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

  • 19 turns.
  • Clockwise.
  • Shaped like a singing sea serpent.
  • 3.337km (2.074mi) in length.
  • 78 laps.
  • 260.286 total kilometers (161.734 miles).
  • City streets.
  • Narrow roads.
  • Uneven pavement.
  • Manhole covers.
  • A tunnel.
  • One very tight hairpin turn.
  • What am I describing?
  • Well, reach for a peach, Pink Floyd.
  • Because, it’s time for F1 to take the scenically high roads…
  • …To the 2.02-square-kilometer (0.78-square-mile) principality…
  • …Of Monaco.
  • If you’re in the US…
  • …You are watching the race on NBC.
  • …(With post-race coverage swinging back to NBCSN.)
  • …As it’s been forever and a day.
  • …Because, this race is just that much of a classic.
  • …It’s like the Kentucky Derby.
  • …You can know nothing about the sport…
  • …But, still, know and love the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • After a rainy day in the Mediterranean port town…
  • …With more on the way…
  • …Word has just come down that the race -will- start behind the Safety Car.
  • …So, basically, just another round of the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • Okay, I’ll toss the starting grid out there, before I forget…
  • …With last year’s result next to the names (in parentheses).
  • …Red Bull’s Ricciardo (5) / Mercedes’ Rosberg (1)
  • …Mercedes’ Hamilton (3) / Ferrari’s Vettel (2)
  • …Force India’s Hülkenberg (11) / Toro Rosso’s Sainz (10)
  • …Force India’s Perez (7) / Toro Rosso’s Kvyat (4, with Red Bull)
  • …McLaren’s Alonso (DNF) / Williams’ Bottas (14)
  • …Ferrari’s Räikkönen (6)  / Haas’ Gutiérrez (N/A)
  • …McLaren’s Button (8) / Williams’ Massa (15)
  • …Haas’ Grosjean (12, with Lotus) / Renault’s Magnussen (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Ericsson (13) / Renault’s Palmer (N/A)
  • …Manor’s Haryanto (N/A) / Manor’s Wehrlein (N/A)
  • …Sauber’s Nasr (9)
  • …Red Bull’s Verstappen (DNF, with Toro Rosso) will start from pitlane (after crashing out of Q1)
  • …Note: Räikkönen qualified sixth, but was slapped with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  • The race has been going.
  • We are in Lap 6.
  • But, still, under the Safety Car.
  • Which means that the grid has been in a static conga line.
  • …So, your leader board is the starting grid.
  • Okay…
  • …Green light…
  • …Go!!!
  • Magnussen pits for Intermediate tires!
  • …Now, THAT’S gambling in Monaco!
  • Palmer crashes!
  • …Right as his teammate swaps out tires.
  • …He’s out and fine.
  • …But, that is one totaled car.
  • …As can happen on a wet street circuit, he hit the super-slick lines on the road, slammed into the wall, bounced, skidded along the wall, and came to a halt on one of the few runoffs.
  • …Scattering pieces of yellow Renault in his wake.
  • Needless to say…
  • …We are right (back) under a yellow flag.
  • …The question (at Monaco) is not if there will be a Safety Car…
  • …It’s “how many?”.
  • Green flag, go!
  • Former Lotus teammates Grosjean and Räikkönen are off.
  • …Grosjean gets going (again).
  • …But, Kimi’s front wing is trapped under his left-front wheel.
  • …He’s trying to go.
  • …With the hope of a dislodge (I would assume).
  • No luck for Kimi.
  • …That wing is trapped.
  • …He’s pulled into one of the few runoffs.
  • …Game over.
  • Alonso…
  • …Dings himself, it appears.
  • …Nothing major.
  • …Just…
  • …Monaco.
  • If you’re new to F1…
  • …Welcome to the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • …This is pretty normal.
  • With one car out…
  • …Ferrari has called Vettel in for Intermediates.
  • I’m (usually) not big on calling tires.
  • …But, in wet weather, it -is- interesting.
  • …This round, the options are (the new) Ultrasofts, Supersofts, Softs, Intermediates, and Wets.
  • …Thus far, today, we’ve seen Wets and Intermediates.
  • …So, the world may have to wait a little longer for a verdict on those Ultrasofts.
  • Lots of pitting for tires.
