Red Bull F1

Mark Webber and Red Bull shine in glamorous Monaco GP

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber held his nerve throughout a nerve-racking finale to the Monaco Grand Prix finishing line, marking another milestone of motor racing history as for the first time ever six different drivers win the six prelude races in one Formula 1 season.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, and Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso and Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel were all nose to tail, covered by a 1.5s distance after a desperate chase in which none of them could ever relax for a blink of an eye.

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber took the lead at the start and held it from Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, but the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver lost third to Alonso during their sole round of pit stops. German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel on the other hand had started on soft tires in contrast to the super-softs on which the rest of the top 10 were obliged to start, since he did not set a time in Q3. Therefore he ran a much longer first stint and was able to take the lead when Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton made their pit stops.

The race then became an internal fight of Red Bull team mates against each other as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber traded lap times in an interesting exchange of blows. Sebastian Vettel stayed in charge until the 46th lap, wishing that the promised forecast for heavy rain would come true to exploit the safe cushion of 17s.

But the promised heavy scattered shower did not arrive and eventually the German Formula1 double World Champion Sebastian Vettel had to come in for his set of super-softs. The stop dropped him to fourth place, but most importantly he got out fractions of a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had the Ferrari of Brazilian Felipe Massa on his chase throughout the race. At times in the closing stages of the race the top six were within 3.1s of one another, but in the final couple of laps Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari driver Felipe Massa faded.

It was quite a tense stuff as the gaps opened and closed like an accordion around the tight little track of Monaco, and very light rain for a short while at Mirabeau added another factor to the already heated and tensed ambiance. It was Formula1 driving of the finest caliber as none of them made any mistakes, and in the end Mark Webber held on to win by 0.6s with Nico Rosberg coming home second and another 0.3s ahead of Fernando Alonso, who was another 0.6s back making the difference between the race winner and Fernando Alonso only 0.9s.

Paul di Resta stayed ahead of Force India team mate Nico Hulkenberg by just a second, with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen only 1.4s further back. The Finn had a disappointing race for Lotus, and was hounded throughout by Bruno Senna who finished only 0.4s adrift to take the final point for Williams.

In the end, after a dramatic race of his own from the back of the grid, Sauber’s Sergio Perez grabbed 11th after Jean-Eric Vergne, who did an early pit stop, was obliged to come in late for a fresh set of tires and thus lost the seventh place he had earlier taken from a struggling Michael Schumacher. Toro Rosso put their man on intermediate tires just in case the rain came, but the gamble failed, as the rain arrived 10 minutes after the chequered flag had fallen.

The Frenchman thus finished in 12th place, while Heikki Kovalainen gave Caterham a major boost with 13th place. The Finn had been in tough form all afternoon, holding off a stumbling Jenson Button until the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion spun his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes late in the race exiting the Swimming Pool and then shortly retired. Kovalainen and Perez are under investigation for an incident in which the Finn kept the Mexican out wide in Ste Devote, forcing him to go into the escape road, but later Sergio Perez overtook him by cutting the chicane.

Behind them, Timo Glock was Marussia’s sole finisher in a race of high attrition, ahead of HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan.

Pole position scorer and seven times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher had a brush with Romain Grosjean at the start which spun the Lotus of the Frenchman into immediate retirement, while further back Pastor Maldonado went from hero to zero by damaging the front wing of his Williams in the traffic and also quitting. Michael Schumacher and Roamin Grosjean are under investigation for their incident.

Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT stopped, as did Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber, then Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov, who set a brief fastest lap after an early tire stop, ended his day in the pits with electrical trouble. Schumacher lost seventh to Vergne late in the race, before stopping with a fuel pressure problem.

This hugely exciting race leaves Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso on top of the driver world championship standings with 76 points, ahead of the Red Bull drivers on 73 each, whereas Lewis Hamilton hangs on in fourth with 63, Nico Rosberg comes up to fifth with 59, then Kimi Raikkonen is sixth on 51 and Jenson Button dropping to seventh on 45.

In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull lead with 146 points to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' 108. The Scuderia Ferrari share 3rd place in the constructors standings with Lotus on 86 apiece, from Mercedes on 61 ahead of Williams on 44 and Sauber on 41.

Monaco - Cairo - Dubai

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