Nico Rosberg has led the Monaco Grand Prix from start to finish to take a perfect win at the most prestigious race of the season. The Red Bull drivers complete the podium after an eventful race that saw many drivers eliminated.
Monaco is hotter today than it has been throughout the practice sessions, with the track reaching 41°C under the sunny sky. Degradation will therefore likely be higher and people may have to switch to two stoppers rather than the planned single stop strategies that were expected.
As the lights went out, Rosberg easily kept his lead, followed by Hamilton who managed to fend off Vettel. The latter tried to dive into the inside of the Mercedes at St. Devote but failed to produce enough traction out of the corner to get ahead. Behind them, positions at the front remains the same.
Button however managed to get past Sutil, but at the hairpin Sutil tried to get on the inside. Button however kept his line and cut off part of the front wing of the Force India. Sutil however kept running as the damage appeared only minor.
Further back the field, Maldonado and van der Garde touched and both broke off parts of their cars. Both drivers returned to the pitlane for a new front wing and got back on track at the back of the pack. Maldonado's return however is quite impressive as the clear track allows him to set fastest lap a few times, indicating that the Mercedes cars at the front of the field are not going that fast.
By lap 9, Alonso is slowly losing touch with the cars ahead while Sergio Perez has closed up on the Ferrari, reducing the gap down to less than half a second. At about the same time, Webber is also asked to drop back a little as tyre wear is higher when you're immediately behind another car.
On lap 10, Button passes his team mate and takes over the challenge of putting Alonso under pressure.
On lap 23 Ricciardo is the first to stop, taking on a new set of super soft tyres. Up until that time, nobody really stopped or gained any positions. At the front, the gaps have widened slightly, with approximately 2 seconds between each car from 1st to 8th.
One lap later Maldonado attempts to pass Chilton but is cut off at the chicane. Chilton however pitted at the end of that lap, handing the position to the Williams driver anyway.
From the guys at the front, Alonso is driving a somewhat strange first part as initially he dropped back up to 5 seconds on Raikkonen, but by lap 20 he's upping the pace again and lapping faster than the leader.
In lap 25, Webber pits and changes to softs. One lap later, Raikkonen does the same thing while Massa is continuing on the super softs.
In lap 28 Rosberg posts the fastest lap while Alonso pits to change to Soft tyres. He rejoins the track just behind Raikkonen and ahead of Button.
In lap 31, Massa goes off and crashed in St. Devote, an identical crash to what he had in FP3. Again, he locked up the front wheels, went straight into the outside barrier even before the turn in point. It took more than half a minute, but eventually the safety car was brought in on track. Vettel had just pitted before that, so he was the first to slot in behind. Both Mercedes cars immediately pitted as well.
All cars are then allowed to pass the SC until the leader catches up, which is Rosberg. He met the safety car at La Piscine. Hamilton however had to back off a little bit to give the pitcrew time to change Rosberg's tyres, and as a result he dropped back 2 places, losing out to Vettel and Webber.
Only on lap 39 the safety car is out of the way and racing can recommence. Positions at the restart remained the same: ROS VET WEB HAM RAI ALO BUT PER SUT VER DIR HUL RIC GRO BOT CHI GUT MAL BIA VDG.
Hamilton is threatening behind Webber and Alonso makes a few attempts to get past Raikkonen. Hamilton even threw his car on the inside of Webber at Rascasse, but with Webber having the smoother line, he managed to get back on the power.
Alonso meanwhile tried a few times to keep the outside through the hairpin until Button stuck his nose into the first, bumping into Alonso's left rear tyre. No damage was done to neither car, but Button did lose his place to Perez at the chicane where the latter locked up both front wheels but managed to make a clean pass nonetheless.
On lap 44 Perez tries a similar overtaking attempt on Alonso, but as the Spaniard turned in he cut the first part of the chicane, having no room to make the turn with Perez aside. The Spaniard is told half a lap later by Andrea Stella that the move was ok as it can be considered as an avoidance of a collision.
On lap 46, Chilton moves to the middle of the track while accelerating out of the chicane. Maldonado gets alongside on the outside, but then somehow Chilton moves back, pushing Maldonado into the barriers. There was really nothing the Venezuelan could do but to brace himself for the impact. As he hit the tecpro barrier, the entire string moved and cut off the track, requiring a red flag immediately.
The Marussia of Bianchi who was just behind hit the moving barrier and broke his front wing.
20 minutes later, the race is restarted behind the safety car. A ruling by the FIA also required Alonso to give a place up to Perez still behind the safety car, so ahead of the restart of racing. With the racing back on, there's 31 laps to go.
Sutil meanwhile is showing the cars in front how to make an overtake stick. By lap 59 he managed to get past Button and Alonso on the inside of the Loews hairpin.
In lap 61 Bianchi is out of the race as his brakes failed on the approach to St. Devote. He still managed to slow down the car considerably and hence make it a fairly soft touch with the barriers.
Interestingly, at the restart, all cars in the top 10 fitted supersoft tyres, except for Raikkonen.
On lap 63 Grosjean completely misses his braking into the chicane. He went straight into the back of Ricciardo, forcing both go to straight on. Ricciardo's rear wing was of course broken, so end of race for him but Grosjean got his car back to the pits for a new front wing. The debris on track triggers another safety car.
Gutierrez and Chilton make use of that to get to the pits for new supersoft tyres. Grosjean is also back in the pits one lap later to retire.
On lap 67 the racing is back on without position changes it seems. Raikkonen however is informed that his Renault engine is losing water because it's too hot.
2 laps later Perez attempts a pass on Raikkonen but fails. Raikkonen simply had enough of Perez trying to overtake out of the tunnel. The Finn moved to the left and cut off the corner. They both consequently cut off the chicane, but a deflating tyre on Raikkonen's car soon saw him back in the pits. By then he had held up the pack behind him considerably, with Alonso losing a position to Button at Rascasse, caught out by the slowly moving pack.
By lap 73 the top 4 is still close together while Perez is holding everybody up. He also cut the chicane and at Rascasse lost control of his car, allowing Sutil to pass easily. He got back on the racing line aside of Button but eventually realised something was broken on his car, parking on a service area just ahead of the Anthony Noghes turn.
3 laps from the end, this means Rosberg leads, ahead of Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Sutil, Button, Alonso and Vergne. The Ferrari is however struggling badly to keep the Toro Rosso behind, confirming Ferrari's poor showing here in Monaco, in stark contrast to what Mercedes and Red Bull are displaying at the principality.
|1||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||78||Winner||1||25|
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||78||+3.8 secs||3||18|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||78||+6.3 secs||4||15|
|4||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||78||+13.8 secs||2||12|
|5||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||78||+21.4 secs||8||10|
|6||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||78||+23.1 secs||9||8|
|7||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||78||+26.7 secs||6||6|
|8||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||78||+27.2 secs||10||4|
|9||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||78||+27.6 secs||17||2|
|10||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||78||+36.5 secs||5||1|
|11||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||78||+42.5 secs||11|
|12||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||78||+42.6 secs||14|
|13||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||78||+43.2 secs||19|
|14||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||78||+49.8 secs||22|
|15||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||78||+62.5 secs||15|
|16||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||72||+6 Laps||7|
|Ret||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||63||+15 Laps||13|
|Ret||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||61||+17 Laps||12|
|Ret||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||58||+20 Laps||20|
|Ret||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||44||+34 Laps||16|
|Ret||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||28||+50 Laps||21|
|Ret||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||7||+71 Laps||18|