The Monaco Grand Prix is almost certainly the jewel in the F1 crown. A grand prix as rich in history as it is in prestige and with its harbour views and glorious street circuit it's easy to see why. A notoriously dangerous circuit, it has claimed many serious accidents in its years but only one of them fatal. It’s an event which inspires fans and celebs to flock from across the globe to bask in its glitz and glamour. It’s a circuit of twists and turns, considered one of the toughest. It sets itself aside from other circuits with the unique feature of holding practice on Thursday as appose to Friday.
Whilst many fans when asked for their most memorable race there will pick out the 1992 duel between Senna and Mansell, or the 1997 race in which Schumacher obliterated the competition whilst battling the treacherous weather conditions. Perhaps we should cast our minds to 1982 for a race which saw five different leaders in the final two laps of the race. All will remain in the pages of history as memorable, action packed, exciting races but none of those are what you’re going to be reading about in this piece. I feel that one of the most memorable Monaco grand prix for me took place in 2012. Why? I hear you scream, well for me it signaled the real start of a championship campaign from one certain Aussie underdog and the momentary silencing of the critics for another Brazilian who has come to be fighting the masses and offered a brief glimmer of hope to recapture times gone by for a living legend. It’s a nice twist of fate that the circuit toasted for its glamorous nature and elite world was the setting for three of 2012’s underdogs to be championed in such a manner.
~ Monaco 2012 An Awakening ~
2012 has given us a season in which no one driver or team has proved to be a dominant presence on the grid. With the resurgent Williams team once again toasting to victory and Lotus and Sauber battling with the big guns. Pirelli, charged with the task of disturbing the equilibrium on the grid and eliminating the element of predictability have done exactly that. For the first time in a long while it seems that we the fans know very little less than the actual teams themselves. That said, on this occasion all the front runners managed a one stop strategy.
This season has done preciously what it said on the tin – it has turned the teams upside down and evened the field out. By the time we had reached the eve of the Monaco grand prix we’d been treated to five different winners from each race completed so far. Monaco continued that trend and crowned Mark Webber the sixth different winner.
Webber drove a flawless, blistering drive. With arguably the best start of his career, he led a trail of six drivers for the last ten laps until his charging bull finally ticked over on the number one spot. The top six were separated by six seconds and with the threat of rain, anything could have happened. The tight turns were perfectly negotiated by Webber in the knowledge that the slightest error in judgment could leave P1 to be snatched from him. Often thought of as nothing more than a poor wing man clutching at the coat tails of his team mate, Mark reminded us just why he is firmly in the Red Bull seat.
This victory allowed him to throw his title challenge into the ring to declare his intention to be a serious contender for the Championship. The bumps of the tarmac seemed to awaken the racer in his soul and spurred him to remember the taste of victory. Between 1984 and 1993 the top spot on the podium was only occupied by two men – Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. With Mark taking his first victory here in 2010, Sebastian followed suit in 2011, could we be seeing history repeat itself?
The streets of Monaco also afforded a wonderful opportunity for Felipe Massa to silence the pit lane whispers of late with a strong 6th place finish. Although his team mate was serenading him from the podium, Massa managed to grab a healthy eight points which he held as a ‘turning point’. Finding himself repeatedly under fire, I’m sure that Felipe was able to sleep soundly that night having finally calmed the critics.
weekend reminded us just what Michael Schumacher is capable of as he put in a
qualifying lap to place him
on pole but actions in Spain caused repercussions as he was demoted to sixth. Had the events transpired differently he could very well have been on track to take his first win since his return. Unfortunately an engine problem meant that after dropping positions he retired on lap 64 in time to watch his team mate claim second.
performance by Webber likely spurred Seb to up his game to his current level this season
as he reinforced the notion that his armor was no longer impenetrable by for once being the toast of the town. The most glamorous and respected town on the calendar. Schumacher lamented on what could have been as Massa jams the rumour mill's mechanisms to the delight of his fans and team. That is why I chose 2012's GP as my memorable moment.
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