MOTORSPORT // F1 /// 2016 GRAND PRIX OF MONACO (26.5.2016 – 29.5.2016) /// UNWANTED COMMENTARY: SHALL WE DO THIS LIVE? /// QUALIFYING…

  • It’s a beautiful morning…
  • …Sing it!
  • Why?
  • …Because…
  • …It’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend!
  • It’s the most…
  • …Wonderful tiiiiiiime…
  • …Of the yeeeaaarrr.
  • Yes, tomorrow is the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • …The one, I think, most people, on some level, are aware of.
  • …It’s the one I remember watching on a big-ass console TV as a toddler.
  • …It’s the one that, in spite of all its nightmarish difficulties, every driver seems to not just love, but be in love with.
  • …If you’re going to recommend one F1 race to someone…
  • …Or, if you’ve been faced with the weird challenge of watching one (yourself)…
  • …This would, for most people, (probably) be it.
  • Anyway…
  • Welcome to Qualifying!
  • …Which, if you’re in the US, is on NBCSN.
  • …And, if you’re watching, you will have just watched Sauber’s Nasr come to a halt…
  • …On track, leaving a dense cloud of smoke behind him.
  • …Because, it’s all about drama in Monaco.
  • If you’re new to Qualifying…
  • …It’s three, knock-out, sessions.
  • …Which forms the starting grid as it proceeds.
  • …With the final session establishing the first five rows.
  • …And, of course, that lucky driver who claims Pole Position.
  • …That lead car that gets to start just a smidgen ahead of the pack.
  • And, how about a quick look at the circuit?
  • …Circuit de Monaco is a street circuit.
  • …And, a very active one at that.
  • …Meaning, it (only) closes for the duration of each session.
  • …So, if someone leaks oil between sessions, the drivers will have to deal with any remaining traces.
  • …If it rains, all the oil from those streets surfaces.
  • …Surface changes, patches, everything.
  • …Those are the added obstacles.
  • …Not to mention, these are F1 cars on very narrow, old roads.
  • …So, passing is an adventure.
  • …As is the bright-to-dark-to-bright tunnel.
  • …The circuit is 3.337km (2.074mi) in length.
  • …In a 2.02 square km principality (0.78 sq mi), yes.
  • …It has 19 turns.
  • …Which gives it a singing sea serpent shape.
  • …And, every turn is named for its most distinctive landmark.
  • …Like giving directions to someone, basically.
  • …On race day, there are 78 laps planned.
  • …Which brings the total distance goal to 260.286km (161.734mi).
  • …But, this is F1, and this is Monaco, so…
  • …Anything can happen.
  • …And, most likely, everything – and then some – will.
  • Verstappen crashes!!!
  • …In the first race since becoming the youngest driver to win an F1 race…
  • …In his first race after being promoted to Red Bull (from Toro Rosso)…
  • …18-year-old Max Verstappen has crashed out of Q1.
  • …Which will put him at the back of the grid (at this time).
  • …But, the kid can pass.
  • …So, we’ll see what he can do with it (tomorrow).
  • …Look at it this way, (maybe) he’s gotten a crash out of his system.
  • …And, maybe he learned his lesson about how not to pass at Monaco last year.
  • …Stay tuned.
  • Red Flag over, back to racing.
  • Renault’s Magnussen is under (steward) investigation for a potential pit light exit infraction.
  • …I feel like he’s had a few of those.
  • …It could be something Renault and Magnussen need to review.
  • …There could be a weird issue, there.
  • …Like Grosjean’s tunnel vision problems in 2012.
  • …Or…what was Webber’s issue?
  • …Something with an inability to sense some sort of change, or something.
  • …Anyway, Red Bull figured it out and they concocted a way of compensating for it.
  • …Or, Magnussen has some weird rebellious reaction to pitlane rules.
  • …Which can be fixed, too.
  • Last minute of Q1.
  • Here come the pushes!
  • Advancing to Q2 are…
  • …Ferrari’s Vettel, Mercedes’ Hamilton, Mercedes’ Rosberg, Red Bull’s Ricciardo, Force India’s Perez, Force India’s Hülkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Kvyat, Haas’ Grosjean, Toro Rosso’s Sainz, Ferrari’s Räikkönen, McLaren’s Alonso, Williams’ Bottas, McLaren’s Button, Haas’ Gutiérrez, Williams’ Massa, and Renault’s Magnussen.
  • Out are…
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson, Renault’s Palmer, Manor’s Haryanto, and Manor’s Wehrlein.
  • …And, of course, Red Bull’s Verstappen and Sauber’s Nasr.
  • So, onto Q2 we go.
  • This circuit has got to be a giggly, childlike, blast for all the drivers who live in Monaco.
  • …I mean, wouldn’t you love free reign to speed around the streets you see on a daily-ish basis?
  • By the way…
  • …Happy Memorial Day weekend to Haas F1.
  • …And, to you, Romain Grosjean.
  • …Have a good one, cowboy!
