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Monaco Grand Prix - race 
25th-May-2008 07:36 am
Highlight of qualifying: DC wiped out in the tunnel, ripping the tyre off his Red Bull - he has a 5 spot penalty because the team had to replace the gearbox as part of rebuilding his car
SV & GF got the same penalty for the same reason

Grid: FM, KR, LH, HK, RK, NR, FA, JT, MW, (DC*) TG, JB, NH, KN, RB, DC, SB, NP, (SV*) AS, GF*, SV

It's looking like rain is on the cards for today's race.

Looks like there's a problem with the official timing - it just says "Please Wait" with only 3 mins before the start

FIA report rain expected for first 20 mins of the race

Race notes:
Looks like most of the drivers are starting on intermediate tyres
FM leads the grid away but HK is stuck in his grid spot (P4)
HK is pushed away - he'll have to start from the pit lane, at the very back of the grid
Official timing is up
Looks like they've got HK's McLaren started
FM takes up P1 and the rest of the drivers form up behind him

01/78: NH passes KR to take P2 before Turn 1
HK exits the pits behind GF
NR taps the rear of FA in the hairpin

02: Order is FM, LH, KR, RK, FA, NR, JT, TG
JB pits after contact with NH - new nose cone

03: Fastest lap FM 1:37.079, although LH was fastest in sectors 1 & 3

04: f/lap FM 1:35.484
f/lap LH 1:35.440
NR pits for new nose cone
Looks like TG has lost his front wing

05/78: f/lap FM 1:34.600
TG pits for a new nose cone - replay shows he spun in the final corner of the previous lap
TG now on extreme wet tyres

06: Still raining quite heavily
LH hits the armco barrier and he's punctured the right rear tyre!

07: LH pits from P2 - he's staying on intermediate tyres - there's a lot of water on track so is that a good idea?
LH rejoins behind FA

08: RK is all over the rear of KR - can he try to take P2?
FA has a rear right puncture - suspension damage too
DC loses the back end, hits the wall, then gets rear-ended by SB!
Safety Car deployed

09[SC]: FA pits - team check the suspension and give the thumbs up - goes to extreme wets
Were the lights green when FA exited the pit lane?

10/78[SC]: FM, KR, RK, LH, NH, NW, FA, KN
JB pits
KR is under investigation by the stewards (why?)
SC in at the end of this lap

11: SC in
KR given drive through penalty because tyres not fully fitted 3 minutes before the race start
FM opening a gap already ... or is KR holding RK back?

12: FA passes MW for P6

13: FA takes a look at NH at the same place - Mirabeau - he's got a lot more grip with those full wet tyres

14: KR enters the pits for his penalty - rejoins behind LH
FA tries to pass NH in the hairpin and inevitably hits him, spins NH
NH drives over FA's front wing to continue
Lots of cars queue behind the incident
HK clips someone nose - NR?

15: FA pits for new nose
NR pits too

16: FM too hot into Ste Devote - takes to the run off area - spins to rejoin
RK has passed FM to take P1

17: RK already has a 2.5sec lead over FM
MW takes P5 from NH
AS passes NH too

18: RB passes NH before the swimming pool
Looks like the rain has eased up

19: f/lap RK 1:34.529
Team tell NH he had a puncture so, having pitted, he can push again

20/78: RK, FM, LH, KR, MW, AS, JT, RB; retirements SB, DC
f/lap RK 1:35.239
f/lap FM 1:34.002
f/lap NR (P17) 1:33.273

21: f/lap NR 1:33.244

22: f/lap RK 1:33.218
A dry line is forming - FA will have to pit earlier than those on the intermediate tyres

23: f/lap 1:32.968
f/lap FM 1:32.703

24: f/lap RK 1:32.311
f/lap FM 1:32.163
RK has a 1.7s lead over FM, who in turn has a 13.3s lead over LH
HK passes NP for P10; SV follows HK past NP

25/78: f/lap RK 1:31.805
f/lap FM 1:31.749

26: f/lap RK 1:31.156

27: RK pits from P1 - first of the scheduled 2-stops - another set of intermediate tyres - rejoins behind KR
KR runs wide in T1 - he's broken the front wing and handed P3 to RK

28: f/lap FM 1:30.809
KR pits from P4 - new nose cone - problem securing it - 16sec stop - is he fuelled to the finish?
Big twitch for KR as he exits the pit lane

29: f/lap FM 1:30.749
Mike Gascoyne (CTO @ Force India) says GF has lost 1st and 2nd gears so his pit stop could be a problem
Also says he expects more rain before the end of the race

30/78: FM, LH, RK, MW, AS, KR, JT, RB

31: JT leads a train of RB, KN & HK (P7-P10) through the tunnel

32: f/lap LH 1:30.553
f/lap MW 1:30.388

33: f/lap FM 1:30.096
FM has a 16.6s lead over LH
Ferrari get ready for a pit stop
f/lap MW 1:29.880

34: FM pits from P1 - more intermediates - rejoins just ahead of RK
f/lap MW 1:29.535 - he's the only one under 1:30

35/78: LH, FM, RK, MW, AS, KR, JT, RB; retirements SB, DC
f/lap LH 1:29.420
HK pits from P10 - stays on inters - rejoins in P15

36: HK runs wide in Mirabeau but recovers OK

37: LH has 14.9s lead over FM who has RK just 1.5s behind him
f/lap MW 1:29.368
f/lap AS 1:29.292 - Force India are fastest!

