Question: how could Lewis Hamilton’s weekend possibly get any worse? Answer: a gearbox change.
The McLaren driver qualified 16th, but will be knocked into 20th spot by the resulting penalty, incurred after his team decided it would be the best approach to putting his wrecked car back together.
The reigning world champion crashed in the first part of qualifying after misjudging the notoriously tight Mirabeau corner and giving the barrier what we can only describe as a right old clout.
After the session he took the blame for the incident immediately, apologising to the team and praising team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for a creditable performance.
His situation provides a curious contrast with last year’s race – when he won a rain-soaked Monaco Grand Prix after an early error led to a puncture and forced his team to redesign his race strategy, transforming it into exactly the right plan for victory.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “We have collectively decided that we have to change the gearbox, because of damage. So he will be starting from the back.”