I think that we all could agree that the 2011 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix was one of the most exiting and unpredictable race held on the Principality’s narrow streets in the last decades.
MONACO GRAND PRIX
Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
Number of Laps: 78
Circuit Length: 3.340 km
Race Distance: 260.520 km
Lap Record: 1:13.556 – Sebastian Vettel (2011)
Pole Position: Sebastian Vettel
Top 3 Finishers:
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton was on the drivers who stand out most in Monaco after he received three penalties in just two days from the race stewards. He had a lot of anger with him in that weekend and went from telling the BBC reporters “Maybe it’s because I’m black” to call the fellow drivers Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado “ridiculous” and that was a bit childish of him considering that both incidents which led to the retirement of Massa and Maldonado were his doing. In the end Lewis was lucky enough to finish the race in 8th place and securing four more championship points.
The street track, which is hosting grands prix since 1929, proved in 2011 that it still has the ability to hurt. During practice, Nico Rosberg was extremely fortunate not to hit the central barrier beyond the Nouveau chicane head-on when he lost control out of the tunnel. Sergio Perez, too, had an horrendous high-speed accident at the same place, and in almost identical circumstances. His crash resulted in a concussion, a bruised thigh, and he had to spend two nights in hospital. It could have been a lot worse for him.
During the race, Vitaly Petrov also required medical attention after a pile-up in the Swimming Pool section of the circuit with only ten laps to go and his crash also cause a red flag. Petrov only suffered a bruised ankle, but it gave the teams time to fix their cars and change the tyres.
Sebastian Vettel became the luckiest driver that day because being on a risky one-stop strategy with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button hunting him down on much fresher rubber he was about to hit “the cliff” – the moment Pirelli’s tyres suddenly stop performing – and that would have made it very hard to hold onto his lead. As it was, he flew away on new tyres once the race recommenced and took his first Monaco win, while increasing his total wins to fifth.
On the other hand Jenson could be called the unlucky driver of the day since he changed his tyres with just a few laps before the Petrov crash and then because the Red Flag rule allows teams to change tyres, Sebastian Vettel benefited of fresh rubber without losing any time for getting it.
Pirelli have said they want the red flag rule allowing teams to change tyres reviewed. It pressed the re-start button on the best race of the season so far, and all we ended up with was another Vettel victory.
Sources: GPWeek, Wikipedia, Red Bull, McLaren, Drivesafely.Allianz.com, Red Bull Content Pool