David Coulthard column: Monaco Grand Prix was rubbish

By David CoulthardBBC F1 co-commentator

The Monaco Grand Prix was not Formula 1 the way I think it should be.

I said in commentary that it was rubbish, and I stand by that.

Normally, I'm the first person to defend F1. It is the fastest motorsport, with the best cars and the best drivers. It is a sport that attracts elite people in all areas, whether it's the media, the catering or anything else.

But when you have drivers clearly racing way below the pace they are capable of, that's not right.

There are people who say it has been like that for some time now - basically since Pirelli became the tyre supplier in 2011. I hadn't felt it so much until this race because in F1 you've always had to drive to the grip you have. But Monaco was an extreme and that is frustrating to see.

It was an incident-packed race and nearly all the incidents happened because the field was so bunched up.

That is not to take anything away from Nico Rosberg's performance in winning for Mercedes. He was the man who was going to win all weekend. He was supreme. It was a flawless victory and he thoroughly deserved it.

And you've got to feel for his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. He was heading towards making it a one-two and then for whatever reason he lost time coming into the pits during the first safety-car period and that lost him places to the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Vettel and Webber both produced good, sensible strategic drives, doing what they had to do. And there was a supreme bit of skill from Mark to keep his position when Hamilton went down his inside at Rascasse. That was mature driving from both of them.

Elsewhere, however, that was not the case.

Contrast the behaviour of Webber and Hamilton in that incident with the way McLaren's Sergio Perez drove. He was like the man at the Casino - winning, winning, winning, thinking he was invincible, and then it all goes wrong.

On one level, Perez was making great moves. But in his pass on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and attempt to overtake Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus he was taking advantage of people who were fighting for the championship, which Perez isn't.

He wants to show he is a racer but he was taking on those who know they need points at every race to stay in the battle for the championship, so in many ways it wasn't a fair fight.

When he finally collided with Raikkonen, the Lotus was in the middle of the road and carried on moving over to defend. It should have been clear to Perez there was no way through. You can argue that the only way that would have come off was if Raikkonen then moved away like the others did. Perez needed compliant people for the passes to work.

It's the same philosophy Michael Schumacher used to use - Michael would barrel down the inside, effectively saying: "I will pass you or we will crash." More often than not, people would move over. But not everyone races like that.

Perez will get away with it for so long and be the hero but eventually he will come undone - as he did in Monaco because Raikkonen didn't want to play the game.

I don't want to say Perez was wrong, but any one of the overtakes prior to that could have been exactly the same if the other drivers had done what Kimi decided to do.

In Alonso's case, Fernando could have made the chicane, but decided to slightly cut it to avoid hitting Perez. Which is why I think it was harsh to make Alonso give the place back afterwards.

Alonso drove an uncharacteristically meek race. It looked like he was having difficulties with steering lock at the hairpin and that left him vulnerable.

He was defensive all afternoon rather than attacking, which is very unusual for Alonso.

It emerged later that he had two separate car problems that cost him significant amounts of downforce - a plastic bag caught in his front wing for some laps, and some debris lodged under his car for much of the race after the pit stops.

That partially explains his lack of pace. But overall it was a disappointing weekend for Ferrari, who have been very competitive so far this year. But Alonso's playing the long game and overall he's not had a bad start to the season.

You can't say that for Raikkonen's team-mate Romain Grosjean. With the odd exception, it seems he's either anonymous or in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In Monaco, he was very fast but quite often out of control. Four crashes in one weekend is totally unacceptable. We hear Grosjean is on a kind of probationary contract that is reviewed every so often and that the next review date is coming up.

I don't want to beat up on the kid because he is clearly a nice guy and he has good speed, but he is having too many incidents for it to be always someone else's fault or always unlucky.

Having good speed is not enough. You have to be able to harness that speed.

Through the history of the sport there have always been guys who 'could have, would have, should have' and had everything potentially there but weren't able to bring it all together.

Unless he can find the right balance between speed and caution, Grosjean is heading that way too.