Webber conquers Monaco after epic battle and makes it six out of six

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8 leads at the start of the race as Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 spins. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.

Mark Webber leads at the start of the race as mayhem ensues behind him in Turn 1 at Monaco

May 27 (GP247) Mark Webber powered to a controlled, impressive victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, to notch up his second triumph around the Monte Carlo streets in three years, secure Red Bull‘s hat-trick and become a part of modern F1 history by becoming the sixth different driver to win the first six races of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship – an unprecedented statistic in the history of the sport.

Monaco Grand Prix winner Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates. during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.The decisive moment came right at the very start. Webber simply blitzed off the line, and from then on gave a faultless performance throughout the 78 laps. He controlled the race with supreme discipline and for the last dozen laps handled intense pressure from a train of big hitters; Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa – all running virtually nose to tail, snaking through the streets in unison.

But the 35 year old Australian, who won at the venue in 2010, did not flinch and crossed the line to score his ninth Formula One victory and became the first Australian to win the Monaco GP twice.

Webber said afterwards, “I’m feeling incredible. It was an interesting race. It was reasonably straight forward at [the] start, getting the gap and managing [my] super-softs. Then it was matter of trying to get back into gap on track after the stops. The weather was threatening around the pit stop window but Nico went for it, went for undercut, so a few people had to react to his chess move.”

Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.“The first phase of the race was strange. It was hard to get the soft prime tyre warmed up. Seb had his tyres in and wasn’t wearing them so he was coming back into the picture. I didn’t want him to get the magic 21 second gap and take the lead. It’s an amazing day for the team, myself and really happy to have won here again,” added Webber.

For Red Bull it was the third successive win at the world’s most famous F1 race and team principal Christian Horner was understandably delighted, “It was a very intense race. We weren’t sure if it was going to be one or two stops. Mark was very disciplined. He stretched it out and did what he needed to do. It was a tactical race and stressful race when the rain came.”

Adrian Newey, architect of all three wins, said, “We’ve had a great three years here. Mark drove flawlessly. The weather was a real concern, but he did a great job to do what he needed to do.”

Mark Webber Red Bull leads early on during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2012 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.Having an equally flawless race and also enjoying a fast start, but having to settle for second was Nico Rosberg whose Mercedes stalked the Red Bull all afternoon, waiting and ready to pounce at any point. But alas for the German the opportunity never arose despite intensive prodding. On any other day he probably would have triumphed as the Silver Arrows was in fine form around the narrow confines of the town where he grew up.

Rosberg reflected on his afternoon, “I got a good start, but so did Mark. It was a matter of tyre management. I was a bit surprised how strong we were in qualifying and in the race. We probably had the fastest car out there. We are making progress all the time. Unfortunately it didn’t come together perfectly – first would have been nice – but we are pleased with second place.”

Up next were the biggest ‘winners’ on the day – the pair who made up the most positions with Fernando Alonso finishing third after starting from fifth and Sebastian Vettel taking fourth place after starting from ninth.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates at the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.With third place Alonso takes his points tally to 76 and becomes the championship leader by three points. The Ferrari driver escaped an early scare when he appeared to make contact as the field hurtled into Turn 1, the Spaniard also making a great start. But there was no discernible damage to the F2012.

Early on the Ferrari chased Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren until the first set of pit stops which saw Hamilton go in first upon which Alonso set a couple of ultra-fast sector times before peeling into the pits for his stop and emerging in third. From then on he had Vettel in his mirrors almost all the way until the end. Notably Vettel was one of a few drivers who opted to run the Soft (yellow band) tyre from the start which meant he ran the first stint longer than any of his main rivals, before bolting on the Super Softs.

Alonso commented, “The target was to try to finish in front of Sebastian and Lewis as they are with us in the championship. If you go race by race, you aim to finish ahead of different drivers. Now it is Mark. It will be interesting, as we are constantly developing the car and we are constantly surprised at every race. At the start I had contact with Grosjean so thought there was damage, but the car was fine. We took Hamilton at the stop with a perfect time and a perfect stop again, so well done to the team.”

