Red Bull F1

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel wins adrenalin-filled Monaco F1 thriller

Monaco - Dubai - Cairo /

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel gave his opponents a run for their money and entertained millions of people around the globe when he scored a maiden victory in the prestigious Monaco Formula 1 race this weekend. He got the pole position, then had it inadvertently safeguarded after Sergio Perez’s heavy accident at the exit of the tunnel and start of the chicane, a place that witnessed 24 hrs earlier Nico Rosberg’s hard shunt.
In the race which took place on Sunday under sunny weather conditions, Sebastian Vettel found himself under massive pressure on worn tires from challenging Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Jenson Button. This nail-biting race was brought to a temporary halt when Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari crashed in heavy traffic in the Swimming Pool, taking out Renault’s Vitaly Petrov in the process.

The incident happened as the leaders were threading their way through the backmarkers, but the race was soon suspended as it became apparent that the Russian had momentarily lost consciousness and needed immediate medical assistance. He complained of pain in his left ankle at the accident scene, but further detailed examination and a full body scan later-on in the Princess Grace Hospital confirmed that there was no swelling or broken bones and he was expected back in the paddock within a few hours.

When the race resumed for its final six laps, at 16.04, everyone had fitted the freshest tires they could pick, while mechanics were desperately trying to repair the rear wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes after it had been destructed in the Jaime Alguersuari showdown. The German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, back on much-needed fresh rubber, won easily infront of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Jenson Button’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

The event, which was apparently directed by Alfred Hitchcock, had started well, with Sebastian Vettel leading confidently from 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Then Jenson Button pitted on lap 15, Sebastian Vettel on 16 and Fernando Alonso on 17. All three were able to resume long before Ferrari’s Felipe Massa led the pursuit, because for a long time he’d been held up by Nico Rosberg’s fast-starting Mercedes.

Now Button was the leading the race - adding McLaren’s 10,000th Formula One race leadership lap to the team’s already impressive record, after a mishap in the Red Bull pits took place when Vettel’s front right tire wasn’t ready and still being kept “under cover�.

Sebastian Vettel was now on Pirelli’s soft compound, not the super soft, and Button opened a commanding lead that at times was as much as 14s. But then the flow of the race was interrupted for the first time when Massa, having just been passed by Hamilton for 10th place, drifted sideways into the crash barrier in tunnel after getting off the ideal and clean racing line. At the same time Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes had ground to a sudden halt at Rascasse.

The safety car was deployed for the first time till the resulting debris was cleaned up. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button still led Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari when the racing resumed on Lap 39, but even on super-soft rubber the McLaren driver could not pass the Red Bull and on Lap 48 Button dived in for a third stop, switching to softs. He dropped to third but stayed ahead of a group of cars at that stage led by Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi who had both done very long opening stints and then been very cleverly pitted by their teams as the safety car had come out.

Now it was Sebastian Vettel leading again, chased by Alonso, whose Ferrari was now also on soft tires. All followers and motorsport enthusiasts were questioning whether they could both possibly go the remaining distance without a further stop?

As the race progressed, Fernando Alonso slowly but continuously reduced Sebastian Vettel’s one-time five-second lead, as Button came storming in on them. It was building up to a fascinating climax, with Alonso admitting later that he was prepared to try a do-or-die effort when the time was ripe, before the race determining incident happened on Lap 68 that blew the race.

Under pressure from an overtaking Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, Adrian Sutil went wide at Tabac and hit the wall in the Swimming Pool with his right rear wheel. As the Force India then ran wide in the second section of the Pool, a lapped Jaime Alguersuari used the kerbs as an entrenchment and launched himself into the back of Lewis Hamilton’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, who’d just passed Maldonado, thus face-lifting the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes rear wing and inadvertently then forcing an “this time innocent� Petrov into the wall with a heavy impact.

As the decision was taken to suspend the race, everyone stopped on, but didn’t cross, the start/finish line at the end of the 72nd lap. According to the rules, it is permissible to work on the cars, so everyone went for the freshest set of tires they had. After the restart behind the safety car at 16.04, Sebastian Vettel was able to open a gap he needed over Fernando Alonso as Jenson Button fell back for unknown reasons, so the top three was all sealed long before they crossed the start/finish line.

Behind them, it was a different story, as Kamui Kobayashi squeezed past Adrian Sutil, who had been lucky and stopped under the safety car for a fresh right-rear wheel. The Sauber driver couldn’t contain emerging Red Bull driver MarkWebber, however, who slid by at the chicane, so Red Bull took fourth as well as first, while Sauber finished in a respectable fifth.

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on the other hand had an awful afternoon as the streak of bad luck which started during Q3 continued. He dropped to 10th at the start, using soft tires, pulled a brilliant pass on Schumacher at Ste Devote on the 10th lap, and then passed Felipe Massa for 10th at the hairpin on Lap 34 where they heavily touched. That earned him, as earlier it had Force India’s rookie Paul di Resta a drive-through penalty when he brushed Alguersuari during a similar move.
It seems that Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton are equal now in terms of knocking out each other, after a similar move in last year’s Monza Formula 1 race, caused a suspension failure in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of the Englishman, and a subsequent retirement, thus minimizing the possibilities of Lewis Hamilton on winning the 2010 Formula 1 drivers crown.

That dropped the 2008 winner back again, but he fought through yet again and was always in the upper midfield fight. He finally got lucky with the safety-car intervention after Alguersuari had damaged his rear wing as it was repaired during the race’s suspension, but then he collided with Pastor Maldonado at the restart at Ste Devote on Lap 74. After a post-race investigation by the stewards, Hamilton had 20 seconds added to his race time for causing the collision. As he was the last car on the lead lap, luckily he keeps his sixth place.

Kobayashi’s pass on Adrian Sutil was also investigated. The Japanese driver eventually received a reprimand and stays fifth. Jerome D’Ambrosio-who finished 15th for Virgin-was also being investigated.

Adrian Sutil brought his Force India home seventh after a smart race, with Nick Heidfeld eighth for Renault ahead of Rubens Barrichello, who earned Williams’ their first points of the year. Sebastien Buemi completed the point scorers in his Toro Rosso.

Nice Rosberg had a terrible race for Mercedes, pitting on Lap 15 and falling way off the pace as a result. He led Di Resta home, the Scot’s race ruined by his drive-through when points were a possibility, and again when he touched the rear of D’Ambrosio in the hairpin.

Thirteenth and 14th positions were a fillip for Team Lotus, ahead of D’Ambrosio’s Virgin, while Tonio Liuzzi’s weekend finally came good as he brought his HRT home 16th ahead of team mate Narain Karthikeyan.

Besides Schumacher whose car almost stalled during the starting phase, Massa, Alguersuari and Petrov, Virgin’s Timo Glock retired after swiping a wall and Maldonado did likewise after his late brush with Lewis Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel’s fifth victory from six races takes him to 143 points, as Lewis Hamilton hangs on to second place with 85 from Mark Webber on 79, Jenson Button on 76 and Fernando Alonso on 69. Red Bull’s first and fourth place results of the Monaco week end take them to 222 points in the constructors’ stakes, with McLaren on 161 and Ferrari on 93.



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