Wonderful Webber makes it super six in Monaco
Posted by Simon Wright
2012 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO RACE REPORT
THE 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship continues to break records and now, we have had a situation of six different winners in the first six races for the first time ever. Mark Webber stayed cool under intense pressure from Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso to register his eighth career victory today and his second around the streets of Monte Carlo. Webber also had to deal with a late rain shower in the principality, plus the tyre management concensus in a race that promised much but largely, failed to deliver on 2012’s high expectations. Alonso’s third place means he heads to Canada as the narrow championship leader, three points clear of Red Bull pair, Sebastian Vettel and Webber.
There was drama just seconds after the lights went out, with three drivers eliminated before the first lap was completed. Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was clipped by Michael Schumacher on the rundown to Ste. Devote and the Frenchman spun his car backwards before the first apex, sending cars in all directions to try and avoid his stricken chassis. The trigger for the messy shunt was a bad start from both Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton on the second row of the grid and excellent starts from the two Ferrari drivers, Alonso and Felipe Massa. As Alonso moved across to give his team-mate some space, he and Grosjean banged wheels and with Schumacher pinned up against the guardrail, contact was inevitable. In the melee, Kamui Kobayashi was launched into the air and down the escape road, taking Jenson Button with him. Kobayashi’s suspension was wrecked and he retired five laps later. Joining him and Grosjean on the sidelines were Pedro de la Rosa’s Hispania and Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado completed his nightmare weekend by whalloping de la Rosa’s rear wing off. It was lucky the Spaniard didn’t lose anything else.
The Safety Car was deployed with the order settling down as Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and Vettel. When racing resumed, Kimi Raikkonen started to form a train of cars behind him as he struggled with a severe lack of rear tyre grip. The Lotus team tried to keep him out, in the hope of a looming rain shower which never arrived. On lap 30, Rosberg was the first of the frontrunners to pit for the soft tyre. The rest had to respond and Alonso went a lap longer than most, enough to jump him past a frustrated Hamilton.
Having begun on the soft tyre, Vettel inherited the lead and as the others struggled to get heat into their new rubber on an overcast day, the champion built up a healthy advantage, threatening to jump from sixth to a merited lead in the process. His tyres managed 45 laps before starting to lose grip and the quickest pitstop of the day from Red Bull got him out just ahead of Hamilton. With DRS utterly useless around here, overtaking was a premium and despite stages in the race when only five seconds covered the top six, it was a case of follow the leader and hope for a mistake. All the top drivers drove pheonemally and nerves were only increased when a shower in the last six laps made Tabac and Casino Square corners more tricky. Toro Rosso took a gamble and pulled Jean-Eric Vergne in for intermediate tyres but the rain stopped and he lost a certain seventh place.
Further back, Schumacher’s miserable day came to an early end thanks to a fuel pressure problem, which restricted his top speed on the Mercedes. After being in the wrong place at the wrong time on lap one, Button spent the entire distance trapped behind Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham. The Finn drove superbly throughout and was ahead of some midfield drivers for the majority of the race but you have to question Button’s performance today, one that reminded me of the bad Honda days in 2008. His poor day came to an end when he spun at the Swimming Pool trying to pass Kovalainen and he stalled the engine. His win in Australia seems a long time ago now. He spoke to Formula1.com afterwards; “To be honest I couldn’t wait for the race to be over! I knew that there were no points for me today and Kovalainen was allowed to drive around as slowly as he wanted to, which was just painful. That all comes from a bad qualifying session and being at the wrong place at the wrong time in Turn One by being on the outside and getting passed by a lot of cars, that probably hurt more than anything else.”
Webber held on to record a stunning victory, becoming the first ever Australian driver to win this prestigious Grand Prix twice. He said afterwards in the press conference; “It was a very interesting race, reasonably straightforward at the start, just managing the gap to Nico. Then the weather was threatening at the first pit-stop window but Nico went for it and people had to react. The second half of the race was very strange because it was very hard to get the soft tyre warmed up. I had very low front grip, I had to manage things around that, and I had to make sure Seb didn’t get a gap of 21 seconds. That was not part of the plan. So I’m really glad to have won here again, a great victory for me.”
