Monaco makes it five out of six for champion Vettel
It was a result determined as much by incident as skill, and as much by luck as judgment. A red-flagged accident just half a dozen laps from the finish caused the race to come to a premature halt, allowing leader Sebastian Vettel’s car to take on a set of replacement tyres at the very point when wear and tear might have caused him to pit. As a result, when the race was re-started, the World Champion notched up his first Monaco win - and crucially his fifth out of six Grands Prix this season.
But for Vettel’s nearest rival in the points it was a cruel race weekend. Held up by Massa and then the accident with Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton - who had led in Q1 and Q2 - finished well down the grid order; and his frustration with that position told in the race itself, where the former world champion was awarded one drive-through penalty and ended the race under investigation for being the possible cause of yet another avoidable accident.
For all kinds of reasons, including the addition of the new supersoft tyres, the race was more exciting than in past years, with a number of tantalizing pitched battles for position. For a long time in the second half of the race, fourth place was held by Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, until he was pipped at the post by last year’s winner at Monaco, Mark Webber. But all eyes were on the battle for the podium as the race reached its unexpected climax, and it was finally three previous world champions who were awarded their trophies by Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in a dignified closing ceremony: Vettel, Alonso, Button.
Hamilton - frustrated. Photo: Nick Webb/Flickr Creative commons
Questions have been asked about Monaco’s suitability as a circuit for the new breed of F1 car, and it’s certainly true that there are elements of the track that need serious attention – perhaps the most obvious being the exit of the tunnel, which has seen more than its fair share of serious crashes this year alone. But the consensus is that the track is unique in the world, especially in terms of testing a driver’s skill: with twenty-five corners and thousands of gear shifts, there’s hardly a moment to relax. And that means - in particular - achieving a sense of balance and calm. Quite a hard thing to do in the context of Monte Carlo party fever.
1 Sebastian Vettel / RBR-Renault
2 Fernando Alonso / Ferrari
3 Jenson Button / McLaren-Mercedes
4 Mark Webber / RBR-Renault
5 Kamui Kobayashi / Sauber-Ferrari
6 Lewis Hamilton / McLaren-Mercedes
7 Adrian Sutil / Force India-Mercedes
8 Nick Heidfeld / Renault
9 Rubens Barrichello / Williams-Cosworth
10 Sebastien Buemi / STR-Ferrari