Nico Rosberg edged Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to reflect the achievements of his father Keke thirty years ago. photo: Sebastian Schlautmann

Rosberg wins eventful Monaco Grand Prix


Two weeks on from Barcelona, the F1 circus made its way to Monaco – the most glamorous fixture on the calendar – and a race that every driver dreams of winning.

It was Nico Rosberg, ostensibly Lewis Hamilton’s foil at Mercedes, who realised that dream. The German was fastest in all three practice sessions, took pole position, and recorded a lights-to-flag victory on the 30th anniversary of father Keke doing the same at the principality.

As expected, the continuing theme of the weekend was the Pirelli tyres, amidst the ongoing row between what now seems to be two cartels of Lotus, Ferrari and Force India against the rest of the teams spearheaded by Red Bull.

However, the saga took a new twist on Sunday morning as it was revealed that Mercedes had participated in a 1000km test for the Pirelli following the Spanish Grand Prix with their current car and drivers.

This appears to contradict Article 22 of the sporting regulations which prohibit in-season testing, despite Mercedes themselves claiming that they had dispensation from the FIA (F1’s governing body). Nevertheless, a full investigation will take place in the coming weeks after an official protest from Red Bull and Ferrari.

The controversy though, did nothing to overshadow Rosberg’s dominance and with teammate Hamilton coming home fourth, it was an excellent performance from Ross Brawn’s side.

They eventually won out after an engrossing battle with the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who finished second and third respectively.

Hamilton lost out on a podium spot after losing time under the safety car caused by a huge accident for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Ferrari on the whole endured a miserable weekend after having to completely rebuild Massa’s car following a strikingly similar crash in final practice causing him to start last.

Meanwhile, Spanish Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso was unexpectedly slow in the race, being overtaken by Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil and Jenson Button. The Spaniard eventually trailed home to finish in a somewhat fortunate seventh place.

Another notable feature of the action packed race was the slight upturn in form for McLaren. Button raced strongly to finish sixth despite being arguably out-performed by 23-year-old teammate Sergio Perez.

This was until the third of the Mexican’s daring lunges into the Nouvelle chicane failed to come off as he made contact with Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and ended up clouting the barrier, also leaving the Finn with a puncture.

Perez eventually retired with Raikkonen dropping to 15th; however, the Finn belligerently fought back on fresh tyres, overtaking three cars on the final lap to snatch a point.

Raikkonen was furious with Perez, saying after the race that someone should “punch him in the face to teach him a lesson.” It is not the first time that Perez has caused controversy; Martin Whitmarsh will be impressed with his attacking style, but would be well-advised to have a word with the former Sauber wunderkind.

Lotus, like Ferrari, had a difficult race with Romain Grosjean crashing into the back of Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Both drivers were fortunately unhurt – miraculously so, given that they were travelling at 170mph – but Grosjean receives a ten-place grid penalty for Canada in two weeks’ time.

The other Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne put in a stellar performance for a career-best finish of eighth after an excellent qualifying session. Meanwhile, the sun continues to shine brightly on Force India with Sutil finishing an excellent fifth and Paul Di Resta finishing ninth after starting just 17th.
Conversely, Williams continue to have probably one of their worst-ever seasons, still yet to score a point after six rounds.

Pastor Maldonado appeared more comfortable with flying than racing after his car was launched into the barrier following a collision with the Marrusia of Max Chilton and collecting Jules Bianci in the aftermath.

Finally, Caterham failed to capitalise on an admirable qualifying performance from Giedo Van de Garde as he was involved in a first-lap incident, dropping him out of contention. Meanwhile, Frenchman Charles Pic retired with an engine fire.

As the F1 brigade makes its way west to Montreal on June 9, it will be difficult to top an exciting race from Monaco, despite David Coulthard’s protestations. It’s hard to see Mercedes maintaining their advantage on a track where overtaking is fairly frequent; there will be twists and turns, and we are no closer to knowing who will eventually be crowned champion.




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