Rosberg earnt his best finish in Monaco and Alonso seemed happy to record another podium, closely chased home by Vettel. This was also the closest top four finish ever in Monaco. Hamilton kept his consistency up with fifth, on a day when McLaren looked seriously uncompetitive. Felipe Massa’s sixth place was a fair reward for a storming weekend where he matched Alonso throughout. The Force India team benefited from midfield problems to finish seventh and eighth with Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. Raikkonen fought back to ninth, after a lacklustre weekend and the final point went to Bruno Senna for Williams.
Ultimately the Monaco Grand Prix turned into a disappointing spectacle and wasn’t the classic we all hoped it would be. However, Mark Webber has thrown another name into the mix for the world championship after a convincing display of quality and class. F1 now heads to Canada in a fortnight’s time and after last year’s thriller, who knows what will happen in North America.
2012 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO FINAL CLASSIFICATION
|1||MARK WEBBER||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||78||1hr 46min 06secs|
|2||NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES GP||78||+0.6secs|
|4||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||78||+1.3secs|
|5||LEWIS HAMILTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||78||+4.1secs|
|7||PAUL DI RESTA||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||78||+41.5secs|
|8||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||78||+42.5secs|
|9||KIMI RAIKKONEN||LOTUS RENAULT||78||+44.0secs|
|10||BRUNO SENNA||WILLIAMS RENAULT||78||+44.5secs|
|11||SERGIO PEREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||77||1 LAP|
|12||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR FERRARI||77||1 LAP|
|13||HEIKKI KOVALAINEN||CATERHAM RENAULT||77||1 LAP|
|14||TIMO GLOCK||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||77||1 LAP|
|15||NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN||HRT COSWORTH||76||2 LAPS|
|16 (Ret)||JENSON BUTTON||MCLAREN MERCEDES||70||SPIN|
|Retired||DANIEL RICCIARDO||STR FERRARI||65||STEERING|
|Retired||CHARLES PIC||MARUSSIA COSWORTH||64||ELECTRICS|
|Retired||MICHAEL SCHUMACHER||MERCEDES GP||63||FUEL FEED|
|Retired||VITALY PETROV||CATERHAM RENAULT||15||ELECTRICS|
|Retired||KAMUI KOBAYASHI||SAUBER FERRARI||5||ACCIDENT DAMAGE|
|Retired||PEDRO DE LA ROSA||HRT COSWORTH||0||COLLISION WITH MALDONADO|
|Retired||PASTOR MALDONADO||WILLIAMS RENAULT||0||COLLISION WITH DE LA ROSA|
|Retired||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||0||COLLISION WITH SCHUMACHER|
|1||FERNANDO ALONSO (FERRARI)||76|
|2||SEBASTIAN VETTEL (RED BULL)||73|
|3||MARK WEBBER (RED BULL)||73|
|4||LEWIS HAMILTON (MCLAREN)||63|
|5||NICO ROSBERG (MERCEDES GP)||59|
|6||KIMI RAIKKONEN (LOTUS)||51|
|7||JENSON BUTTON (MCLAREN)||45|
|8||ROMAIN GROSJEAN (LOTUS)||35|
|9||PASTOR MALDONADO (WILLIAMS)||29|
|10||SERGIO PEREZ (SAUBER)||22|
|11||PAUL DI RESTA (FORCE INDIA)||21|
|12||KAMUI KOBAYASHI (SAUBER)||19|
|13||BRUNO SENNA (WILLIAMS)||15|
|14||FELIPE MASSA (FERRARI)||10|
|15||NICO HULKENBERG (FORCE INDIA)||7|
|16||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE (TORO ROSSO)||4|
|17||DANIEL RICCIARDO (TORO ROSSO)||2|
|18||MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (MERCEDES GP)||2|
|1||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||146|
|8||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||28|
|9||SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO FERRARI||6|
About Simon WrightHello, I am Simon, 23 and studying a BA Hons in Journalism (3rd and final year) at the University of Northampton.
Posted on May 27, 2012, in Race Reports and tagged 2012, Caterham, Ferrari, jenson button, Kamui Kobayashi, mark webber, Mercedes GP, Monte Carlo, Red Bull, Romain Grosjean. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.