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 spins and Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31 gets airborne at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.Vettel, who dominated the championship last year to the point of boredom, had this to say, “The number of different winners is good for you [the public] but for us it’s very difficult to know what’s happening. Nevertheless, it’s a long year, it will be crucial to keep scoring points.”

If Alonso was lucky at the start, Romain Grosjean was unlucky – but perhaps the Frenchman made his own luck – or lack thereof, as he made a hash of his start, started drifting to the right to block the inside with a clear line emerging on his outside which he seemed to not see or just simply ignore, and squeezed himself into Alonso’s Ferrari, then veered left and was launched by Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.

In the blink of an eye the Lotus rear suspension gave in and the car ended up stranded across Sainte Devote – race over.  Bad memories of Australia and Malaysia came to mind.

Very disappointed, Grosjean did not have much to say immediately afterwards, “I’m very disappointed I wanted to finish the Grand Prix, but it was a terrible start and that was that.”

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31 crashes at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.Of course avoiding action was required by the rest of the field and invariably they ran out of road, with some drivers taking evasive action by cutting the turn, while others opted to scatter around the stricken Lotus and surprisingly, most made it through, except for Kamui Kobayashi who was slammed into by Grosjean and bounced into the air off Jenson Button’s McLaren with the Sauber getting airborne and breaking it’s suspension on the spot. Six laps later Japan’s finest parked his bent C31.

Behind this double fracas, emerged the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa with a severely trashed back end and the Williams of Pastor Maldonado with a very broken front-end. No explanation required, as Maldonado’s torrid weekend came to a premature end. It was also an early shower for the hapless De la Rosa.

Lewis Hamilton started from third on the grid and will consider fifth place a disappointment, as by his own admission he had a good feeling about the weekend. But the feeling was good only for fifth, and by McLaren’s standards at the principality it was a paltry score after an awkward weekend.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.In the race Hamilton showed strong early pace, managing to keep Rosberg and Webber in his sights. But as the tyres started to go off after the first stint, Alonso -then in fourth – sensed a weakness and attacked in the manner for which he is known and by the time Hamilton emerged from his stop it was in fifth place. Later on Vettel did pretty much the same thing. Thereafter the 2008 world champion could not do much about the two ahead of him – he now lies fourth in the championship standings.

“It wasn’t the best result, but this is motor racing. I really dislike going backwards, but we still go away with some points. There are many races ahead of us and we still need to keep pushing. My start was one of worst starts I’ve had in a long time. I don’t understand why it happens when two guys next to me and those behind us got perfect starts. I was fortunate not to get caught up in the crash. We do thousands of starts, it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.It was even worse for Jenson Button who had one of his worst showings ever at the Principality. All weekend the 2009 Monaco GP winner was struggling for real pace in the McLaren MP4-27 and never found any. He did not finish but was classified 16th. A strange image of the 2012 race was the silver McLaren unable to find a way to pass Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham…

Button reflected, “If someone places their car well and has good exits its very difficult. That’s part of racing but it’s so frustrating when you are so much faster than the car in front. It’s just one of those things. It comes from a bad qualifying and being unlucky at the start. We were more prone to incidents. It was a tough afternoon but congratulations to Mark, he’s a good lad and it obviously livens up the championship. Hopefully we’ll have our day soon.”

Contrary to Button’s forgettable weekend, Felipe Massa enjoyed his best result of the year for Ferrari. Throughout the weekend he was always in touch with Alonso’s best around the streets of Monte Carlo, and in fact appeared to be held up by the Spaniard in the early stages of the race. A performance and points haul that will no doubt take some of the mounting pressure off Massa.

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.Staying out of trouble and scoring their best result (10 points) so far this season were the Force India duo – Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg – who managed to stay out of the mid-pack chaos to emerge seventh and eighth respectively. Fulfilling team owner Vijay Mallya’s wish of a double points scoop at Monaco – mission accomplished by his boys.