  • Where is everyone?
  • …It’s just Hamilton.
  • …With Ricciardo, ahead, having just set the fastest lap.
  • Vettel tries to pass Massa.
  • …But, slides through the chicanes.
  • …And, has to give the position back.
  • Back to Hamilton…
  • …Just before he became a lonely boy…
  • …He passed a very slow-looking Rosberg.
  • …NBCSN has gotten confirmation (from Mercedes) that the winner of the last three Monaco Grands Prix (and current Championship leader) was instructed to let Hamilton pass.
  • At Lap 20…
  • …Ricciardo, Hamilton, Rosberg, and Perez lead.
  • …And, with all that action, all those dings, only Palmer and Räikkönen have retired.
  • …Also, if you’re wondering what happened to Verstappen…
  • …Winner of last round’s Spanish Grand Prix.
  • …Youngest (ever) winner of an F1 grand prix.
  • …Who started from pitlane.
  • …He’s in 14th.
  • Magnussen and Kvyat went wheel-to-wheel…
  • …Right into a wall.
  • …Magnussen had the edge…
  • …But, Kvyat refused to stop believin’.
  • …Magnussen was able to get going (again).
  • …But, Kvyat is struggling just to move the car from it’s road-blocking position.
  • Yellow flag.
  • Kvyat is under investigation for causing an accident.
  • …Because, well, he did.
  • …What has gotten into Kvyat?
  • …Ack.
  • …No bueno.
  • In the midst of all that mess…
  • …Just before the Yellow…
  • …Verstappen set fastest lap.
  • Kvyat has retired.
  • …For the day.
  • …That was too easy, under these circumstances, wasn’t it?
  • Mercedes has confirmed that Rosberg has brake temperature issues.
  • …Hence, having to back off a bit.
  • …If he wants to make it to the end.
  • At Lap 27…
  • …It’s Hamilton, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Perez, and Vettel in the lead.
  • …With Hülkenberg, Sainz, Alonso, Gutierrez, and Verstappen rounding out the top ten.
  • The weather has cleared.
  • …The sun is peeking out.
  • …But…
  • …The streets remain quite moist.
  • …(Yes, I just needed to say ‘moist’.  For no one’s pleasure.)
  • Okay…
  • …Here’s the thing about circuit surfaces…
  • …They’re roads.
  • …Just like the ones we mortals drive on every day.
  • …So, all those things that happen when we drive in wet conditions…
  • …Circuits are no different.
  • …Especially, street circuits.
  • …For obvious reasons.
  • …All that oil surfaces, the lines get slippery, everything.
  • …So, keep that in mind.
  • …It (always) shocks me that people don’t understand that all basic principles of car and road apply to race cars.
  • Ericsson switches to Ultrasofts!!!
  • …The first to go for it!!!
  • Perez goes to Softs!
  • No one knows where to go!
  • …Every team is pitting, and every team has different tires ready.
  • Ricciardo pits…
  • …Oh, my god!
  • …Red Bull’s not ready!!!
  • …They don’t have tires ready!!!
  • …Red Bull has just flubbed their lead car’s stop!
  • …They find some tires.
  • …Slap them on.
  • …Off he goes.
  • …Reentering right behind Hamilton.
  • …Oh, man, did Red Bull luck out with that one!
  • Magnussen has another meeting with the barriers.
  • …But, off he goes.
  • …He’s today’s Pinball Wizard.
  • At Lap 35…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …As Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Button, and Gutierrez complete the top ten.
  • Verstappen has crashed.
  • …Again.
  • …After crashing out of Q1.
  • …And, after crashing out last year.
  • Yellow flag.
  • Magnussen has retired.
  • …Finally.
  • …Oh, I mean that in the way that he’s just had quite the day.
  • …I was pulling for him.
  • …But, maybe, it was just time to call it a frigging day.
  • Hamilton and Ricciardo are going wheel-to-wheel.
  • …In Monaco.
  • …Through the tunnel!
  • …Out of the tunnel!
  • …Oh, this could end badly.
  • …It’s looking so much like what led to last round’s Rosberg/Hamilton crash.
  • …There’s just nowhere to go.
  • At Lap 40…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …As Rosberg, Mr Incredible, Sainz, Button, and Gutierrez round out the top ten.
