Mark Webber makes F1 history with victory at Monaco

By on Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mark Webber has made Formula 1 history with his second victory around the streets of Monte-Carlo, with a controlled drive throughout the Monaco Grand Prix. Previous 2012 race winner Nico Rosberg came home 2nd, with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso 3rd.

At the start, the usual melee into the first corner ensued as Romain Grosjean made contact with Michael Schumacher and spun across the middle of the track. This backed the pack up as Kamui Kobayashi flew through the air, whilst further back the Williams of Pastor Maldonado made contact with the rear of Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT. Both retired due to the incident, as well as Grosjean and Kobayashi. As the pack completed the opening lap of the race, the safety was deployed to allow the marshals to clear away the stricken Lotus of Grosjean.

After only several laps behind the safety car, the race returned to green flag conditions as Mark Webber led at the front from Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes. With rain threatening the proceedings, many teams were forcing their drivers to stay out to try and wait until the rain fell to make their first stops. However, this rain failed to materialize when expected, as the likes of Hamilton and Raikkonen began complaining that their tyres were rapidly wearing out.

Traditionally at the Monaco Grand Prix retirements come in abundance, and this race was no exception as Vitaly Petrov joined Kobayashi, de la Rosa, Maldonado and Grosjean in retirement on lap 18 due to electrical issues. Caterham’s only chance of a point now rested solely with Heikki Kovalainen.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the first driver to pit for new tyres, as the Frenchman changed to the soft Pirelli tyres on lap 18. Ten laps later and the front-runners began making their first stops, as their teams kept an eye on the weather with rain still threatening. Nico Rosberg came in from 2nd for soft tyres, before Webber and Hamilton pitted a lap later. Fernando Alonso subsequently assumed the lead, as the majority of the field dived into the tight confines of the pit-lane to make their respective stops.

However the Spaniards lead was short-lived, as Alonso pitted a lap later. The Ferrari driver was able to jump ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the pits, as he rejoined considerably ahead of the McLaren driver. When Felipe Massa made his stop, Sebastian Vettel assumed the lead. The reigning World Champion was on a different strategy to the majority of the other drivers’, and was on the soft Pirelli tyres.

Sergio Perez was issued a drive-through penalty on lap 38, after the Sauber driver made a late pit entry. This subsequently impeded Kimi Raikkonen, who had to take avoiding action to not collide with the Mexican driver.

Jenson Button made his first pit-stop on lap 39, as the 2009 World Champion started the race on the soft tyres. However, upon exiting the pit-lane the British driver rejoined just behind the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. At the front of the pack Sebastian Vettel continued to increase his lead, before making his pit-stop on lap 46. The German driver rejoined the race just ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 4th, as Hamilton angrily asked why his team hadn’t kept him up to date with the German.

As the race entered its closing stages, the threat of rain ebbed and flowed before it began to fall lightly at various points on the track. Whilst the teams nervously kept an eye on the weather, three further drivers’ retired from the race. Michael Schumacher, Charles Pic and Daniel Ricciardo all retired with separate issues.

With the rain forecast to intensify throughout the closing laps, Jean-Eric Vergne switched to the intermediates predicting heavier rain. However, this heavy rain failed to arrive as Jenson Button retired after a slight collision with Kovalainen through the swimming pool section.

Throughout the final laps the top 5 drivers raced nose-to-tail, with only five seconds splitting them. However, with passing virtually impossible at Monaco, the positions remained the same as Mark Webber became the sixth different winner in the opening six races of the season. This feat sets a new record in Formula 1, surpassing the previous record of 5 different winners which was set in 1983.

As the F1 fraternity now packs up and heads to the daunting and ever-challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, a seventh different winner is more than a possibility in two weeks time.

P    Name            Gap  Int Time     Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ps Lap  78
1  2 M. WEBBER       LAP   78 1:20.839 21.1     37.5     22.1      1
2  8 N. ROSBERG      0.6  0.6 1:20.856 20.9     37.4     22.4      1
3  5 F. ALONSO       0.9  0.3 1:20.386 20.9     37.3     22.0      1
4  1 S. VETTEL       1.3  0.3 1:19.790 20.8     36.9     21.9      1
5  4 L. HAMILTON     4.1  2.7 1:21.372 20.8     37.5     22.9      1
6  6 F. MASSA        6.1  2.0 1:21.900 21.3     37.8     22.6      1
7 11 P. DI RESTA    41.5 35.3 1:22.894 21.9     38.3     22.6      1
8 12 N. HULKENBERG  42.5  1.0 1:22.070 21.0     38.2     22.7      1
9  9 K. RAIKKONEN   44.0  1.4 1:21.925 20.8     38.0     23.0      1
10 19 B. SENNA       44.5  0.4 1:21.695 20.9     37.5     23.1      1
11 15 S. PEREZ         1L   1L 1:21.864 21.3     38.0     22.4      2
12 17 J. VERGNE        1L 34.6 1:29.468 23.2     40.7     25.4      2
13 20 H. KOVALAINEN    1L  5.7 1:20.358 20.9     37.6     21.7      2
14 24 T. GLOCK         1L  4.2 1:22.618 21.2     38.2     23.1      2
15 23 N. KARTHIKEYAN   2L   1L 1:29.251 22.5     41.9     24.7      2
16  3 J. BUTTON        8L   6L          STOP                        1
16 D. RICCIARDO    13L   5L RETIRED           25.3 L40           2
25 C. PIC          14L   1L          21.0     STOP               1
7 M. SCHUMACHER   15L   1L RETIRED           25.1 L34           2
21 V. PETROV       63L  48L RETIRED           39.3 L3            2
14 K. KOBAYASHI    73L  10L RETIRED           28.3 L1            2
22 P. DE LA ROSA            RETIRED                              1
18 P. MALDONADO                               STOP
10 R. GROSJEAN                       STOP                                

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