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Carbone rained out, but Walker weathers storm

1 January 1901

Fabio Carbone was among the drivers to see his hopes of Monaco success washed away by the rains that hit the Principality before Sunday's Formula One grand prix, but others - including Britain's James Walker - managed to come through the worst of the weather to add to their early season accounts.

Carbone finished 12th after a typically chaotic race, but had impressed earlier in the weekend by occupying provisional pole position for much of Saturday's qualifying session. However, he lost the advantage of starting on the front row after being caught out by a drying track and dropping down the order.

When it came to race day, however, it was wet weather that would catch the 27-year old out.

Carbone started from 13th on the grid - a position from which he naturally hoped to improve - but he was denied the chance to make up early places because the persistent rain caused the race to get underway behind the safety car, meaning that the drivers did not get the chance to overtake into Ste Devote - or, indeed, until much later in the race.

The weather, however, continued to have a major say in the way the race panned out, as a series of incidents and accidents meant that neutralisations were a common feature, and allowing only one overtaking manoeuvre within the entire top ten.

Carbone was one of many to have a small off near the Swimming Pool, but still managed to struggle home in twelfth as the race ended just as it had started - under yellow flags and at its 44-minute time limit - as marshals struggled to clear up a number of crashed cars.

“This whole weekend was an opportunity missed for us really,” the Brazilian admitted afterwards, “We were in a very strong position to qualify on pole during Saturday and, in Monaco especially, that is most of the way to securing the victory, as today's race once again proved.

"Looking on the positive side, though, we know that the car can be competitive and quick on any type of circuit – from the flat-out straights of Monza to the twisty confines of Monaco. It's just a question of stringing everything together to make sure that we have a competitive package all weekend and make the most of it.”

Walker, meanwhile, warmed up for his 'home' race at Silverstone by keeping a cool head in the treacherous conditions and consolidating a solid qualifying effort at one of the toughest street circuits in the world.

Aware that the track was incredibly slippery from the Porsche Supercup race that preceded the World Series event, Walker ended the opening three laps behind the safety car by harrying seventh-placed Guillaume Moreau. Under normal circumstances, he would have tried to attack and go for a pass but knew that, with the conditions, his priority was to 'keep it clean'.

When the safety car came out again at the end of the race, with three cars tangled at Casino Square, Walker was relieved to finish the race unscathed - apart from a slight brush against the wall at the last corner!

“I'm really happy with the result today,” he said, “In fact, it has been a great weekend in Monaco. I think, in retrospect, I could have been even higher up in qualifying but, considering these wet races can be such a lottery, I'm delighted to leave with more points. This result also fires me up for my home event.”


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