Biggest losers on the day were without doubt the Lotus pair, with pre-race favourite Romain Grosjean out of the race after 150 metres and Kimi Raikkonen finishing ninth after starting eighth on the grid with arguably the fastest cars at Monaco at their disposal. Questions have to be asked about Grosjean’s temperament and also the lack of preparedness by the team which crucially cost Raikkonen an entire 90 minute session at a circuit where track time is vital. There will much head shaking at Enstone as they consider their meagre two points haul from a weekend which promised so much.

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 collide at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday 27 May 2012.Bruno Senna salvaged the final point for Williams, who thanks to Maldonado had a problem packed weekend a mere two weeks after their fine moment in Spain. They to will look at the weekend as a wasted opportunity, with Maldonado capable of running very fast on Thursday but imploding on Saturday and although Senna brought home a solitary point, it was hardly a live-wire performance by the Brazilian.

It was also a very disappointing day for Michael Schumacher who 24 hours earlier had set the fastest lap in qualifying, but was demoted to sixth on the grid thanks to his antics at the Spanish GP. The five time Monaco winner was never really in contention, as he was squeezed during the Grosjean incident and dropped a couple of positions. He never made much progress thereafter and around the 60 lap mark it was clear something was clearly amiss with the Mercedes and a few laps later the seven time world champion parked it. Another early shower.

Schumacher summed up his afternoon, “What can I say? It was simply a pity to end the race in this way. In any case, the fuel pressure problem had nothing to do with the incident at the start. But it made it doubly disappointing because I had secretly been hoping for a podium finish. I will take the boost from the high points of this weekend with me to Canada. The track should suit us and I’m hoping to have a normal, clean race.”

Next up Canada- seven from seven? Bring it on!

Subbed by AJN.

Monaco Grand Prix – Sunday, 27 May 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 78 Winner 1 25
2 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 78 +0.6 secs 2 18
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 78 +0.9 secs 5 15
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 78 +1.3 secs 9 12
5 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 78 +4.1 secs 3 10
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 78 +6.1 secs 7 8
7 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 78 +41.5 secs 14 6
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 78 +42.5 secs 10 4
9 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 78 +44.0 secs 8 2
10 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 78 +44.5 secs 13 1
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 77 +1 Lap 23
12 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 77 +1 Lap 16
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 77 +1 Lap 17
14 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 77 +1 Lap 19
15 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 76 +2 Laps 22
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 70 +8 Laps 12
Ret 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 65 +13 Laps 15
Ret 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 64 +14 Laps 21
Ret 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 63 +15 Laps 6
Ret 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 15 Electrical 18
Ret 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 5 Accident damage 11
Ret 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 0 Accident 20
Ret 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 0 Accident 24
Ret 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 0 Accident 4
  • Mildseven

    Good Race. This season is getting topsy turvy.
    Alonso now leads the championship with supposed below Par Ferrai. And Massa hopefully got his mojo back after this race

  • McLaren Fan

    Quality drive from Mark glad for him Shame for the Old Boy.
    God knows what happened to McLaren and these tyres are just unreal.

  • visz963

    Alonso shameful. Felipe was faster than him enough said

  • Butterfly

    Mission Accomplished: Alonso leads on points.

  • IceMan

    Schumacher curse continues….where is the end of that, first Grosjean hits him then a car failure. This is even worst or unluckyer season then Raikkonen had in 2005.GGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lol.

    Great race, great result.

    Alonso leading on points with a terrible car, tremendous. Massa also drove like a hero. Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton and the Force India’s all did really well.

    Webber has been the most consistent driver this year, my pick for the title. Although it must be said that an accurate prediction is impossible. Caterham will win a race at this rate if no-one can figure out these tyres.

    Jean-Eric Vergne, what a plank. Hopefully sent back to a lower formula where he belongs.

    @Visz If anyone was “shameful”, it was Button. The guy drove like a bollard.

  • Alonsofan

    great job by webber,nico,alonso but I am still surprised by the Mclarens they havent prepared their car for Monaco properly.

  • Butterfly

    Without a doubt, Donkey of the Race goes to Button.