  • …With Palmer, Kimi, Kvyat, Magnussen, and Verstappen having retired.
  • …22 cars started.
  • …17 remain.
  • The Stewards have cleared Hamilton.
  • …In the whole skidding over the chicanes during his battle with Ricciardo thing.
  • …I think it’s another ass call, but, whatever.
  • …For whatever reason, they just refuse to ding Hamilton.
  • …I guess we should just accept that?
  • The Stewards -have- slapped Wehrlein with a penalty.
  • …For failing to keep up the minimum speed under a Safety Car period.
  • …I don’t know anything anymore.
  • Oh, man, are those dark, heavy clouds coming over the hills.
  • …The hills are alive with the sound of a potentially fascinating last few laps.
  • …Really, those clouds look like diapers after a swim.
  • The Saubers have collided!
  • …It was SO coming!
  • …Both drivers were agitated with one another.
  • …Nasr was instructed to let Ericsson by in just a few corners.
  • …He wasn’t happy, but instructions are instructions.
  • …Then, Ericsson decided to try to squeeze on by ahead of schedule.
  • …Boom.
  • …Like Kvyat and Magnussen (earlier).
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • …For car confetti.
  • Both Saubers get going.
  • …But, I would suspect they’ll have to retire Nasr’s car.
  • …And, that they’ll have to kill Ericsson.
  • …(I say, in my Craft of Sweden Team Sweden Cross Country Ski Team hoodie.)
  • More cuddling for Hamilton and Ricciardo.
  • With Perez, right behind…
  • …Waiting for them to run into each other.
  • …You know it’s true!
  • Ericsson has retired.
  • …And, they’ll have to kill him.
  • …So, both Saubers are out.
  • At Lap 58…
  • …Palmer, Räikkönen, Kvyat, Magnussen, Verstappen, Nasr, and Ericsson have retired.
  • …Of the 22 cars on the starting grid…
  • …15 remain.
  • The Stewards have summoned Kimi.
  • …For…littering.
  • McHonda informs Button that showers are on the way.
  • …I’m not 100% sure if they mean rain showers…
  • …Or, that it’s code for retiring him…
  • …Or, if they’re calling him a smelly bastard.
  • Close call for Vettel.
  • …Who is Desperately Seeking Sergio.
  • Virtual Safety Car.
  • …There’s a big sheet of plastic, blowing around the track.
  • …Oh, it’s a tarp.
  • …A picnic tarp, maybe.
  • …Because, what you see around Monaco is, basically, tailgating.
  • …No, really.
  • …You can get a solid circuit view from the hills.
  • …People gather on balconies, on yachts,…all over.
  • …So, it could very well be.
  • Alonso radios, “Drops of rain on my visor”.
  • …So, let’s see where this goes.
  • …At Lap 71.
  • At Lap 72…
  • …Hamilton, Ricciardo, Perez, Vettel, and Alonso lead.
  • …With Rosberg, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Button, and Massa in the top ten.
  • …And, Gutierrez, Bottas, Wehrlein, Grosjean, and Haryanto, just waiting for the rain to take the entire front out.
  • SLAPS!
  • …5 laps remaining!
  • Lap 77…
  • …And, Sainz is reporting rain.
  • …Here.
  • …We.
  • …Go.
  • Final lap.
  • Hamilton wins.
  • Ricciardo takes second.
  • …Not fourth, as has been the case all season.
  • Perez takes third.
  • …Boom.
  • Vettel takes fourth.
  • Alonso takes fifth.
  • …Another ‘boom’.
  • Hülkenberg yoinks sixth (from Rosberg) in the last feet.
  • Rosberg survives in seventh.
  • Sainz quietly rocks eighth.
  • Button gives McHonda double points, in ninth.
  • And, it’s Massa who takes that final point.
  • Honorable mention goes to Bottas, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Wehrlein, and Haryanto.
  • …Yep, both Haas cars and both Manors finish.
  • Ooohhh…
  • …Ricciardo is not okay.
  • …He’s radioed Red Bull, “Just don’t.  There’s nothing you can say.  Just don’t.”.
  • Podium time.
  • …Goddammit, stop showing Bieber.
  • …Seriously, Ricciardo is going to cry.
  • …He is not okay.
