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Alonso over-reaching in fight with Red Bull

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Andrew Benson | 15:48 UK time, Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mark Webber drove superbly to take a dominant victory in the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday but it is hard to escape the feeling that the only man who might have beaten him crossed the finish line seventh.

After a typically combative drive, and with help from the safety car and excellent strategy by Ferrari, Fernando Alonso salvaged more than he might have expected after starting from the back of the grid following his heavy crash in Saturday practice.

But Alonso will be leaving Monaco with more regrets than satisfaction - and they will have nothing to do with the way Mercedes's Michael Schumacher snatched sixth place from under his nose as the safety car pulled off with just one corner to go, a move that was later ruled illegal by the stewards.

Before Alonso's practice crash, the Ferrari had looked especially fast in Monaco and I understand he was very confident of taking pole position had he not had his mishap. From there, the race would have been his to lose.

Webber would have something to say about that, of course - he and his Red Bull looked in a league of their own on Saturday and Sunday. But even if Alonso had only managed the front row, the Australian would certainly have expected some stiff opposition from his friend.

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Instead, Alonso provided an example of exactly how Monaco can bite even the very best drivers.

He was just a few centimetres off line and going slightly too fast as he turned in to the demanding 100mph Massenet corner at the top of the hill on Saturday morning, but that was enough to throw him into the unyielding barriers.

The impact broke his car's monocoque, forcing him to sit out qualifying. And the mix of frustration, anger and resignation in his eyes as he watched proceedings on Saturday betrayed his feelings about just how big a missed opportunity this was.

Alonso got a bit defensive later that afternoon when he was questioned about the number of mistakes he was making this season, denying he was feeling the pressure of an already intense title battle.

He pointed out that at his home race in Spain last weekend, when he should have been feeling the most pressure, he was flawless, which is true enough.

The fact is, though, that for someone renowned for his matchless consistency, Alonso has made an unusual number of errors in 2010.

Even in Bahrain, which he went on to win, he qualified only third, behind team-mate Felipe Massa, after a mistake on his best lap.

In Australia, he collided with Jenson Button at the first corner and spun. He recovered brilliantly to fourth place but it was a race he could - and perhaps should - have won.

In Malaysia, he was central to Ferrari's decision not to go out early in the wet first qualifying session - a call that backfired terribly when conditions worsened and he and Massa qualified 19th and 21st.

And in China, he jumped the start, forcing him into yet another superb fightback to another fourth place.

It is clear what is going on here. Alonso wants nothing more than to win the championship in his debut season at Ferrari, but he has found himself fighting a much faster car in the Red Bull.

In trying to beat them, and keep himself in the championship picture, he is taking more risks than he would otherwise do.

Until Monaco, he had just about got away with it. But this weekend the gamble failed, against a barrier right outside the Casino.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari after his crash at Massenet in Monaco practiceAlonso's crash could cost him dear later in the season. Photo: AP

Alonso scored only a handful of points when a potential 25 were on offer, which has put a big dent in his title hopes.

Had he finished in the top three, he would have left Monaco with a substantial championship lead.

As it is, following Webber's dominant victory and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel's second place ahead of an inspired Robert Kubica's Renault, Alonso is third, three points behind the Red Bull drivers - with Webber and Vettel tied on points, but the Monaco winner in the lead by virtue of his two wins to Vettel's one.

Now the Red Bull drivers are in front, finally coming good after a stuttering start to the season, the two drivers in F1's fastest car will be very hard to beat - as Alonso knows only too well.

Alonso's last victory in Monaco was in 2007, and it was the event that marked the beginning of the end of his relationship with McLaren and their former team principal Ron Dennis.

That race is remembered as one that Alonso won thanks to team orders, after McLaren told team-mate Lewis Hamilton to slow down and not challenge Alonso for the victory.

But that reading is wrong.

This has never come out before, but it was Dennis's actions after that race that so angered Alonso, and which convinced him the team would always be behind Hamilton and not him. That was the backdrop to the tumultuous fall-out that enveloped McLaren and Alonso as that famous 'spy-gate' summer unfolded.

As a McLaren insider revealed to me: "Fernando won in Monaco fair and square in 2007.

"Lewis was generally quicker through the weekend, but in qualifying Fernando did it and Lewis didn't. Lewis was quicker in the first run but then he made mistakes and Fernando got pole.

"Fernando won the race because he pulled an 11-second gap in the first stint when Lewis had (tyre) graining and after that Fernando was just cruising because we had rear brake issues.

"But after the race, Ron said to Fernando: 'Be nice to Lewis because we had to (pit) stop him early.' And Fernando said: 'What do you mean? I was just cruising.'

"He got very annoyed about that because it was like Ron saying we handed you the victory. Even after that, the relationship was unrecoverable."

Alonso might be over-reaching in his attempts to take the Ferrari to places where it should not be, but there seems no chance of his relationship with his new team deteriorating in the same way.

For one thing, team principal Stefano Domenicali appears to have a deft hand when it comes to handling human relationships. For another, Massa, unlike Hamilton, clearly does not have the all-round ability to threaten Alonso on a regular basis.

But largely it is because Ferrari could not be more impressed with their new driver.

I understand that, even after just six races, they already feel that as a whole package - being a team player, technical feedback, his ability to read a race weekend and speed - Alonso is even better than Schumacher, the man who won five championships and 72 grands prix for the legendary Italian team.

Yes, you read that right. Ferrari have the feeling that Alonso is faster than Schumacher was at his best. (And yes, I know, the concept of him being a team player will raise smiles down at McLaren, after what happened there in 2007.)

Be that as it may, if the Ferrari fails to improve relative to its rivals, and Alonso continues to try too hard, then it will be hard to win the title in the face of the Red Bull's stunning speed.

But Ferrari are known to have a major aerodynamic upgrade due at some point in the next few races, about which they are very confident.

If that proves as good as they hope, allowing Alonso to take fewer risks and cut out the mistakes, then the Red Bull drivers may yet be beatable.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Totally agree fantastic job by Alonso helped by SC Lewis drove brilliantly so did Massa and Micheal, but I and you have to give all the credit to the Red Bulls they were in a class of there on today also Robert Kubica drove the driver that seemed unfazed by a car that wasn`t as quick as the position tells him so well done to him.

    Moving on disappointed for JB but LH did a great job looking forward to Turkey in 2 weeks time.

    PS:WELL DONE Mark Webber you are now in the Championship Hunt!

  • Comment number 3.

    Sometimes risks pay off, and sometimes they do not, that's motor racing. It's too early in the season to call, and certainly the Red Bulls are a force to be reckoned with, but I think Alonso has the skill, the attitude and the car to do the job - and I for one wish him all the best. We should forget the rather one-sided coverage of what went on in McLaren and move on - Alonso deserves more support, lest we forget he is the man who brought an end to the boring Schumacher reign.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Still too early in the season I believe, Andrew, otherwise we risk to keep contradicting ourselves. Look at Jenson: from hero to zero in a couple of races; Lewis now does seem to be putting a gap between himself and his team-mate. Alonso's consistency has always been his best weapon, and the fact that in spite of his accidents he has managed to grab a healthy bunch of points puts him in a very good position in the long run. I have the feeling that the balance may still shift, not necessarily just because of raw pace. Let us draw a few sound conclusions only in the second half of the championship.

  • Comment number 6.

    Much as I dislike Alonso, he is a 'racer' as opposed to a fast F1 driver, like say JB. All racers takes risks and sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don't.

    Over the years WDC's have been won by 'Racers' and 'Fast' F1 drivers. If every F1 driver was an out and out racer, we would have fantastic races.

  • Comment number 7.

    Andrew - If Alonso had crashed in qualifying you could have argued that he made an error because he was pushing hard to keep up with the Red Bulls, and the risk didn't pay off...

    But he crashed in PRACTICE where such risks were unnecessary. It was simply poor driving.

