An Angry Monaco Race Review from a Hippo.

By The Fat Hippo

in association with Missed Apex Podcast. We Live F1. 

Die Offenbarung

Offenbarung, a female noun, is one of the fanciest words in German. Dependant on the context it is used in – It can translate to ‘revelation’, ‘epiphany’, ‘avatar’, ‘manifestation’ or ‘apocalypse’.

In regards on who you chose to observe on after the weekend’s Monaco GP, you could find a use for all these translations. Having said that, there is a shorter and more pronounceable way to describe the weekend’s race.

It’s a relatively common if not too polite four-letter word that begins with an S and ends with a T, and no, it is neither ‘soft’ nor ‘soot’.

The reason why I’m so, let’s say, mildly disgruntled is that the weekend embarrassed just about everyone in F1, first and foremost of course, F1 itself. I mean, seriously, eight laps behind the safety car? In Monaco, where you aren’t going fast enough to have a serious crash anyway? 

These guys are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, and some of them are even partially educated. Could we not just trust them to know where the limit is?

One seasoned observer who certainly thought the same was Mark Surer, who took part in the rain-soaked Monaco GP in 1984 that made Ayrton Senna and Stefan Bellof legends of the sport. Viewers of Sky Germany were fortunate enough to hear the considered - yet irritated tones of the Swiss ex F1 star:

“What? More laps behind the safety car? What are they waiting for? Until the track dries? That has nothing to do with racing anymore?”   

You know things are bad when the commentators start ranting like Marvin Webster.

The next individual who had every reason to hang his head in shame was Max Verstappen. Hailed as the next best thing, and even gifted a win at his team mate’s expense, he had to deliver. Alas, he didn’t. This weekend would have gotten the Pastor Maldonado’s seal of approval. Seriously, three crashes in one weekend? Kvyat got busted for less.

Speaking of Red Bull… Could you guys please stop screwing over the other driver whenever Dr. Marko selects a new personal favourite? This season has some very remarkable similarities to 2014. A new golden boy comes along and suddenly the now fallen-out-of-favour driver constantly runs into ‘unlucky circumstances’. It’s a bit too obvious really.

Next, Ferrari. What in the name of all that’s holy were you doing this weekend? Especially Vettel. Sorry, mate, but I’ve shown more enthusiasm on the job while being hung-over. That was one utterly lacklustre weekend.

Rosberg. What the heck man? In case you’ve forgotten: You are the championship leader for cryin’ out loud! Do I really need to explain to you what other drivers - including the one you let pass - would have told their team if they had been given a team order to let past the only realistic opponent they had?

What exactly are you trying to achieve by playing nice? You accepted team orders in Malaysia 2014. Did it help? No, because the next time, when your team mate was ordered to let you pass in Hungary, he ignored them. Something he has repeated on several occasions since then.

Newsflash: He’s the one who ran off with the trophies, and you’re the one who didn’t. Grow a pair and start fighting, will you?

While we’re at it... Mercedes? What’s the point of being the bloody championship leader if you get ordered to let your biggest rival pass?

I cannot remember a single time that a team gave similar orders to the championship leader in a two horse intra-team rivalry. What the heck is all that stage-managing about? At least Red Bull is blatantly obvious about it. Isn’t it Wolff and Lauda who never tire of telling us that the drivers are free to race? A team order so early in the season is pure manipulation and as stupid as the infamous Multi21.

Stewards. It was good to see that they weren’t as trigger-happy as some others have been in the past, but seriously, that doesn’t mean defending your position by cutting the chicane is suddenly legal. The rules equally apply to all twenty-two drivers, but it seems that some get a ‘world champion bonus’.

Schumacher constantly got away with dirty defending (except once in 1997). Alonso and Vettel got away with it when they engaged in some major-league handbaggery (and dirty driving from both) during the 2014 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Now Lewis seems to get the same special treatment too. Some will say ‘Oh you just dislike Lewis’, to which I say, ‘You bet, I do’, but this has nothing to do with personal sympathies or lack thereof. It is simply an unacceptable signal being given here, as it has been in the past.

We’ve seen drivers cut the chicanes at many tracks and the powers that be usually come down on them like a ton of bricks. But from this weekend it seems that it is now acceptable to leave the track if you’re fighting for position. It raises the question of how the drivers who (quite rightly) relinquished an ill-gotten advantage are supposed to feel like, while the eventual race winner got away with it?

Of course this raises the issue of how to deal with such a situation. If you overtake by cutting the chicane, it’s a clear-cut case. You give the position back. Vettel, Rosberg and others had to do that at various points of the race.

But how would you resolve the case of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo? Frankly, I don’t know, but that’s why I’m not asked to be a steward of the race. Forcing Lewis to give away the position would be harsh, but keeping his position due to an ill-gotten advantage is not fair either.

In the end Lewis should have been penalized, because most others would have been handed a penalty and rightly so. Had he tried to stay on the track, which would have meant braking in time, Danny would have been alongside, which in turn would have forced Lewis to leave space and lose the position anyway.

So, in my completely inconsequential opinion, he should have been required to relinquish the position, which would still have been better than, let’s say a five-second penalty, because there is no other way to handle that.

This way it was not penalized at all and the underlying message this is giving is: Everything is allowed in order to keep your position. And that’s a bloody dangerous mind set.

It is certainly much more dangerous than a little water on the track before the start.

  

Hippo’s Rant Review is published in association with Missed Apex F1 Podcast and spannersready.com. All views are solely of the writer and any similarities to people living or deceased is purely coincidental.

The Fat Hippo is an angry bugger and all complaints should be directed to the comments or @FatHippo13. No animals were harmed or injured in the making of this Rant.