Polish F1 driver Robert Kubica finished the Grand Prix de Monaco in third place on Sunday 16 May. The first two places were taken by Red Bull teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, netting the Red Bull team a whopping 43 points to take the constructors’ championship lead from incumbent Ferrari. While Kubica trails in the drivers’ championship in sixth place and his Renault team remains in fifth with 65 points, both the driver and the team are exceeding expectations and showing strong progress in the behind-the-scenes race to perfect their racecars and learn to win races with them.
Red Bull lives up to its early promise
The day was decisively won by Red Bull Racing, who has shown extraordinary quickness in practice since the beginning of the season, but has suffered from some mechanical problems in races. Australian driver Mark Webber, the Monaco winner, won for the second week in a row, after starting the season with race results that did not match up to his exceptional practice speeds. For his German teammate Sebastian Vettel, the second place finish in Monaco was his third podium of 2010. Reports indicate that Vettel, a highly competitive driver, has begun resenting the attention that his charismatic teammate has drawn since both men stood on the podium last week in Spain.
Kubica continues to impress as Renault strives to progress
The dry conditions in the Mediterranean resort city resulted in the sort of race that observers dreaded after the Bahrain Grand prix showed the new rules this year could result in processional, defensive races with static standings – and making practice and qualifying positions vitally important. In fact, the top three starters in Sunday’s race were also the top three finishers, and Kubica conceded only one spot to Vettel after raising eyebrows with fast practice runs. The current rules reward drivers’ aggression less than flawless technique, and Kubica’s cool had given him buoyancy in the standings as the team worked to fine-tune their cars and produce results in the qualifying runs.
The 25-year-old Pole continues to draw accolades, helping to rebuild the Renault F1 organisation into a more than credible factor in the racing world. His teammates cite his humility, level-headedness, and pragmatism as strengths – along with excellent racing pace. Team owner Gerard Lopez told the BBC, “He is in a unique position, as a racer, to have a team built around him now and we see it that way. I am proud that the team has regained confidence after the events last year. We are proud again to be Renault and to race with some pride.”
Kubica responded to the enthusiasm around him simply: “I prefer racing to taking”.