    If Massa had made some of the mistakes Alonso has made this season (including that one, spinning in Oz, overrevving engines) you would be treating that as proof that he is clumsy and second rate.

    Yet you always find a way to praise and defend Alonso.

    He was caught sleeping by Schumacher in a way that you would not expect from someone regarding as an all-round "racer".

    Yes he is a great driver but when messing up he deserves the same condescension you frequently dish out to drivers you are less in awe of.

    Speed in a driver is important but brains and decision-making just as.

  • Comment number 8.

    sam0702...

    read the title.. and then the article!

    NONE OF IT IS HIS OWN OPINION... except for how he fears Alonso is throwing away the chamionship, which is clearly what you want to read. Then he tells us about a few things he has learnt this weekend, which is insightful.

    If you don't want to read about Alonso, don't read these articles. And if you want to read a goodbiased British driver article, read any newspaper/website/legard blogs.


    ANYWAY, it's intruguing about the 07 story Andrew. We always knew it wasn't completely Alonso's doing, and slowly the media will uncover that.

    All in all though, if ferrari can somehow catch Red Bull then my money is still on Fernando. Everyone makes mistakes, it's just one of those things

  • Comment number 9.

    3. At 5:15pm on 16 May 2010, Gingertastic wrote:
    Sometimes risks pay off, and sometimes they do not, that's motor racing. It's too early in the season to call, and certainly the Red Bulls are a force to be reckoned with, but I think Alonso has the skill, the attitude and the car to do the job - and I for one wish him all the best. We should forget the rather one-sided coverage of what went on in McLaren and move on - Alonso deserves more support, lest we forget he is the man who brought an end to the boring Schumacher reign.
    ----------------------------

    Disagree with you a little there. This is why he put the car in the wall on the last practice session, now imagine another driver did it i.e Massa, Lewis, Button, Vettel... they would have been absolutely slated. Secondly the fact that he came from the pack of the pack doesn t say much for me as there were 2 totally different races, the SLOW RUNNERS and the FAST RUNNERS. He did well because of the safety car and strategy, that it. But I still do think he s a big player for the title hunt, although he is not my favourite : )

    This race was boring for a Monaco hype up and the amount of money they splash out there. Only 2 exciting moments Webbers win ofc and Schumis absolutely sneaky Jammy move on Alonso, which was brilliant and again outlines his genius mind.. Schumis Back in my opinion and good that way tbh!!

  • Comment number 10.

    btw I found the post race i player chat with the four BBC gyz a little embarressing. Does Jordan always like fighting with David?

    And is the UK in a CREDIT CRUNCH situation (lol) because I love the way they starting to present the F1 on Yaughts!! I have a strong feeling that that was Davids Yaught.......... So funny

  • Comment number 11.

    ........Of course Ferrari are going to say now that Alonso they feel is better than Schumacher as a package. What else are they going to say?

    'no schumacher will always be our greatest driver'

    teams will always back their current drivers as much as they can, especially ferrari where alonso is their star driver, and , they hope, the driver that can lead the team in the way schumacher did.

    This is the team that unceremoniously dumped schumacher and pushed him out of the team that he took to the top - despite the fact that he was at the very peak of his game in 2006 (and for those that say Alonso ended schumachers career - Schumacher was leading the championship in 2006 going into the final 2 races - sorry, I hardly call that 'ending schumi's career').

    ferrari should be criticised for the way they handled schumacher, who took them to a huge amount of glory and fought like no other driver could in 2006 (and 2005). im glad schumacher turned his back on them and gone to race for mercedes. And hes beginning to get into the groove again....

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your responses so far. There are already some interesting views - although I fear some of you have rather missed the point of the article.

    I am not defending Alonso or praising him - I am pointing out that he is paying the price for pushing too hard and making too many mistakes. I fail to see how that is "sucking up" to him. He may have crashed in practice, but he did so while pushing hard on heavy tanks trying to get a feel for what he could do in the race - when he expected to be taking on the Red Bulls.

    Later on, I am not praising him either. I am a) revealing facts about Monaco 2007 that have not come out before; and b) reporting Ferrari's internal opinions of him so far this season. We don't make this stuff up, you know. This information is well sourced.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 11

    Couldn t agree more with you m8!!!!!!!!! I think you could say that was a nice goodbye wave from schumi to Ferrari lmao

  • Comment number 14.

    Having read this I could be easily mistaken it as a Alonso fan boy article from 606.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 12

    Yes absolutely agree Andrew, no need for people to just slate the web sit from point go.

    But i am quoting this from your latest post in 12 'He may have crashed in practice, but he did so while pushing hard on heavy tanks trying to get a feel for what he could do in the race - when he expected to be taking on the Red Bulls.'

    I think Alonso is a well experienced driver and with 2 World title there is no excuse for that. He should know how the car feels with a full and almost empty tank?! I could imagine as I said in point 9. if it was Lewis or Vettel or Weber that crashed in practice, a lot of critics would have said they needed to learn alot etc. I think Alonso stuffed his weekend up but if he had not crashed we would never know. Was more of a glamour show this weekend but in wet races Monaco rules!! Never the less I don t think Aloson is the person to fear for the Title , the Big worry is the Red bulls. Look at last year. The fastest car was Brawn and they won the championship.

  • Comment number 16.

    Alonso*

  • Comment number 17.

    Blimey. I have not been part of the forms or this comment board for a while on here but it seems the standards are getting worse. Labour's educational policies clearly have not worked with regards to reading.

    I don't believe some of you have read this properly. It's quite a balanced piece of work. How can you claim Andrew Benson is sucking up to Alonso when he says is making too many mistakes? I am a fan of Alonso and I totally agree with this and the errors are beginning to annoy me! He is trying too hard because the red bulls are so damn quick and I also believe the pressure of wanting to deliver a title for ferrari is getting to him at this stage.

    He needs to take a step back, realise that he can't challenge the red bulls at the moment and just get as many points as he can - without the errors.

  • Comment number 18.

    1. If that was Kimi Raikkonen who crashed on Saturday, the media would put it down to no focus or lack of motivation or being interested in parties et all. Its a different explanation for Alonso I see.

    2. Can the BBC and other media outlets stop making articles about how team member X is in awe of teammate Y? What else do you expect them to say? I read an article yday in which Jonathan Spector suggests that Rob Green should be England's no.1. Shock and horror. Did you really think he would say 'we all know that Rob Green is rubbish and we make jokes about him in the USA camp'?

  • Comment number 19.

    omg schumi got the penatly??? Whats happening in F1.. SO CORRUPT, and such a DISGRACE that stewards like damon hill can decide these things off track. It is so clear or am I wrong... Schumi is still a P6 2010 Monaco driver for me!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Benson!
    I completely agree about your comments, it is obvious Alonso has done some errors that are not typical from such a great driver but I think we will see the best from him in the next races.
    Without a doubt is better more complete in all the areas that Schumacher and any driver.
    For once english people are starting to realize why Alonso was so angry and how the team trated him so bad and even with all the team against him he only lost the championship for one point. Do not belive what the english press was selling you about that relationship where the team was the "good guy" and Alonso the "bad guy" that didn't want equal things.
    And concerning sam's comments it is not worth it even pay you any attention. there are ingnorant in all the sports.


  • Comment number 21.

    It's laughable that Ferrari think that Alonso is better than Schumacher. It's also clear that Ferrari is run by a bunch of vindictive ingrates and given what Schumacher did for the team, I hope that they buckle under the weight of their myopia.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Mr Benson

    I want to comment on your opinion that Alonso won the Monaco race in 2007 on team orders. That may be so, but I think you are twisting the reality of things here to show him in a bad light. The way you have put it sounds like he sort of cheated and had the unfair advantage. He did no such thing. The fact is, you win Monaco on Saturday qualifying, and where you are in the first corner. That is it. Full stop. Page 1 of F1.

    I thought Webber drove a blinder today, and he put in a blistering lap yesterday to qualify, but he wasn't that much faster than Vettel as it looked today in the race. In reality, which stupid, idiotic and half witted team and driver would want to challenge for places by fighting it out on the track in Monaco? First, where would he overtake without taking both of them off? Second, why mess up a perfect result? To get ahead, you're looking for mechanical failure or accidents and mistakes. Indeed, it could be your car. So, Vettel clearly backed off. They have already used up quite a few engines, they know the safety car is coming back out, and so just look after your tires, and take the 1 - 2. Vettel knows his time to push will be next race. I am very sure that this was team orders, and very much accepted without complaint from Vettel, as it makes logical sense. So this is team orders. And yet today, it is all "well done Mark", not "he only won due to team orders". This is Monaco. Monaco is just different. It just is. It is ludicrous, insane, glamorous and dangerous. But you just can't overtake in todays cars. So team orders reign, even if you don't want to listen to them.

    Therefore, to knock Alonso's win in 2007 by saying he won it under team orders is just snipping. Hamilton or any other driver would not of got passed anyway, they were just keeping their drivers under wraps by telling them to come away with the points. They did not ask Hamilton to be slower in practice and qualifying did they? So then it was fair racing.

    Alonso's victory in 2007 was thoroughly deserved, as was Mark's today, under identical circumstances. I just thought I would point that out. Equally, Alonso is making mistakes, but he is not here to take second place. The Red Bulls are the cream of the crop. You have to find a way to beat them, and therefore you push, and are more likely to make a mistake. Alonso is trying, very hard. He planted the car in the fence yesterday, but so did Senna in 88 and Prost in 83. Those incident have become history, rather than signs that they are not as good as we think. Alonso is an awesome talent. To me, he is the most complete racer on the track today.

    You say Monaco has put a big dent in his title hopes. Not true. This is race 6. You could have said the same thing for Button too.

    Thank you for posting LEWISHAMILTONFOREVER's post up. They are so ludicrous and uneducated, that I really look forward to them after the race. What a douche bag.

    Monaco was great, the atmosphere is incredible. My boat is nice, but looks like tub compared to some of the craft in the harbor. I missed Hulk's crash, as I was focused on other things, and looked down, and there he was, just to the left of us. I heard it, but don't know why I didn't turn my head. I thought the smash was from my right, and I kept looking. The F1 iphone apps are incredible.

  • Comment number 23.

    Schumi penalised?

    That is SO unfair (and bound to be overturned on appeal)!

    In all sorts of motorsport, races often finish under the safety car, but with the car pulling in so as not to spoil the finish photos.

    BUT...

    IF the racetrack was still under Safety Car conditions - regardless of the position of the safety car - then yellow flags would have continue to be waved and "SC" boards shown.

    If Schumi has done something wrong, then whoever instructed marshals to show green flags shound - MUST - be sacked!

  • Comment number 24.

    Agree @ 19, the penalty seems totally silly.

    Had Webber grazed the armco and slightly damaged one of his wheels, would he have been allowed to limp to the finish line at 10mph with everyone else softly and gently queuing behind? What's the point of green flags then?

    The way I see it, it was not Schumacher's fault, rather a grey area for the FIA to clarify further.

    I thoroughly disagree with them on this.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    To post 22 - you have misinterpreted what I said about 2007, I'm afraid. I said that the common perception was that Alonso won only because of team orders, but that the common perception was wrong - and I go on to explain why Alonso won the race "fair and square", in the words of my source.

  • Comment number 29.

    Damon Hill trying to take his revenge from Schumi. Mercedes will appeal and I am sure they will win. Hill is hating the face that Schmi pulled a fast one on someone else

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ferrari are of course going to say Alonso is better than Michael Schumacher they dont want to annoy Alonso!! Michael has been at the top of his game for a long time. He could easily have won 2006 if he didnt blow his engine in the second from last gp and have a bad final gp qualifying. Remember Michael came back from a big points deficit just when all the press thought his chances were over. His drive in Monaco 2006 in the race was MESMERISING. Just like Kubica in Monaco 2008, Hamilton Silverstone 2008 I think?, Barcelona 1996.

    Schumacher at his best is better than Alonso at his best. Hamilton at his best is better than when Alonso was in 2007 even though Alonso was double world-champion.

    Michael along with others in the team like Ross Brawn, Rory Bryne, Jean Todt helped transform Ferrari from the pig of a car it was in 1996 to the glory years in 2000 - 2004. He came close to winning in 1997, 1998 though too. dont forget his stunning Barcelona 1996 drive. Alonso isnt exactly amazing in the wet not like Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher have been in the past!!

    Hamilton abolsutely rinsed all over Alonso in 2007. Alonso just didnt like it and didnt know how to handle it.

    I agree with post 11!!

  • Comment number 32.

    To be honest I cant believe what I am reading. Alonso is a great driver, one who is daring enough to take risks, not to sit back and take it as it comes like other drivers. All drivers make mistakes, but you cant fault them for that, its only natural.

    It seems to me you like to put people down, straight after they do wonderful in a race. If you dont like someone keep it to yourself, and stop writing reports on drivers who are actually some of the best we have ever seen.

    Alonso is fab!!! Simple as that.

  • Comment number 33.

    Andrew I never take the time to comment but always enjoy reading what you have to say, I just want to say thank you for your insite and dont take anything onbord as to what some half brains say about your write up.

  • Comment number 34.

    Reading about Alonso and Hamilton problems at McLaren, one can only smile at how history repeats itself and how, sometimes, F1 drivers get their egos overinflated and start behaving in strange maners, sometimes yelling to their own team principals. Timing for this article coudn't be better tho.

  • Comment number 35.

    The penalty is fubar

  • Comment number 36.

    Schumacher has been very hard done by, on an interpretation by his bosses of a rule that clearly was not written very precisely given the hours of deliberations it took for the stewards to decide.

    If they're so terribly concerned about everyone in their place, they should've just given Schumacher his 7th place back.

    The worse thing is that, after all the "Hoho, Damon will try to get one over on Michael, haha" stuff Jake kept bringing up, that's exactly how it will look to certain fans.

    A real shame. Overtaking at Monaco? What WAS he thinking of?

  • Comment number 37.

    I am no fan of Schuey but that penalty is a joke. The lights were green, green flags were waving and the teams were informed that the safety car was coming in!

  • Comment number 38.

    Many of you are criticising just for sake of criticising...Alonso is fantastic driver...there can be an argument that Schumacher is controversial and won because of far superior ferrari car...can he win with Mercedes??? he is not even able to beat Roseberg...that says it all...

  • Comment number 39.

    Damon Hill tut tut tut, still bitter after all these years, get over it mate you were never a legend and never will be, you are 10% of the driver Schumacher is today even though his not at his best, but his a racer and always will be i mean a penalty whats all that about, come on green flag s mean race and im not colour blind and there was a green flag, the saftey car was in and he passed the slleping Alonso after the line so common sense provails it was a fair move, i mean if you can overtake then what was the point of continuing the race you should of stopped it when the saftey car came out, formula one is losing its reputation again in my eyes its a farce, its a sport for speed and meant for racers not an old man who is bitter, by the way well done Mark Webber and Red Bull sound Job - take note Hill a Racing team they are.

  • Comment number 40.

    Mr. Benson,

    What is your view on the Schumi pentalty? Don t be shy to let your opinion be heard!

  • Comment number 41.

    Schumacher deserved the penalty, he should no the rules, but then again I think all the drivers should. No doubt they will appeal against it, but they wont win. It clear states no overtaking.

    I think drivers and teams should pay more attention to the rules as they seem to be forgotten half the time.

    Alonso did super today, Nice job! Like always :) Can always pull it out of the bag.

    Congrats to Mark Webber its great to seem him winning, I really hope he wins the championship this year he deserves it unlike Vettel I hate him, good driver yes, to much of a brat to work with thou. I no Alonso is a bad team and dont get me wrong Alonso is my favourite driver, but Vettel is 100% worst, hates seeing his team mate win, and score points for the team, just a little bit childish.

  • Comment number 42.

    22. At 6:00pm on 16 May 2010, smilingSpongeMuffin wrote: My boat is nice, but looks like tub compared to some of the craft in the harbor. I missed Hulk's crash, as I was focused on other things, and looked down, and there he was, just to the left of us. I heard it, but don't know why I didn't turn my head. I thought the smash was from my right, and I kept looking. The F1 iphone apps are incredible.
    ---------------------

    erm lol i think you are rubbing it in our faces that you were sitting on your yaught. If so do me a favour and tell Mr Eddie Jordan to go to spec savers, you will only get this chance to do it!

  • Comment number 43.

    Andrew I just love reading your blogs and enjoy your insights on Formula 1. I dare say that your experience counts for much more than some responses here which are so obviously weighted. Many thanks and looking forward to more.

  • Comment number 44.

    In light of everything everyone has said, what I don't understand is the rules that allowed Alonso to be up that far up in the first place.

    Starting in the pits is meant to be a penalty and that was iradicated when he changed his tyres under the safety car which allowed him to be in the same position as starting from the pits but already having his tyres changed!!!!

    I think the rules need to be looked at here. Maybe they could stipulate a minimum number of laps that have to be done on each tyre type. This may help in the early laps of the race????

  • Comment number 45.

    @oigioeiee
    I'm sorry?!? The team he took to the top?!?

    Seriously did you ever look at his car even just a little tiny bit? I don't mean to put Scui down but my god - the car that FERRARI provided for HIM has in a class of its own. To win a championship by winning every single race of a season bar one (on which I believe Scui crashed out.. driver error?) until you are physically unbeatable takes one hell of a car. In F1 today as important as the driver is the car can be by far the biggest factor. Just look at Brawn last year and RB this year - no doubt they won with good driving but the reason they are so unbeatable - the reason they can pull out 7/10ths of a second over the next best world class driver - is the car.

  • Comment number 46.

    41. At 6:42pm on 16 May 2010, Naomi wrote:
    Schumacher deserved the penalty, he should no the rules, but then again I think all the drivers should. No doubt they will appeal against it, but they wont win. It clear states no overtaking.

    I think drivers and teams should pay more attention to the rules as they seem to be forgotten half the time.

    Alonso did super today, Nice job! Like always :) Can always pull it out of the bag.

    Congrats to Mark Webber its great to seem him winning, I really hope he wins the championship this year he deserves it unlike Vettel I hate him, good driver yes, to much of a brat to work with thou. I no Alonso is a bad team and dont get me wrong Alonso is my favourite driver, but Vettel is 100% worst, hates seeing his team mate win, and score points for the team, just a little bit childish.
    ---------------------------------

    haha. Ok i agree and disagree with you. I completely disagree with you on the Schumi decision, absolutely and 100%. Schumi pulled off a brill racing pass, why else did the safety car go into the pit?! and why the green flag?? What does a green flag mean? do you see where I am heading.

    Regarding Vettel, I completely agree with you although I am not supporting Alonso and Vettel or Webber. I am full on Hamilton. But Vettel is ever happy for good old webber. Pat on the back for Webber! if anyone in red bull deserves a championship it s Webber! And another thing, I think this drive was crucial because as of Turkey you are going to see a totally different driver in him and you can measure that in him going to out-do vettel

  • Comment number 47.

    Bazrat, Fernando Alonso started from the pit lane because he didn't participate in qualifying. It wasn't a penalty and if he and the team decide to change tyres early to mitigate their loss then I say that's first rate thinking, something one expects of a double world champion and championship-winning team.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    First off I want to congratulate Alonso on a fantastic drive today. Considering that both Vettel and Hamilton said today they didn't even bother trying to overtake after the first corner because "it's impossible" I think he showed what can be done when you put your mind to it. It brought back memories of Buttons fantastic drive in Brazil last year.

    Second Congrats to Alonso for actually admitting the Crash was his fault. I've seen Vettel, Hamiliton and Jenson in the last year insist incidents were not their fault when everything says they were. He is getting flack for being honest!

    Third - Intresting Info about Alonso at Mclaren, as someone who always thought that Hamilton started the breakdown after having a strop after his 3rd race of the season and threatening to quit (hushed up by the Brit press at the time) I feel that the record is at last being set straight, although perhaps too late for the steryotypes that have set in

    Fourth - I don't see Alonso as making to many mistakes becuase he's lost somthing, I think it's the car, my reasoning is this. Massa has shown over the last few years he's a quality competitor, last years Ferrari was a Dog, and this years while better is still not as fast as the Red Bull, or as reliable as the Mclaren, Alonso is pushing the car past it's limits becuase unless he does he's got no chance at the title. If he can win it in this car which is undeniably not the best on the grid it will mark him as the best driver on the grid by far. Button and Hamilton both won because they had the best car's, Alonso's last win he had the 2nd best and beat an aging Schumi, if he can win with this Ferrari he will prove it's him and not the car.

    If either Red Bull win people will simply say it's because they have the fastest car.
    If either McLaren win people will simply say it's because they have the most reliable one.
    If Ferrari win it will only be because they have the best driver.

    Massa is driving the car at it's limits, Alsono is exceeding them, because of that it is inevitable that there will be mistakes and reliability issues, but it's whats making this championship so interesting!

  • Comment number 50.

    I see a couple of D... Heads think that the Schumacher penalty is sour grapes from Damon Hill - get real, the stewards are more professional than you can ever comprehend.
    As for Alonso - undoubtedly a great racing driver but for me he appears to play too many games on the political side. This mitigates against his popularity, so people have a high level of 'schadenfreude' when he does make mistakes.

  • Comment number 51.

    Controversy on Michael Schumacher penalty. I think the FIA want to look at some of there own rules on the sport. I think Michael has been on the end of some punishment in the past. The one which sticks in my mind was when under the safety car in Monaco 2004 Juan Pablo Montoya took him out in the tunnel.

  • Comment number 52.

    I though the FIA was looking to increase overtaking, Why the penalty on Schumy ?

  • Comment number 53.

    Alonso pulled an 11 second gap over Hamilton in 2007? Can you please pinpoint which lap he did that on? Because according to the official lap-charts Alonso never pulled out more than 8 seconds on Hamilton - and Lewis halved that before Alonso pitted.

    How difficult is it to check the accuracy of your source?

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Gotta love free speech even if it allows some of the absurd responses here. More power to you Andrew.

  • Comment number 56.

    Call Me Dave Will Make Us Free , and others.

    Really. The rules can not be more clear. It will not be overturned.On the last lap, they are not going to pull the SC over for 200 yards of racing. It clearly says it will peel off into the pits, and no overtaking shall take place. It is written down, and is just as clear as it can get. Everyone else who does that gets a pit stop penalty. Why? Because it is dangerous, as the driver in front is not expecting it, and during the SC, they weave around, as you have seen.

    My only gripe with this is not MS, but it is with Button's win this year, and he came under the SC, and he slowed down too much on the final corner, bunching up the pack. Now this is much more of a subjective issue, as it requires our opinion of how much he bunched up the pack. It didn't cause an accident, and it did give him a little advantage, but they reckon he did not bunch it up too much. I would like to have seen him given a warning, with a reminder given to the others that they can not do this. The best thing to do, IMHO, would be to allow the cars to get going for 5 seconds first before they can overtake. Indeed, overtaking just as the SC peels off is a bit sly anyway, as it was an unfair advantage, and it takes the panic out of the restart, and would prevent the bunching. Or maybe they couldn't overtake until the second corner, which would be prearranged as the SC peels off at the same place. The whole SC issue needs readjusting for clarification, but which ever way you look at it, Schumacher's move was illegal. He knew it, Mercedes knew it, and the penalty given to him is no different to that given to those in the past, or to anyone else who would have done it. Just be thankful we have good governance, unlike football, where you can pick the ball up with your hands and throw it in the net, and if the ref doesn't see, then it's a goal.

