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Monaco Grand Prix – Who’s your Driver of the Day?
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Monaco Grand Prix – Who’s your Driver of the Day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 May 2010   |  6:07 pm GMT  |  115 comments

Today’s Monaco Grand Prix was full of drama but we also saw some amazing performances from several drivers, not just in the race, but over the weekend as a whole.

So let’s take a look at the two main contenders:


Mark Webber
A dominant drive by the veteran Aussie, who is in the form of his life. For the second race in a row he took pole and controlled the race. He had four safety cars to contend with, which cut his lead down to nothing each time.

He made an assured start, not giving Vettel or Kubica a chance to pass and in the opening stint he pulled away rapidly from his team mate. No-one had an answer for his pace and determination this weekend. The question is, can he keep it up? Or will Vettel get on top of him again in Turkey?


Robert Kubica
From the start of practice on Thursday Kubica looked like a man on a mission here. He is always great on tracks lined with walls, but you sensed that he saw this weekend as an opportunity and so it proved. He got second place on the grid and a podium on merit.

He lost a place at the start to Vettel due to starting on the dirty side but this was a monumental weekend for Kubica.

Anyone who stood trackside this weekend watching him would agree. He was ahead of the car, extending it beyond its limits in a quest to do the impossible. It was a really special performance.

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1

James, I need to stray from the topic here. For most of us Formula 1 fans the nationality of a driver does not matter. If he drove his socks off we can deservedly call him a “driver of a day”. He can be English, Finish, German, Australian, Polish or whoever. Yet for Mr. Lauda there was a battle between “Sebastian” [Vettel] and “polake” from the start of Monaco Grand Prix (check out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG_xMdlOJkY&feature=player_embedded). As Kubica’s compatriot I felt it needs to be mentioned here because Lauda’s vocabulary seems to lack a proper German word for Polish nationality, which is “Pole”. Mind you that an expression “polake” was very popular among nazis during II World War as a insult towards our nation. Lauda’s colleague from German RTL television seems to be aware of that pretty well, as you can see from his reaction… Had Lauda forgot Kubica’s name (which he clearly did not) he should use word “Pole”. Shame on you Lauda. Once again sorry for this rather political comment. Thought your readers should know how difficult for the Austrian is to memorize one Polish name on the grid…

2

Where is the option for Alonso :/

3

I’ve seen it happen with Massa. Alot of people with say nothing about Webber right now. And they are just waiting until he has a bad race, bad luck or a mechanical failure and then they will stick the boot in.

Only a WDC can change their perception. But do you notice how people still dig the boot into Button?

It’s hard to pick 1 driver. Best driver = Kubica. Best car/driver combo = Webber. Best overall? How can you say how much the car factored into it? We saw in 2006 that Webber did a Kubica type race in a bad car.

They both did very well. What plays into Webber’s favour is that he would have won by 30+ seconds. Vettel and Kubica were pretty even. It’s unfair to either of them to choose just one.

Alonso? Schumacher? Some people just can’t see past their own driver, and ignore the rest. Alonso could have won if they was able to qualify. But that’s like saying Alonso would have overtaken Vettel in Bahrain, if his spark plug didn’t fail. It’s fantasy fanboy talk!

4

I think Murray (above) raises a good point about Kubica. He actually lost out from the front row. Third is a great result, and he has taken the car where it was not expected to go, but he was the only driver in the top 5 to lose one spot on his grid position. For this reason, it is hard to say his was “the drive of the race”.

Webber was supreme all race. Including the way he pulled away from each SC period. THis is the drive of the race, although I was surprised to hear both RC and SV say they thought Webber was slow away from the line. I hadn’t noticed that on the coverage, and haven’t heard Webber mention it either.

5
Derek Lorimer

James, Here in Canberra we have been aware of the incredible talent of Mark Webber since the early 1990s when he was seen as a World Champion in the making in karting.

The comparison with Nigel Mansell is quite apt as both drivers have incredible talent but took a while to get the opportunity to show their ability.

6

Hi Derek,

I don’t follow the local karting scene, so I only came across Mark from Formula Ford. I followed him as I a Canberran and also a few months younger. I really only have two FF memories from the TV – Mark being the class of the field at a wet Sandown track and misjudging his braking into the second turn early in the race at Lakeside. I suspect his skills are best suited to F1 – high precision and accuracy and quick hands (the combination of things that meant Bourdais didn’t make the transition from the lightly slower reacting ChampCars).

