The Williams’ teams poor performance continues unabated the only “high” spot being that Alex Zanardi, after a catalogue of problems in the previous races, finally finished a race when he was still running. However the Italian’s race was not without problems – a loose seat prevented him from performing as he would have liked.
Qualifying was, unfortunately, as any Williams fan has come to expect, a disappointing affair. You found yourself having to remember to look on the second page of qualifying times before a Williams driver was to be seen.
Ultimately Alex Zanardi out qualified Schumacher for the first time this season. Zanardi putting his car 10th, some six places ahead of his German team-mate. Ralf Schumacher would probably be regretting his move from Jordan were it not for the fact that Damon Hill had qualified even lower down the order than he.
It would be easy to try and lay the blame, at least in part, at the door of the Supertec engine. However Williams old boy Jacques Villeneuve managed a fine 5th. That being the case what hope for the current Williams chassis paired with a new BMW engine?
There was more woe for the team in the race. Both drivers made starts that allowed them to maintain their positions. Damon Hill, having started only 17th, resorted to what can only be described as desperation tactics on lap three. The Jordan driver lunged past Ralf Schumacher for a gap that was never there. Fortunately it was Damon himself that came off worst putting himself out of the race on the spot while Schumacher continued.
Zanardi meanwhile had problems of his own. On lap 14 the Italian, suffering from a loose seat, went off and dropped down the order to 16th, just two places ahead of his team-mate.
Both Williams drivers made up places as other hit various walls around the circuit. By half distance Zanardi was 11th with Schumacher just one place behind in 12th. However 12th in this race was also last…
Having made it up to 10th position Ralf Schumacher completed what has a dreadful weekend for him by crashing out at the Loew hairpin on lap 55. Zanardi however did continue to the end of the race finishing 8th, last and two laps behind the leaders.
Monaco has never been kind to Williams and 1999 was no different – however there are bad weekends and there are terrible weekends, I’ll leave it to the readers to work out which this was.