Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Mixed feelings on Monaco traffic issues 13 May 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren signs autographs for fans in the paddock.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP talks with Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 15 April 2010 (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari with Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 9 May 2010

The majority of drivers are resigned to the fact that getting a clear lap round Monaco, especially during the first qualifying session on Saturday, is going to be like trying to thread a needle at 150 mph now that any talk of splitting Q1 have been set aside because the teams could not agree the best way to accomplish that.

At least six of them - those driving for the three new teams - could be lapping up to six seconds a lap slower, and will thus spend as much time looking in their mirrors for faster cars as they will looking out for the bumps and barriers that lie in wait on a quick lap.

“It’s going to be tricky for all of us,” said McLaren’s Jenson Button yesterday. “Normally, if you’re on a flying lap and hit traffic you try and find space for the next lap, but I just think now you’ve got to keep hammering round, keep on it, because that might be the quickest lap you do. Sure some of us will be angry after Q1, but you’ve just got to do your best.”

As the drivers anticipate problems when all 24 cars are running together in the first qualifying session, Michael Schumacher found himself the subject of some persistent questioning after the traffic jam he caused on his last appearance here in 2006. The seven-time champion was deemed to have deliberately blocked the track by parking his Ferrari broadside across the road in the Rascasse corner in the closing moments of qualifying in 2006, in an attempt to frustrate title rival Fernando Alonso’s efforts to take pole position from him. The plan was successful until the race stewards later ruled that he had behaved in an unsporting manner and sent him to the back of the grid.

Schumacher, fresh from his more promising fourth place in last Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, was not amused, and insisted: “I don’t want to talk about 2006. I want to look to the future.”

“It’s 2010, and that was a long time ago,” Lewis Hamilton said, when asked if Schumacher’s behaviour had diminished his respect for him. “I wasn’t involved then. I think we need to look forward.”

Hamilton was another who did not care for the prospect of finding a clear lap, but brightened when reminded that there had been 26 cars out on the track here in 2006, when he took second fastest time to Frank Pereira in GP2.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, simply shrugged and said: “It was already a problem with traffic here in the days when we only had 20 cars…”

David Tremayne