  • …Aw, Princess Charlene is picking up on Ricciardo’s dejection.
  • …Let’s focus on Perez!
  • …Ricciardo, go hang with Perez.
  • …Okay, we’re done.
  • …Hamilton has given the first sip of champagne to Bieber.
  • …No.
  • …Just no.
  • …As Ricciardo just hangs back.
  • …And, Perez goes straight to his little team that could – and did.
  • …Okay, now Hamilton has taken it down 11 notches.
  • …He’s acknowledging Ricciardo’s performance, and getting screwed.
  • …But, the Bieber shit, right in Ricciardo’s face, ruined it.
  • …Inappropriate.
  • …In front of the royals.
  • …This is not the first time the royals have been uncomfortable.
  • …Remember when Hamilton and Rosberg were at their most brutal and Hamilton flipped out over losing it late in the race, pulling over to collect himself, then running into his marker, before acting like a spoiled brat on the podium?
  • …Anyway…
  • …Understandably, Ricciardo doesn’t want to talk about the race…
  • …How it “sucks” and  “getting screwed” and all.
  • …But, he did confirm that the team called him in for that pit stop.
  • …Which was my assumption, hearing no frantic calls for a change or anything ahead of it.
  • …So…what happened?
  • …That will be the story to follow.
  • Post-race chats…
  • Kimi confirms that he wasn’t aware that he was doing anything wrong.
  • …That he had no idea that he was dragging his front wing.
  • …That the front-left wheel was periodically turning/not turning.
  • …Which is backed up by his onboard.
  • …And, that, after his team had instructed him to stop, he couldn’t get to a place he felt safe parking the car.
  • …Which, again, was obvious by the footage.
  • …And, a fact on the tight Circuit de Monaco.
  • …I don’t know.
  • …I don’t (really) see anything punishable.
  • …He truly appears to have used his best judgement and done his best to -preserve- safety as best he could, under those circumstances.
  • A little look at the Championship standings, before I wrap this shit up…
  • The Drivers’ Championship…
  • …ROS – 106 / HAM – 82 / RIC – 66 / RAI – 61 / VET – 60
  • …VES – 38 / MAS – 37 / BOT – 29 / PER – 23 / KVY – 22
  • …GRO – 22 / ALO – 18 / SAI – 16 / HUL – 14 / MAG – 6
  • …BUT – 5 / VANDOORNE (MCLAREN RESERVE) – 1
  • …GUT, PAL, ERI, WEH, NAS, HAR – 0
  • The Constructors’ Championship…
  • …MERCEDES – 188 / FERRARI – 121 / RED BULL – 112
  • …WILLIAMS – 66 / FORCE INDIA – 37 / TORO ROSSO – 30
  • …MCLAREN – 24 / HAAS – 22 / RENAULT – 6
  • …SAUBER, MANOR – 0
  • Well…
  • …That’s that.
  • …Another great Monaco Grand Prix…
  • …That just so happened to end on a downer.
  • …But, that’s racing.
  • …It’s drama, emotions at their most intense, all changing in fractions of seconds.
  • …Why we…
  • …The drivers, the teams, the reporters, the fans, everyone…
  • …Do it every-other/every weekend is somewhere between the mysterious and the obvious.
  • …With shit like the Bieber coverage, tipping it more into the darkness of the mysterious.
  • Anyway…
  • …Next up…
  • …Canada!
  • …I am equidistant from Austin and Montreal.
  • …So, it’s proximal excitement.
  • …Practices 1 and 2 roll out at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve June 10th.
  • …With drivers taking on that infamous Wall of Champions…
  • …Named, tongue-in-cheek, for all the best drivers…
  • …Who have slammed right into it…
  • …On June 12th.
  • …Check your locals for coverage.
  • …Usually, P2 and Qualifying will air on NBCSN…
  • …CNBC if there’s a schedule conflict.
  • …Then, Canada is one of the handful of races aired on NBC.
  • …But, again, check your listings (or, the NBCSN site, their F1 Twitter feed, whatever).
  • …So, wherever it lands, we’ll think globally and act locally.
  • …Cool?
  • …Cool.
  • Au revoir, Monaco.
  • …You were lovely as always.
  • …”Grace Kelly Blues” and all.
  • …With love.
  • …See you next year.