  • Comment number 57.


    I agree with Mr. Benson assertion that Fernando is pushing (at times) too hard while attempting to compete with the Red Bull machine. That error prior to qualifying was only manageable (championship points speaking) thanks to a good car, his supreme talent and a bit of luck.

    While I applaud your professionalism Mr. Benson in reporting (without bias), the information your reliable sources provided on the McLaren 2007 Monaco incident, it's not really accurate to say the information was unknown and hence had gone unreported. The problems Fernando was experiencing with McLaren (like Monaco 2007) were reported with clarity in news outlets outside of England. A good translating tool and helping hand from Google can provide plenty of verification.

    Of course there are even more eye opening things that are in McLaren's self interest to keep under wraps to their English fan base about the "even handed" treatment that Mr.Dennis was dishing out at the end of that season.

    Now, if you were a friend/acquaintance of mine Mr.Benson, I'd do two things: 1) I'd call you Andrew, 2) I'd advised you to stop digging around and publishing your findings about the real events of the 2007 season.

    My (and others) respect won't pay your bills Andrew (let's pretend were acquaintances since now apparently I'm giving you career advice!), as you can tell by the reaction of the knuckle-typing crowd, questioning the official McLaren-Hamilton version of 2007 is an invitation for the mob to light their torches and burn your effigy.

    P.s. If you insist on telling it like it is (irregardless of national allegiances) my respect for you will grow but don't expect me to help you pay your bills if/when the mob gets you sacked.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm not sure about the stewards decision regarding Shumacher's move

    The rule is very ambiguous,

    Article 40.13 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations states: "If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking."

    The race ends when the cars pass the chequered flag, is the safety car still deployed when it enters the pit lane? This is not the case at any other time during the race.

    Also green flags and lights were shown when the safety car entered the pit lane, As far as I understand it the green flag means the following,

    "A green flag indicates that any previous danger has been attended to. The track is now clear, and drivers may proceed at racing speed and may again overtake. When the race director so directs, this may be displayed during the parade lap or at the beginning of a practice session; in this case all marshals positions will signal green flags. Green flashing lights are used in addition in modern races."

    There seems to be some contradiction. Agree, Disagree?

  • Comment number 59.

    I defintely have a wry smile on my face- Alonso a team player??! The guy started whining about the McLaren's bias towards hamilton and more to the effec that he did not have the favoured driver status which subsequently led to the scandal and him going back to Renault. Once at Renault he continued his grumblings about the car not being competetive and then once he started winning and getting points at the end of the season he reversed his tune. He jumped ship to Ferrari as it offered him access to the best technology, fast car etc etc and knowing that he was the better driver than Massa which would grant him the number one driver status...

    How is any of that being a team player???

  • Comment number 60.

    To say this is sour grapes from Damon Hill is just pathetic. The stewards are vastly more professional than any of those making such comments. The unprofessional thing to do was to let it stand. Schuey knows it too. I saw the wry smile on his face. This is Damon's problem, not his, and he knows it. It was a poke in the eye for Alonso, a little bit of mind games, and a way to sit in the limelight. He's been in racing for 20 years. He is a pro. He knows exactly what he is doing. Who cares about 6th place? They are playing games. Period.

  • Comment number 61.

    Lets also face facts that Monaco remains one of the most boring racing tracks, it just isn't possible to pass under normal racing conditions.

  • Comment number 62.

    It was always my understanding that once the safety car peels off into the pits, there can be no overtaking until the cars have crossed the start/finish line.
    So regardless of the green flags, what Schumacher did was presumably illegal from that perspective alone.
    Can anyone confirm?

  • Comment number 63.

    62. No this is no longer the case. It is now a line just before the pits.

    40.7 All competing cars must then reduce speed and form up in line behind the safety car no more than ten car
    lengths apart.
    UIn order to ensure that drivers reduce speed sufficiently, from the time at which the “SAFETY
    CAR DEPLOYED” message is shown on the timing monitors until the time that each car crosses the first
    safety car line for the first time, drivers must stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU
    U.
    UWUith the following exceptions, Uovertaking isU forbidden until the cars reach the Ufirst safety car lineU after the
    safety car has returned to the pits.

    Also SC boards and waved yellows should remain in place for the duration of the SC deployment. (According to the FIA)

    40.4 When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message "SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED" will be
    displayed on the timing monitors and all marshal's posts will display waved yellow flags and "SC" boards
    for the duration of the intervention.



  • Comment number 64.

    @ U13966531

    Yeh he did take ferrari to the top.

    Of course I'm not denying that the car is 90% of the winning. The driver is the crucial 10%.

    But can you tell me of another driver that could sustain Success, building up from 1996, to eventually winning it in 2000 - to then SUSTAIN that for another 4 seasons continuously, and THEN, after an awful dip in 2005 where Michelin dominated, to Still end up 3rd in the championship, and STILL maintain a championship assault in 2006, after being almost 26 points behind half way through the season?

    Alonso won 2 years on the trot. Did he sustain the relationship with Renault, get the team around him? No, he ran off to Mclaren, who were going to have the best car.

    Did Hakinnen manage to sustain his 2 years of championship winning Newey cars? No, he eventually retired.

    Of course schumacher undoubtedly had the best car in 2001, 2002, and 2004, no denying it. But he also didn't have the dominant car in 96,97,98,99,00,05,06. When he did have the best car, he completely dominated. He carried that Ferrari team for all those years, and they repaid him by signing a deal with Raikonnen and effectively pushing schumacher out, thinking his best years were behind him (and if 2006 Brazil was anything to go by, they clearly weren't)

    thats all my point was - Ferrari's almost complete lack of appreciation seemingly of what he did. I'd like to see Alonso try and be a championship contender every year for the next 9 years. If he does - fair enough, he's as complete as Schumacher. I can't see it happening personally.

  • Comment number 65.

    the decision on schi is wrong the fia should make there rules clear so everyone has the same interpretation of the rules. Also what reason do they have for moving the no overtaking line from the start/finish to the start of the pit lane. If they had left it were it was there would be no confusion.

  • Comment number 66.

    If all of a sudden it's dangerous driving the issue with Schumacher's move, then I found it far more dangerous and worth a penalty when Hamilton and Vettel were racing one another along the pitlane.

  • Comment number 67.

    smilingSpongeMuffin

    I am well aware of the rules government Safety Car deployment.

    If the intention was as per the stewards' adjudication:

    1. The flashing lights on the roof of the safety car should not have been extinguished (they were out a couple of corners in advance of the pit lane entry).
    2. Yellow flags should have continued to be waved by marshals, to indicate that overtaking was not permissible).
    3. "SC" boards should have continued to be displayed by stewards (to indicate that Safety Car conditions contued in force).

    As previously noted, the person who told marshals to wave green flags - which indicate that normal racing conditions apply (including overtaking) - gave clear and unambiguous permission to drivers to overtake as they saw fit.

    Radio messages, between certain pitlane crews and their drivers, are wholly irrelevant; drivers are required to obey signals given by the marshals, as would be the requirement if (say) radio equipment failed for instance.

    It was not a case of one rogue marshal waving a green flag; they were instructed to give the 'all clear' for racing to recommence!


  • Comment number 68.

    Damon, let it go, penalising Schumacher won't give you the '94 title. Terrible decision, if Mercedes were in the wrong it seems to be due to the unclear nature of the laws which is not their fault. It's a ridiculous rule in my opinion. I hope Mercedes win their appeal. Good news is that it looks like Schumacher may be finding his rhythm again, it appears Webber was right about waiting until Monaco and Spain.

