WEEKEND OF A CHAMPION: Australia's Daniel Ricciardo may have been robbed of victory at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, but his stock has significantly raised after proving his class.
WEEKEND OF A CHAMPION: Australia's Daniel Ricciardo may have been robbed of victory at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, but his stock has significantly raised after proving his class. Dan Istitene

Motor sport is boring? Not after a weekend like this

THE Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and Nurburgring 24 Hours all on the same weekend.

For armchair motor sport enthusiasts, myself included, a rugged-up spot in front of the television was a happy place to be from last Saturday.  

Modern motor sport is oft criticised for processional races, dull cars and soulless circuits, but last weekend held two fingers up to such negatives as we were treated to some superb racing and good ol' controversy at our most iconic circuits, with plenty of Aussie interest thrown in.   

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Contributed
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Contributed Mark Thompson

I shudder to think how many eyes missed such motor sport treats while drowning in a sea of NRL and AFL coverage across free-to-air and pay TV, but for those avoiding the football (or hand egg, as it should be known), high octane excitement was more accessible than usual.

Blessedly, Channel Ten had the showpiece Monte Carlo F1 race action live (as it does 10 of the 21 Grands Prix this season), the Nurburgring 24 Hours was on free live stream on the internet with excellent commentary in English, while Foxtel subscribers enjoyed the Indy 500 in the early hours of Monday.  

#4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 wins the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours, heading a 1-2-3-4 for the model. Photo: Contributed
#4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 wins the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours, heading a 1-2-3-4 for the model. Photo: Contributed Daimler AG - Global Communicatio

For those watching the F1 qualifying and then race, it was a coming of age for Aussie ace Daniel Ricciardo around the streets of Monaco. He was cruelly robbed of certain victory by a botched pit stop where his Red Bull team didn't have his tyres ready in time, but despite the heartache, the Perth-born racer was sublime to secure pole position in the dry, build a commanding lead in the wet race, then prove faster and fairer than eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton as he tried to wrestle back the lead.   

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after coming second to Lewis Hamilton at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Contributed
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on the podium after coming second to Lewis Hamilton at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Contributed Mark Thompson

Our Dan was inconsolable post-race - Monaco isn't a Grand Prix you want slipping through your fingers - but his incredible performance around the iconic street circuit cemented Ricciardo's place among F1's elite during the most compelling Monaco Grand Prix of recent years.   

Pure motor sport doesn't get much better than 24 hours of endurance racing around the world's most fearsome track: the Nurburgring Nordschleife in central Germany.  

Four Australians took the start line for a memorable full day of racing, watched by 250,000 at the track, with 200 race cars ranging from factory-backed GT3s to fettled Ford Fiesta STs and Hyundai i30s.   

#4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 wins the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours, heading a 1-2-3-4 for the model. Photo: Contributed
#4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 wins the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours, heading a 1-2-3-4 for the model. Photo: Contributed Mercedes-AMG

Dozens of cars crashed during a huge hail and snow storm soon after the race started, making for compelling but painful viewing on the live stream. The excitement continued to the very end, with a Mercedes AMG GT3 - surely one of the most beautiful GT3 cars ever produced - overtaking with a last-lap bump and barge through a corner for victory. The dominant Merc-AMGs secured the top four places in the closest ever finish to the Nurburgring 24 Hours.  

There was final lap drama as well for the 2016 Indy 500 winner, 24-year-old Alexander Rossi, as his Honda ran out of fuel just after crossing the finish line.  

Alexander Rossi wins the 2016 Indy 500. Photo: Contributed
Alexander Rossi wins the 2016 Indy 500. Photo: Contributed Darron Cummings

The 66-1 long-shot rookie was running 33rd and dead last at one point, but a daring fuel strategy saw him take the chequered flag while rivals pitted for fuel. He picked up a cheque for AU$3.52million for winning the 100th staging of the famous oval race, while Australian Will Power followed in tenth place, and Matt Brabham, grandson of F1 legend Jack Brabham, came 22nd on debut.  

Motor sport is boring? Not on epic weekends like this it's not.  

Alexander Rossi wins the 2016 Indy 500. Photo: Contributed
Alexander Rossi wins the 2016 Indy 500. Photo: Contributed


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