Vettel faultless to Monaco GP win

on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Sebastian Vettel has won the Monaco GP for the first time in his career, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, both former World Champions and former winners. Red Bull were however lucky with a late safety car to make a risky one-stop strategy work.

For this Monaco GP, Sebastian Vettel start on pole position, on the right hand side of the track and closest to the inside line on Ste Devote, the first corner. Jenson Button is on the left hand side, and crucially the racing line which could prove an advantage.

Lewis Hamilton starts 9th after a qualifying penalty that saw his fastest time scrapped due to cutting the chicane. He has been given the chance to start on whichever tyre he chooses. Vitaly Petrov starts from 10th as Sergio Pérez is still in hospital after his qualifying crash.

During the warm-up lap, Button could already be in trouble as he reports really heavy steering. That could indicate a problem with the power steering, and as such the hydraulics.

As the red lights go out, Vettel goes first, ahead of Button. Alonso moves up to 3rd and passes Webber. Nico Rosberg made a great start and is 5th after the first lap. Michael Schumacher had a very difficult start and ended up behind Lewis Hamilton. The German however didn't want any of that and passed Hamilton back in the hairpin down to the tunnel.

After just 3 laps, Vettel is already 3.7 seconds ahead of Button. Alonso is a second down on the McLaren.

By lap 6 Schumacher is losing time on Petrov while Lewis Hamilton is close up behind him. Hamilton started on the harder primes whereas all other top 10 drivers are on the options. Schumacher's pace is soon explained as he complains of his rear tyres graining, reducing rear traction. On lap 10 Hamilton finally makes the pass stick as he dives on the inside of Ste Devote.

On lap 12 Schumacher is passed again by Barrichello in Mirabeau. The race isn't unfolding nicely for Schumacher after a nice qualifying lap. He stalled on the start and as of then was in trouble. Schumacher then decided to stop on lap 13 already, also taking on a new front wing as that got slightly damaged after a contact with Hamilton.

On lap 15 it is Rosberg's turn to get passed. He is struggling with his rear tyres as well. Massa manages a pass back at the swimming pool, and Pastor Maldonado profits to dive into the same gap to drop Rosberg one more position. Felipe Massa however lost a front wing endplate in the action.

One lap later Button and Rosberg make their stops, and another lap later its both Red Bulls diving into the pitlane. Neither of the Red Bulls have had good pitstops as the mechanics apparently were confused about what tyres to fit in what car.

Meanwhile, Button was flying on his new set of options and leads by a massive 6 seconds over Vettel after the first stops.

Alonso on the other hand is extremely slow on his outlap with the primes. He was 5 seconds off the pace of Button that same lap.

By lap 21, Button has increased his lead on Vettel to 9 seconds. Alonso is 4 seconds behind Vettel while Mark Webber dropped to 12th after the dismal stop. At lap 23 Hamilton pits and also has a difficult stop. His mechanics weren't ready with the tyres and he lost at least 5 additional seconds on that stop.

After 30 laps and well over a third of the race, Button leads by 13.6s over Vettel. Alonso is 3 seconds behind Vettel, followed by Barrichello who hasn't pitted yet. Behind him are Kobayashi, Sutil, Heidfeld and Buemi, all of these have not stopped yet. Then there's Mark Webber, closely followed by Massa and Hamilton. The first two are on the primes while Hamilton is now stuck for nearly 10 laps , unable to make optimal use of his softer option tyres.

On lap 35, after Schumacher made a move into the chicane stick, Hamilton tried the same move on Massa, but failed miserably, getting stuck with his front right into the sidepod of Massa. The Ferrari kept the advantage, but then Hamilton got aside of Massa into the tunnel. Massa ended up on the marbles and crashed into the barriers, fortunately without harm.

Massa's crash triggered a safety car that made Alonso dive into the pitlane. Vettel decided against it while Michael Schumacher's car simply broke down just when he tried to get into the pitlane. Timo Glock meanwhile also abandoned the race as the rear suspension of his Vergin just gave up.

The sequence of cars behind the SC is now Vettel, Heidfeld, Buemi, Barrichello and Button.

While Hamilton complains of Massa purposefully turning in on him when he tried to overtake, Paul Di Resta got a drive through penalty for cutting the kerbs in the chicane, and basically Lewis did the exact same thing.

