Dinesh Burrenchobay pens the following article for us, whilst sitting under a palm tree, on a beach in Mauritius. Not that we’re in any way jealous. Much.
Red was not only the colour of the lights prior to going green at the start of this 75th Monaco Grand Prix – but in the end too, as Ferrari swept to victory with both drivers on the podium. This, coupled with Princess Charlene’s red dress on the podium, just might be the signal for a turning point in this years’ F1 Season. After nearly twenty one races, no Mercedes driver was to be seen on the podium. It looked a little strange to say the least!
Ferrari announced their intentions right from the free practice sessions which saw both Vettel and Raikkonen slashing the fastest lap times around this difficult circuit. Then in qualifying, Raikkonen further planted the Ferrari coloured flag, completing an amazing flying fast lap to take pole position. It was also a signal from him, that there is still much inside of Ice Man as a top driver as his contract comes to an end in 2017 and rumours of a new driver in 2018 at the Scuderia have started in the Paddock. Raikkonen’s flying qualifying lap redefined what being a ‘flying Finn’ was. One had to believe that the young fan who cried in Barcelona when he crashed at the start had given him all the energy to win.
However, his face with his piercing blue eyes staring in front of him in oblivion after the race summed up his genuine feelings. Here was a race that – in theory – was meant to be a win. It was extreme disappointment for Kimi – who managed to keep his lead in front as soon as the pack was unleashed at the start of the race – to finish second. A combination of traffic, timing strategy for his pit stop, yellow flags – and some incredible flying laps from Vettel – ended Kimi’s hope of winning a race again since 2008.
Kimi’s obvious disappointment aside, one must not underestimate the impact of this win for Ferrari as a team. Apart from a clear indication that their cars were much faster on this street circuit than the Mercedes, we now have a perfect storm brewing between Vettel and Raikkonen as it appears in my opinion, that Ferrari have decided who their lead driver is for the 2017 Championship.
Whilst the pace of the Ferrari’s was quite remarkable, the weaknesses at Mercedes have suddenly started to appear as the red team piles on the pressure on the Silver Arrows. But one should really not underestimate the resources and mental capacity of Toto, Niki and the incredible team at Brackley, to lead Mercedes to come back fighting in Canada.
Again the ones to benefit from all this are the fans and for the first time in a while, the championship is unpredictable – but most importantly it is refreshing to see cars other than the Silver arrows winning all the time.
Despite the processional nature of the Monaco Grand Prix, we definitely saw some action, albeit at the end of the race. Everyone was relieved that Wehrlein escaped without injury after Button made contact at Portier, sending the Sauber sideways into the barriers. Of course, it is worth sending out a mention to the very effective and fast intervention of the marshalls at various stages of this race in Monaco as this is a very difficult circuit to intervene. The numerous crashes of Stroll, Ocon, Vandoorne and Ericsson were all cleared away with a remarkable level of calm and efficiency.
Next up, it’s Montreal – and the 50th running of the Canadian Grand Prix. Will it be a race that sees Mercedes bounce back, or will the Scuderia make it two on the trot. Maybe even Red Bull could pull it out of the bag – the scene of Daniel Ricciardo’s first ever F1 victory. It’s shaping up to be a memorable Formula One season and at the end, the fans will be entertained.
And isn’t this is what F1 is all about?