  • fawxx

    kovi was great throughout.
    imo, alonso should have continued his “in lap” he was absolutely flying. its quite disappointing when you see purple purple then pits.
    a win could be possible if he had continued…

    mclarens were disappointing.

    maybe we can see a shumi/hammy win in canada. 7 out of 7.

  • Harsha

    Great to see Webber on top step and For Alonso we don’t need to Mention about him cos he was the Complete Driver on the Grid
    Seb was good just like he was before and Rosberg was really good he Might be P1 but Webber Denied him
    I guess this was going to be a recap of 2010 season Where Fernando, Webber , Vettel go head to head
    Let’s see will it be happen or Any other come between them
    There is only 14 races left this year

  • Lotusfan

    It was a great race, specially for Mark Webber, but very bad for the earlier winner, Pastor Maldonado. Monaco’s street circuit proved again that a good start and survival through the first corner are the key elements for winning or successing through the race.

    Michael Schumacher’s lost pole position was a little bit frustrating though, because it would have given a lot of extra spice to the race if he had the possibility to start from the pole – to let everybody see if his nerves are still working like they were when he was younger. But for Mercedes, Nico Rosberg had a good start for the team. The Finn gave a lot of pressure in the end to Mark Webber, as did Fernando Alonso for Rosberg. The ending laps were luckily exciting, but probably not exciting enough.

    Only thing we missed was a heavy rain at the end. It would have made the ending of the race very dramatic and possibly led to the similar show we saw back in 1996. It is a shame that Monaco does not give good opportunities for passing – even when DRS is there today. Anyway, a great victory for Mark Webber, who proved to be a specialist at the nerve-breaking Monaco street circuit.

  • Hawk

    Drive of the day goes to Vettel. As for Button that McLara was never good for Monaco. It showed when Lewis was struggling on Thursday. The problem with Alonso and Lewis is that you will not really know how bad a car is. McLaren somehow think they have a car, remember Monza testing? Whereas Ferrari and Red Bull think they have a bad car! At the moment it seems to be the other way round! McLaren wake up, you are loosing Lewis the championship!

  • fools

    visz, go on to the restroom, open up the cabinet, and eat the pills!

    Alonso WDC on pace!

  • fools

    and if it rains in Canada….we and visz already know who will win that one. Did you forget his name is Fernando Alonso!

  • Obviously

    @stewy… Yeh yeh… Your man did it.. Great drive, good guy.. Happy for him and his supporters!

  • Stewy33

    @ Obviously

    Thanks for the surport! I did reach on the top shelf of my liquor cabinet and sipped some good 12+ year old scotch!

    I have really been enjoying this season of F1, many surprises both good and bad. It gets you more involved with the teams, drivers, and the sport! Hopefully the “fans” fortune continues!!!

  • pitwall

    @visz963 Actually what is really shameful is people who put multiple posts on this website under different names… like you and alonso_is_slow

  • pitwall

    @visz963 I really agreed with parts of your post (the bit where you say ‘enough said’)… could not have put it better. However, the rest of your comment is inaccurate. Both Ferraris had similar pace – Massa ran too close to Alonso early on; Alonso held back and waited for the right moment to push. He knew exactly when to close on Hamilton… he moved up the field, Massa didn’t.

  • Kimi4WC

    Another strategy blunder by Lotus, whats new….

  • Mildseven

    Actually if it had rain at the latter part! Those guys running after massa. Would have been podium contenders! Poor Jean Eric he had the worst blunder this whole race!

  • Psych4191

    Fantastic weekend in Monaco. Everybody showed true skill besides one person – Pastor Maldonado. He needs to control himself and his temper or he’ll be suspended, and that helps nobody but Bruno and Valtteri. If Bottas gets into Pastor’s seat for even one race and shines, then it won’t look too good for Maldonado.

    Having said that, moving on to the Canadian Grand Prix, I think it’ll be Lewis Hamilton, he is absolutely incredible in Montreal, unless it rains. If it does rain, then it has to go to Jenson or Alonso. The Super-DRS from Mercedes might power Schumacher and Rosberg to podiums, but I don’t think they can win, due to their stroke of luck.

