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Monaco Grand Prix: A top five of almost everything

Mark Webber's time at the top was sadly overshadowed. (Image: Red Bull Racing)
Roar Guru
25th May, 2018
0

Yesterday I covered top five predictions about this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, today we’re getting stuck in to a bunch of historic top-five lists.

Quirks
The first practice day is on a Thursday, which allows for sponsor schmoozing on Friday.

It is the only track which has to navigate around a swimming pool and has a tunnel.

Only Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna won the race for a decade, from 1984 to 1993, and there have been just 33 winners in 61 races.

Back when there used to be 26 or more cars entering a race, the grid was limited to 20.

Monaco is rumoured to be bringing back grid girls against the wishes of the new owners of Formula One.

Best races
1982
All the action happened late, when the rain came, and long-time leader Alain Prost crashed with three laps to go.

In the closing stages, a plethora of cars got to the lead – or would have led, had they not run out of fuel or crashed. James Hunt summed it up best in the commentary, saying, “We have the ridiculous situation where we are all waiting by the finish line to get a winner and we don’t seem to be getting one.”

1984
The race that made a legend of Ayrton Senna. On a wet day, from the midfield, in a car that was nowhere near the dominant McLaren Porsche of Prost, Senna powered through the conditions and half of the grid. He was just about on Prost’s tail when the race was called off, and half points awarded.

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Also famous for Tyrrell driver Stefan Bellof’s charge from the very back. He was catching both Senna and Prost when the red flag came out.

And not to forget Nigel ‘White Lines’ Mansell, who famously claimed they were to blame for crashing out in the lead.

1996
Another wet race to begin with, it looked like business as usual with Williams driver Damon Hill well out in front, like he had for a lot of the ’96 season. However, there was a huge surprise when rain master Michael Schumacher crashed out halfway around the first lap.

Behind the leaders, Eddie Irvine was holding off a group of drivers, eventually annoying Heinz Harald Frentzen enough that he made an ill-judged lunge that didn’t work. This group was also getting picked off one by one by Olivier Panis in his Ligier, who passed a remarkable (for Monaco) four cars by the end of the race.

A well-timed pitstop for dry tyres, dealing with Irvine by punting him out of the race, and a Williams and Benetton failure ahead gave the Frenchman an unlikely win at 200-1. He was one of just three cars left at the end of the race.

1997
A Schumacher masterclass, the German six seconds up after one lap.

Also famous for the Stewart team’s first points.

2010
It looked likely that Mark Webber would never win any Grand Prix, let alone a Monaco, so it was enjoyed even with a slice of Webber luck.

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One-win wonders
Some great drivers never get to win a grand prix, but some are lucky enough that their only one came in the Principality.

There are only three so I included those who only won one other race.

2004 – Jarno Trulli – Renault
1996 – Olivier Panis – Ligier
1972 – Jean-Pierre Beltoise – BRM

1978 – Patrick Depaillier – Tyrrell

1954 / 1958 – Maurice Trintignant – Ferrari / Cooper – his only two came at Monaco

Non-Monaco winners

Hard to believe these drivers never won at Monaco.

Nigel Mansell
Nelso Piquet
Jim Clark
Jean Alesi
Pierluigi Martini

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Best Drives
1983 – Keke Rosberg
Started on a wet track with dry tyres and was mega.

1984 – Ayrton Senna
See the race report above.

1986 – Alain Prost
In all the Senna-Prost bravado, it is forgotten that Prost was a very good driver, and excellent around Monaco. His 1986 drive was as complete as one could get.

1990 – Jean Alesi
Hauled an unfancied Tyrrell up to second, just one second behind Senna at the end.

2014 – Jules Bianchi
Finished ninth in his Marussia, a car that looked unlikely for points anywhere. Unfortunately never got his chance with a bigger team to do more.

Worst tactical decisions
1984 – Stewards red flag race
Although it was a classic, what could have happened if the red flag didn’t come out? Half race meant half points for Prost, who lost the championship by half a point. Legend also has it that despite Senna’s speed, his car may have not lasted much longer.

1996 – Jos Verstappen
Sent out on slicks on a soaked track that saw even Michael Schumacher spin off half a lap later.

1997 – Williams
Sent both drivers out on slicks on a wet track, trying to emulate their 1983 win with Rosberg. Waited until their races were well and truly over before changing.

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2015 – Mercedes
A pit-stop call cost Lewis Hamilton the win.

2016 – Red Bull
Calling Daniel Ricciardo in from the lead against his wishes and not providing tyres.

Best incidents
2006 – Schumacher parks
Michael Schumacher did a few ordinary things over the year, and this was one of the worst. Having already taken pole, the German lost control of his car at 16 km/h to block the track and stop anyone else from setting a faster time. Hard to figure a multiple world champion would lose control at a speed less than a mobility scooter can go. The stewards thought so and punished him.

2014 – Nico Rosberg runs straight on
Learned from his compatriot by appearing to run straight on at Mirabeau, bringing out the yellow flags and spoiling Hamilton’s final lap.

1986 – Tambay almost flips
Drivers can get frustrated being stuck behind a car for too long, which can last an entire race.

This happened in ’86 and the result was a crash between Martin Brundle and Patrick Tambay.

Tambay flipped over Brundle’s Tyrrell and then landed on top of the small barriers and bounced back. If it didn’t, a good five metre drop to the road below awaited.

1981 – Fire in the kitchen
The race was delayed by an hour after a fire in a hotel kitchen sitting above the tunnel. The fire was put out by plenty of water, which then seeped through into the tunnel.

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1980 – First-corner acrobatics
You would expect the odd first corner shunt at the Monaco Grand Prix, and the 1980 version is one of the best.