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GP Week : Issue 12
AT&T WILLIAMSF1 7 8 Renault arrived in Monaco with their junior driver Nelson Piquet under pressure to perform. The weight of expectation lay heavily on his shoulders and he drove all weekend like a man under immense stress, rather than the spirited and assured racer he actually is. Alonso took a set of P7s in practice, while Piquet was 18th and 15th. Qualifying went much the same way, with Piquet 17th and Alonso once again in 7th. After nerfing Heidfeld early on and then picking up a puncture, Alonso was fortunate to finish in 10th. Piquet, meanwhile, was somewhat left out to dry by the team. Clearly struggling on old tyres, they left it until lap 46 to bring him in, by which point the Brazilian had lost time and position. As he fought to recover his race on dry tyres, he hit a damp patch and wound up buried in the barrier at Ste Devote. The team felt frustrated with the end result, but putting all of one’s eggs in the same basket can often result in them landing in your face. Nico Rosberg was on fire in practice. Driving around the streets of the town he calls home, the German took the second fastest overall time of the day, just shy of Hamilton’s practice two best. Nakajima had struggled in the morning, but by the afternoon was far happier and eventually took his car into the top 10. Qualifying was, once again, a mixed bag as Nakajima again failed to make it through to the hugely competitive Q3. He wound up 14th, but Rosberg stuck his Williams 6th on a fine run. The race saw a complete reversal of fortunes. Two collisions in the opening stages did for any chance Rosberg might have had of taken a decent points finish, before a huge one at Swimming Pool ended his race and sent him to hospital for precautionary checks. Nakajima on the other hand drove mature race to take 7th position at what was the team’s 600th Grand Prix. The team thought he should have finished even higher, but a stuck wheel nut at his final stop pushed him down the order. ING RENAULT F1 TEAM 5 6 F1 MONACO >> 33