The Inside Line #56: Streets ahead

TILI Logo PrintThere are other races where the cars are pushed closer to their limits, and (unfortunately) other races that are worth more points. But make no mistake – the Monaco Grand Prix is THE one every Formula One driver wants to win [1]. And this year will be no different, especially for one driver who needs to dig in his heels and take a stand.

As the son of a F1 champion, Nico Rosberg grew up in the streets of the glittering Principality, his school bus taking the route through the tunnel he’ll traverse at much greater speed this weekend. This time last year, the German was the toast of Monaco after his maiden victory in the city streets, 30 years after his dad Keke stood on the famous steps of the royal box to receive his winners’ trophy. A repeat win this year, particularly after what has happened to him in the past nine weeks, would be even more gladly received.

There wasn’t much in it between Rosberg and teammate Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona last time out, but it was enough to hand the Briton the championship lead Rosberg had preserved since Australia. With this year’s championship unofficially a two-tier competition between (a) the Mercedes drivers and (b) everyone else, Rosberg has to break Hamilton’s run of four straight wins as soon as possible, or else he’ll be relying on that (unfortunate) race that’s now worth double points at the end of the season to press his claims for the title. For years, the prestige of Monaco has been proof that not all races are created equal; unfortunately, all races really aren’t equal in the brave new world of Formula One in 2014. That’s another topic for another time … [2]

A Monaco Grand Prix preview is the feature of Episode 56 of ‘The Inside Line’, while we also look at the news coming out of the year’s second pre-season test in Spain last week.

We also pause to reflect the passing of a man for whom the oft-overused term ‘legend’ is appropriate, Sir Jack Brabham. His death this week at the age of 88 brought his career into sharper focus – while I’ve had my say about Sir Jack in many places since (including here), next week’s show will examine more closely why this man is one of the Australia’s great success stories in any endeavor, and a man whose achievements remain criminally underappreciated in this country. [3]

‘The Inside Line’ is on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm on Wednesday May 21, and also on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) at 7.30pm on Thursday May 22.

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[1] Personal favourite bits of any F1 season: (a) the charge up the hill on lap one at Monaco, (b) the fixed camera at the Swimming Pool as the cars slalom their way through the chicane, and (c) the hold-your-breath moment when 22 cars pile into the first corner at Monza on lap one. Other nominations welcomed.

[2] Or a rant that I may have had already.

[3] That I did more interviews for international media on Monday than local outlets is a sad state of affairs, and entirely predictable given the fixation of the Australian media for looking no further than the end of its nose or the latest local news cycle.

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