Mark Webber was untouchable around the principality of Monaco as he aced around the street track and picked up his and Red Bull’s second victory on the trot. It was a perfect race from Webber, as he led from pole-to-finish and took home maximum points. Teammate Sebastian Vettel finished 2nd, making it the second Red Bull 1-2 of the season. Renault’s Robert Kubica finished 3rd, after he was jumped at the start by Vettel. The race finished under the Safety Car, which was brought out as a result of an accident between Lotus’ Jarno Trulli and HRT’s Karun Chandhok.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished 4th followed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in 5th. Fernando Alonso – who started from the pit-lane after sitting out qualifying – drove a solid race and would have finished 6th but on the last lap, just as the Safety Car pulled in, Michael Schumacher passed him into taking the place. Alonso eventually was classified 7th, ahead of Nico Rosberg in 8th places with the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi taking home the last of the points in 9th and 10th respectively.
Update: Michael Schumacher’s overtaking move over Fernando Alonso was deemed illegal and he was penalised by adding 20 seconds to his race time, which drops him to 12th and moves up Alonso to 6th place. Rosberg, Sutil and Liuzzi move up a place with Sebastian Buemi moving upto 10th place to take the last point.
It was a right dramatic start for the Monaco Grand Prix as Williams’ rookie Nico Hulkenberg crashed in the tunnel on the very first lap, bringing out the Safety Car. This, after Webber made a clear start and Vettel got the jump on Kubica. Championship leader Jenson Button had a woeful start as his Mercedes Engine gave way on the second lap and he had to retire. At the restart, Webber maintained his lead as at the back of the grid Alonso made his way up the grid after a quick pit stop to get onto the hard tyres. Almost all the teams ran one-stop strategies as they switched onto the second type of tyre compound and nursed them through the race.
By the halfway stage, there were already seven retirements, including both the BMW Saubers of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi and both the Virgins of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi. Williams, Hispania & Lotus were the other teams who didn’t have both their cars classified. There was another Safety Car period in the 31st lap as Rubens Barrichello spun into the barriers and once again Webber held well onto his lead at the restart and was able to open a gap over Vettel.
The Safety Car came out for a third time on the 43rd lap, not because of any accident but because there was a loose drain cover somewhere around turn three! The track marshals quickly got to fixing it and racing resumed with no change to the order. There were a couple of instances where Kubica came close to Vettel but that was never enough to go for a passing move. The Safety Car came into play again on the 74th lap coz of Trulli’s daft move over Chandhok which took out both cars. It came in on the last lap and within the few metres to the finish line, Schumacher made a cheeky passing move over Alonso to nick sixth place. At the head of the field though, the order didn’t change until the Chequered Flag fell, much to the delight of the Red Bull team who enjoy their second 1-2 finish of the season.
The result means that both Red Bull drivers sit atop the Championship standings on 78 points, with Webber on top coz of his two wins against Vettel’s one. Alonso is in 3rd place with 73 points with Button, Massa, Kubica & Hamilton following up. Red Bull lead the Constructors’ table with 156 points, compared to Ferrari’s 134. McLaren lie in 3rd with 129.
The next race is at the sticky and sandy desert track of Turkey in two weeks time and keeping in mind that Red Bull came 2nd and 3rd at last year’s race, no one will be betting against them to go one better in this year’s race. Can’t Wait!