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You Would Never Guess How Many Women Named “Monaco Glamour” There Are Out There!

I must confess to already having developed something of a love-hate relationship with the Monaco Grand Prix. Sitting comfortably on the “love” side of the scale, there’s the circuit itself. Is there anything more thrilling that Monaco on-board footage? Is there anything better than this?

No, I mean actually anything better. How can anyone watch that and then not say, “Holy crap! I clearly need to spend every waking moment contemplating this amazing sport, where people actually drive like that on streets that are more like Midtown Manhattan at rush hour than a race track!” The circuit, the challenge it has presented drivers historically and still presents — how could that fail to be compelling?

Ah, but the other side of the scale. Well, that includes…almost everything else. The flaunting of obscene wealth, the prominence given to visits from vapid celebrities who care precisely jack about Formula 1, the…wait, did I mention the obscene, revolting, ostentatious displays of wealth? Not to mention the obscene, revolting, ostentatious displays of Flavio Briatore, who always seems to be around during Monaco GP weekend. There’s absolutely nothing attractive to me about any of that. I’m told I really ought to visit Monaco, because it’s so amazing. Other than the actual racing that takes place there, it’s hard for me to think of a single reason why I’d want to. I don’t even think the weather sounds inviting.

Of course, of course, I realize this makes me both a Philistine and a freak in the eyes of most. And possibly a socialist to boot. I’m at least partly guilty on all charges, I imagine.

All that said, I enjoyed nearly every minute of the race weekend that didn’t involve something terrifying or a photo of a woman with the caption “Monaco glamour,” as though that were her name or her reason for being. On the subject of things that were terrifying, my happiness at Sergio Perez’s relative well-being after an 80-G meeting between his car and the wall at the Nouveau Chicane cannot be overstated. He seems to be feeling more motivated than ever and can’t wait to get back in the car, and my fingers are crossed that he will pass his FIA physical with flying colors and be back in full effect in Montreal.

As for the race itself, those who know me might find this difficult to swallow, but I speak the truth when I say that even I was disappointed at the red flag and subsequent changing of the tires. Yes, I am a Vettel fan — but that’s the thing. I wanted to see what he could do on those geriatric tires he’d been using for more than half the race. I was literally at the edge of my very seat waiting to see this. And even if, in the end, Fernando Alonso were able to overtake him, I knew with every fiber of my being that it would not be easy for him and that people would be saying, “Wow, that was pretty amazing. I can’t believe Vettel defended that position for that long on those tires.”

But no — in the end, everything turned out much differently. I still think Seb accomplished something special, but it wasn’t what it could have been.

Oddly enough, when I first started writing this post, it was almost entirely about what happened with Lewis Hamilton both during and after the race. Now that this much time has passed, it feels like everything worth saying — and a hell of a lot of other crap besides — has already been said. Do I have anything useful to add? Almost certainly not.

Here’s what I keep thinking, though: Lord knows I have a terrible temper. If someone came and stuck a microphone in my face when I was really pissed off and started asking me questions, it curls my hair to think of the kinds of things that might end up recorded for posterity. I suppose the point I want to make is one a lot of other people have made: Cut Lewis Hamilton some slack. Please allow me to direct you to what David Coulthard and Maurice Hamilton have to say about the whole mess, if you haven’t read it already. They address his during-the-race maneuvers and his post-race comments more knowledgeably than I could, especially considering my own perhaps overly simplistic admiration of both aggressive racing and unguarded speech.

After watching video of Hamilton’s moves on Massa and Maldonado roughly a million times, I was still unable to decide who was definitively at fault. Lucky thing I’m not a steward, right? On balance, it’s hard for me not to conclude that Hamilton’s penalties were overly harsh, as I almost always would in such a situation. At the same time, though, I also acknowledge that I’m not out there in a car racing against him, in which case I might feel a bit differently. I just don’t know. I can speak only as a fan — a fan who relishes very aggressive driving, as many fans do. I don’t want Lewis Hamilton to change the kind of racer he is. Luckily, he seems to have no intention of doing that anytime soon, despite all the flak and penalties.

Does racial bias have anything at all to do with how often Lewis Hamilton is penalized by the stewards? I don’t have nearly enough information to even begin to address that question. That being said, it seems a major factor in his frequent penalization might be his particular style of racing, a style that many people at least claim to want to see more of but that is likely to end up in more contact and crashes than others. It’s possible that, with time, he’ll be able to set his anger and frustration aside more effectively in situations like that in Monaco, but I would not want him to change his basic approach for anything.

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