MOTORSPORT /// F1 /// 2014 GRAND PRIX OF MONACO (22.5.2014-25.5.2014) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS ON DELAY? /// QUALIFYING…

  • Bonjour.
  • This is the Grand Prix of Monaco.
  • And, this is Qualifying.
  • On delay.
  • Circuit de Monaco.
  • …Based in the Monte-Carlo Quarter.
  • …But, with a total square mile area of .78 (with 2.5mi of coastline) and a circuit length of just under 2.08mi, it’s just Monaco.
  • …And, man, is it looking like one of the vintage travel ads I have around (today).
  • …Whereas yesterday was a washout under grey skies and soundtracked by a rough sea, today is a sunny Mediterranean day in the mid-60s (Fahrenheit).
  • …For more details on what happens in wet conditions, review my P2 running commentary.
  • Right now, I am looking at the first of three knock-out qualifying rounds.
  • Toro Rosso’s 20-year-old Russian rookie, Kvyat, has had a little spin with barrier contact.
  • …All is well, but some bodywork will need some replacing.
  • …This is not only Kvyat’s first time on this circuit, it is his first time in the principality.
  • …I suspect his mind is being blown this weekend.
  • …I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
  • …I had major doubts about Kvyat.
  • …But, I have been nothing short of impressed by him.
  • …His driving, his attitude, that photo of him with nesting dolls…
  • …Everything.
  • …He seems like a pretty cool kid who is both enjoying the experience and making the most of the opportunity.
  • …Please, F1, don’t corrupt him.
  • McLaren’s Danish rookie, Magnussen, just missed a major head-on with a barrier.
  • Ooo…
  • …In other rookie news, Caterham’s Swede, Ericsson, has just collided with Williams veteran Brazilian, Massa.
  • …It was a tight Monaco turn, the Swede misjudged, and they just got caught in one another.
  • …If you’ll recall, Massa started his season off, being taken out by a brake-less, out of control Kobayashi.
  • …He has got to be tired of those Caterhams.
  • …Also, remember that Massa exited twice through Monaco in 2013.
  • …In the same place, in the same way.
  • …So, I would suspect he’s not happy with the big blonde guy, ruining his road to redemption.
  • Q1 wraps…
  • …Alonso slips into fourth, Hamilton takes third, Rosberg grabs second, and, in first…
  • …Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne!
  • …Yes!!!
  • …I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty stoked about that one.
  • …Vergne’s a solid driver who’s had some rotten luck.
  • …He’s (always) just behind.
  • …Not this round!
  • …Where he’ll take it from here, who knows.
  • …(Well, as this is on delay, I do, actually; but, let the suspension of disbelief roll on.)
  • …But, Vergne will come away with a little positive reinforcement in the form of a Q1 win.
  • So, onto Q2 we go.
  • Last year’s runner-up, Red Bull’s Vettel, is reporting an energy crisis.
  • …Not really.
  • …But, he is radioing-in a drop in power.
  • …As has been the case all season for Red Bull.
  • …In this brave new world of F1.
  • The cars are taking this round far better than I would have bet on.
  • …The combination is rabid beast cars and the tight, twisting, narrow, hilly streets just seemed like a recipe for disaster.
  • …But, everyone seems to be doing pretty okay.
  • …I mean, there aren’t cars in trees and on yachts, or anything.
  • …So, I hope no one (actually) wandered over to the Casino and placed their bets on that one.
  • Q2 ends…
  • …Uh oh.
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg will not be moving on.
  • …HÜLKENBERG NO LIKE 11TH!!!
  • …HÜLKENBERG THROW CARS INTO MARINA!!!
  • …Anyway…
  • …Mercedes returns to the top.
  • …Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, and Alonso lead the way, into the final Qualifying round.
  • …The top six are both Mercedes, both Red Bulls, and both Ferraris.
  • …So, we’re doing that (again), are we?
  • …Remember Bahrain?
  • …It was like a parade.
  • …Or, a school trip, with teammates using the buddy system.
  • …If the buddy system entailed battling your assigned buddy.
  • Hmmm…
  • …Williams’ Finn, Bottas, was knocked out (13th place).
  • …Not that it matters for him.
  • …The dude is one of those great starters.
  • …Like Kimi, like Alonso.
  • …The kind that make it look like Frogger.
  • …They just see these gaps and squeeze on through.
  • …Monaco may be the most impossible circuit to pass on, but don’t rule out guys like that.
  • …By the way, Bottas has a disco ball, glitter bomb helmet for this weekend.
  • …With “Racing on the Streets of Monaco” inscribed on it.
  • …It’s tradition to rock insane helmet art for Monaco.
  • …Remember Vettel’s last year?
  • …The pinup, whose top disappeared when she warmed up?
  • …It’s just a part of the complete Monaco Grand Prix package.
  • …If there’s any race to watch, this is it.
  • …If there’s any race that gets me to utter those words I don’t believe in saying, “I wish I was there”, in regret – every year – this is it.
  • …It is perfection.
