F1 2018 Monaco Grand Prix: What we learned from the race
After another dull race in the Principality, the track’s F1 credentials are being questioned again. Here is what Mikael Kataja learned form the Monaco Grand Prix.
(Image source: Matthew Lamb)
Williams are still clueless
Monaco. One of the most distinctive and unique tracks on the calendar. For struggling Williams, this was a chance to salvage a decent result from what has been an awful season so far. However, the race on Sunday marked a new low for the team. Saturday’s qualifying had followed a familiar pattern with one car making it into Q2. The only difference being that this time it was the rookie Sergey Sirotkin.
But Williams still screwed the Russian’s race before it had even started. The mechanics were still fumbling with his wheel after the three-minute signal, meaning Sirotkin was handed a ten-second stop-and-go penalty and dropped from 13th to last place.
Lance Stroll somehow had and even worse Sunday afternoon in Monaco than his teammate. Starting 17th, the young Canadian wasn’t really in a position to score points, but his efforts became even more futile a few laps in. Stroll suffered a puncture in the first laps and had to pit, falling behind Sirotkin. After moaning over the radio about his situation for much of the first part of the race, Stroll suffered another puncture setting him back further and securing his place as last driver to finish. It is clear Williams haven’t got the car, the crew or the drivers to fight for points right now.
Top tyre management from Gasly
Pierre Gasly had a great weekend, something he and Toro Rosso have been waiting for since the high of Bahrain back in April. Having made it into Q3 and tenth place on Saturday, the Frenchman looked on course for some points. The odds weren’t in his favour though, starting with the used hypersofts, which were predicted to last about 20 laps. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton struggled so much with his, he had to pit after just 12 laps. But Gasly just kept going. He finally pitted after 38 laps, having gained track position. It was a great drive from the French talent that earned him a seventh place finish and six points.
A close finish but another uneventful race
What we learned from Monaco is that yet again its place on the calendar should be debated. The drivers love it, and the luxury, celebrities and atmosphere are all very alluring but is it enough? Should it be dropped if no action is taken to provide a competitive race? Sunday’s race was the second closest finish between first and ninth after Baku, but there was nothing to show for it in terms of racing and excitement.
What speaks volumes about the track’s problems are Red Bull’s admission that Ricciardo lost 25% of his power mid-race. Winning the race should have been impossible, especially with Sebastian Vettel glued to his gearbox for the last 30 laps. Even if Red Bull exaggerated those numbers, losing any percentage of power on any other racetrack would have meant losing the victory but not in Monaco. We always hope for action in the Principality, but unless there is rain, silly mistakes and safety cars, the race is just like any other Sunday in Monaco – a traffic jam.
Should Monaco be dropped from the calendar? Comment below to join the debate.