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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Monaco GP talking points: The perfect season continues

Updated: May 31, 2023

After an unexpected week off in the world of F1 we’re back to once again go over all the big talking points in the sport after the Monaco Grand Prix.

What is on the table this week? Read on to find out.

The perfect season can happen

It seems impossible that one team could win every single race in a season, but as Red Bull continue to dominate, the impossible becomes closer to reality.

Yes we’re only six rounds into the season, but so far nobody has gotten close to challenging Red Bull for a win, so why should we doubt they can’t do it?

Of course there are many factors that could change this. Unreliability. Accidents. Weather. So many things that stand in the way of Red Bull achieving the seemingly impossible, particularly as seasons get longer and longer.

But really, right now, can you see any other team challenging them for a win based purely on pace alone? I can’t. So it is a possibility.

And with their sixth consecutive win to start the season, Red Bull has now equalled Mercedes from 2014 with the second most consecutive wins by a team from the opening race of the season.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The record? 11 consecutive wins by McLaren in 1988. That season was the closest we ever got to a perfect season by a team in F1, with only unreliability and an accident stopping McLaren from getting a perfect season that year by only losing one race.

I’m no Red Bull fan. And I also think it’s an impossible task. But let’s be honest here. If Red Bull were to achieve a perfect season, it would maybe be the greatest single feat ever achieved in F1.

Let’s keep on watching to see if the impossible can become possible.

Proof why qualifying doesn’t need changing

Saturday qualifying at Monaco is usually more important than the race itself and it was an epic show that we all witnessed as proof of why.

It also served proof as to why there is absolutely nothing wrong with the qualifying format and why we should stop tweaking the rules every five minutes to try and improve something that doesn’t need improving.

Watching the incredible lap by Esteban Ocon to look like he had stolen the most unlikeliest of poles was amazing.

This was followed by a barnstormer of a lap by Charles Leclerc who then seemingly took his third consecutive home pole position. But that was taken away by an incredible lap by Fernando Alonso who had surely taken his first pole in over a decade. Nope.

Because what next? Maybe the most amazing final sector in the history of the sport as Max Verstappen somehow went from not even starting on the front row to a pole position in the space of seconds. Incredible.

I grew up in an era of F1 where you would watch drivers have 12 laps in an hour to set the best times. While on paper that doesn’t sound exciting to today’s short-attention span viewers of the sport, it always brought some intrigue and excitement as you knew the entire qualifying session was often a chess match filled with strategy.

And while you won’t ever have that return, the perfect timed nature of a perfect lap mixed with the dire need to get a lap in before the time runs out at the death fits both eras perfectly and brings you some amazing driving from the best drivers on the planet.

Just remember to watch this qualifying in the future and remember what it was like when inevitably we’ve got some form of Netflix inspired over reaction to a new qualifying format soon.

F1 shows it’s perhaps not fully transitioned into cricket

Ah. Rain. Finally. We race in it!

For the first time in a while, F1 wasn’t afraid to let their cars race when a bit of water hit the track, and not immediately turn into cricket by bringing the covers out and calling off play.

And what a result! Kind of.

While the actual race result didn’t really change, the ensuing excitement and drama that came from that brief period of rain really made things interesting. The strategy calls, the drivers going off, the overtakes. It was all happening.

And the one thing that shone the most? The skill of the drivers showcasing why they are the best in the world.

Monaco is the hardest track on the calendar when it’s dry. Imagine what it is like when it is wet? The 20 drivers out there showed their supreme abilities and managed it with absolute skill and perfection.

So once again take note of this race, remember it, and hope that this is a bookmark moment moving forward that will allow races to continue, even with a bit of water on the track.

Ocon sends Alpine higher ups a message

In the lead up to the Miami Grand Prix three weeks ago, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi blasted his team for lack of performance so far in the 2023 season.

Across two separate interviews, he used words such as “mediocre”, “bad” and “unacceptable” in describing the season so far and threatened that there “will be consequences” should the team not improve and improve fast.

Fast forward to the next round and what happens? Esteban Ocon puts in one of the performances of the season to secure the team’s first podium since 2021 and really send Rossi a message.

Whether this came off the back from the words from Rossi or Ocon just was on it all weekend perhaps will never be known, but what perfect way to come out against such damming comments than to secure a podium and beat the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari fair and square.

Hopefully for the French team there will be more to come, but in the meantime it was the perfect way to respond.

Hamilton has nothing to lose by going to Ferrari

There were massive rumours in the lead up to Monaco that Lewis Hamilton was set to depart Mercedes after a decade with the team and switch to Ferrari on a whopping $75 million deal.

Now of course reports like this always come about, particularly when one driver isn’t performing as well as they would like at a team and their contract is set to expire. And then the regular denials of such talks come about, the driver is then “really happy” with their current team and a contract renewal is then “incredibly close.”

But what would Hamilton actually lose by switching to the Scuderia?

He isn’t in a position to win a Championship with Mercedes at the moment, probably won’t be for some time and he is of course getting closer to the end of his esteemed career. Why not take a chance to do something more with his legacy?

Ferrari is a team that is in a similar position to Mercedes. It too doesn’t look like winning a Championship anytime soon and although it has two star drivers, could really use the input and boost of such an experienced campaigner as Hamilton.

(Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

And the massive upside to this would be what it does to Hamilton’s reputation and his status among the best ever drivers.

Hamilton has always been in a winning team. He has always been in a winning car. He has never experienced a season where he has been with a team that wasn’t capable of winning races.

Yes, he didn’t win a race last season, but his teammate George Russell did. This season the car is struggling, but it is still consistent enough that it could steal a win somewhere.

And yes, Ferrari are exactly the same, but what would building a team around him like Ferrari do for his overall reputation when it would be arguably a bigger risk than when he left McLaren for Mercedes in 2013?

By moving there, risking his twilight years around a team such as Ferrari and having everything that comes with it, his legacy arguably would be improved. And whether he succeeds or not, there would also be a level of respect he earns over it and the risk he took to get it.

So I say do it Lewis. Change it up, move to Ferrari and give it a crack. You only live once!

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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