F1 News, Views and Reviews

Monaco GP 2010: Webber Takes Win As Monaco Delivers Interesting Grand Prix

In contrast to my dull review last week, the Monaco Grand Prix was full of flair which some may say as a lights to flag win for Mark Webber, which is completely true, but the midfield action, Fernando Alonso’s great overtakes and a series of safety cars led this to be a rather interesting Monaco Grand Prix.

Race Review

Off the line, Webber got a great start, and his team mate Vettel slotted himself down the inside of Robert Kubica.  The ailing Polish driver was attacked by both Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton but clung to third while the former managed to sneak back ahead of Lewis on the run up Beau Rivage.

Further back Nico Rosberg went well down the field while Rubens Barrichello flew up into 6th place, and Michael Schumacher netted himself 7th behind his former Ferrari team mate.

Fernando Alonso got going, and narrowly missed being caught up in Nico Hulkenberg’s scary first lap accident where he went straight into the wall in the tunnel causing serious damage and a safety car period.

The Spanish driver who started from last following a mega crash in free practice which meant the entire car had to be rebuilt before the race, started smoking through the field following a pit stop onto the harder tyre meaning he had used both compounds and would not need to pit again.  Lucas di Grassi tried to keep the significantly faster Alonso behind with some scary moves and flails across the track, endangering both drivers.

Alonso continued racing through the field, but got slowed slightly as Lewis Hamilton pitted and came out in front of him.  He could have got third if he hadn’t been stuck behind traffic.   Others pitted, and a change of pit stop lap from Rosberg meant he ended up behind Massa, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher who formed a train that followed each other around for a series of laps.

Webber pulled well clear at the front with a series of fastest laps, and his team mate was very quick too.  No chance of catching the front two today.

Bad luck struck the Virgin team with a double retirement, and Heikki Kovalainen and Bruno Senna would later retire with mechanical issues too.  It is still a steep learning curve for these new teams in Formula One.

Rubens Barrichello was the next victim of the Monaco circuit, a left rear puncture throwing him into the barriers on the way into Mirebeau, his car strewn in the middle of the road leading to another safety car.  The angered Brazilian threw his steering wheel out onto the track and into the path of a Hispania car, the car ran it over – it is unknown if he will be penalised for this action.

Only laps after the safety car came in, it was out again for an alleged loose drain cover which caused many problems in the past at various circuits.

From here on in, there was a level of consistent running from the drivers and the main order remained relatively unchanged.  Both Force India’s were in the points, the first time that has happened this season – a good haul for both drivers.

Everything was running smoothly until 3 laps to go when a scary, and almost dangerous overtaking move from Jarno Trulli on Karun Chandhok at La Rascasse took them both out of the race.  The Lotus pivoted onto the top of the Hispania, the Indian driver inside putting his hands onto his helmet – he was lucky not to have serious injuried.

The locale of this crash meant a safety car until the end, but when it peeled in with one corner left to go, everyone thought the order would remain un changed.  A plucky and cheeky move from Michael Schumacher meant he got ahead of Fernando Alonso, and initial reports believed it was legal following the changes in safety car overtaking moves.  However it has been reported he could be in contravention of the rules 40.13 which states a safety car out on the final lap means no overtaking.  He was found guilty by the race stewards, including Damon Hill, and has been handed a 20 second penalty.  This means that he is demoted to 12th place and is stripped of his points.  There has been no comment from Mercedes or Schumacher since the penalty was handed out.

Classified Results (Provisional)

Pos Driver Team Time
1 M. Webber Red Bull Renault 1.50.00.000
2 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +0.448
3 R. Kubica Renault +1.600
4 F. Massa Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro +2.600
5 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +4.300
6 F. Alonso Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro +6.300
7 N. Rosberg Mercedes Benz +6.600
8 A. Sutil Force India Mercedes +6.900
9 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +7.300
10 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +8.100
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +9.100
12 M. Schumacher Mercedes Benz Penalty

Fastest Lap: S. Vettel 1.15.192

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
V. Petrov Renault 74 Brakes
K. Chandhok Hispania HRT 71 Crash
J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth 71 Crash
H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth 59 Gearbox
B. Senna Hispania HRT 59 Hydraulic
R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth 28 Crash
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 27
L. di Grassi Virgin 26 Engine
T. Glock Virgin 23 Engine
P. de La Rosa Sauber Ferrari 22
J. Button McLaren Mercedes 3 Engine
N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth 1 Crash

Post Race Interviews

Mark Webber – Red Bull Renault (1st):  “Absolutely incredible and for sure one of the greatest days of my life today.  To win here was very special, it started yesterday with qualifying when it went well but here it is such a test for two hours.  I had a lot of work to do, the track changed a lot, backmarkers and lot of safety cars – getting restarts and tyre pressures right – all the basics that could test were in front of you today. It is amazing – to join Ayrton Senna and those guys [as a winner] around here is great.”

Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Renault (2nd):  “I wasn’t able to keep up with him [Mark Webber], there was a big difference. Later on when I felt the grip he was too far off. There was no real point to make an effort to catch him, with overtaking him being so difficult.  To be honest I had to look more in my mirrors. Robert [Kubica] was pushing quite hard and it was quite difficult to get away from him at the restarts. I was going more sideways that straight, it was quite difficult.  It was our optimum today and I am very happy. A lot of good points – and those count at the end of the year.”

Robert Kubica – Renault (3rd):  “It was known that starting from the dirty side would be difficult for me.  Normally I would defend but I saw Mark did a slow pull-away so I thought I had a chance to overtake him.  I just got on the power too early and got wheelspin, so it was too late to close the door on Vettel and then had to defend from Felipe.   I couldn’t see the pit board and was surprised about pace. Third place we have to be positive about. No was expecting us to finish on the podium. Congratulations to Renault to have all spots on the podium.”

Michael Schumacher – Mercedes Benz (6th): “[I am not expecting a penalty] No, not really.  I think there is either this message, or there is the message ‘track clear’ and ‘safety car in’ and that was the message that was given to all of us and when this message is out it means track clear and back to racing. The cars were removed. There was no further need [for the safety car] so I took my opportunity.”

Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes (Ret): “I think the car got a bit hot on the grid.  It got very hot and I had to turn it off.  It might have been fine if we hadn’t had a Safety Car but at such a slow speed we just couldn’t cool it down.”

Pedro de La Rosa – Sauber Ferrari (Ret):  “When you look at the standings, it’s zero points. We have to improve.  Reliability is our Achilles heel at the moment.  That’s why before of every race I say we have to finish, we have to finish, because it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are if you don’t finish.”

Sam Michael – Technical Director at Williams:  “That was not a good day for the team after a promising start for Rubens.  Nico had a problem with the clutch paddle on the steering wheel during the formation lap. He then had a failure with the front wing mounting on the first lap of the race.  Rubens had a fantastic start and was running in sixth when he started to experience poor handling after his stop. Eleven laps after his pitstop, he had a failure at the rear end of his car.  We need to get all the parts back to the factory in order to identify correctly what components on both cars caused the failures. We have quite a bit of car damage to repair, but we’re making progress with performance and look to further that in Istanbul.”


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