When the SC leaves the track on lap 38, it is also announced that the incident between Massa and Hamilton is under investigation. 5 minutes later a drive through penalty is announced for Lewis Hamilton due to causing an 'avoidable collision'.

As Vettel gets company by Button, Webber is still stuck behind Kobayashi. He is surely quicker but due to Kobayashi's extremely long first stint, Webber cannot do a lot and is 30s behind Vettel, only 8 laps after the SC left the track.

On lap 49 Button takes his likely last pitstop for the obligatory primes. Hamilton does the same one lap later. Button rejoined the track in third position and posts fastest lap, nearly 1.5 seconds a lap quicker than Vettel and Alonso.

The Spaniard meanwhile is also catching Vettel by half a second a lap. If Red Bull decide to keep Vettel out on track until the very end, Vettel's tyres will by 60 laps old.

On lap 55, with 22 left, Vettel is just 2.1 seconds ahead of Alonso and 9.8 on Button. At this time it still looks like either of the three could win this race.

One lap later Webber stops to take on another set of primes.

By lap 59 Alonso is all over the back of Vettel. He is driving on the same kind of tyres, but Alonso's are a massive 25 laps younger. Button by then is just 2.6 seconds down on Alonso, now lapping about 1s a lap faster than Vettel.

When passing the finish line to start lap 63, all three are together within just one second. At this time Button catching up on them looks like a positive thing for Vettel as Alonso will not also have to defend his own position, rather than only trying to get past Vettel.

By lap 68 Webber has moved up to 5th after passing Kobayashi and then Sutil.

One lap later the leaders come into a pack of traffic. The situation was particularly difficult as Lewis Hamilton was also in between them with a much faster car than anybody else in that area. Around the swimming pool, Sutil suddenly found Maldonado on his inside, and ending up on the marbles he slidinto the barriers and caused a flat rear tyre. The cars behind were surprised of course, and as Hamilton slowed down, Alguersuari hit him in the back. Petrov then bumped into Alguersuari. As a result, Sutil, Alguersuari and Petrov are out of the race while Lewis Hamilton continued with a broken rear wing.

The three leaders came out unscatched but 3 laps behind the safety car, the Grand Prix is red flagged with just 6 laps remaining.

At the same time, an ambulance is still present close to Vitaly Petrov's car. 10 minutes later it appeared that Vitaly is fine, but minor injuries to his legs hampered his extraction from the car. He is brought to the hospital for further checkups.

As the cars still in the race stop on the grid, Hamilton's car is immediately fitted with a new front wing and the mechanics are put hard at work to fix the broken rear wing.

At that time, Vettel is obviously in the lead, ahead of Alonso, Button, Kobayashi, Webber, Maldonado, Hamilton, Sutil, Heidfeld, Barrichello.

The battle that was going on before the SC period is likely to be different as Vettel and Alonso now have changed tyres to super softs. Jenson Button meanwhile had raced all his three sets before that and keeps the primes.

After the SC comes in, Hamilton immediately tries to pass Maldonado for 6th but Hamilton is again quite aggresive and was effectively off track, having nearly his entire car on the wrong side of the kerbs. Maldonado as a result got bumped off, ending Maldonado's race.

On lap 77, Webber moves up to 4th after diving on the inside of Kobayashi when exiting the tunnel.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
11Sebastian VettelRBR-Renault78Winner125
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari78+1.1 secs418
34Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes78+2.3 secs215
42Mark WebberRBR-Renault78+23.1 secs312
516Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari78+26.9 secs1210
63Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes78+27.2 secs98
714Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes77+1 Lap146
89Nick HeidfeldRenault77+1 Lap154
911Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth77+1 Lap112
1018Sebastien BuemiSTR-Ferrari77+1 Lap161
118Nico RosbergMercedes AMG76+2 Lap7
1215Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes76+2 Lap13
1321Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault76+2 Lap18
1420Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault76+2 Lap17
1525Jerome d'AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth75+3 Lap21
1623Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth75+3 Lap23
1722Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth74+4 Lap22
1812Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth73+5 Lap8
Ret10Vitaly PetrovRenault67+11 Lap10
Ret19Jaime AlguersuariSTR-Ferrari66+12 Lap19
Ret6Felipe MassaFerrari32+46 Laps6
Ret7Michael SchumacherMercedes AMG32+46 Laps5
Ret24Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth30+48 Laps20
DNS17Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari