Round 6 – The Monaco Grand Prix Race Report
With lots of thrills of spills, and more glamour than you shake a stick at, DAVID HOOPER reviews the Monaco Grand Prix.
AFTER a wet qualifying which caused some spectacular action on the tight streets of Monaco, the final grid threw up a few surprises – the biggest of which left Massa’s Ferrari starting from the back of the field.
Massa took all four corners off his car after a big crash on the slippery track, but Maldonado was in the wars with major damage, as were several others.
Up front, the two Mercedes pushed the Red Bulls down the field, and it was Nico Rosberg in the top slot, with Alonso’s Ferrari starting from a challenging sixth on the grid.
As the lights turned green, Rosberg’s car bogged down off the line, but Hamilton gave him space and held his second place as the pair were hassled by Vettel in his Red Bull.
Several cars dived into the pit lane with damage after the first lap with missing or broken front wings after a few minor concertina type collisions.
Button was again complaining about Perez’s driving with some justification after a loss of power for Button’s McLaren at the end of quali cost the Brit a high grid placing.
Charles Pic’s Marussia stopped at the entrance to the pit lane with thick black smoke billowing out of the car as the driver scrambled out as quick as could. But the marshals were on hand with their fire extinguishers as the car was pushed away.
The race settled down until lap 32 when Massa repeated his crash at Sante Devote, clouting the barrier under braking before crashing sideways into the barriers with some force.
This brought out the safety car for the first time and the leaders dived into the pits. The order of the leaders was shaken up a bit, but Rosberg’s Mercedes was still in front, with the two Red Bulls line astern, ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Raikkonen was struggling to get his tyres up to temperature and was being pushed by Alonso, who was in turn being pushed by Button in his McLaren.
After the safety car, the field was bunched up again, but there were no more incidents as the packed settled back into their rhythm.
Hamilton spiced things up by trying to put a move on Webber in Rascasse of all places, but he wasn’t having any of it and Lewis had to back out, but Webber did very well not to take him out.
As Button was trying to get passed Alonso, he lost momentum, and Perez dived down the inside into the chicane, locking his wheels under braking, but made it stick. He then tried another audacious move on Alonso, who had to cut the chicane to avoid being hit.
On lap 46 the race was red flagged after Bianchi and Maldonado collided and dislodged a barrier which blocked the track. After the debris was cleared, the race restarted behind the safety car, and Alonso was told to give the place back to Perez after cutting the chicane, which Alonso did behind the safety on the instructions of Ferrari.
That put Perez behind Raikkonen and Alonso down into seventh place, but the restart was clean.
Sutil stuck his car up the inside of Button’s car at the hair-pin and Button had to give him the place. It was a cheeky move, but it paid off.
Perez then tried to get past Raikonnen and both cars cut the chicane, but escaped unscathed. Sutil then tried the same move down the inside of Alonso who left him plenty of room, the Spaniard playing the long game.
Grosjean and Riccardo’s Torro Rosso then crashed on the approach to the chicane, after Grosjean ran into the back of the Torro Rosso, taking both cars out of the race with lots of damage.
Perez then tried another move down the inside of Kimi’s Lotus, but this time Kimi closed the door and Perez’s front spoiler was damaged, but it was worse for Kimi, whose run of point-scoring finishes came to an end with lots of damage. Button got passed as Perez parked his McLaren after pushing his luck too far.
But it was Nico Rosberg who took the chequered flag, repeating the feat of his father, Keke, who won exactly 30 years ago on the testing streets.
Nico became the fourth different winner this year, and was followed home by Vettel and Webber in the Red Bulls, with Hamilton fourth, who admitted costing the team some points by dropping too far behind the safety car before his pit stop, which then but him behind the two Red Bulls which he couldn’t recover from.
Button finished in sixth after a challenging race, but the likeable Brit seemed a happy man after a difficult qualifying session.
Alonso finished in seventh place after a measured, careful drive, with his thoughts clearly on the long game and the championship at the end of the season.
There was plenty of excitement in Monaco this year, with lots of crashes and collisions, but as always, it was the pretty people and the sheer spectacle that makes this race a delight to watch – even if most of us couldn’t be there!
Next up is Canada – don’t miss our race preview, coming soon.