    I don't feel that you can criticise Alonso for his crash in practice, he was trying to find the limit of the car before the sessions which affect your race began. It's no good trying to find the limit in qualy and then binning it in the first run because he'd be at the back then anyway with no further understanding of how the car's feeling. I feel he was unlucky that the crash broke the chassis, some get away with it but on this occasion he didn't.

    I've always been of the opinion that Alonso was never treated with the respect he deserved at McLaren, your revelation, Andrew, of what Ron Dennis said to him after the race in 2007 has deepened my belief. My favourite comment on the whole affair came from Montoya when he described Hamilton as "Ron's baby" and it's clear to see why he said this. I remember watching the 2007 race and my recollection was that Alonso never looked like he was pushing to the absolute limit.

  • Comment number 69.

    BAZRAT - the rules state you need to race on two compounds of tires. Therefore you need to change tires at least once. In Monaco, it is so hard to pass, that a good tactic for back markers is to change as soon as, get into clean air, pump in some laps, and take them in the pits. Anyone could have done it, and I am sure Jenson was going to do the same. The SC also helps in this situation, and in Monaco with no margin of error, and the car certain to be on the racing line, that is a guarantee. It was a good call. The rules are for all.

    U13966531 - That is not true. The driver is not separate from the development of the car. At all. They do not just give the car to the driver and say "go on son, what can you do?". They just do not. The relationship between the engineer and driver is the most important one, and the least reported, but the drivers do have a big amount of influence in developing the car. There has never ever been a separation of car and driver. Ever. It is not new. F1 is not even a sport, it is a spectacle. It is not about drivers, but teams, from the engineers, to the mechanics, to the driver. Yes, cars have always been better than others, and the driver is expected to be the one who gets the job done. But even then, some cars are better at certain tracks. To say Schumacher was given his car, like he had no input into it, is to phenomenally misunderstand F1. I know the cars are pretty, and they whizz around a track, but really, it is more complex than that. It really is.

    Mark Adler - In my own private world I am a big fish in a small fish bowl. Here, I am a nobody in an amphitheater of illustrious heavyweights. I was lucky to get into my mate's apartment. I took his berth, and it's been a scream, but really, next time I'll fly. I am the only one here on the water that does not have staff. People think I'm a deck hand. Ah, apart from the wife. It is INTIMIDATING to say the least, but then who gives a hoot. It's a human zoo, and not very relaxing for an old guy like me, parked on a sea of privilege and egotistical pretence. I'm very happy to be here, I am, but it is not my scene. I know nobody here, and in all honesty, I am more than happy with that. I've met some lovely people though, but all on dry land. If I see Eddie, I'll walk the other way. Money buys you many things, but taste is not one them, besides, I've lost my shades, and if you think I'm paying $1000+ to protect my eyes from his shirts, then you have drunk more Bollinger than me. I can't find the dollar store anywhere!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 70.

    I agree the race was clearly interesting but am really disappointed by the rules and stewards leadership once again .
    Firstly MS is penalised for a legitimate move past Alonso . The rules are clear and MS stuck by them what he did was interesting for sport and than stewards decides to strip him for that but than Rubens throws his steering wheel in the middle of road and gets away scot free. Its ridiculous they decided to use ex drivers to be stewards and DH has got it completely wrong . completely dont understand who did something dangerous MS or Rubens

  • Comment number 71.


    Andrew instead of slagging off Alonso to create a story out of nothing, who if that was Jenson or Lewis he'd be the god the best overtaker ever who executed the perfect damage limitation finishing ahead of the guys on similar machinery starting 20 places ahead of him and who made one set last for 78 laps; and who if DC was in his position, DC whom Suzie and rookie Molina almost lapped at the DTM, he would still be stuck behind the first di Grassi and moaning...



  • Comment number 72.

    28. Andrew - got it. Thanks for the clarification, I stand very much corrected. Your blogs are excellent. They get everyone chatting and, to my knowledge, you get way more posts than anyone else. I look out for yours, and yours only. I think many other do too. Are you in town?

  • Comment number 73.


    ...instead of that you could slag McLaren off who are BEHIND FERRARI despite them being so rubbish (as you suggest) and Alonso making mistake after mistake (as you suggest), and despite having the best engine, ECU and duct that thing that gives them 10mph down the straights. And are forgetting things onto radiators on the grid. You could slag off your beloved Jenson the wise head and Monaco king, who if Petrov hadn't crashed and spoiled Sutil's lap as well with it he wouldn't have qualified 11th but 12th. He went back to 11th with his great start mind you. Or even better you could slag off your beloved Lewis, whom you're all doing a damn good job of presenting as Mr cool who offers excitement to the masses. The Monaco specialist, who in his own words HAS THE GUTS which others haven't. Who last year smashed the car Nakajima-style when it was the 2nd best on the grid. And crashed again the year after - and won because of that. And who after being hyped up as the new Senna of Monaco since the days of James Allen has been shown the way fair and square by Alonso and then by Massa, twice. I didn't see you writing any blogs about him when he was making one novice mistake after the other, Monza, Canada, Fuji, China, Bahrain, Silverstone, Brazil, France, the list is endless. No, then either it was his on-the-limit style which makes him a champion or it was the team or he was driving a dog of a car - DANGEROUS according to EJ.




  • Comment number 74.


    You just discovered by your reliable sources (lol) that Lewis wasn't actually robbed by McLaren at Monaco. Soon you'll be telling us that Lewis is hard on his tyres or something. Or that he lied to the stewards, or that he didn't follow the agreement in Hungary, or that McLaren were looking into photocopied Ferrari stuff!! As if we didn't know that he is a spoilt .. who has a whole media circus built around and living off him. Yes, you lot. We couldn't see that Alonso had built 11 seconds, we didn't see that McLaren pitted him early to control a possible SC, we didn't know that Alonso backed off neither that Lewis didn't and got stuck to his backside like a leech, and that Macca came out and protected him as they always do, WE NEEDED ANDREW BENSON'S RELIABLE SOURCE 3 YEARS LATER TO FIND THAT OUT. Blimey.



  • Comment number 75.


    Or you could say something about that exciting spectacle which as you wrote in previous blog is this year's f1 that so justifies BBC's license fee, Alonso's crash and last lap's non-event saved your skin, it's getting worse and worse they even put the SC out for a lap to wake ppl up, everyone was asleep in their sofas by then.



  • Comment number 76.


    Oh and by the way where's your mate Hughes, you him and some other guys are the big brains of motorsport journalism aren't you. What had he written the other week, it read sth like 'why Red Bull won't have it their way at Monaco'. You couldn't even be bothered to think of the small detail that most of their pace comes at qualifying and the way they make their tyres work on 1 lap which is game over in Monaco. Or that the others will lose their speed advantage with the superior horsepower and the ducts. Hughes you were spot on mate, I'd like to have a word with you and congratulate you but you've been hiding, so were you Andrew, absolute legends. How you lot have these jobs I do not know, or in fact I do it's because you say exactly the things people want to hear. So back to Autosport guys for some more tabloid headlines the likes of "BUTTON AND LEWIS THE DREAM TEAM IT'S SENNA-PROST ALL OVER AGAIN". Motorsport News of the World for a target audience of schoolkids.





  • Comment number 77.

    Ha ha ha Button poor race last round and retired at Monaco!!!!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Alonso and Hamilton are "the cream" of the Championship. Hope to see them fighting for the title at the end of the season. Let's hope Ferrari and McLaren do their job...

    Congratulations for the blog.

  • Comment number 79.

