By David Galton-Fenzi
If anyone says they have any idea who is going to win at Monaco they’re either a liar or a witch. For the first time since 1983 we’ve had five different winners from the first five races. There has never been a season that started with six, but when you think that this year’s victors do not include Hamilton, Webber or Raikkonen, all previous Monaco winners, then you realize there is every chance we could see history this weekend, and the most wide open championship in F1 history.
Other drivers also in with a shout of extending the ‘different winners’‘streak, Bruno Senna has won at Monaco in GP2 in 2008 and now has a race winning car beneath him. Romain Grosjean won it in 2009 and Sergio Perez in 2010, not to mention a certain German Mercedes driver by the name of Michael Schumacher who may have won it once or twice back in the day.
Whilst we must be careful about jumping on the whole ‘Williams are back’ bandwagon after just one (brilliant!) win, we should remember last year's race where Maldonado was running an outstanding sixth, in the worst car Williams have ever built, before Hamilton unceremoniously punted him into the barriers with a handful of laps left. So if you’re going to bet on anyone being a two-time 2012 winner this weekend, Maldonado is certainly as good as any.
By Jem Ruggera
Remember five minutes after the finish of the Australian Grand Prix? McLaren-Mercedes had just finished converting a dominant 1-2 in qualifying into a dominant 1-3 in the race, and many were predicting another season of white-washing.
Five races into the season, and how distant that memory already seems. Instead of cantering away into the distance, McLaren have struggled, comparatively, both on the track and off. The advantage that McLaren took into Australia wasn’t as large as first seemed, and the vagaries of circuit and track temperature, as well as their drivers inability to reliably find the narrow ‘sweet spot’ of the Pirelli tyres, has meant McLaren have failed to find consistency.
A run of pit-stop blunders, and some questionable strategy calls from a pit-wall that usually never misses a beat, haven’t helped and McLaren find themselves 11 points down in the constructor’s title when really they should be leading it. Despite the many variables of racing in 2012, McLaren still have, I think, the best car on the grid.
This must be especially difficult for Lewis Hamilton, who is a changed man after the ramshackle season he had last year. He has been driving with more restraint in 2012, in the sense that he is more willing to size a moment up rather than seize it with disastrous consequences. The way he handled the bitter disappointment of his lost pole in Spain after the team messed up his fuel load was admirable, and he drove brilliantly from the back of the grid to finish eight. He had the pace to win the race.
I wonder if these botched opportunities and missed points will hurt the team further into the season. The advantage that McLaren has is tiny, and on any given day a different team can be heading them. McLaren must make hay while the sun shines and Monaco is just the place to nail that crucial second win.
Both Hamilton and Jenson Button are previous winners, but it is the 2008 champion that is particularly mighty around here. It’s time for Hamilton to seize the momentum.
Just don’t forget Kimi…