May 28, 2006

Don't tug on Superman's Cape

Just back from watching the Monaco Grand Prix at my friend's house. Monaco is the only F1 race still held on a street circuit, and it's the worst possible streets - downtown Monaco! Very slow, narrow and twisty with almost no chance to pass. Usually the drivers finish in an approximation of their starting order, barring accidents and mechanical failures. Fernando Alonso's Renault was on pole, followed by Mark Webber's Williams, then Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya in their McLaren's. Where were the Ferrari drivers? At the back of the grid! Felipe Massa crashed before he could qualify. Michael Schumacher, who had the fastest qualifying time, was penalised and sent to the back for deliberately blocking the track to prevent other drivers going faster. Yike!

The race ran largely true to form. Alonso stayed out from in spite of strong pressure from Kimi, who got ahead of Webber by exploiting an error. Both Kimi and Webber were later knocked out of the race by dramatic engine fires though, which let Montoya up into second. Michael Schumacher managed to make his way all the way from 22nd to 5th, so in spite of his frequent ethical lapses you have to admit that he's a talented driver.

The most memorable moment of the race though was David Coulthard's third place finish. Good for him of course and nice to see Red Bull get their first team podium. But unfortunately for David Red Bull was sponsored by Warner Brothers this weekend, who were promoting their upcoming film Superman Returns. This meant that their cars were splashed with the film name, but things went a step further... David's teammate wore a driving suit that bore the Superman crest, and David was required to wear a red Superman cape while he stood on the podium! Poor David had an embarrassed grin, and Alonso and Montoya could barely keep straight faces...

Listening to: You Don't Mess Around with Jim by Jim Croce from Photographs And Memories.

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