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Monaco will separate the men from the boys

Five races and five different winners from five different constructors. It certainly has been a crazy season that no-one could have foreseen when Formula One touched down in Australia six weeks ago.

Now the worlds most viewed soap opera reconvenes in Monaco, the epitome of the sports DNA. The glitz, the glamour, the sun, the sea, the rich and the famous can all be seen in the world’s most luxurious location.

What we will also find this weekend is a race that will, hopefully, help us find some sort of understanding of the madness that has so far entailed. How can McLaren have been so blisteringly quick in Australia, but struggle over race pace since? How can Red Bull go from a weekend of mediocrity, in China, to one of utter dominance in Bahrain? How can Williams, who had yet to really threaten the big boys, run away with the Spanish Grands Prix?

The season will at some stage settle down into a pattern as the bigger teams afford the more expensive upgrades, that’s the way it works unfortunately, money matters, massively. This weekend though is one of the rare events where a strong car is a help, but not the be all and end all. The great drivers perform around Monaco, the men are separated from the boys. Last season Michael Schumacher averaged around 9th in all his qualifying efforts. In Monaco the 7 time champion achieved his best quail result of 5th.

Tyres will undoubtedly play their part, just as they did last season where Sebastian Vettel scraped home to win by the skin of his teeth on fledgling Pirellis. The Red Bull leads the championship, and a masterful drive could put him in a very handsome position. Vettel, like Hamilton, has decided that consistency is the key to success this season. When the season does settle down and we have consistent fast drivers scoring consistent big points Vettel and Hamilton could be looking good.

Hamilton, the 2008 winner of the race, is perhaps in need of his maiden 2012 win. He has been unlucky, but consistently in the points. However, he needs to accept that consistency is something he lacks, despite a promising start to the season. Hamilton will make mistakes, crash occasionally and make poor errors of judgement, He has done t before and will probably do so again. To combat that he usually produces brilliant drives as well, but they have so far been lacking in regularity since the back end of 2010, and this has cost him. In such a tight season, you would back Lewis to produce more of these drives.

Then the Matador, Fernando Alonso, who despite an ailing car for the first portion of the season, has driven superbly since the first round in Australia including his win in Malaysia. He will be by far the happiest driver, as he awaits the Ferrari team to catch up in terms of raw pace, no-one is scampering away at the front, and after a very good result in Spain the car and the driver could come together in Monaco this weekend. Whenever I make a prediction I am usually wrong, but Alonso would be my bet this weekend.

The Mercedes is still an enigma. Rosberg was superb in China, and Schumacher quick over the first three races. Yet since that maiden win, Rosberg has faltered back into the mid-field, uncompetitive at the front. Schumacher meanwhile looks to have been worn down by his atrocious luck this season thus far. He has shown the pace is still there, and a very good couple of races could catapult him back up the standings.

And dare I say it if Kimi Raikkonen turns up like he has on occasion we could have six different winners from six different constructors. Grosjean has pushed his Lotus tea mate hard, but the Finn has the experience around the Principality. And then Maldonado. The result that no-one ever expected or predicted. Can the Venezuelan do it again? How Williams react after the garage fire?

It makes for a tantalising race. Let’s embrace the madness.








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The Journalist

Writer: Charlie Bennett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday May 24 2012

Time: 10:00AM

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