Sometimes luck trumps talent with heartbreaking results. Nico Rossberg, the Lucky One, drank champagne Sunday night after winning the Monte Carlo Gran Prix. Lewis Hamilton, the supremely talented F1 driver whom the CEO of F1 called “our only true rock star,” was probably chugging straight shots after losing the Gran Prix because his team blundered, thus handing the victory to Rossberg. Hamilton and Rossberg are fierce rivals… and team mates. There was little celebration in their team’s garage as the mighty Mercedes Benz team snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory for one of their drivers, and did the reverse for his team mate. I am a Rossberg fan, but Hamilton’s stolen victory broke my heart.
To understand what was lost, you have to understand what was on the line. There are three crown jewels in auto racing: Monaco, Le Mans, and Indianapolis. It can be argued that Monaco is the most important as F1 is the premier global series. No matter, to GP drivers its THE race to win. The very very rich, beautiful, and stylish gather in this tiny country (you can walk from one border to the next) to watch the fastest cars and the best drivers careen off its curbs of this street circuit. There are no income taxes in Monaco, so it attracts the very rich. It’s not by coincidence that both Rossberg and Hamilton live in Monaco and consider it their home race. We saw no apartments for sale for less than a couple of million Euros.
Besides its prestige and glamor, Monaco is a driver’s circuit. Monaco is a street circuit in the true sense of the word. Even though its the shortest circuit on the schedule at two miles, drivers hold their breath through much of its narrow, blind, up and down hill twisting streets (used by mere citizens 361 days a year). Even so, drivers average 120 miles per hour over its two miles. Win Monaco and you go into the history books with Fangio, Moss, Clark, Hill and Schumacher. This win is Rossberg’s third victory in a row (the other two were a triumph of talent rather than luck) and Hamilton has one to his credit. He will have to wait for next year to get his second.
My feelings of sympathy for Hamilton didn’t last long. He just signed a three year contract for $45M a year. He won the world championship from Rossberg last year and he will do it again this year, just without a win in the Monaco GP column.
Karen and I spent three days at this vortex of rich, famous, stylish, fast, outlandish, and over-the-top people. It was great, but assuredly from another world. Only on this weekend are the ninety-nine percent allowed to mix with the one-percenters in their home turf. And their home turf is full of equal parts incredibly beautiful homes and restaurants right next to the “what were they thinking?” over the top, butt-ugly-but-covered-in-gold palaces. All of this is in a country three-quarters of a square mile in size crammed onto a mountain side. The effect is stunning.
Here’s what the weekend looked like in pictures.
We are now off to the Alps, although we don’t know where and how. Asked if she wanted to stay another night on the French Riviera, Karen replied, “I’m ready to move on.” And so we will.