The Monaco Grand Prix did not quite go the full distance as it hit the two hour time limit with Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag and his sixth career win around the streets of Monte Carlo. It was a fantastic drive from Hamilton who now takes over the championship lead from Kimi Raikkonen who failed to score today.
Rain at the Principality made it a very tricky race for the 20 starters and while Hamilton celebrates his second win of the season, it was a far from easy Sunday afternoon drive. An error on lap seven saw him returning to the pits after brushing the barriers at the swimming pool, slashing his right rear tyre in the process.
Ironically, Hamilton’s early stop allowed him to take extra fuel on board and he was then able to time his switch from the rain tyre to dry tyre to perfection. Hamilton was not the only driver to make errors however as Felipe Massa made one and Kimi Raikkonen made two…
Massa started from the pole position and controlled the pace in the early laps despite Hamilton slotting into second position. However, a mid-race error saw him run off track at Sainte Devote and lose position to Robert Kubica. The Brazilian would never recover the lost ground and took the chequered flag two seconds behind the BMW Sauber driver who put in a flawless drive to claim the runner up position.
Adrian Sutil was on target to take a sensational fourth position in his Force India Ferrari. A late race safety car bunched up the field and Kimi Raikkonen lost control of his Ferrari under braking exiting the tunnel.
The Ferrari struck the back of the VJM01 forcing Sutil to return slowly to the pit and retire. It was an awful end to a fantastic race from the German racer.
Mark Webber recovered to finish in fourth position, losing ground mid-race after pitting too early to take the slick tyres and losing position to Sutil. Still it was a good solid run from the Red Bull racer who picks up five points for the Milton Keynes-based team.
Sebastian Vettel kept out of trouble and like Webber used a one-stop strategy well to take fifth position in the Toro Rosso Ferrari ahead of Rubens Barrichello who finally gets back in the points with the Honda team. Kazuki Nakajima brought home two points for Williams with his seventh place finish ahead of Heikki Kovalainen who should have finished so much higher.
Kovalainen stalled his McLaren Mercedes on the dummy grid and was forced to start the Grand Prix from the pit lane. The Finn battled on but a mistake behind the safety car saw him slow to unlap himself and therefore dropped some 20 seconds to Nakajima. A late race charge saw him take eighth position and the final championship point just three seconds behind the Japanese racer.
For Kimi Raikkonen, the Monaco Grand Prix was a race to forget. A slow getaway from second on the grid saw him lose position to Hamilton. An error on lap 27 saw him running down the escape road at Sainte Devote and damaging his front wing and then his late race blunder that proved so costly for Sutil. Raikkonen finished ninth.
Fernando Alonso had an eventful race to tenth position but a rash move in the wet conditions saw him run into the side of Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber. A pit stop for a new front wing and also a brush with the wall cost him a chance of points at Monaco.
Jenson Button made contact with Heidfeld on lap one and was forced to pit for a new front wing and the Honda racer would go on to finish 11th ahead of the Toyota duo of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli who had their own incidents in the wet. Heidfeld’s F1.08 sustained damage when hit by Alonso and he would struggle on to finish 14th, four laps down in what was a dismal weekend for the German driver.
One nine finished the Grand Prix on the lead lap and there were six retirements. The first was David Coulthard who hit the barriers on lap nine and was then promptly hit by Sebastien Bourdais who went off at the same point in the wet conditions. Giancarlo Fisichella retired his Force India Ferrari with a gearbox problem while Nelson Piquet nosed his Renault into the tyres after switching to dry tyres.
Nico Rosberg had a tough race as he broke his front wing on the first lap as he ran into the back of Alonso at the Casino hairpin. He would work his way back up the order before running wide at Piscine and making very heavy contact with the barriers on lap 62. The final none-finisher was the unfortunate Sutil who was on target for the shock result of the season in the Force India Ferrari.
© CAPSIS International