Tag Archives: Monaco

2017 isn’t like 1965, but Fernando Alonso has a dream…

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A quirk of timing helped Artem Markelov to victory at Monaco

Artem Markelov took a controversial GP2 victory at Monaco last weekend after gaining significant time on his rivals during two Virtual Safety Car periods. His win became the subject of a stewards inquiry but the investigation revealed that Markelov simply got lucky.

Markelov inherited the lead at Monaco when his rivals pitted, and although he might’ve expected to fall back behind them when he made his own pitstop, Markelov held onto first place because he was able to gain the necessary time during two Virtual Safety Car periods. In theory this shouldn’t be possible but Monaco’s layout created a unique situation.

The Virtual Safety Car mandates that drivers must stay above a minimum sector time. When it was used during the GP2 race at Monaco, Artem Markelov happened to be on the tight twisty part of the circuit heading down towards the harbour. This meant he didn’t need to scrub off too much speed because he was on the slowest part of the track anyway. Meanwhile, his main rivals were on the fastest part of the circuit so had to drop a lot more speed.

Additionally, when the Virtual Safety Car period finished, Markelov was on the fastest part of the track so gained the most potential from the restart. His main competition was back on that tight section so didn’t gain the same advantage.

This could only happen at a circuit like Monaco where the slowest sector is ridiculously slow. Markelov got lucky with the timing, and it shows how a Virtual Safety Car (generally much fairer than a conventional Safety Car) can still advantage or disadvantage some drivers.

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FE: A bitter rivalry has emerged in Formula E

Lucas di Grassi and Nelson Piquet Junior are fighting for the inaugural Formula E Championship and with four races to go their rivalry has grown increasingly bitter. Piquet accused di Grassi of blocking him during qualifying at Monaco and since that point the following war of words has played out between the two:

Lucas di Grassi

“The way I approach racing, I don’t complain, I do my job. Nelson has been complaining a lot.”

“I don’t think he (Piquet) is the strongest rival. He has just had a good run in the last few races.”

Nelson Piquet Junior

“We have raced together in many series and I have always been in front of him, there is no comparison.”

“Since we raced together, Lucas has never really fought for a championship before. He has always been close but never there.”

“I’ve won championships in Brazil, national go karts, F3 championships. I’ve won championships in England, British F3, so I think he (di Grassi) is the least of my worries.”

Di Grassi was disqualified from the latest race in Berlin, handing the championship lead to Piquet.

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