Monaco is always an odd place to race, but this year was stranger than most: with seemingly all of the F1 action happening in small rooms out of the gaze of the public it felt as though GP2 was left to provide the action on track, to give everyone that had actually come to the Principality some racing to watch.
Not that there were a lot of people there to watch: with the recession biting hard across Europe it was clear that most of the usual Monaco types had decided to save some money and stay at home: the harbour was notably clear of large yachts, while the grandstands around the circuit seemed almost empty. The actual race fans who had made the pilgrimage were almost all up on the cliff overlooking the town.
Or else they had snuck into the pitlane. The local marshals spent all of their time waving their hands and blowing their whistles at everyone as they tried to move the herd and make a path for the teams to actually bring the cars in and get to work.
Unfortunately they were so busy directing everyone else that they weren't paying any attention to where they were walking themselves: as Durango free wheeled down the hill and into the pitlane one of the marshals blithely walked across the lane right in front of them, blowing his whistle as he went.
Adamo Reggiani, their data engineer, was sitting on the sidepod and yelled out to no avail, and when the mechanic steering the car had to jink left Adamo was sent flying. Gallingly the marshal failed to notice that he had just avoided serious injury but instead blew his whistle and waved as we moved to help the poor engineer back to his feet.
But it didn't take long for everyone to settle down to their jobs: Monaco can throw up distractions, and Marco Codello was keen to get straight up to the safety car and be ready to go, as a delay watching the swarm around the stricken Grosjean car the day before meant that the only thing saving his blushes was that his driver Bernd Maylander and a number of the FIA officials were all watching the same thing until they realised the time just before they had to be out.
While the feature race worked out brilliantly for Romain after the initial problems in the pitlane, the sprint race was the complete opposite for him after his nasty incident after the chicane with Andi Zuber left the Frenchman in need of a new tub before the Istanbul weekend in two weeks time.
Needless to say he was more than a little annoyed, as anyone who saw him walking back to the pits after climbing out from his stranded car could tell, but it didn't take long for the adrenalin to wear off and his mood to change completely.
“It was the scare of my life, for sure,” he noted wistfully after he returned to the paddock. Worse was to become apparent though: a hole was punched through the bottom of the tub when he struck the barrier, which pushed the pedals and debris straight up and into his feet.
“The bottom of my feet are completely bruised, and they hurt a lot: I won't be able to go for a run for a while, for sure.” Even worse was to come though: he soon realised that he wouldn't be able to take up the offer of free tickets to a local nightclub that had been left for him in the truck...
“Where is the best place for tequila around here, David?” Karun Chandhok laughed good naturedly over in the ORT truck. The Indian driver was remarkably stoic after losing a certain historic victory in the Principality.
I had learnt over the weekend that, should you wish for whatever reason to blend in with the background, a kilt is not the item of clothing to wear. Particularly in Monaco. And Alvaro Parente, who had his own reasons to be disappointed after a slow leaking tyre stopped his race, was a perfect example of that.
“What's with the short skirt? Hey, nice skirt. You okay there with that skirt?” he laughed while I was trying to get a few words with his teammate, who obviously joined in immediately. “Yeah, it is a bit short there...”
“It's not short,” I sighed before going on the offensive. “This is short...”
“Whoa, don't pull that up!” they squealed in tandem.
“Hey, you're just jealous of my legs...”
And their silence was obviously a sign that they agreed. After all, my Mum always told me I've got good legs, and she wouldn't lie to me, would she?