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Why co-operation between rivals is key at Monaco
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Why co-operation between rivals is key at Monaco
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 May 2011   |  12:22 pm GMT  |  16 comments

I observed a Monaco ritual this morning when I watched Free Practice 3 down by the swimming pool section of the track. It never fails to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck as you watch the drivers go flat through the first part of the corner, pushing out towards the barriers in search of a few extra hundredths of a second.

At the swimming pool you get to stand this close


To the naked eye the Red Bulls haven’t yet stuck it all on the line yet and I still sense that Webber is more comfortable up against the barriers than Vettel, whom Anthony Davidson described to me as a ‘fingertip’ driver, rather than a warrior.

Alonso and Massa were noticeably hustling more than the others, the Ferrari is not hampered by its downforce problems here and both men are on it, as are both McLaren drivers.

Alonso was blocked by a Toro Rosso in his first hot lap, picking up from Lewis Hamilton’s complaint that the Red Bull B team does seem to be getting in the way a bit as the A team’s advantage closes. It’s all talk and gamesmanship, but worth keeping half an eye on anyway.

What struck me was how much the drivers rely on co-operation with each other. Everything happens so quickly that drivers need to work together, even though they are rivals, to get out of each other’s way if they are not on a screamer of a lap.

At one point Lewis Hamilton came through the swimming pool at respectable speed and immediately pulled to the right before the second part of the corner, Fernando Alonso was coming through very quickly and Hamilton slotted back in.

It’s like a code between them, I guess. This was only practice, but if they block in qualifying there are penalties, so they have to be careful.

But I thought it was very interesting to see two such intense rivals co-operating in the heat of competition.

Both know that Red Bull is beatable this weekend and they want to be the one who does it.

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16 Comments
  1. Galapago555 says:

    James, we all know that there’s no love lost between Lewis and Fernando, but don’t you think that their relation has changed in the last couple of years?

    Not exactly friendship, it’s obvious that on the grid nobody makes friends, but some kind of mutual respect and maybe admiration?

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      It’s what French & English call the ENTENTE CORDIALE. This agreement occured after a millennium of intermittent wars & persistent hatred because both countries have a common powerful enemy Germany.

      French & English didn’t discover love & friendship suddenly, they just discovered common interests.

      In Formula 1, replace France by Spain and there you are

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Here I disagree with you, Jo. Not an “Entente Cordiale” as you suggests, but actually mutual respect IMO.

  2. GP says:

    Alonso and Hamilton may not be the best of friends but their body language out of the car shows they do get along and have massive respect for each other when on track.

    The biggest feud is between their respective fans.

  3. Jason C says:

    They could work together, or maybe do a fake spin while a rival is on a hot lap. Oh, wait -

  4. robert lujan says:

    i tip nico rosberg to win! after his accident he just started to flow! he will take the win in monaco for sure.

  5. MR SERIOUS says:

    After qualifying I have just given my Silverstone ticket to my Fluid Dynamics Professor.

    No more F1 for me.

    I do not like RB and am no longer interested.

    1. Josh says:

      Must not be an F1 fan then. The sport has periods of domination.

      I’m sure if it was your team dominatiing there would be no problem right?

      I sure do love hypocracy ;)

  6. I made a funny says:

    “Webber is more comfortable up against the barriers than Vettel”

    And half a second off Vettel’s pole. Yeah, was an easy goal, hehe.

  7. dxs says:

    whats the differents between a fingertip driver and a warrior style? And who is who?

    I presume davidson was saying vettel is the fingertip driver, because he is constantly making corrections on the limit. Where as webber is the warrior because he is just fighting his fear and pushing the car as close to the wall as he can?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s about light touch versus hustling the car. I think Vettel today showed his growing adaptability. Very impressive

  8. krieng says:

    ‘fingertip’ driver?

  9. Lynn says:

    Woohoo pole for Vettel!
    That boy is getting better after being WDC.

  10. Chris H says:

    I guess McLaren also have the same type of drivers. Button being a fingertip driver, Lewis the warrior.

  11. Rizal Ismail says:

    This article reminded me to the famous Flavio chants ‘He parked the car, he parked the car, he never touches the barrier, he just parked the car’; referring to Schumi antics stopping his car as Rascasse during 2006 Monaco GP Qualifying.

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