Date:Monday May 27 2013
Nico Rosberg has romped to a dominant victory around the streets of Monte-Carlo, after a thrilling and incident-filled 78-lap race which featured everything from safety car periods to a red flag delay. The Mercedes ace was followed home by fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel, with Mark Webber just holding off Lewis Hamilton for 3rd.
After the damp and dreary weather conditions which plagued qualifying, the Monte-Carlo street circuit was once again bathed in glorious sunshine for the legendary race. As the field began the traditional formation lap, the Marussia of Jules Bianchi stalled on the grid and was subsequently forced to start the race from the pit-lane. At the start Nico Rosberg stormed into a commanding lead, as Lewis Hamilton defended heavily from the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.
As the field negotiated the opening lap of the race, Giedo van der Garde collided with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado at Turn 6 and lost his front-wing. The duo were forced to return to the pits after the opening lap for repairs, loosing them valuable track time. Throughout the opening laps, Nico Rosberg continued to open up a considerable gap to his team-mate, as Charles Pic became the first retirement of the race after his gearbox suffered a seizure and caused a fire on his Caterham.
Luckily the ever-efficient Monegasque marshals were able to clear the stricken Caterham and quickly extinguish the flames without the need of a safety car intervention. The order remained relatively unchanged for the first part of the race, until Mark Webber became the first front-runner to pit on Lap 25. With a one-stop strategy the plan for the majority of the front-runners, the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso all pitted within the next two laps.
The race was thrown into utter confusion on Lap 29, when Felipe Massa once again slammed into the retaining barriers at Turn 1 in similar fashion to his incident during practice three. The Brazilian driver violently embedded his Ferrari into the barriers at Turn 1, causing the first of many safety car periods. As soon as the safety car was deployed, Sebastian Vettel and the two Mercedes’ immediately pitted. With Lewis Hamilton being forced to complete a slow in-lap due to the German marque stacking their drivers in the pits, the Briton lost track position to the Red Bull duo whereas Nico Rosberg managed to retain the lead.
After several laps behind the safety car, the race was resumed with Nico Rosberg once again opening up a comfortable lead at the front. Lewis Hamilton was visibly frustrated behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber, and tried an overtaking maneuver at Turn 18. However, the former Monaco Grand Prix winner managed to defend his position heavily through Turn 19. During the early stages of the race the McLaren duo fought perilously close, and continued to do so as the race progressed.
Jenson Button tried an overtaking maneuver on Fernando Alonso at Turn 6, but failed to complete the move and lightly tapped the rear of the Spaniard’s Ferrari. This enabled Sergio Perez to close right up on his team-mate, and master an overtaking maneuver into Turn 10. The race was momentarily red flagged on Lap 45, when Pastor Maldonado and Max Chilton came together at the high-speed at Turn 12.
After running wide following a battle with the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton slowed on the run down to Turn 12 allowing Pastor Maldonado to catch the Briton. Just before the corner, the duo touched which launched Maldonado momentarily into the air and then into the retaining barrier. Upon impact, the barrier absorbed Maldonado’s Williams and then flung it back out onto the track. The barrier itself became dislodged from its placing and was also spat out onto the track. This caused a red flag delay, forcing the field to line up at the grid.
Eventually after a delay of several minutes, the race was resumed behind the safety car. After only one lap of safety car control, the race returned to green flag conditions with Nico Rosberg scampering away at the front as Lewis Hamilton continued to try and find a way around Mark Webber’s Red Bull. Max Chilton was subsequently issued with a drive-thru penalty for causing the incident with Pastor Maldonado, which the Briton served immediately.
As the majority of the field continued to follow each other, Adrian Sutil threw caution to the wind and stormed up the inside of firstly Jenson Button and then Fernando Alonso several laps later at Turn 6. Jules Bianchi became the next retirement of Lap 60, as the Frenchman lost control of his Marussia and spun into the retaining tyre barrier at Turn 1. The third and final safety car delay of the day was caused when Romain Grosjean’s incident-filled weekend continued when he slammed into the rear of Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 10, ruining both of their races.
The safety car period was short-lived, as Nico Rosberg managed to continue his lead at the front over reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Further down the order saw Sergio Perez continue his feisty drive through the field, resulting in an altercation with the Finn of Kimi Raikkonen. This resulted in a puncture for the Lotus driver and saw Sergio Perez forced into retirement at Turn 19. Kimi Raikkonen therefore pitted for replace his delaminated tyre, dropping him right to the back of the field.
However, as Nico Rosberg stormed across the line to secure a memorable and historic victory, Kimi Raikkonen simply scythed through the field during the closing laps to finish 10th and secure himself another sensational points finish. Nico Rosberg, however, created history as the first son of a former Monaco Grand Prix winner to win the race himself, after his father Keke Rosberg’s victory in 1983.
Despite such a dominant race weekend for the Mercedes duo, Sebastian Vettel still managed to increase his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with another strong result in 2nd position. The reigning World Champion will be striving to utilize Pirelli’s revised tyres next time out at the Canadian Grand Prix around Montreal’s Circuit du Gilles Villeneuve. However, the Mercedes’ duo will once again be out to upset the Red Bull party at the front.
Author: Andy Young
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Date:Monday May 27 2013
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