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May 25, 2008

Monaco Grand Prix

Heikki Kovalainen has to have some of the worst luck in F1 this year. It didn’t improve today when he either stalled on the grid or the engine failed to fire before the start of the formation lap, so he had to start from the pitlane (and dead last).

The race started off wet and Lewis Hamilton got a great start passing Kimi Raikkonen for second. Nico Rosberg damaged his front wing and drove a couple of laps with it dangling until pitting on lap 3.

Not long after Hamilton clipped the wall with his right rear and had to come in for a change. Then Fernando Alonso has an incident as well.

Raikkonen was then given a drive through penalty for not having his tires fitted within 3 minutes off when the cars rolled off for their formation lap. Granted the rules are the rules, but F1 issues a lot of penalties for the car and driver for non-track events, which is just plain stupid. As long as the car is ready for the start it should not matter. The FIA again ruined a good race with this one.

Also, the rule that does not allow refueling during a safety car period is ridiculous because it prevents everyone from refueling the entire time the safety car is on track, when all it is meant to do is prevent everyone from coming in simultaneously.

What the rule should do is simply limit the number of cars that can enter the pits during a safety period, and the cars in the pits can then have whatever service needed. If a car is damaged and the pit limit has been reached, the car should be allowed in but only then should refueling not be allowed.

Anyway, David Coulthard crashed into the armco coming up to the casino, and then he’s tagged by Sebastian Bourdais who spun as well. It looked like a slick spot caught both of them off guard.

Then Alonso tries a boneheaded move on the inside of Nick Heidfeld at the hairpin. Didn’t work, broke his wing. Kovalainen got a nudge from a Williams in the ensuing traffic jam though nothing seems to have been damaged.

Robert Kubica leads briefly after Felipe Massa misses the apex for St. Devote, and Adrian Sutil runs as high as 4th. Raikkonen has a moment or two.

Timo Glock had an interesting spin captured with his onboard camera looking back.

Alonso was the first to change to dry tires even as rain was predicted to arrive in 6 minutes. The rain never came and everyone else followed suit.

Nelson Piquet and Nico Rosberg were having a heck of a battle with Piquet doing his best to hold off Rosberg while on full rain tires to everyone else’s intermediate tires. Alonso started setting fast laps on slicks, Piquet not so much as he crashed out.

Rosberg later had a big crash leaving debris all over the road and bringing out the safety car. First to arrive were Heidfeld and, I believe, Kovalainen. Heidfeld punctured a tire.

Hamilton lost his 40 second cushion as the field closed up behind the safety car.

Adrian Sutil did the drive of the race but was robbed of a near certain points finish when Raikkonen lost control and had a huge tank slapper exiting the tunnel and running into Sutil’s right rear. Life just isn’t fair some times.

Well done Hamilton and Kubica. Rubens Barrichello and Kazaki Nakajima did very well, and Sebastian Vettel did a superb job in bringing his Toro Rosso from 18th to finish 5th. What a race.

By the way, the GP2 race broadcast prior to the F1 race was quite interesting to watch. The cars are a bit slower but considering it costs maybe an average of 50 to 100 times as much to run an F1 car, that’s a good value that F1 might want to follow more closely.

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