Welcome to the Hooniverse Motorsport News. This weekend, a bit of rain showed up in Monaco, youth and exhuberance showed up in Indianapolis, and Charlotte played host to treachery and made for some exciting racing. The Formula 1 circus, and all it’s coattail-riders arrived in the principality of Monaco. IndyCar returned to it’s namesake track for an extraordinarily enjoyable 500 mile race. Not to be outdone, NASCAR executed an additional 100 mile race in the Coca Cola 600. This report is aimed at telling you what you missed, and what you will miss in the near future. This round of Motorsport News will be filled with Gurney flaps, wickerbills, or spoilers…take your pick.
78 laps in Monaco.
500 miles in Indianapolis.
600 miles in Charlotte.
A few for the road…
Monaco Grand Prix
Australian Mark Webber earned the pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix after fastest driver Micheal Schumacher served his 5-place grid penalty. Webber led from the start and maintained his lead, even in the face of an oncoming five-car train at bay in changing weather conditions to garner his second Monaco Grand Prix victor. Not only was this race Webber’s first of the season, but marks the Australian as the sixth different victor of the season. 2012 is starting to look like a unique year.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg started second, and also retained that position, hounding Webber the entire race. Fernando Alonso completed the podium in his resurgent Ferrari and now leads the world championship points standings.
The 2-time champ, Vettel, got himself into contention for at least a podium by using a stellar start to get up to 6th position. Vettel stayed on his Prime tires until lap 45 before switching to the super soft options. Vettel was able to gap the competition when they pitted, emerging from his own stop in 4th position, barely edging Hamilton who lost two positions in his pit sequence.
The forecast had called for rain throughout the race, with many teams babying the tires they started with, hoping to avoid another change to dry weather tires. While the streets remained relatively dry for the majority of the race the final 8 laps bore witness to a sputter of rainfall. The rain brought the top six runners ever closer, with Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Massa right up Webber’s chuff. But as the drizzle regressed, the drivers set about a redoubling of their efforts, and the pace increased. As the race neared it’s close, it seemed like someone would get desperate and make a move. A late race local yellow put the clamps on anyone passing into La Rascasse. Regardless, an exciting race started the weekend off the way we all wanted.
Mark Webber’s victory was not without controversy. Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes have intimated that they are unhappy with holes in the floor in front of the rear wheels of the RB8, and their compliance with the regulations. Other teams that are running such ‘holes’ have been forced to include slots that run out to the edge of the floor to ensure that they are openings, rather than fully enclosed.
In the end, no formal complaint has been lodged, though clarification of the regulations has been requested.
The Indianapolis 500
Dario Franchitti came from the rear of the field to take the win in a dramatic Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Scot traded the final few laps with team-mate Dixon after the pair took over from Tony Kanaan after a late race caution. Kanaan was competitive over the longer runs, but could not remain competitive on the restarts. As the race wound down, Takuma Sato managed to get past Dixon and followed Franchitti before setting him up for a pass on the final lap.
Sato tracked down the inside of Dario’s car in the first corner of the final lap, but drifted below the lower limits of the track and washed up into the outer retaining wall. After the incident, the final lap was run under caution, and Dario Franchitti won his third Indy 500.
While Chevrolet was expected to run away with the event, Honda ended up taking the checkers with Dario’s Ganassi Racing ride. Lotus, without the monetary investment and development schedules of the other two engine suppliers have fallen out of favor with the few teams that were running them. Lotus cars qualified dangerously slowly with only two cars qualifying for the race. Shortly after the green flag flew, however, both Lotus powered competitors were black flagged for running too slowly.
Rubens Barrichello was given the Rookie of the Race award after finishing a relatively high 11th position, considering he had never run an oval race in competition before in his long career.
The Coca Cola World 600
Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 for the third time late on Sunday evening. This was Kahne’s first victory of the season, and his first since joining his Hendrick team.
A few for the road…
Young American Conor Daly (Son of Derek Daly) suffered an incredible shunt during Saturday’s GP3 race in Monaco. While attempting a pass on Suranovich out of the tunnel down the hill into the Nouvelle Chicane, Daly’s wheel contacted the rear of Suranovich’s car and launched him on a wild ride vertically into the retaining fence. Not one corner of the car remained in good condition. We at Hooniverse are glad that Daly walked away relatively unscathed.
See the entire event transpire here.