David Coulthard today recorded his second career win at the Monaco Grand Prix, his 12th in total, withstanding huge pressure from first Juan Pablo Montoya and then Michael Schumacher to take the chequered flag after 78-hard fought laps. Try as...
David Coulthard today recorded his second career win at the Monaco Grand Prix, his 12th in total, withstanding huge pressure from first Juan Pablo Montoya and then Michael Schumacher to take the chequered flag after 78-hard fought laps.
Try as he might, Michael Schumacher had to settle for second position in his Ferrari, right behind winner Coulthard. Third place fell to Ralf Schumacher who had a steady if unspectacular run to record his first ever Monaco Grand Prix finish in third place, despite a late pitstop to replace his Michelin rubber.
The start saw David Coulthard make a fantastic getaway from second place on the grid to squeeze ahead of pole position man Juan Pablo Montoya before Sainte Devote. Montoya slotted into second place with Michael Schumacher and Ralf Schumacher right on his tail. This was how it stayed during the opening stint of the race as the four cars ran nose to tail, usually with less than 1.5 seconds covering the battling quartet, as each driver pushed to the maximum trying to force their rivals into a mistake.
The only major change of the race came just after mid-distance when Juan Pablo Montoya's race came to end when his BMW V10 cried enough and blew itself to pieces allowing Ralf Schumacher through for position. David Coulthard's only and only pit-stop came on the 50th lap, exiting the pits clear of the charging Michael Schumacher and that was the way it would stay despite concerning puffs of smoke from Coulthard's Mercedes V10.
Jarno Trulli held on to the leaders early on before slowly falling away, but managed his first points paying finish of the year for the Renault team with fourth position. Team-mate Jenson Button had an awful day, jumping the start before getting his revs bogged down and dropping to the tail of the field. Button was given a stop-go penalty for his efforts before crashing out whilst battling with Olivier Panis for tenth position and learning that two into one just simply does not go.
Giancarlo Fisichella finished in fifth position for Jordan, bringing the team another two valuable World Championship points. The 23rd laps saw Takuma Sato battling hard with team-mate Fisichella for ninth position when he lost control of the Jordan Honda in the tunnel. Sato hit the wall hard but was able to clamber from his wrecked car as Fisichella calmly threaded his way through the wreckage.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished in a fine sixth position for Arrows Cosworth, taking full advantage of overnight suspension geometry changes to the car to bring home a championship point. As is so common at Monaco, the point, while well deserved, was at the expense of other. The battle for sixth position lasted until half distance when Rubens Barrichello ran out of patience and talent clobbering the back of Kimi Raikkonen under braking exiting the Tunnel. Raikkonen made it back to the pits for lengthy rear end repairs, but effectively the Finn's race was run as he soon pitted for good.
Rubens Barrichello drove hard following his error to finish in seventh position after setting a new lap record of 1:18.023 in the closing stages. The Brazilian managed to close in on sixth placed Frentzen, but was unable to find a way around, despite the Marshals showing him the blue flag for some unknown reason...
Nick Heidfeld had a trouble free race to finish in eighth position while team-mate Felipe Massa has endeared himself to few people this weekend at Monaco as driver after driver complained of his conduct in qualifying yesterday. Whilst battling with Enrique Bernoldi, Massa blocked and weaved lap after lap until Bernoldi finally got past on the pit straight. Massa then rammed into the back of the Arrows Cosworth, pushing both drivers off track at Sainte Devote and earning himself a deserved stop-go penalty in the process.
The race was still not over for Massa, as it seemed that his Sauber Petronas would not stop heading to Sainte Devote with just 12-laps remaining. Massa hit the tyre wall head on, but thankfully was able to clamber from his Sauber.
Jaguar may not have been fast at Monaco, but ninth and tenth places fell to Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa who achieved their objectives of finishing the event. Jaguar will be happy at least not to be last as Mark Webber and the unfortunate Enrique Bernoldi were the only other finishers.
Allan McNish's Monaco debut came to an end after 15-laps as he clipped the inside barrier at Sainte Devote before hitting the outside barrier and retiring from the event. McNish had been running in ninth place behind team-mate Mika Salo, who was in trouble with an extremely worn left rear Michelin forcing an early pitstop after just 21 laps. It would prove academic anyway as he crashed out after 70 laps when his front right front brake seemed to lock, ending his 100th Grand Prix in retirement and disappointment.
After the anger and feelings of the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago, it was a great battle this weekend at Monaco. David Coulthard has doubled his championship points tally with his win today at Monaco while Ralf Schumacher's third place finish takes him to joint second place in the drivers championship with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Formula One circus now heads to Montreal and Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks time and while the battle at the top at the championship may be a bit one sides, the battle between the rest is looking good for the rest of the year.
Earl Alexander. | CART-Racing.com |