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The measure of his much touted teammate // Despite appearances, there were some impressive performances in Monaco

Published by Adam Barton

After we were treated to a traditional Monaco Grand Prix with all the hype in the build-up and lack of actual track action, it is difficult to see who really got the maximum out of their car. The usual frustrations of Monaco were compounded by two factors: it seems it is the only track where there is no cliff edge for the tyres (although this is almost certainly due to the huge advantage of track position) and the weather front that conveniently arrived mere minutes after proceedings had finished. It's a shame that Monaco is such a big advert for Formula One as the scenario needs to be perfect for it to excite the viewer.

Massa is faster than you!
Massa is faster than you!Credit: Pirelli S.p.A
Felipe finds some space and pace
Felipe finds some space and paceCredit: Pirelli S.p.A
A man amongst champions
A man amongst championsCredit: Pirelli S.p.A

Massa back in business

Anyway, with this in mind, no driver extracted every ounce of performance from themselves as it was a race of preservation. However, Felipe Massa certainly raised his game at a track where he has clicked and has performed at on a regular basis since his title challenging days. For much of the first stint, he was held up by Alonso and would have jumped Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel at the stops had Ferrari repaid him for the 2010 German GP. Massa was on form and, despite falling back late in the race, could have had a podium in different circumstances. I hope this is a sign of things to come rather than a flash in the pan but it still seems unlikely that Felipe will be a Ferrari driver beyond the end of the season.

Good Vergne showing ruined by strategy

In the circumstances, I think they made the right strategy call

From a solid driver performance, to a man who mixed it up a little. Having gained so much from pitting early (a strategy I was suggesting from lap 15-20, at the time it was a gamble that others would have to stop for dry tyres before switching to inters) he managed to get himself up to best of the rest in eighth, which became seventh when Schumacher's bad luck continued. His strategy's gain then showed the downside with ten laps to go as the tyres just wouldn't last.

In the circumstances, I think they made the right strategy call to go on to inters then; they had to stop, and with the drizzle, it would have only taken a slightly earlier rain shower and they would have been at least seventh. The risk was minimal as he had a 30 second buffer to Kovalainen in twelfth.

Kovalainen does it again

Speaking of Heikki, he again proved to be best of the strugglers and benefitted vastly from the turn one melee. It left him thirteenth ahead of several big names, notably Jenson Button. Having watched most of the fight onboard JB's car, Kovalainen was harsh but fair and held off his successor at McLaren until the frustration wore through and Jenson spun out. Heikki will take the plaudits as the new Enrique Bernoldi but it seems that Caterham, as well as Marussia (who's drivers traded fastest laps with 10 laps to go) are finally making the strides they need to gate crash the midfield.

Senna eases the pressure

Bruno Senna may not have had the same pace as teammate Maldonado throughout the weekend, however, when it came to the pressure situations from late in Saturday practice onwards, Senna had the measure of his much touted teammate. While Maldonado was driving into Sergio Pérez and the wall on Saturday, Senna was setting himself up for his qualifying run. In Q1, he was a tenth faster and while Maldonado was faster in Q2, he couldn’t make it pay in Q3, ending up at the back of the grid where he ploughed into the back of Pedro de la Rosa.

Meanwhile, Senna drove a controlled race avoiding the turn one shenanigans and going on to score the final point. While it wasn’t the explosive Monaco race you’d have expected from his uncle, it was a composed race that will go some way to lifting the pressure on him from the Spanish Grand Prix.

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