38: f/lap MW 1:29.055
f/lap AS 1:29.043
JT pits

39: f/lap LH 1:28.691
FIA say rain expected in ~15mins
TG spins, smacks the barrier with his rear end - spins to rejoin but nearly collects HK

40/78: GF parks the Force India
TG pits - is the rear wing damage terminal?
f/lap RB 1:28.471

41: f/lap LH 1:28.065
LH's lead now 18.0s over FM
FA moves off-line to let MW lap him

42: f/lap LH 1:27.385 - building a good lead - do McLaren think FM doesn't need to pit again?
f/lap RB 1:27.168

43: When LH pits, will he stay on inters given rain is expected shortly? The track is dry now but for how long?
NR rides FM's tail as JB moves over for blue flags and loses P11 - clever move by NR

44: f/lap RB 1:26.978
f/lap MW 1:26.921

45/78: f/lap MW 1:26.727
LH has 25.3s lead over FM
Team ask FA what he thinks about going to dry tyres - he says it's very wet off line, so no

46: FIA say rain expected in 6 mins
NR all over the tail of NP
FA pits - dry tyres - did they convince him or ignore what he wanted?

47: f/lap LH 1:26.546

48: NR takes P10 from NP in the tunnel
f/lap RK 1:26.371
NP pits - dry tyres

49: FA slides through the chicane - are dry tyres a good idea?
LH now has a 32.0s lead
MW pits from P4 - dry tyres, even after seeing FA struggle - hmmmm
f/lap NR 1:25.744

50: NP in the barriers at T1 - dry tyres didn't work for him
f/lap NR 1:25.255
JB pits - dry tyres too

51: RK is right on the rear wing of FM, pushing for P2
HK pits from P11 - will McLaren go with dry or intermediate tyres? They've sent him out on the harder dry tyre, presumably to test them out for LH

52: LH moving off line to find some water to cool his tyres - he'll have to pit soon - where's the rain?

53: ITV give LH the kiss of death, saying he's got the race sewn up

54: NK & SV pit together from P7 & P8
f/lap FA 1:24.767
RK pits from P3 - dry tyres
AS pits from P4 - his first stop - dry tyres too
Looks like the teams have decided there won't be another shower
AS passed by KR as he exits the pits

55/78: LH pits from P1 - dry tyres
HK taps JB and causes him to spin

56: LH, FM, RK, KR, AS, MW, RB, SV
LH has a 15.4s lead after his pit stop
f/lap KN(!) 1:24.745
f/lap HK 1:24.203
Ferrari ready - both cars are still on wets

57: FM pits from P2 - slithers out of the pits - RK passes him before T1
f/lap KN 1:24.022
f/lap HK 1:22.648 - wow, that's a lot quicker!

58/78: f/lap NR 1:22.407
KR pits from P4 - dry tyres now the obvious choice
f/lap HK 1:21.224

59: LH's lead opened up to 39.3s over RK who has FM 5.4s behind
f/lap HK 1:20.801

60/78: LH, RK, FM, AS, KR, MW, SV, RB; retirements SB, DC, GF, NP
f/lap HK 1:20.252 - that's 2secs faster than teammate LH

61: forecast is the race will end at the 2hour limit around lap 75

62: Big accident for NR - debris all over the track
Safety Car deployed
Cars crawling through the accident scene - touching any of that carbon fibre could cause a puncture
NR is out of the car

63[SC]: LH's lead is disappearing as RK and the rest of the pack close up behind the Safety Car
NH pits
NR's Williams is lifted away
Replay shows he ran slightly wide in the Swimming Pool, over the marbles, into a wall, across the track, into the opposite wall

64[SC]: Doctors are checking NR over but he seems OK

65/78[SC]: LH, RK, FM, AS, KR, MW, SV, RB
Lapped cars are allowed to pass the SC and rejoin the back of the procession
Some cars not passing the SC (e.g. NH, HK) - their teams need to tell them to do it and get out of the way of the front runners for when we restart

66[SC]: HK has finally passed the SC

67[SC]: NH wakes up at last and passes the SC too - can we restart now?
SC in at the end of this lap

68: LH takes the green flag for the restart
KR already looking to pass AS for P4
KR locks up out of the tunnel - smacks the rear of AS - d'oh!

69: AS and KR pit - KR gets a new nose but AS has damage to the rear diffuser
The Force India team are distraught - their car has been taken out by KR

70/78: f/lap LH 1:19.992

71: f/lap LH 1:19.006
LH has opened a 3.4s lead over RK
f/lap HK 1:18.897

72: f/lap LH 1:18.510
AS is being consoled at the back of the Force India garage
f/lap HK 1:18.008
5 minutes left of the race

73: LH pushing hard - he's got a 4.1s lead so he could back off a little, but then there's the danger of a mistake
f/lap HK 1:17.589
f/lap KR 1:17.516

74: 3mins left so 3 laps left
f/lap KR (P9) 1:17.033

75: LH, RK, FM, MW, SV, RB, KN, HK; retirements SB, DC, GF, NP, NR, AS
f/lap KR 1:16.689

76: KR is closing on HK but the gap is still over 2.5s
Clock hits zero

LH crosses the line to take the chequered flag - very animated as he passes the team
P2=RK, 3=FM, 4=MW, 5=SV, 6=RB, 7=KN, 8=HK
9=KR, 10=FA (+1 lap), 11=JB, 12=TG, 13=JT, 14=NH

Post-race: LH is clearly very happy at this victory
FM looks less than impressed - ha!

LH: First Englishman to win Monaco since Graham Hill in 1969; team did a fantastic job; "the important thing was to keep it on the track" :) Lost the big gap because of the safety car; could have stayed on intermediates longer
RK: running behind KR, couldn't see anything; "a lot of miracles" to finish race; good performance
FM: couldn't stop the car when he braked on the pit exit line; lost pit-car radio for ~20 laps; strategy was working well; changing to 1-stop was a mistake; took too long to decide on tyre change; expected to win
LH: highlight of career

Next race: Canada, June 6-8
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