• Monaco Grand Prix

Driver-by-driver run down

Chris Medland and Laurence Edmondson
May 29, 2011

Sebastian Vettel - 1st - Lady luck may have shone on Vettel today, but he did absolutely nothing wrong inside the cockpit. Got away cleanly and pulled out a decent gap, before a difficult pit stop cost him the lead. Not only was he delayed but he also was given the harder tyre compound by mistake. It didn't unsettle him though, and he looked after his tyres for 50 laps while he didn't put a wheel out of line under pressure from Alonso and Button before a late red flag helped him home.

Fernando Alonso - 2nd - A bittersweet afternoon, despite the best result of his season so far. His start was again electric, and he stuck with Button initially. His stroke of luck came with the first safety car, allowing him to pit and stay in touch with Button, in the end crucial to finishing ahead of the McLaren. It also gave him fresher tyres to attack Vettel with, but any hopes of victory were dashed by the later red flag.

Jenson Button - 3rd - A great drive that was undermined by bad luck, ultimately the deciding factor between first and third. Having looked a tad sluggish in the opening laps he started to close on Vettel, and his pace on both the super-soft and soft tyre was consistently impressive. Unfortunate with the timing of both safety cars, especially the red flag as he had reeled in the leading pair at two seconds per lap and would have fancied his chances of getting by.

Mark Webber - 4th - Having told Button he would be coming up the inside in to the first corner, slipping behind Alonso was not what he expected. Even less expected was his lack of pace in the first stint, before a poor pit stop put him in traffic and scuppered any chance of getting in touch with the front three. Pulled a good move on Kobayashi to take fourth and the best possible result late on, and underlined his pace with the fastest lap on the final circuit.

Kamui Kobayashi - 5th - Another strong performance, and an uplifting one for the Sauber team after Perez's crash in qualifying. Again drove an impressive long stint on the harder compound, and was then in position to benefit from the first safety car to make his one and only pit stop and rejoin in fifth. Appeared to have the pace to beat Sutil, but it took a lunge in to Mirabeau to pass him, and he was perhaps lucky not to be penalised for the contact. Powerless to resist Webber on super-soft tyres at the end.

Lewis Hamilton - 6th - Not his finest weekend, and truth be told a fairly scrappy race. He was caught napping by Schumacher on the first lap, which cost him dearly during the first stint. A delayed pit stop didn't help matters and left him behind Massa, but his move in to Loews was impatient even if the resultant penalty was harsh. Similarly his lunge on Maldonado was ambitious, and he was lucky that the post-race penalty didn't cost him a place. He clearly had the pace, but seemed to let his frustration get the better of him at times.

Adrian Sutil - 7th - Like Kobayashi, his strong first stint on soft tyres was the key to a good race, and he too pitted under safety car conditions to jump up to fourth. He had to drive a defensive race from there, and had done a good job until he understeered wide at Tabac and punctured his right rear. He actually profited from that error though, as the carnage he inadvertently caused behind him caused a safety car, under which he pitted, before the red flag came out.

Nick Heidfeld - 8th - A quiet race, if there is such a thing in Monaco. He had also started on the harder of the two compounds in an attempt to stop just once, but his pace wasn't all that strong early on. A quick team call anticipating the first safety car helped him stay in touch, and left him in position to benefit from the accident that took out his team-mate. All in all a good result having started 15th.

Rubens Barrichello - 9th - Finally points for Williams, though he will feel a little fortunate to have doubled his return at the expense of his team-mate having been outpaced by Maldonado all weekend. Will have enjoyed passing ex-team-mate Schumacher early on in to Mirabeau, but was less pleased when the first safety car occurred just after his one and only planned pit stop.

Sebastian Buemi - 10th - Benefitted from the first safety car, but stayed on a two-stop strategy and was not really looking at points. Managed to keep himself out of trouble though - easier said than done around Monaco - and avoided the incident that his team-mate Alguersuari was involved in to take a welcome point.

