Lewis Hamilton last night suggested that the colour of his skin may have had something to do with his latest run-in with the authorities.
Frustrated by how events had unfolded for him in qualifying, and then in a race in which he received a drive-through penalty and a 20 second penalty to his race time, Hamilton was unable to contain himself afterwards. "It's an absolute frickin' joke," he told the BBC. "I've been to see the stewards five times out of six this season." Asked why that was the case, he said, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, "Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says."
Explaining his race further, he added: "Massa held me up in qualifying, I got the penalty. He turned in to me during the race, I got the penalty. These drivers are ridiculous. It's stupid.
"People want to see racing," he added. "But you get done trying to put on a show, trying to make a move. Fair play, if I feel I've gone too late I'd hold my hand up to admit I've caused an incident. But it's not the case." It remains to be seen how his comments go down with the FIA. The big question here last night was who would have won, had the safety car not intervened in the final stages of the race.
Sebastian Vettel, who did win, for the 14th time in his career, had no doubt that he would have. "If there hadn't been the first safety car, it would have been difficult to beat Jenson [Button] because he was so far ahead," Vettel said. "But there was a safety car. In the closing stages two cars were really pushing me, then I saw this big group of cars that we had to overtake. Then one of them ended in the wall – I overtook a wheel rim on the right-hand side. It was extremely difficult, a big chance for the guys behind to make a move. Then there were two more cars in the wall, and I was very close to losing my front wing. It was a big mess.
"But despite all that I was feeling pretty confident. I thought I had another six laps at least in my tyres. It would have been close, and my rears were not getting better, but neither were theirs. It depended on how much risk Fernando prepared to take..."
Alongside him, the Spaniard smiled his darkest Dick Dastardly smile. This was, after all, the man that Lewis Hamilton describes as the most fearsome opponent out on the track.
"One hundred per cent I was ready to try," he said. "He was having problems with his tyres over the last 10 laps, and that was our time to attack, but the last 10 laps didn't come after the safety car. It's difficult here, there's not much space. So 50 per cent maybe you overtake, 50 per cent you crash. He's leading the world championship, so he has more to lose... So, yes, I was ready to overtake, and if we crash, then we crash."
"We didn't put a wheel wrong, but this is Monaco and these things happen here," a rueful Button said. "It was good fun, closing Fernando down. When you're third it's hard, but it was fun to watch and I was waiting for Fernando to make his move and to see if it ended in the barriers. I was ready for that.
"I really don't know if I would have won, there's no point in saying yes or no as we didn't win today and Sebastian did. It looked very good for us for a while, but that's the way Monaco is. It's safer to go for fewer stops, but it's Monaco and we had to take some risks."