
Speaking of the Hemsworth, both DC and Webber identified him as being the star of Thor (ummm, not Rush??) and Chris mentioned it was his first F1 race (ummm, not method then??).
As for the racing?
· Pity poor Perez, who gets caught behind Stroll and Palmer at the same time. Took him another 15-20 laps to eventually get past these duds. How long until they are replaced? Place your bets…
· At one point, the racing was so dull that the commentators start talking about how hard it is to man the pit boards during the Monaco GP. I don’t doubt this, but it’s certainly a new low for topics of discussion.
· However, all of this dullness was overshadowed by the frankly explosive 2 or 3 laps where Vettel and Ricciardo were unleashed and made their moves up the leaderboard. I was stunned and gripped by the on-board footage of these two hammering round such a twisty, tight course, millimetres from the barriers and taking 1 to 2 seconds off their previous times. Wow – just wow.
Actually, I’ll sign off on that theme. Anyone who doubts the talent or commitment of F1 drivers (in particular, ageing ones) should watch those laps and the Race of Champions 2017 highlights, also on All4. Button and DC were very competitive in ROC and Massa was genuinely bossing it, only getting DQ'd from the semis on a technicality...
Until next time!