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  • F1 diary 2012 (part 6): Monaco: Car-Spotting on the Cote d & # 39; Azur

F1 diary 2012 (part 6): Monaco: Car-Spotting on the Cote d & # 39; Azur

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F1 diary 2012 (part 6): Monaco
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M onaco is always worth a trip . If the Grand Prix happens to be a guest in the Principality, then the trip to the Cote d'Azur is particularly worthwhile. Before the Formula 1 race, however, I would have liked to take a few more days of relaxation. After the F1 test drives in Mugello, the Grand Prix in Barcelona and the 24h race at the Nürburgring on the previous weekends, my battery was no longer at full power.

On the hunt for snapshots in the St. Devote curve

But even the journey changed that. With the cozy test car - Opel Astra station wagon - it went off Stuttgart towards the Mediterranean. In Zurich, colleague Roger Benoit was invited by Schweizer Blick, who was allowed to take over the fuel and toll bills as compensation for the chauffeur service. As soon as we were out of the Alps, the sky began to tear open. Five days of sunshine awaited us, which made our work much more pleasant.

Even in my fourth year in Monaco, I still hadn't got used to the crazy schedule. Press day on Wednesday. Free practice on Thursday. Friday free - at least in theory. In practice, I always use the time for my favorite hobby: 'Car-Spotting'. Nowhere else in the world is the density of super sports cars and luxury bodies higher than in the alleys of Monte Carlo. The super-rich especially like to let their toys off the leash for the Grand Prix.

Traditionally, the best place for hunting is the St. Devote curve. Here the street turns up to the casino. And there is practically always a traffic jam. Even the fastest cars only pass here at walking pace and are therefore easy prey for my camera. Already on the home straight the first victim hits me in front of the shotgun. I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have recognized the Koenigsegg Agera without the lettering on the flank. It is very rare to kill such an exotic species in Monaco.

Lotus team solves photo riddles

When my car spotting story is published a week later, however, another model causes the most excitement among the readers. A VIP shuttle with the Genii logo on the door turns out to be a difficult car puzzle. Even a spontaneous Facebook survey does not provide a solution. Only an inquiry with the Lotus team, to which the open-plan station wagon apparently belonged, bringsEnlightenment. It was an electric Metro Cab from the British small series manufacturer Frazer Nash that drove around in front of my nose. You have to come to that first.

After the usual press rounds in the far too narrow paddock in Monaco, Wednesday ends crazy. Pirelli has invited guests to his motorhome for a cooking lesson. Romain Grosjean and Jenson Button sizzled effective dishes under professional guidance at the tire manufacturer. The two pilots will probably no longer be great chefs. At least there were a few unusual pictures for the photographers. The marketing managers didn't want more than that.

Schumacher surprises with best qualifying time

On Thursday, a few Formula 1 cars finally drove on the track. The big action was not yet offered. The training went without any major highlights. But it is well known that Monaco never gets boring. On Friday it suddenly became loud in the principality. Renault sent out a spectacular Alpine study that was in no way inferior to Formula 1 in terms of sound. In contrast, even the Koenigsegg mentioned above looked old.

On Friday evening there was the traditional fashion show with Formula 1 stars, which we always leave to colleagues in the tabloid media. We were more interested in the completely unexpected fastest time by Michael Schumacher in qualifying on Saturday. Only the toughest Schumi fans could really count on that. Unfortunately, the record champion had received a penalty of five starting places at the race in Barcelona two weeks earlier. And so the joy was short-lived. Romain Grosjean sealed the fate of the record world champion with a collision on the way into the first corner.

Back in the deep sleep Heitmat

With Sebastian Vettel it was exactly the other way around. The Heppenheimer only finished tenth in a messed up qualifying, but was able to work his way up to fourth in the race with good tactics. However, Vettel remained powerless against team-mate Webber, Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. The Silver Arrow was actually the fastest car in the race. But once again it became clear that you cannot overtake in Monaco. Even a little rain shower in the final laps didn't mess up the ranking.

As always, we jet back home on Sunday night to be back at our desk in the office on Monday morning. To be honest, I didn't notice much of the trip. In the back seat I only dreamed. For example, from the many stars who streamed into the paddock on Sunday. Among others, Will Smith, Antonio Banderas, George Lucas and the German national soccer team showed up. Or from the wet and happy Red Bull party on the sundeck of the motorhome. Or from the traffic chaos in the much toonarrow streets. I was already looking forward to next year.

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