2011 Monaco Grand Prix – Race Report

The Monaco Grand Prix was easily the most exciting race of the season up till now. Due to his crash and concussion during yesterday’s qualfying, Sergio Perez obviously couldn’t attend. Two safety car sessions, a red flag and a restart for the final five laps.

The Top-10:

Sebastian Vettel drove a solid race and was able to win despite a botched up pit stop. In the end not even Fernando Alonso, who finished second, was able to challenge him as Vettel received new tyres on the restart. Jenson Button lost one spot only and drove a solid race to finish third, thus ensuring there were again three World Champions on the podiums.

Mark Webber was dropped way back because of his horrible pit stop which happened straight after Vettel’s, but he battled his way all the way back to fourth place. The most daring rise to points was by Kamui Kobayashi who finished fourth and was forced to forfeit the battle for fifth position when he went long on the Swimming Pool chicane.

Lewis Hamilton was really in the thick of things all through the race. He crashed with Massa at Monaco’s infamous hairpin turn, received a drive through penalty, smashed up Pastor Maldonado’s car and even received a 20 second penalty after the race. His position, sixth, wasn’t changed however since he was the final driver on the same lap as Vettel. The second massive crash also damaged his rear wing which the McLaren pit crew were able to fix during the restart. All in all, Hamilton acted like a total ass on track and quite frankly he deserved every single penalty he’s got (and will get as soon as the Stewards come to a decision over them).

Adrian Sutil brougth Force India back into points after a long absense. An admirable feat considering the problems in his personal life and that many believed he wouldn’t be racing this weekend. He received a drive-through penalty earlier in the race for trying a botched overtake in the hairpin (just like Hamilton a little later) but was able to recover and finish seventh.

Nick Heidfeld also brought some points to Renault, finishing eighth. Rubens Barrichello finished ninth and finally brought Williams its first points of the season. Had Hamilton not trashed Maldonado’s car they would have had two drivers on points. Sebastian Buemi also alliviated Toro Rosso’s lackluster start to the season by taking the last point for the team.

Golden Pineapple Award

Nico Rosberg started in the Top-10 so his drop back was quite surprising and disappointing. All around it was a disappointing day for Mercedes GP so hopefully they’ll pull themselves together for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Drop-out count: 6

There was only one technical retirement when the suspension on Timo Glock‘s Virgin gave out.

After Hamilton rammed his car to the side of Felipe Massa‘s Ferrari the Brazilian lost control in the tunnel section and smashed against the wall, starting the first Safety Car session. Michael Schumacher‘s car also had a small fire and the car stopped right in front of the pit lane entrance during the Safety Car session.

The final big crash was the starter for the second Safety Car and the eventual Red Flagging of the race. Adrian Sutil lost control of his car when he hit the side of the track and plowed ahead causing Lewis Hamilton, Jaime Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov all to collide with one another. Amazingly Sutil and Hamilton both drove away practically unscathed (Hamilton’s rear wing was broken by Alguersuari but fixed during the race’s restart). Alguersuari retired as did Petrov.

However, Petrov was unable to get out of his car which lead to the eventual red-flagging. Petrov became the second driver who had to be taken away by ambulance from the Monaco track this weekend (the other being Sergio Perez who didn’t start the race). Petrov was reportedly conscious so hopefully he wasn’t seriously injured.

Obviously the most disappointing retirement was that of Pastor Maldonado. The F1 debutant came close to not only scoring points by finishing sixth, after his best qualifying of the season but also ahead of his far more experienced team-mate. However, Hamilton bumped the back of Maldonado’s car at the end of the main straight and the Venezuelan wound up nose-first in the wall. My sympathies go to Maldonado but now that the Williams car is finally up to speed, I hope he wont let this setback upset him but instead he’ll give it it’s all in the Canadian GP. Mucha suerte, Pastor!

Back of the Lot news:

The new teams’ performances were unimpressive except for Jerome D’Ambrosio who was actually able to keep the Lotus cars behind him, at least until the restart. D’Ambrosio finished third-to-last ahead of the HRT drivers. Trulli and Kovalainen drove a mediocre race to a relatively good finish as 13th and 14th respectively.

Given the chaos on track the biggest failure was most likely Paul Di Resta who could only rise two positions and couldn’t even land on points unlike his much talked about team-mate.