I think the Mansell comparison has its limits. Mark found a few small but strong backers in Yellow Pages and David Campese and was then able to get the Mercedes Benz support. It took eight seasons before Mansell was the clear number one driver in his team, while Mark has been the team leader virtually all his career in F1.

You are right that both took a while to get into a regularly competitive car, but the same thing could be said for Button or Barrichello. Mark clearly has a shot at the championship as he has the best car at the moment for most tracks and can match his team mate. This is Mark’s first attempt in this situation. Button won it on his first go. Mansell on his fourth (I’m counting 91). Barrichello is none from six.

7

It’s a brilliant move,despite being penalised.

8
mugerwa francis

Alonso drove an amazing race one that is better than schumuchers race in 2006.people shud understand that safety cars are unavoidable in monaco hence any stategist has to include it in his plans .

9

Webber was in a class of his own. In practice when it counted, fastest for the bulk of the race, when the track was relatively green and the cars were heavy, maintained his concentration and resumed it at the same level each time after his rhythm was interrupted by the safety car. Kubica was better than his car, but he lost second at the start and couldn’t recover it.

10

ALONSO! from 24th to 6th with 76 laps on the same tyres.

As for the race it’s as usual, SCD after SCD, that’s Monoca.

11
Martin Collyer

Mark Webber had to win that race about three times over so he gets my vote by the thickness of a cigarette paper over Kubica.

Does anyone else think the Lotus drivers made it fairly easy for Alonso to pass whereas the Virgin drivers, Di Grassi particularly, did not?

12

Welcome back “The Real Mark Webber” we missed you!

Mark is the guy who ‘in his first Grand Prix’ all those years ago put a Minardi where it had no right to be.

In the following years he (arguably) conquered all his team mates in several teams and to any knowledgeable, unbiased observer seemed to be one of the best in F1, The Real Deal if only in the wrong car.

Fast forward to 2009……. finally a competitive car capable of winning races and the championship, but there was an imposter posing as Mark Webber…. it seems the real Mark had been left on a secluded Tasmanian fire trail battered and bruised after a run in with a Toyota Landcruiser or some such immovable object. To make matters worse this imposter was now teamed with one of the most prodigious natural talents to enter F1 in many a year, a young German who had the natural ability, speed and aggression to make even the best drivers look ordinary let alone this guy pretending to be Mark Webber.

So what happened.

Mark had lost his edge, sure he was quick but the best drivers have an edge… an indescribable quality that enables them to push an F1 car beyond all those around them, when the edge is there you just know it, you don’t know where it came from or how you got it but when you have it YOU KNOW IT. The trouble with “The Edge” is that it is fickle, it can disappear as quickly as you got it and breaking several major bones and having to compete in pain are all pretty likely to make it disappear.

Sometimes those that lose it never get it back, but the better ones usually do.

If you have a close look at Seb Vettel’s face (particularly after Monaco qualifying) you will see a guy who doesn’t know what happened, he dug as deep as he could and came up short……now that hurts and it’s hard to combat and you could see it, it’s that “ Did anyone get the number of that truck?” look. It’s looking at the lap data…… knowing the set up data and still not having an answer, it’s THE EDGE and it would seem Marks’ has returned.

Know there is a long way to go and it’s a long season ahead, but it would seem it’s all falling into place for Mark Webber and I for one say “about Bloody Time!”

13

Your ‘edge’ may be as simple as a small degree of sensitivity in the right foot returning. There was a reference last year, I think in a Peter Windsor interview with Mark last year, where Schumacher was quoted as saying it took him a year to get the fine degree of control that he wanted after his accident in 1999. James probably knows more about this, but I haven’t read his book, so I don’t know if this is in there.

We will have to see whether Mark’s edge over Sebastian lasts to the next car upgrade in Turkey. The car balance situation could be reversed. However, Christian Horner told James – to an Australian TV microphone – that Mark’s fine detail steering inputs were particularly remarkable.

14

Out of the choices offered, i voted for Webber. He had a perfect race, leading from start to finish never losing the first place.

But i believe Alonso’s performance wasn’t too shabby either, from last to sixth pretty much the whole race distance on a single set of tires.

15

Mark Webber for my man of the race nomination. All Robbie did was underline the excellent potential we all know he has. Mark however has not only proved a lot of doubters wrong but has dominated a team mate that many have picked for the title. Go Mark!

