by Dave Bass
Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2017
Round 6. 78 laps @ 3.340km/2.075ml 260.520km/161.887ml.
Lap record 1m 14.439s held by M Schumacher Ferrari (2004)
The first ever race to be held at the Principality was way back in 1929 and was initiated by cigarette manufacturer Anthony Noghés who also set up the Automobile Club de Monaco and under the auspices of Prince Louis 11 with Louis Chiron the Monégasque driver at that time. This was the 75th race held around the streets of the Principality.
FP1 - During the first 90 minutes there were quite a few close encounters with the barriers and some lock-ups and a few off-circuit runs at the Nouvelle Chicane. Hul suffered with an energy store problem and completed only 3 laps. Eri had gearbox gremlins and only did 3 laps. Ham topped the timesheets with Vet, Ver, Bot & Ric making up the top five.
FP2 in the afternoon was still a bit hazy but 22C, Hul & Eri got back out on circuit. This time it was Pal who made an early exit with a smoking Renault; more lock-ups, offs down the slip roads and barrier kissing. The VSC was deployed when Str crashed his Williams at Massenet/Casino Square. Vet, Ric, Räi, Kvy & Sai were the top five runners.
It was a beautiful day on Saturday morning. McLaren had to change the MGU-H/TC (fifth elements) on JB's car after detecting a problem overnight giving the Briton a 15 place grid drop for the race. Again there were some lock-ups and escape road visits. Towards the end Oco clipped the wall and broke his steering sending him into the barriers; VSC for a short while. Both Kvy & Ric ended their session down the slip road at Sainte Devote. Palmer and Max both hit the barriers but making it back to the pits. A lot of near misses & kissing with the barriers. Seb, Räi, Bot, Ver & Ham were the top five.
Qualifying in the afternoon was again bright and sunny with the Force India mechanics working franticly to get Oco back out. Eri went down the slip road with a broken left rear. Out with him went Weh, Str, Pal & Oco. Van crashed in the at the end but did go through, but out went Mas & Ham for the first time this year and Mag, Hül & Kvy, the top five were Räi, Vet, Ver, Bot & Ric.
JB started from the pit lane after having a set up change. There was some very close racing going into Sainte Devote, especially the two Red Bull drivers. Hül was the first to fall by the wayside on lap 16, suffering with gearbox gremlins. There were a few position changes during the round of pit stops, mainly Vet getting ahead of Räi and Ric passing Ver. Weh was handed a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release on JB, but JB got his own back later by running into Weh, flipping the Sauber onto its side and against the wall on lap 60. The safety car was deployed for 7 laps. Eri was passing the safety car to unlap himself and slid into the barrier at the infamous Sainte Devote. Van crashed into the wall giving McLaren another double DNF. Per ran into Kvy ending the chance of Toro Rosso getting both cars in the points and the Mexican having to pit again dropping him down to 14th and he was also given a 10 second time penalty & 2 penalty points. Str went into the garage for yet another retirement, but he and Kvy were still classified. Thirteen of the twenty starters finished the race all on the lead lap thanks to the late safety car.
Superb drive from Vet to get Ferrari's first win at the Principality since 2001. Per posted the fastest lap clocking a time of 1m 14.820s. The drivers made 31 pit stops and the pit-stop award went to Red Bull.
Vet's lead has increased to 25 points from Ham. Räi gave Ferrari another 1 – 2 finish with Ric joining them on the podium. Ferrari now lead the constructor's battle by 17 points to Mercedes with Red Bull way back a further 82 points further adrift. The biggest joke of all is that JB in his one-off appearance was handed a post-race penalty for causing the accident with Weh a 3 place grid drop for the next race and 2 penalty points on his licence.
Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
Lap record 1m 13.622 held by R. Barrichello Ferrari (2004).
Canada celebrate 50 years of motor racing this year. Since 1967 there have been 54 Canadian Grand Prix although the first six held at Mosport Park in Ontario were not part of the World Championship. This course is built on a man-made island on the St Lawrence Seaway laid out amid lakes and parkland.
There was an overcast start to the weekend at Montreal on a very dusty circuit. Sai suffered with technical troubles on his out lap therefore did not run in the first 90 minute session. Alo again lost time with hydraulic pressure loss and there were a lot of lock-ups, spins and off-circuit excursions. Ham, Vet, Bot, Räi & Per made up the top five.
FP2 at 2pm local time was brighter and a little warmer. Sai got out early after his premature exit in FP1. Alo managed to get back out with 30 minutes remaining after some technical troubles. Van suffered with an MGU-H problem. Ver stopped on track with a smoking Red Bull causing the session to be red flagged as the marshals recovered his car. Räi, Ham, Vet, Bot & Ver made the top five.
FP3 on Saturday morning was much brighter and after a problem free session but still with a lot of lock-ups and near misses with the walls, Vet, Räi, Ham, Ver & Bot were the top five.
Qualifying in the afternoon with an increased temperature at 21ºC, the first 18 minute session went very well and without problems until Weh spun off and hit the tyre barriers in the final minutes. Out went both Sauber cars along with Mag, Str & Van. The top five drivers were Bot, Ham, Vet, Ver & Mas.
Q2 was also a problem free session, but both Toro Rosso cars went out along with Pal, Gro & Alo. The top five were Ham, Bot, Räi, Vet & Ver. Ham got his 6th pole position at Montreal and his 65th career pole to equal that of A Senna.
Kvy stalled on the grid at the sighting lap and attempted to make up his positions. Weh had to start from the pit lane after having a new gearbox and rear wing. Vet got clipped and had to pit for a new wing. Sai clipped Gro, hit the wall and spun backwards across the track and hit Mas taking the Brazilian out. The safety car was deployed. Ver had another power unit problem and stopped on track. VSC deployed for four of laps. Kvy was handed a drive through as well as a 10 second time penalty for an incorrect grid position at the start. Mag had a 5 second penalty for overtaking during the VSC period. Kvy retired with a rear wheel nut problem, then Alo dropped out with PU failure just 3 laps from the end whilst running in 10th place expecting his and the team's first point of the season.
The race produced lots of action and some very good overtaking manoeuvres. Ham got his 6th win and 3rd consecutive at this circuit. Bot & Ric joined him on the podium. Ham posted the fastest lap with a 1m 14.551s time on lap 64.
Vet still leads the drivers battle over Ham, but by a reduced margin of 12 points with Val a further 36 points behind on 93.
Mercedes are now 8 points ahead of Ferrari with Red Bull a further 102 points adrift and Force India on a charge for 3rd place 41 points behind in 4th place.