  • Speaking of perfection…
  • …Well, not really.
  • …But, very impressive.
  • …Kvyat, who had crashed in Q1, is (still) going.
  • …With a minute and a half remaining, he’s in 10th.
  • I’m not mentioning Mercedes much, as they’re naughty children who need a time out.
  • …Seriously.
  • …Research it and read about it, yourself.
  • …I need a Mercedes disco nap.
  • Time is up.
  • …Flying laps are coming in.
  • …Rosberg takes pole.
  • …Second year in a row.
  • …And, the local boy won last year.
  • …Making it the first time a father (Keke) and son have won the same grand prix.
  • …Next to Rosberg, on the grid, will be his teammate (Hamilton).
  • …So, that continues.
  • …Behind them will be the Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Vettel.
  • …And, behind the Red Bulls will be the Ferraris of Alonso and Räikkönen.
  • …Because, we’re all going to hold hands (again).
  • …Expect a lot of slapping with those hands.
  • …Let me put it this way…
  • …The Red Bulls are the most well-adjusted and sportsmanlike of that group.
  • …Well, the Ferrari boys are grown ups, so they manage their issues pretty okay.
  • …Behind that color-coded group are Q1 winner Vergne and Magnussen, comeback kid Kvyat and Perez, and so on.
  • Press conference…
  • …So…
  • …The always stoked Ricciardo looks like he wants to scoot away from the other two without them noticing.
  • …Hamilton looks rage-y.
  • …Oh, but it’s “fine”.
  • …Dude, it’s not fine when you look like your head is about to spin as you spew pea soup.
  • …Rosberg looks happy, but like he knows his teammate is miffed.
  • …I hope Ricciardo got out alright.
  • …Every driver should have a code worked out with their team for when podiums and press conferences are uncomfortable.
  • …Blink once for get me out of here as soon as possible.
  • …Twice for “please, help me; please”.
  • I miss Vettel dominating.
  • …Malaysia 2013 (when he knew what he did), aside, he (always) seemed so excited.
  • …It was a mixed bag on the podiums.
  • …There’s just something missing with the Mercedes domination.
  • …I mean, I like Rosberg and Hamilton, they seem like good guys and all.
  • …But, there’s just something I can’t quite put my finger on that’s different from Vettel’s domination.
  • …And, not just because Vettel is the only person I’ve ever declared to be “quite possibly dateable” on this site.
  • …Yes, I did.  Last year (I think).  Do a search, it’s there.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …Is it just that they’re (both) such bad losers?
  • …You know it’s true.
  • …They try to be civil, but their faces should avoid the Casino.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …It’s just different.
  • …Again, I do like them; I do.  They seem very nice, they’re (both) ridiculously talented and deserving.
  • …But…
  • …(Maybe) they should just run each other off track, Senna and Prost style, and let the likes of Ricciardo take a turn.
  • …See, now that Ricciardo has escaped, he’s back to his amazing, uncontrollable smiling.
  • …Get that guy on the top step.
  • …It’s a safe bet that everyone behind the Mercedes boys are welcoming them to try wheel-to-wheel on the Monaco circuit.
  • …Not that anyone wants a bad crash or anything.
  • …But, a nice, slow meeting, like Massa and Ericsson (today), could make things more interesting.
  • Speaking of Ericsson and Massa…
  • …Just a follow-up…
  • …Ericsson, who placed dead-last, will be starting from the pitlane.
  • …As, it was decided he was at fault.
  • …Which, he accepts and looks forward to moving on from.
  • Okay, well, that’s that.
  • If you’re watching in the US…
  • …The pre-race show will be on NBCSN at 7am ET.
  • …The race will air on NBC at 7:30am ET.
  • …The post race show will air immediately after on NBCSN.
  • …That will be followed by a rebroadcast of the race, I do believe.
  • …Tonight, on NBCSN, “Road to Ferrari” will air at 7pm.
  • …It will be followed by the F1 documentary, ‘1’.
  • …Which I have sitting between ‘Rush’ and ‘Senna’, by piles of Everest docs and rom coms (obviously).
  • …That will be followed by two new F1-related programs…
  • …”Drive”, which takes supercar tours of race locations and will start with Monaco.
  • …And, “Off the Grid”, which is a behind-the-scenes look at the races and will start with Barcelona.
  • …For everything in-between and beyond, consult your local listings.
  • …But, I hope that prompts you to look.
  • …Last night, NBCSN aired a new Senna doc, showed ‘Senna’, and premiered, “The Last Teammate”, a look at Imola and beyond, through the eyes of Senna and Ratzenberger’s teammates (Hill and Brabham, respectively).
  • …Please, if you love F1 and F1 history, look these programs up.
  • …You won’t regret it.
  • Right.
  • I will be back tomorrow, bright and early.
  • …And, live.
  • …Have a lovely rest of your Saturday.
  • Au revoir!
  • …(I hope this was a bit better than last night’s commentary.)
  • …(I think I forgot to mention that it was Rubens Barrichello’s birthday yesterday.  How bad is that?)
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