F1’s record sixth winner is a cause for celebration
There have been many great moments in F1 history on the streets of Monaco. But the 70th running of the event last weekend did not produce many of them.
It did, however, provide a sixth different winner in the first six races of the season – something which has never been seen before in Formula One. Six races into last year’s world championship Sebastian Vettel already had a 58-point lead. Today Fernando Alonso is just three ahead of Vettel and Monaco winner Mark Webber.
Some suggest having so many different winners is bad for the sport. This serves to prove that some people will complain about anything. No doubt these are the same people who moaned last year that Vettel was winning too much. They complain F1 has turned into a lottery where anyone can win. The fact that a pair of two-times world champions are at the sharp end of the points table shows this is not the case.
We look set for a marvellous season. In the coming months we have races at superb tracks like Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza to look forward to. Relish an exciting season with the cream of the world’s drivers battling for victory, and give short shrift to the whingers.
Early tip for Canada
Michael Schumacher has just two points in the championship at the moment. Team mate Nico Rosberg, who finished second at Monaco, has 59.
In this evidence that Schumacher’s comeback has been a failure? No: much of this is down to some truly galling luck on his part. In Australia he was running third when his gearbox failed. He was holding second in China when the team fluffed his pit stop, sending him back onto the track with a loose wheel.
A rear wing problem hampered him during qualifying in Bahrain, leaving him 22nd on the grid, from where he battled to finish tenth in the race. In Spain his problems were of his own doing – and ultimately compromised his race in Monaco. He tangled with Bruno Senna and was handed a five-place grid penalty. Two weeks later, that cost him what would have been the first pole position since his comeback in Canada.
From sixth on the grid, there was little he could do to avoid a tangle with Romain Grosjean. His Mercedes kept running, but he retired for good when his fuel pressure dropped on lap 64. This misfortunate has to end somewhere, and Montreal, scene of the next race, could be the venue. Mercedes are likely to be very strong at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Its long straights should allow them to reap the benefit of the good straight-line speed.
Schumacher’s track record on this circuit is exceptional – he holds the record for most wins in a single race with seven Canadian Grand Prix victories. At this early stage, he’s priced at 15.0 to win again this year, and that’s definitely worth a look.
Franchitti’s Indianapolis 500 triumph
Former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello made his debut in America’s great race, the Indianapolis 500, last weekend. But it was another ex-F1 pilot who almost caused a dramatic upset. Take Sato began the 200th and final lap of the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway bravely trying to wrest the lead from Dario Franchitti.
In a dramatic finish, Sato spun out and crashed while Franchitti clinched his third victory in the great race. This one was all the sweeter, as he had fallen to 33rd and last early in the race having been hit by a rival in the pits. Franchitti’s victory was largely overlooked by the British press. His achievement deserves greater recognition, much as fellow Briton Dan Wheldon’s did when he scored his second Indy 500 win last year. Tragically, Wheldon was killed in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas in October. Franchitti paid tribute to his friend after his win on Sunday.
Keith Collantine is Editor of The Formula One Blog F1 Fanatic.