The most prestigious (and dangerous!) race on the F1 calendar rolls around once again. Victory for Monaco resident Lewis Hamilton would certainly be the final nail in the proverbial coffins of his would-be competitors....
Mark Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix today in dominating fashion, from flag-to-flag, in his Red Bull-Renault, leading a Red Bull 1-2 with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel finishing second.
Front row starter Robert Kubica, after getting beaten to the first corner by Vettel, finished in third place in his Renault – the engine manufacturer sweeping the podium for the first time since the Luxembourg GP in 1997.
The race ended under the Safety Car, when Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided with three laps to go – the race being interrupted by four Safety Car periods in total.
Following straight on from his victory in Barcelona, Mark Webber (1:13.826) took a superb pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix, the only driver to dip below 1m14s. Team mate Sebastian Vettel (1:14.227) pulled out a lap right at the end to go third quickest, the Red Bull pair split by the impressive Robert Kubica (1:14.120) in the Renault.
As ever the Monte Carlo qualifying session was hard fought and spectacular, with just over a second covering the top 10 on the grid.
There was little change at the sharp end of the field in the second free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso continued to lead the way, setting down a firm marker to his rivals for the rest of the weekend. The Spaniard improved on his morning laptime by over a second and lapped over a tenth quicker than his nearest rival.
There was little delay in first laptime getting on the board at the start of the session, with Hispania’s Bruno Senna setting the benchmark at 1m25.830s. A barrage of improvements followed with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton lowering the target to a 1m17.709s just six minutes later, before Tonio Liuzzi, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber all took to the front briefly. Renault’s Robert Kubica then made himself one to watch by beating them all with a 1m15.935s, before cutting a further four tenths off his time on the following lap to set a 1m15.589s.
Button wins Monaco Grand Prix as this is his fifth victory of sixth race of this season. Button followed by Barrichello who secured second position at start of grand prix. Despite he had rear tyre graining with super soft tires in the first stint he succeeded to stay ahead of Raikkonen who seemed faster than him in the first stint with harder tires. Raikkonen followed by his team mate Massa in fourth who posted the fastest lap of the race.
Webber who managed to pass Rosber with the strategy was fifth. Alonso was seventh after a very long first stint with harder tires. The last point was Bourdais’s who secured to stay ahead of Fisichella. Vettel and Kovalainen retired after they crashed while they were in a position to score some points. Hamilton who started at the back of the grid could only be 12th.
Jenson Button once again got pole position this season at Monaco Grand Prix. Despite his struggle in early stages of Qualify today he did an exceptional lap at dying moments of Q3 and secured pole position. Raikkonen was second just 0.025 seconds behind Button despite he was the fastest man in Q2 with almost six tenths quicker than last years best Q2 time. Barrichello from Brawn was third ahead of Vettel in fourth who didn’t seem to be on pace this week. Massa was fifth who crashed his car at the beginning of Q1 but was lucky enough to continue. Rosberg was sixth, Kovalainen seventh and Webber was eight before tomorrow’s race.
The real drama was Hamilton’s crash at first session after posting the best first sector time. Hamilton seemed very strong all week here and he could deliver a very strong performance today if he didn’t crash. Another big surprise was seeing both cars of teams BMW and Toyota to be knocked out in Q1 while Force India and Torro Rosso drivers were in top 15. Car weights are yet to be published by FIA, but most of the time strategy is more important at this circuit than the raw speed.
Monaco is one of the most precious and unique circuits of Formula 1 calendar. As a street circuit it’s a combination of slow and twisty corners. All teams come here with a special package and mechanical setup is very important for success since all the teams use their maximum downforce available. It will be interesting to see how 2009 cars will behave at this circuits since they don’t have last years downforce levels thanks to the new regulations.
Brawn GP comes this race as favorites as they were the fastest at Barcelona circuit’s last sector which demonstrates Monaco characteristics. RedBull is expected to have their new Double-Decker diffuser solution at this grand prix. Ferrari is eying their first podium after a successfull demonstration of their upgrades at Spain Grand Prix.