SPY: The Miracle of Monaco

Our very own Spy has the final say on this year's Monaco Grand Prix..

It’s fascinating reading so many reports detailing how dull the Monaco Grand Prix was. Spy didn’t have that problem. Spy found it rather dramatic. Spy, in fact, was reduced to little more than sweat and trainers by 4pm. On the whole, Spy could do with a little more boredom than this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix provided: perhaps a job less stressful beckons – chainsaw juggler, or lion tamer, maybe.

Our recent history in Monaco isn’t the best, so when we got Daniel through his pitstop and back out safely in the lead, there may have been a slight relaxation of the gluteal muscles – though they tightened up to tax audit proportions a few laps later when Daniel started reporting engine problems, things got very twitchy in the garage and stayed that way for the rest of the race. 

Credit to Daniel though, he was the calmest man in Monaco. It's tough to explain quite how much work he had to do to keep the car going. In the past you may have seen video of Nico Rosberg juggling oranges while riding a unicycle. That’s a pretty accurate metaphor for what an F1 driver has to do in the cockpit. In Monaco, it’s more like juggling unicycles while riding an orange – and doing it while frantically adjusting brake balance, shift modes, and ERS deployment… well, I imagine it would have been tougher if we’d set his underpants on fire but otherwise, no, that’s as difficult as it gets. He is, using a phrase popular with our team manager, a double-hard chap*.

Still, well worth it in the end. Spy wasn’t one of the lunatics that jumped in the pool – because, as Daniel pointed out, the crystal-clear water of Wednesday had taken on a distinctly less sparkling tinge after four days of heavy use. Daniel, of course, wasn’t given the option. He wisely decided to dive in rather than suffer the ignominy of being thrown. Clever boy, the latest in a long line of good decisions he made this weekend.

This was race 250** and win 57 – though to Spy this one felt like the first all over again, though mostly because in Shanghai 2009 the car started the race held together with tank tape and good wishes. The difference there was that our sheer, naked terror all the way to the flag was a private thing. Thanks to the miracle of modern comms, everyone knew we had problems this time around – though fortunately Monaco is so unbelievably narrow, Seb couldn’t do anything about it. Daniel could have been driving a tuk-tuk weighed down with heavy flat-pack furniture, and there wouldn’t have been a way through, so long as he hit his braking points, got the car rotated correctly, and didn’t stop at the Rascasse for a pint and/or to menace the DJ into playing something – anything – other than early 1990s EDM.***

The people arguing this isn’t particularly conducive to good racing may have a point – but F1 is a complex beast, and there’s more to it than simply providing a good overtaking opportunity. We don’t race on identikit circuits every week, each grand prix has unique demands: at Monza or Baku, track position isn’t particularly important; in Monaco, it’s everything. Daniel was faster than a greased cheetah on Saturday. He earned the right to drink from the cup of greatness on Sunday afternoon.

Spy just hopes he didn’t drink any of the swimming pool water while he was at it.

*obviously he didn’t say ‘chap’.

**Yes, it was, go away pedants.

***Some people believe you can never have too much of Guru Josh’s Infinity. Spy politely disagrees.