Circuit de Monaco lived up to its reputation today!
Mercedes’ driver Nico Rosberg has finally broken the run of bad luck with his pole position starts this season, which has seen him lose the lead and not go on to win a race. The German was rewarded with a very well deserved victory in an extremely action packed FIA Formula One 2013 Monaco Grand Prix.
The 78 lap race certainly proved to be a marathon for the drivers, with the inclusion of crashes, safety car periods and a red flag situation was also added into the mix just to keep them on their toes. Rosberg was the one who seemed to keep the calmest under pressure though despite being the leading man all the way through the drama.
His maiden victory on this day comes exactly 30 years since his father, former Formula One driver, Keke Rosberg took the chequered flag in Monte Carlo in 1983.
Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber followed suit to accompany him on the podium after crossing the line to take third place. The Australian was also denied the opportunity to be victorious by Rosberg as he has previously won at the circuit on two occasions.
Rosberg’s team mate Hamilton just missed out on a top three finish by Webber pipping him to it. The Englishman dropped down two places from his original qualifying spot of second place and ended the race in fourth position.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil seemed to avoid the action unfolding around him during the race, with the exception at the start when his car suffered front wing damage, reportedly due to contact which saw him unexpectedly make a pit stop and also the drama on lap 74. The German came into contact with McLaren’s Sergio Perez who was experiencing problems with his brakes and had possible suspension damage at the time.
After the pair came together, Sutil went on to complete the race and picked up fifth place but Perez swiftly dropped down the field and was out of the race. When the incident occurred between Perez and Sutil, Perez’s team mate, Jenson Button was also close by. Perez was supposedly going to enter the pits, but seemed to take a different path at the time as the three drivers were getting a little too close for comfort.
Of the 22 drivers in the field, Perez appeared to be at the heart of the action on several occasions in the race but unfortunately due to incident related reasons. Prior to the contact with Sutil, Perez and Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen suddenly came together.
Perez lost part of his front wing as a result of the incident, while Raikkonen suffered a left rear tyre puncture and had to pit for a tyre change. Raikkonen fell down the field at this point and Perez was not too affected position wise until the Sutil incident just a few laps later.
Raikkonen recovered slightly from the unexpected drop down the pack and he finished the race in the final top 10 point scoring position.
Perez’s team mate Button had a fairly problem free race and improved on his qualifying spot of ninth place to finish in sixth position overall.
Aside from the incident with Perez, Alonso also kept out of the limelight whilst other drivers were in it for different reasons. The former double World Champion seemed to still be off the pace though, compared to his Championship rivals and he could only do enough to secure seventh place after the race.
Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa made a sudden exit from the race on lap 30 which led to the first appearance of the safety car. The Brazilian driver suffered the same crash in the exact spot at Sainte Devote as he experienced in final practice on Friday. One of his front tyres locked up which saw him swiftly come into contact with the barrier and retire from the race. Massa emerged from the car and the medical team at the circuit were quickly on the scene to attend to him.
Massa was then taken to the hospital nearby for further checks and it yet to be reported as to his current condition.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne impressed with his qualifying performance yesterday after he made it through to Q3 and the top 10 shootout. The French man also showed good form on race day and finished in eighth place. Vergne was the sole Toro Rosso remaining in the race when his team mate, Daniel Ricciardo retired on lap 63. The Australian appeared to misjudge his braking point at the Nouvelle chicane, which then led Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean to plough into the back of him. Ricciardo lost his rear wing in the process but the additional damage caused him to retire from the race.
Beyond the top 10 finishers, the rest of the drivers who completed the race were left to battle between themselves including Marussia’s Max Chilton. The rookie driver may usually be seen towards the back of the field and out of the limelight, but did get some attention on him during an incident with Williams’ Pastor Maldonado at Tabac corner on lap 46.
Chilton appeared to be unaware that Maldonado was going down the outside of him. Maldonado ended up in mid-air after driving over his front wing that fell off and headed for the barrier afterwards. The Mexican got out of his car and appeared to be unscathed from the incident. The team reported that he just suffered a few cuts and bruises.
Chilton’s team mate, Jules Bianchi was also collected in the incident as he had nowhere to go and ploughed into the back of Maldonado.
Bianchi did carry on in the race but had to pit for a new front wing. The French man joined Maldonado and some of the other drivers in retirement on lap 60 though. Bianchi was a victim of the Sainte Devote corner that took Massa in the race. Bianchi reportedly locked up his tyres then slid sideways into the barrier and was out of the proceedings.
The stewards investigated the incident between Chilton and Maldonado for causing a collision. The stewards came to the conclusion that Chilton was at fault and he faced the consequences of his actions by serving his drive through penalty.
Due to the severity of the incident between Chilton and Maldonado, the barrier in question took quite a knock and the race was red flagged on the grounds of safety to allow the marshals to repair it. Once the necessary work was completed the race got the green light, but beforehand the drivers remaining in the Grand Prix had to line up on the grid and wait until they could go racing again.
As well as the retirees already mentioned, Caterham’s Charles Pic was the first to make up the list when he bowed out of the race on lap nine. The French man came to a standstill near to the pit entry in his car when the engine suddenly caught fire. Pic made a swift exit from his car and the marshals worked quickly to push it into the pits. The incident did not warrant a safety car situation but the marshals moved Pic’s car to safety under yellow flags.
It was reported that a gearbox seizure was the cause of the fire which led to Pic’s unfortunate retirement.
Once the lights went out to mark the restart of the race, the glamour that Monte Carlo brings temporarily took a back seat while the drivers got down to business on the track. Luck and family history at the circuit proved to be on Rosberg’s side today, which finally led him to taste the success from pole position to victory.
Rosberg has now demonstrated that he can deliver under pressure and high expectation at such a prestigious event and this result could stand him in good stead for future races in the season. It is certain that the top Championship contenders may not take too kindly to outsiders picking up valuable points every so often throughout the season, especially if it causes a shuffle in the standings and moves the drivers closer together in the battle.
As today’s race has shown in terms of action and surprising results, if the same theme continues to the next race in Canada in two week’s time and beyond that, then those at the top of the leader board are not completely safe in guarding their place in the race for the Championship just yet.