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Who�d have thunk it? Ferrari are unbeatable. Williams haven�t got a chassis, just a magnificent engine. Juan Pablo can�t handle Monaco where that engine can�t compensate for arcade game drivers. At least, that�s what I thought.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I take some small measure of consolation from the knowledge that nobody, except perhaps Mrs Montoya snr, believed that he could do it. I�m still not sure how though. From Also Ran contender to Qualifying Hero in just one round, JPM has turned the wick up and while one swallow does not a summer make (to quote my esteemed colleague in an earlier article) he has made a significant impression on me today.
In Monaco Bibendum came through and delivered big time.
For the rest Michael did his job and pushed the Ferrari as hard as it could be pushed and Rubens didn�t disgrace himself in 5th. David pipped Kimi with a brilliant drive but I don�t back down from my stance that Kimi is the quicker driver, just not on this day.
Jarno proved that he is still a brilliant qualifier and gave Jenson a lesson in car control. I really didn�t think he would do it, given his performances of late and the strong efforts of Jenson in recent events.
Surprises? JPM and DC, obviously. McNish was outstanding, putting in what was in my opinion, his most competitive drive of the year.
No surprises though from Mark Webber. Mark has been the single outstanding performer this season and to put the Minardi in front of Pedro and Eddie Irvine, who usually does well here, was a superb effort. Frankly I thought Mark would probably upstage a few Honda powered cars as well but it wasn�t to be.
Villeneuve was credible, Heidfeld disappointed (but I did at least get Massa right) and Fisichella, Salo and Frentzen delivered.
The Monaco GP 'Also Ran' Award.
The Also Ran is awarded to the driver who gets his talent and aspirations most mixed up. Quiet achievers are unlikely to win one, even if they fail to deliver on the day. The award is set at a much more deserving level, and today we have to search for a worthy recipient.
Eddie failed (again). Nick was beaten by a very fast Felipe. Alex, well, Alex wasn�t lucky enough to have Mark stop on his outlap but at least he did manage to qualify eventually. All these drivers have won awards in the past. Eddie was distracted by the media attention he got while criticising Ferrari, Nick seems to be cursed with very quick team mates and is starting his slide back down the table of wins against Massa.
Few teams will be able to claim two wins by a driver in this season. Few teams also have two drivers who both claim to be supreme, results not withstanding. Williams has two such drivers, both are adept at putting the second best car where any decent driver should, in the second best spot, with the occasional lapse or effort. Today saw both a lapse and an effort.
Ralf sees himself as a potential world champion and has shown patches of talent. Just not this time. In the ongoing battle between the two Williams drivers Ralf struck the early blows, Juan Pablo came back with a vengeance, slipped back a bit and Ralf �� couldn�t follow through.
Ralf, world champions don�t lose real races by half a second, even drivers who are the brothers of world champions. Wannabe world champions however, as you know, do win Also Ran awards for doing so. Congratulations Ralf Schumacher, Monaco�s Also Ran and our first dual award winner.
The Monaco GP Qualifying Heroes
1. Mark Webber, 2. Giancarlo Fisichella, 3. Heinz Harald Frentzen
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The Real Race - Drivers Standings - Round 7
QualiPoints are awarded in the same way points are awarded to the top 6 drivers in a race. (i.e. 10, 6, 4, 3, 2,1)
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The Real Race explained