    We could see 10 different winners in 10 different races:
    Grosjean, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Massa, Senna, and Schumacher are all in cars that can win on any given day. This season is incredible and will come down to the wire with probably three or four people still fighting for the WDC.

  • webberbbq

    “not bad for a number two driver”

  • Kimi4WC

    @Psych4191

    I think both Bruno and Pastor should watch out. Personally I think Bottas is next Hakkinen/Raikkonen and it seems that he is going to get lucky to have a very capable Williams car next year.

    Both Bruno and Pastor racing for their seat next year, so far Pastor leading.

  • Psych4191

    @Kimi For sure Bottas is a flying finn. Pastor is leading in terms of pace, but not in terms of professionalism. You have to be able to sell the name as well in some cases. Nobody really likes Pastor, and nobody has a problem with Bruno (minus Schumacher, maybe.) If Bruno can get a great finish, say a podium, and keep racking up little points here and there, he’d be brought back for sure as long as Pastor keeps showing his ass.

    Also, speaking of Fins, Heikki needs a faster car, he’s gotten his quickness back.

  • Hawk

    Pastor is safe. he has the benjamins. Williams is where it is because of his dough.

  • kaka007

    nobody is telling anything appreciable about force india…..
    heyy guys, wat do u think….i think they were equally gud with redbull regarding strategy and performance as a team yesterday..
    even though they were not extraordinary this season, they were there or thereabouts…

    special mention to heikki,massa and di resta

  • Bushby_23

    Brilliant drive from Webber; very glad to see him on the top step this year. A great start from him (finally), and he did everything he needed to do to keep it from there. I think it’s safe to say no one really knows who is going to be up there come race day, and even then we’re only getting an idea with the last part of the race to go.

    I also think it’s safe to say the Ferrari isn’t as bad as it has been made out to be. Yes, it certainly wasn’t and still isn’t the greatest car out there on the field, but come race day it’s always there in the hands of Alonso. Good work to Massa on actually bagging some good points in it as well, hopefully a return to form for him.

    McLaren need to sort out there issues quick smart. Lewis did well to hold fifth, despite falling two places due to another blunder. Button really needs to get the car to work for him now; he is falling behind and it only gets harder to catch up the longer you leave it.

    Mercedes had another unlucky one with Schumacher, but Rosberg drove supremely and unfortunate to nab first (glad he didn’t). Lotus, my god, they may have the pace of the front runners, but they clearly still have the mindset of a mid-field team. Strategies are too poor to be running at the front. Grosjean needs consistency. He appears to have the outright pace, but can’t use it well. Ditto for Maldonado; both are showing signs of immaturity.

  • tony sullivan

    Obviously Iceman is an old buck who roots for drivers that are too old to know how to drive anymore _ – _ MS is a big stupid passe’ jerk who needs to go home and put his feet up by the fire – IF HE CANT RUN INTO ANYONE HE CONSIDERS IT A BAD DAY

  • visz963isaloser

    @fools:
    here come the lame comments from the dumb*ss, visz963.

    @visz963:
    you moron, if massa was faster than Alonso then he should have been ahead of him, he wasn’t so STFU! you are a lost soul with no sense in your lame head, whatsoever!

  • Butterfly

    Guys/Trolls, Massa was faster than Alonso at that stage, but Alonso was conserving his tires to attack at the pit-stops, which he did. It was tactical, although some members of the Troll Community might think Alonso is fundamentally slower than any other driver on the grid.

  • Lol.

    @Kaka

    You make an excellent point. Force India did a great job – even without vergne making a total imbecile of himself they had 2 cars well in the points. Good job to those guys.

  • pitwall

    @Butterfly Spot on

  • F50GT1

    Is visc963 a nascar fan? it’s obvious his eyes are lying to him/her, can’t tell with all the whining. Alonso will definitely be WDC there are just way to many positive results that he has gotten in just 6 races and with 14 races to go, you do the math. I totally agree with Bushby_23, but shhh let’s keep Ferrari’s sand bagging a secret, k? lolol