By Full Contact News and Views
This weekend saw the F1 teams and drivers head to the French Riviera for the glitz and glamour of the Monaco GP. F1 has been coming to the confined and narrow streets of Monaco since 1929 and this weekend therefore marked the 90th running of the prestigious event. F1 legends including the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna have done battle around the tight and twisty streets, where only perfection will suffice if you are to be victorious.
The weekend commenced on a rather sombre note as the paddock mourned the loss of 3 times World Champion Niki Lauda. Having retired from racing in 1985, Lauda had assumed the role of non-executive chairman for the Mercedes F1 team in recent years, becoming a popular and prominent figure within the paddock. Renowned for his no nonsense and direct approach, Lauda will be sorely missed by the sport, fans and drivers alike.
Free Practice on Thursday afternoon saw our client Alex Albon get off to a flying start – managing an impressive P5 in the second free practice session of the day. With overtaking being so difficult around the principality, it is no secret that qualifying well is crucial to a strong weekend in Monaco. Having set quick lap times in all three practice sessions, Alex was quietly confident as the pit lane lights turned green for qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Having comfortably negotiated Q1 and Q2, Alex ended up qualifying P10 – achieving his best starting position of the season so far.
As 3:10pm approached on Sunday afternoon, all focus and attention turned to the five start lights on the pit lane gantry. Alex made a solid start and settled into a rhythm in P10 behind his teammate Daniil Kvyat.
On lap 9 Charles Leclerc pulled a banzai move on Hulkenberg, resulting in contact between the pair. This saw the safety car brought into action for the first time of the afternoon, as the marshals attempted to retrieve the strew bits of Ferrari body work laden across the circuit. Utilising the safety car period Ricciardo and Magnussen dived into the pit lane for new tyres, promoting Alex up to P8 in the process. This then became P7 on lap 28 when Pierre Gasly pitted in the sister Red Bull.
After following his teammate closely throughout the opening part of the race, Alex was called into the pit lane for his mandatory pit stop on lap 41. Emerging P9, Alex set a trio of blistering lap times on the new rubber – including setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 44.
After doing a staggering 51 laps on the soft compound tyre Romain Grosjean pitted, promoting Alex back up to P8. With overtaking near impossible on this circuit, as the chequered flag dropped P8 heralded a stellar performance from the young rookie on the tight and twisty streets of Monaco.
Round 7 of the World Championship sees the teams and drivers head for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Renowned for its long straights and hard braking zones, Montreal is tough on cars and drivers. Hopefully Alex can keep his cool and continue to impress with his speed and race craft. See you there in two weeks time.
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Full Contact News and Views includes articles contributed by Associates and professional contacts within the Full Contact team and includes opinion on sports law, PR and media, football agency and more.
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