    Poor Andrew - how dare you write a post sucking up to Alonso... er no, wait a minute - how dare you write a post criticising Alonso. You just can't win, but keep up your great blogs anyway.
    Re the Schumi penalty, I think post 67 has it spot on, but either way if they think he was wrong to overtake then he should have just lost the place back to 7th. The 20 second penalty really does smack of sour grapes even if it wasn't, especially after the BBC interview with D.Hill.
    Congrats to Mark Webber - I'm really having to eat my words regarding his ability.
    Fortunately Aussies aren't invincible as England just stuffed them in the world cup final - tho' I guess for most that statement is a month or two too early.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m sort of new here and, although not an Alonso fan, I do sympathize with him ever since that madness at McLaren in 2007. I can’t help to feel this way towards anybody who’s just being publicly linched the way he was and, to some extent, he still is.
    The only driver I could honestly say I’ve been a fan of was the great, unique Ayrton Senna.
    I just thought I say this beforehand in view of the partisan attitude, the ‘with me or against me’, Alonso vs Hamilton, etc. that seems to prevail on most circles.

    Now, I find this a very good and interesting article. Not only you depict perfectly the situation and possibly Alonso’s attitude at Ferrari but provide a good analysis of his season so far. I agree that he’s probably pushing the car over its real limit, hence some although not all of his problems. There’s an interesting comment by ‘laughingdevil’ also on this subject.

    Something that I’ve noticed about him this year is his coolness, a sort of calm and confident way in which he seems to go around the problems. He’s always had a sort of dry sense of humour before, even when he was at Renault back at the early years he did appear kind of tense, uptight. But then again after all that he went through these last three years either you come out stronger and wiser or you are finished. And I think that experience is precisely the reason, plus the fact that he’s driving in one of the most coveted seats in F1, of his mental strength and balance. He doesn’t seem to be bothered at all.

    On saturday when he was attending to the press after the news about starting from the pits, you somehow knew by the way he was talking that he’d be finishing on the points today. Such is his belief. He also deals with the press in a much more relaxed and humorous way. I happened to listen to some interviews in italian and he’s great. Even when he’s asked ugly questions. But then again he’s got a lot of enemies among the press, I’m sorry to say that mostly in the british press, and they bring lines such as ‘he gets angry when confronted by the press etc’ when that it’s simply not true. But the general public reads it and… Bingo! Alonso El Ponso rides again.

    Anyway, he’s just three points from the leaders, both driving the best car on the grid, in spite of all his mistakes. His mistakes as he himself acknowledges. You did mention that there are several upgrades coming up at the Ferrari car, well it wouldn’t be surprising that the second half of the season could show us a fascinating fight between Mark and Fernando. I would love to see Lewis in there too. But I wouldn’t include Vettel right now. It’s just a feeling.

    Regards.

  • Comment number 81.

    Alonso team player!!! Hahahahaha. Ask Massa what he thinks of that - ideally after showing him a rerun of being overtaken by Alonso in the pit lane. Ferrari are making themselves look stupid with comments like that. Alonso may have the other qualities referred to, but he is totally self centred and has no concept of team whatsoever.

  • Comment number 82.

    He is 3 points off the top in the standings, calm down...

    Lewis, now, could be a lot higher

  • Comment number 83.

    It's a slight over statement to say that Alonsos sixth place finish today "has put a big dent in his title hopes". He is currently three points off the lead in the drivers championship.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think Schumacher has been a victim of the letter of the law been applied to him in exceptional circumstances. I.e. it seems it IS illegal to overtake on the dash to the flag after a safety car, but the Green Flags that were shown implied the opposite (it should have been yellows all the way to the line if overtaking is not allowed), so what do you expect him to do? I feel an exception could have been made; I guess it's Charlie Whiting's fault as Race Director that the green flags were out, so why has MS been punished? And I say that as a non-Schumacher fan!

    On paper 24th to 6th looks good by Alonso. But really his team made the good early pit call (which they were always going to really), the 1st safety car stopped the front pack getting too far infront before their stops. He made only one good overtake on Di Grassi before the other back-markers surrendered with ease, and he benefitted massively from Barichello holding people up before the first stops. Finally, he should be 7th, not 6th, in my opinion, due to circumstances explained in first paragraph For the second race running he has lucked in to a finishing spot he shouldn't have had.

    Webber was absolutely, as was Kubica (that car shouldn't have been that far up, he was just mega). Vettel was not that impressive considering his team mate's performance, but then he never has been round Monaco. Massa and Hamilton were pretty much stranded in their positions after the stops; no way to overtake, no chance to be overtaken and no real speed advantage between each other.

    Anybody think Virgin should be penalised somehow for both car's apparently retiring with the same loose wheel? Surely it amounts to a similar crime to that of Renault in Hungary last year, even if the wheel didn't detatch completely

  • Comment number 85.

    I continue to maintain that F1 must be the most over-hyped sport in the world. This is nothing against the skill of the drivers, their dedication etc. It is just plain fact that the race often comes down to watching cars go round a circuit at high speed with little else to admire. Often drivers move up in places because a car has got mechanical problems or pit stop lasts longer than expected or someone has a better tyre strategy. This is not to say these don't add an element of surprise but let's face it, very rarely do you get a chance to see a driver's skill at passing because most circuits have very little areas for overtaking. The top 4 positions at Monaco were the same from the end of the first lap until the end of the 78th lap. Think about it, 78 laps with no changes! I could have turned the tv off for a couple of hours turned it back on and not missed anything of significance in the race or title race. It is ridiculous!

  • Comment number 86.

    Great race and great Quali this weekend.

    I thought Kubica was the driver of the weekend.
    Webber and Alonso were also very good.

    I thought the stewards decision on Michael Schumacher was really harsh, the stewards need to clarify these rules better. It reminds me of the confusion we had back in Spa 08, when Hamilton got judged harshly.

    I have to admit it's getting boring seeing Red Bull on pole every week, it would be nice to see someone else on pole. If they continue to dominate/cheat in Quali every weekend they are gonna storm ahead with both championships.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi Andrew,

    Well done for a great article. I think it is very fairly written and it is interesting to hear more of the 'truth' around the McLaren / Alonso saga. Some of the posts are knocking you for being pro-Alonso, but I think your article is intersting as you are stating facts.

    I am an Alonso fan but not to the detriment of other drivers, I just hapen to think he is the best and can see why Ferrarai are so enamoured with him.

    He has made more mistakes than he usually does but as you point out this is becuase he is pushing so hard, trying to take the fight to the Red Bulls. I agree he should have won in Australia and possibly Malaysia if they hadn't qualified so badly. I also think he would have challenged for the win in Monaco today with Wark Webber.

    His crash on Saturday was unfortunate and a mistake but he was heavily punished in that the chassis monocoque was damaged. If it hadn't been for that I think the team would have been able to get him outt for qualifying no problem.

    I think Alonso drives with his head as well as his heart whereas Lewis drives more with his heart, but for me Alosno remains the best all round driver and I would like to see him get more plaudits as he seems to get a lot of criticism from prople which I think is unecessary.

    Thanks to you though Andrew for not just focusing positives on the british drivers which many of the other british journalists seem to do, and thanks for providing us some real insight into what is happening in the paddock.

  • Comment number 88.

    The decision for a penalty on schui is right up there as some of the bad ones in the past. Funny how it was Damon Hill who's the drivers steward for the weekend as well and I thought that the BBC team was just joking with him about giving schui a penalty when interviewing him. Unless Damon or the stewards explain how they come to that conclusion,for me this would really destroy the stewards credibility again after some excellent decisions in the last few races. It was clearly a case of teams not understanding what the proper rules are and the worse that could happen I thought was that the places with Alonso and schui in sixth and seventh would just be reversed but a 20 second penalty is the common sence in the stewards room apparently.