16
Darren Shepperd

what i would like to know is why is no one talking about the fact that Webber should not have won today if the stewards were doing their job properly, after all during a race if you speed in the pitlane you get a drive through, well unless you are Webber it seams.

http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/mco-document-33.pdf

No / Driver 6 – Mark Webber

Team Red Bull Racing

Time 13:31:24

Session Race

Fact Speeding in the pitlane – 70.9 km/h

Offence Breach of Article 30.12 of the 2010 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations

Penalty 2 200 €

Also why are no reporters asking why he failed to get a penalty.

17
Darren Shepperd

sorry i forgot the 1 hour time difference

18

Great drive by Kubica, but Mark was on another planet so I don’t know how you could not give driver of the day to Mark. He was perfect and would have flogged everyone by 30secs+ if not for the safety cars. Kubica made an error letting Vettel through as well, so it has to be Mark for driver of the day! Woohoo!!

19

Schumacher.

Kubica did very well though. Alonso only passed the slow cars, and then only 4 of them, and then only after a loooooong time. Webber cruised at brilliant speed in the best car by far. And he screwed up on the last corner.

But Schumacher held his own beautifully in a not great car and created the most genuinely thrilling overtake of the race, caught Alonso napping and showed us he’s back!

20

I find it amazing that people put Alonso up for drive of the day. He did what should be expected of him and followed the only strategy option available to him. Once the first safety car emerged, he finished where he should’ve. Alonso’s drive was no more special than Massa’s drive to 4th. Once McLaren decided to cover Alonso, his race was set. Webber and Kubica where both amazing to watch, but I think I could watch an in-car footage and be amazed by their driving.

21

Why are there only 2 options in this poll? Where is the option to pick Jenson Button? He had a bad start admittedly, but his next two laps were extremely fast, over 1 second a lap faster than Alonso, many people’s pick for the title. Button has been ‘on it’ all weekend, putting in a better drive than even his 2009 performance there. He is my driver of the day. Jenson exudes Churchillian spirit, if I may say so.

22
Nathan Bradley

Unfortnately he was slower than Hamilton all weekend, although his team should have spotted the bung in the car.

Nathan

23

Your name is one letter mispelt of your opinion me thinks…!

24

There were several reasons to give plaudits to drivers. Webber for 2 consecutive races where he’s dominated and been in absolutel control. On the plus being able to beat Vettel soundly, silencing critics that he would be shaded by him.

Alonso (to an extent!) coming through to (an eventual) 6th from 24th. Admittedly this was MOSTLY to do with the safety car, but he too also made the pit stop on lap 1 to get rid of the super soft tyres and went the rest of the race on that 1 set of medium compound tyres.

Kubica did a fantastic job ALL weekend to get that Renault up to where it was in quali and to finish on the podium in the race.

Schumacher, for being rather crafty like in his old days, namely his move on Alonso at the Rascasse. Unfortunately for him and Mercedes, the rules this time were very clear and therefore he did “deserve” the penalty that he got.

25
Aussie F1 Fan

The rules for Schu were far from clear, what you need to take into account is that if article 40.13 was in effect then the “Safety Car in this Lap” message should NEVER have been displayed & the green flags should not have been shown after the safety car line on the last lap.

The race did not finish under safety car conditions, these two points prove this beyond doubt.

26

Somehow….I want to say that Alonso did a great job….but….maybe he did. Webber – for dominating Vettel. Kubica for mastering the track and getting most of the package. Alonso for finishing 6th and having only one set of tyres for the whole race. Schumi for beating Rosberg and for overtaking Alonso.

27

Alonso should have been an option, but I think I would have voted for Kubica anyway. Webber did a good job, but Robert did more with less of a car than anyone else in the race.

28

Fernando, all weekend he was on it. Could of won if started at front row.

29
Aussie F1 Fan

hahaha tell him he’s dreaming!

30

Driver of the day? Alonso; 24th to 6th, Monaco, no rain, no carnage, just overtaking and a brilliant strategy

Driver of the Weekend? Webber

Performance over the qualities of the ride? Kubica. He will be a world champion someday

31
Aussie F1 Fan

Brilliant? Lucky you mean, unless you are saying he got Hulkenberg to crash on the 1st lap so Alonso could make a pit stop with no time cost, saving himself 22 under green flag conditions seconds in the pits…

Yawn, nothing special about luck..

32

Fernando Alonso

33

Alonso just waited for everyone else to pit. Not terribly taxing. Then he fell asleep at the last corner.

Webber’s car was up front on merit. Kubica outperformed his. Robert gets my vote. He had a brilliant weekend.

Most amusing driver of the day: Hamilton, responding to his team’s daft request over the radio. Telling Lewis Hamilton to slow down? He only knows one way to drive: flat out, pedal to the metal.

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