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1980 Monaco Grand Prix

Grand Prix de Monaco

Sunday, May 18, 1980
Occasional rain, overcast
Fastest Lap:
Patrese, 1m26.058 (in doubt as it was raining when he set time)
1980 season:

Reutemann a good back-up for Jones

WHEN we left England in a heatwave it was almost inevitable that the other end of Europe would be grey and gloomy, and sure enough it was. By the time the Thursday afternoon timed practice period began the rain was beginning to fall and everyone was slipping and sliding around the streets of Monte Carlo as if on the dodgems at the fair. Even so there was some pretty inspired racing car handling to be seen as drivers gave little squirts of 500 b.h.p. between the corners and up and down the hills. Pironi had got out on the track as soon as possible and set a time of 1 min. 45.053 sec. before conditions deteriorated, and this was never beaten for the fast pace was over two seconds slower before long. The Ligier team were very confident that they had got their car suited to the street circuit, and Pironi was still on air after his good win in the Belgian GP. A lot of the drivers had harmless spins, some keeping going, others stalling their engines and most of them would have been happier with half the horsepower. The Ferrari team were using short wheelbase versions of the T5 with "clipped" aerofoils and while Scheckter was going quite well, Villeneuve was shining and obviously enjoying himself. When he overcooked his braking for Ste. Devote corner and slithered to a stop with the engine stalled he pushed the fire extinguisher button instead of the starter button! He jumped out and ran back to the pits saying to himself "Idiot" and took the spare Ferrari, which was to standard T5 specification. In no time at all the French-Canadian was setting the pace on the wet track and ended up second fastest. The Williams drivers were well to the fore even though they had suffered a lot of "skirt" damage in the morning test session, due to their habit of bouncing over the bevelled kerbs, and Piquet and Daly were well up, though both ended with bent cars. The Brazilian went straight on at a downhill hairpin and crumpled the front of his Brabham which his team-mate emulated and the Irishman clipped a barrier with his right-rear wheel and bent the suspension members. The Brabham was not instantly repairable and Piquet took over the spare car for the rest of the meeting, but the Tyrrell was put back into shape.