  • Comment number 89.

    how can you say that is not fair the penalty????Is everybody aware about the rules??!?!?The rule is really clear: The rule 40.13, which states that "if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking,"
    There's no discussion!It is completely ilegal

  • Comment number 90.

    i can only see 2 mistakes from alonso, china at the start and monaco practice.

    melbourne he was clipped by button. michael squeezed him(fairly) alonso had no where to go. turned into the corner the only was he could(or hit michael). if anyone made an error it was jenson trying a move that was never ever on. it was a racing incident really and would be harsh to point the finger at jense but if it had to be pointed anywhere than its only in his direction as he was trying a move in right tight into the bend on 2 cars, in the wet. not a chance and was only going to end in tears(sadly for the 2 who were not at fault).

    tho fernando and ferrari have given too many points away. but they are still well in it. which massa isnt, despite massa having no bad luck or incidents out of his control

  • Comment number 91.

    @ 89 how can you say that is not fair the penalty????Is everybody aware about the rules??!?!?The rule is really clear: The rule 40.13, which states that "if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking,"
    There's no discussion!It is completely ilegal
    _____________________________________________________

    So what your saying is if webber had a minor problem with his car but can still manage to roll it over the finish line slowly, all the other cars like vettel wont pass him to win because they know that stewards would award them all 20 second penalties for overtaking?

  • Comment number 92.

    REF 80
    Well said.

    Andrew

    Your analysis on Alonso is pretty spot on, but you're missing one crucial detail - with all the superiority the Red Bulls possess, Alonso is only 3 points behind.
    Unlike Button's superiority this time last year where he was in such a dominating position, Alonso's points difference to the leading Red Bull drivers is negligible. The constructors might very well go to the Red Bulls as the combined forces of Vettel and Webber might be too much for the other teams, but Alonso, even with all the niggling mistakes made, has still collected the points.

    ...and it's important that journalists such as yourself and mark Hughes continue to write impartially about the drivers, especially on Alonso, he has all too often been on the receiving end of the partisan British press since 2007.

    The Schuey incident was cheeky, opportunistic and inspired. But it was wrong. Alonso wasn't caught napping - there was a clear distance between himself and Hamilton during the safety car as I'm sure he was told to hold his position. The punishment, however, was too harsh. I can almost see the Mercedes appeal overturning the 20 second penalty and re-instating Schumacher to 7th.

    What did Luca Di Grassi prove by imitating a drunk driver in front of Alonso for so many laps? Did he really want the TV exposure to show how badly he was driving his car? What he achieved was pointless, irrelevant and dangerous. I'm sure Ferrari won't do him any favours in future. I would be intrigued to know how much his futile gesture at hampering Alonso stopped him from gaining a position over Hamilton when he pitted... to get to 6th place and being in front of the Mercedes after starting from the pit lane is nothing short of remarkable...

  • Comment number 93.

    69. At 9:32pm on 16 May 2010, smilingSpongeMuffin wrote:

    Mark Adler - In my own private world I am a big fish in a small fish bowl. Here, I am a nobody in an amphitheater of illustrious heavyweights. I was lucky to get into my mate's apartment. I took his berth, and it's been a scream, but really, next time I'll fly. I am the only one here on the water that does not have staff. People think I'm a deck hand. Ah, apart from the wife. It is INTIMIDATING to say the least, but then who gives a hoot. It's a human zoo, and not very relaxing for an old guy like me, parked on a sea of privilege and egotistical pretence. I'm very happy to be here, I am, but it is not my scene. I know nobody here, and in all honesty, I am more than happy with that. I've met some lovely people though, but all on dry land. If I see Eddie, I'll walk the other way. Money buys you many things, but taste is not one them, besides, I've lost my shades, and if you think I'm paying $1000+ to protect my eyes from his shirts, then you have drunk more Bollinger than me. I can't find the dollar store anywhere!!!!!!!

    -----------------

    No worries m8. I did not mean it in a horrible way at all. I mean when you described it as a tub it made me laugh in a nice way, because I have been there too but obviously not on race day or weekend. So please do not take offence from that comment of mine, i had only tried to turn it into a joke by saying that you should tell him (Eddie Jordan) to go to spec savers, because he doesn t see things the same way as coulthard and keeps arguing with them on TV. So was referring to it as metaphor. And sorry if you took offence i meant quiet the opposite. And safe paddling back to the UK it s safer than flying to be honest lol

  • Comment number 94.

    @ smilingSpongeMuffin

    Enjoy the rest of the stay and a recommendation Moule Frittes!!

  • Comment number 95.

    @ smilingSpongeMuffin

    btw i do not drink bolinger...

  • Comment number 96.

    Who said F1 was going to be boring in 2010?

    That said, Monaco is never a real 'race'.

    Consider, exiting the first corner the order was: Webber, Vettel, Kubica, Massa

    At the line: Webber, Vettel, Kubica, Massa

    Why not just call the race at Sainte Davote, Lap 1, and let everyone switch off their television sets and go do something less boring instead...?

  • Comment number 97.

    @ 96

    I absolutely agree. I was so looking forward to it but almost fell alsleep because i decided to bring my pillow down on my couch. Monaco is just about the glamour. Drivers just drive there because it is all about money money .... money more money well more than other races thats for sure. It would be exciting if there were more pit stops but no one gambles anymore with a full fuel tank. Did anyone notice that. Fernando stayed on his one set of tyres from near the 1st SC switch...

    Ditch monaco or make the streets wider or Bann all rich people and inv us, we ll make sure we set the sprinklers lose on the track :P

  • Comment number 98.

    Another exellent artical Andrew, i am aghast at the poor reading (or understanding) skills possessed by some of the respondants, maybe you are too subtle for them?
    We saw Alonso make the odd mistake at Mclaren by pushing too hard but the that's something Lewis has been guilty of as well, i think you will allways get these mistakes with the type of driver they are, racers.
    Look how happy Lewis has been just to have a good race even when beaten by his team mate, i think it goes to show he enjoys the racing more than the fight for a title.

  • Comment number 99.

    peanuts that would be completely different circumstances. In fact Alonso asked to his team if he could overtake Hamilton, but Dominicali told him that it was not allowed and he only had to hold his position!Ferrari and Mclaren were completely aware about rules!

  • Comment number 100.

    Andrew, great blog...as always. I for one, don't think in any way you can be proved being biased one way or the other. As a blogger & controller of internet content, it's not your job to sit on the fence anyway! If someone drops the ball, you can't write a blog and say that they were amazing without comment of the incident.

    You even yourself comment on how Lewis has now begun to outshine JB, which for me is a bitter pill swallow as I like Jenson over Lewis.

    As for the rest of the comments on here, or at least the majority. There does appear to be some serious idiocy, and I spent two years posting in poker forums. Over there you'd find 16 year old kids tearing each other apart with IMO's, LOL's and the such! Can this please be addressed here?

    Lewishamiltonforever...you can't expect everyone to read your posts and think 'yeah this guy is right', your not always right and you do make fuss over nothing because you think someone is 'unfair' or 'biased' seriosuly, with the name 'lewishamiltonforever' can you expect anyone to take you seriously as impartial? I very much doubt it..

    And Mark Adler...seriously? you ask now, after 23 races of BBC coverage about DC & EJ? They disagree...and its brilliant! I despise the ITV days of poor hostmanship by Jim Rosenthal with Jardine...it was so boring, the forum BBC gives us now gives you so much more...would you ever have seen Webber doing a backflip into the YACHT swimming pool back on ITV? no! of course not! THe analysis the team gives is second to none and is an optional viewing feature, if you really think the 'credit crunch' is hitting the BBC and it annoys you so much, then don't press red!

    And on that note of the 'credit crunch affecting the BBC' so they have present the forum and coverage from a yaught as you call them...Are you for real? I would expect nothing less than for the coverage to come from a YACHT, Monaco Harbour is where everyone hangs out anyway, what is the problem? Have you not noticed that Jake, DC & EJ stand in the pit lane every race? They don't have a studio week in, week out & that is miles better than sitting them in a box, you want the coverage to come from within the atmosphere of the grid & pit lane...and this week, being Monaco, then you want it from the marina.

    Andrew, once again great blog...I look forward to reading your Turkey preview & the classic race selections!

 

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