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Russell Sheldon
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As has become a tradition, I again stayed with John Button for the Monaco Grand Prix. John has a magnificent house, complete with a Pinanfarina-designed kitchen, built on the side of a cliff in Cap d'Ail, on the border of Monte Carlo, with absolutely stunning views of the French Riviera.


The view from John's balcony


What a view!

John's garage houses an immaculate 1956 Corvette, a replica Repsol Honda CBR1000 and a Ferrari 550 Maranello, the latter being used to ferry me to and from Nice airport, while the Corvette was taken for a spin around the circuit on the Friday afternoon.


John's toys


Taking the Corvette out to play


Oh, and there's also one of Jenson's bicycles in the garage


Yes, the track really is this narrow!

Having friends at both Mercedes and McLaren, I spent my time between the two teams. Mercedes were very upbeat about their chances, with Nico Rosberg having gone third fastest in both the first and second practice sessions. Unfortunately, he had a massive shunt in the third practice session, admitting to having made a 'stupid mistake'. He was extremely lucky not to hit the barrier at the chicane nose first, missing it by mere centimetres before slamming sideways into the barrier at the exit of the chicane. He climbed out okay but the car looked a total write-off. Amazingly, the Mercedes engineers managed to rebuild the car in just a few hours, enabling Rosberg to qualify seventh.


Nico's car was completely rebuilt in 3-hours!

Sergio Perez had an almost identical crash to Rosberg during qualifying, but wasn't quite as lucky. The Sauber slammed sideways into the barrier at the chicane, with the hapless Perez merely a passenger as it bounced over the kerbs and flew through the air, having exited the tunnel at over 300kph.

On Saturday evening we had dinner on a yacht and I was lucky to sit next to Dr Gary Hartstein, the FIA doctor. Gary said that Perez was okay and had regained consciousness quickly, although he had been worried about whether he had injured his arms, by holding his head during the impact. In a situation such as this, the drivers have been instructed to let go of the steering wheel and brace themselves by crossing their arms, like they tell airline passengers to do during the safety demonstration, and precisely as Rosberg did. Perez' crash was reminiscent of the one Jenson had at the same place in 2003, prompting Gary to tell the story about when he assisted Prof Sid Watkins with Jenson's crash. After removing Jenson's helmet, Sid asked Jenson if he was okay. Jenson: "Yes, I'm fine." Sid: "So why don't you get out of the car." Jenson: "If you don't mind, I'll just sit here for a bit." - and he then passed out!

The AMG Mercedes SLS which is Gary's office, is equipped with every piece of medical equipment imaginable to assist in an emergency. It has a bank of monitors, one of which registers an impact of more than 25g's and pinpoints the position on the track where it happened. The moment Perez crashed, driver Alan Van Der Merwe had the car in gear, ready for the signal to get to the crash site.


With the BBC 5Live team: Natalie Pinkham, Jason Swales, myself, Anthony Davidson & David Croft

The race was one of the most exciting Monaco GP's in a long time, with Vettel, Alonso and Jenson hardly ever more than a second apart. McLaren's strategy was to go for two stops, using super-soft tyres twice, the only way they could hope to keep Vettel's Red Bull in sight. But for the two incidents which brought out the safety car, and bizarrely tyres being allowed to be changed when the race was stopped prematurely with five laps left, it could have worked.


Alonso fans en masse!

Lewis Hamilton had a rather eventful race, banging and barging his way through the field, resulting in causing Massa to crash in the tunnel and punting Maldonado into the barriers, incurring two drive-through penalties. In a BBC interview immediately after the event Hamilton described the stewards' decisions to penalise him as a "frickin' joke", and when asked if he had an explanation for why he had received the punishments, sarcastically replied: "Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says. I don't know." It just wasn't funny at the time. What the stewards didn't hear however, when told by McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh to go and apologise, was him mutter "the stewards can kiss my arse…" Fortunately, Lewis calmed down and duly apologised.


What might have been. But Jenson was pleased with 3rd place.


Yeah! It's Monaco, baby!

On the slot car front, if you haven't yet seen it, take a lot at Alberto Mario Ciliberto's amazing replica of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit:-



http://www.maquetamonaco.com.ar/

With kind regards,

Russell
 

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Premium Member
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Thanks for sharing Russell!
 

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A brilliant insight into just how the other half live and go racing! Great report, Russell, and thanks for taking the time to share.
 

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Premium Member
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I hate you Russell


If you ever need someone to carry your bags, take photos for you etc just give me a shout & i will be there in a flash


That for the great topic.

Cheers Paul
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Hi Rusell,
By gum you'r a man blessed with good fortune.
I have always had an ambition to go after I watched Sir Sterling win in 1961 on a black and white telivision!
I have now retired and with luck I shall realise my ambition next year.
Best regards.
BAZZ
 

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Hi again,
before anyone comes up with the .... take SS was in a Lotus 18 not a black and white telly!!!!
BAZZ
 

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Jim Moyes
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I wouldn't put it past him - he could drive anything!
 
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