  • …(I shall call him ‘Slim’.)
  • Does anyone (else) find the whole Monaco background thing a little distracting?
  • …It’s (empirically) cool.
  • …Monaco’s just a very unique weasel.
  • …Hopefully the drivers don’t find it distracting.
  • …It’s (already) a game of ‘How Close Can I Get to the Barriers, Without Nailing Them?’.
  • Rosberg comes as close as you can to an armco barrier.
  • …Even radioing his team over it.
  • …Maybe the Monaco-raised resident saw a friend.
  • Time is up.
  • Flying laps are a-flyin’.
  • Advancing to Q3 are…
  • …Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Sainz, Perez, Hülkenberg, and Alonso.
  • Staying (in the voice of ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1”s The Bride) right where they are…
  • …Bottas, Gutiérrez, Button, Massa, Grosjean, and Magnussen.
  • Hey, do you suppose any of them are speeding around with visions of Grace Kelly and cary Grant, speeding through the hills (in ‘To Catch a Thief’), racing through their heads?
  • …I won’t judge.
  • …One of my earliest memories is being mesmerized by that scene.
  • ..I think it may have had a few lasting effects.
  • …Kelly, being one of my very favorite humans ever, being just one of them.
  • As the cars roll out for Q3…
  • …Hamilton comes to a halt, just feet from the Mercedes garage.
  • …Radioing with engine failure, and requesting instructions.
  • …They are allowing the car to be rolled back to the garage.
  • …So, if they can figure it out and fix it in nine minutes…
  • …He may (still) have a chance.
  • Radio transmission from Kimi…
  • …Something about someone going too slow?
  • …You know, the usual Kimi comedy.
  • Ricciardo blows through to plaid.
  • …He -does- have the all-time fastest lap Circuit de Monaco.
  • …I mean, he’s got to be fast (here).
  • …With the prospect of an encounter with his bully, looming around every corner.
  • …His ‘bully’ being Massa’s tiny, adorable son.
  • …The three of them are just menaces (of the most awesome variety) to the streets of Monaco.
  • Another guy who can tell you about the dangers is the guy behind him on the board…
  • …Rosberg.
  • …Who grew up on the mean streets of Monaco.
  • …I will never debate the phrasing of “grew up on the streets of Monaco”.
  • …It’s just such a gift to my brain.
  • Mercedes have gotten Hamilton (back) on track.
  • …By the way.
  • …There’s a lot he can do in a minute and a half.
  • …If the car is fully functioning.
  • …So, let’s see what happens.
  • Time is up.
  • Hamilton jumps into third!
  • …From tenth!
  • Ricciardo gets Pole!
  • …His first?!
  • …Ever?!
  • …How is that possible?!
  • …Anyway…
  • …It’s his today!
  • So, your top ten are…
  • …Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Hülkenberg, Räikkönen, Sainz, Perez, Kvyat, and Alonso.
  • At this time, tomorrow’s starting grid looks like this…
  • …Before any (seen or unforeseen) penalties…
  • …With last year’s result in parentheses (if applicable)…
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo (5) / Mercedes’ Rosberg (1)
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton (3) / Ferrari’s Vettel (2)
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg (11) / Ferrari’s Räikkönen (6)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Sainz (10) / Force India’s Perez (7)
  • …Toro Rosso’s Kvyat (4) / McLaren’s Alonso (DNF)
  • …Williams’ Bottas (14) / Haas’ Gutiérrez (N/A)
  • …McLaren’s Button (8) / Williams’ Massa (15)
  • …Haas’ Grosjean (12) / Renault’s Magnussen (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson (13) / Renault’s Palmer (N/A)
  • …Manor’s Haryanto (N/A) / Manor’s Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Red Bull’s Verstappen (DNF) / Sauber’s Nasr (9)
  • Right.
  • Well.
  • That’s it.
  • Tomorrow…
  • …If you’re in the US, coverage kicks off on NBCSN at 6am (CT).
  • …Then, switches over to NBC at 6:30 (for another half hour of pre-race goodies).
  • …With cars rolling out at 7am.
  • …After the race, at 9am, post-race coverage bounces back to NBCSN.
  • …With a rebroadcast immediately following the post-race show.
  • …Which, by the way, as has been the case all weekend, will be live from Monaco.
  • …Monaco, Canada, and the USGP go on location, and over to NBC, every year.
  • …If you never noticed.
  • …I’m hoping Mexico is added to that roster soon.
  • Today may have been a bright, sunshiny day in the principality of Monaco.
  • …However, the forecasted weather outside looks frightful for race day.
  • …With storms and rain predicted to carry on throughout the (entire) day.
  • …But, we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • …When in F1, always predict the unpredictable.
  • …When at the Monaco Grand Prix, expect the unexpected.
  • …And, let’s be honest, the worst.
  • …In the most deliciously best way.
  • Well…
  • …That’s that for Qualifying.
  • …Let’s do something very similar…
  • …At a very similar time…
  • …Tomorrow.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • Au revoir!