Nico Rosberg - 11th - A poor race by both Mercedes standards and his own. Made a good start up to fifth place, but couldn't make the super-soft tyre last and soon had a queue of cars behind him. The early pit stop dropped him down the field, and even lost out in a battle with Schumacher during a slow middle stint, which meant he couldn't even capitalise on other failings to score points.

Paul di Resta - 12th - A misjudged move on Alguersuari into the Loews Hairpin tainted what could have been a very good debut on the streets of Monaco. He needed to pass the Toro Rosso to make his planned two-stop strategy work, but by his own admission went in to the move a bit hot. It was a hero-or-zero moment and, unfortunately for him, the stewards did not approve.

Jarno Trulli - 13th - He was 17th by the end of first lap and was pulling well clear of Lotus' traditional rivals Virgin in the first stint. However, a safety car backed the pack up during his time on the super-soft tyres and he lost out on some of their speed advantage as a result. After his second pit stop he fell behind d'Ambrosio's Virgin but found his way back past before the finish.

Heikki Kovalainen - 14th - He rounded off a respectable result for Lotus but was disappointed by his opening two laps that saw him drop two positions. From that point onwards he struggled to find a rhythm as he made way for cars looking to lap him.

Jerome d'Ambrosio - 15th - The first safety car helped him get the edge on the Lotuses but he didn't really have the pace to stay in front. In the end he picked up some rubber marbles on the surface of his tyre while letting Heidfled past and became easy pickings for both Trulli and Kovalainen.

Tonio Liuzzi - 16th - A remarkable drive considering he didn't have his power steering working properly. The HRT is hard enough to wrestle around Monaco with everything at 100%, but it would have been a true test of stamina and skill to do it with a heavy steering rack. He finished on the same lap as d'Ambrosio, just 3.2 seconds behind following the restart.

Narain Karthikeyan - 17th - He was comfortably leading Liuzzi in the first stint, but the safety car undid most of his good work and he dropped to a lap behind his team-mate by the finish. But for Karthikeyan every race finish can be seen as a success this season.

Pastor Maldonado - 18th - He was on for a sixth place finish but was punted into the barrier at turn one by Lewis Hamilton with just five laps remaining. The fact that Hamilton was penalised will be of little consolation as it was by far and away Maldonado's best drive of the season and he came away with nothing to show for it.

Vitaly Petrov - DNF - It was a nasty finish to a difficult weekend as Petrov was extracted from his Renault and taken by ambulance to the medical centre. He was only six laps away from a very solid sixth place finish - mainly thanks to a one stop strategy and the early safety car - when he came across Alguersuari and Hamilton's accident. Fortunately his injuries were not serious and he will be back in the cockpit in Canada.

Jaime Alguersuari - DNF - He spent most of his afternoon in relative anonymity towards the back of the field, but on lap 72 he had a massive impact on the race, not to mention the rear of Lewis Hamilton's car. He stomped on the brakes to try to stop his Toro Rosso in time but couldn't avoid the accident that eventually resulted in a race-changing red flag period.

Michael Schumacher - DNF - He started from fifth on the grid but immediately lost several positions into the first corner as his anti-stall kicked in. He then found himself defending hard against Hamilton and did it well, offering plenty of space when the McLaren sailed up the inside into turn one. Unfortunately all the action took the life out of his tyres and he was the first to pit, putting him on a strategy that was destined to fail. In the end he was spared the misery by an air box fire that suffocated his engine.

Felipe Massa - DNF - He looked uncomfortable in the cockpit of his Ferrari all weekend but at no point more so than when he clobbered the barriers in the tunnel. Hamilton had attempted a move up the inside into Loews and that pushed the Ferrari into the back of Webber, damaging its front wing. He then found Hamilton on his inside through the tunnel and moments later his race was over as he clobbered the Armco.

Timo Glock - DNF - A broken right-rear pushrod brought an early end to his race, but he was never in a position to set the world alight - despite holding off the two Mercedes after their early pit stops. He was lucky the failure didn't happen at a higher speed.