Coulthard slams “rubbish” Monaco Grand Prix

3 Comments

David Coulthard waded into the argument over the nature of racing in F1 by branding Sunday’s race “rubbish”.

The two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner, who is now an F1 commentator for the BBC in the UK, said the race was “not Formula One the way I think it should be”.

“I said in commentary that it was rubbish, and I stand by that,” said Coulthard in a column after the race.

“Normally, I’m the first person to defend F1. It is the fastest motorsport, with the best cars and the best drivers. It is a sport that attracts elite people in all areas, whether it’s the media, the catering or anything else.

“But when you have drivers clearly racing way below the pace they are capable of, that’s not right.”

Criticism has been building over the extent to which drivers have to back off to conserve their tires. Coulthard said it had gone to “extreme” lengths in Monaco.

Sebastian Vettel, who finished second, said: “I was a bit surprised by the slow pace in the opening laps”.

“Usually you expect two silver arrows in front of you and there were two buses today going for a cruise – at least in the first couple of laps.”

His team mate Mark Webber said his race consisted of “just driving around, saving the tires and waiting for the checkered flag”.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
Leave a comment

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”