Minardi's hopes of a successful weekend in Monaco evaporated in the space of a few laps mid-race, precipitated by an ill-timed spin for rookie driver Christijan Albers that had a knock-on effect for much of the field.

The Dutchman was comfortably ahead of the two Jordans which both he and team-mate Patrick Friesacher had out-qualified and, with good reliability finally reaching the two PS05s, it appeared that the Italian minnow may be able to celebrate a double finish, if not maybe the points that Monaco often throws up.

Sadly, however, Albers lost the back of his car at Mirabeau, causing something of a traffic jam as the rest of the field attempted to find a way past the stranded Minardi. The incident, which counted world champion Michael Schumacher amongst its victims after the German broke his front wing on the back of David Coulthard's Red Bull entry, eventually brought out the safety car.

Restarted, Albers recovered his composure and, with the leaders having to conserve their equipment, was one of the fastest drivers on track at the end of the race. In the end, however, the Dutch driver couldn't manage anything better than 14th place, but at least got the PS05 home for its first finish.

"The team told me that I was setting some of the fastest lap, and that was nice - but it's not really helping at all when you're a few laps behind everyone else," Albers sighed.

"During the first few laps, I experienced a problem with the rear of the car when I was braking out of the tunnel, but we were able to solve that a couple of laps later. I was then able to race at a good pace, considering the fuel load, but started losing overall grip, even in the tunnel. Obviously, I had that spin at the hairpin, and I still don't understand what caused it, so we will have to examine that as well.

"Fortunately, I managed to keep the engine running after the spin, and was able to continue, but it was a shame for the other drivers who became involved in the incident. Unfortunately, that is racing, and particularly racing here in Monaco."

For full exclusive pictures of the problems caused by Albers' spin at Mirabeau click here

 

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