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A party in Monte-Carlo Aussie style!

MARK WEBBER won this year’s jewel in the F1 crown – the Monaco Grand Prix – in dominating fashion last Sunday, just as he did in Spain the weekend before. The Australian Red Bull driver led home a 1-2 finish for his team with Sebastian Vettel finishing second. Renault locked out the podium in the Principality as works team driver Robert Kubica came third. Webber won the race in a time of 1:50:13.355 at an average speed of 88.316 mph. Vettel set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:15.192 (99.585 mph).

At the very start of the race, Vettel squeezed his way past Kubica who tried in vain to keep the young German behind him. Rubens Barrichello (Williams) had a great start, gaining three places from ninth on the grid. His team-mate unfortunately had a first lap to forget. Young Nico Hülkenberg was due to start 11th, but stalled his engine on the warm-up lap and had to start last. He then drifted onto the dusty part of the track in the middle of the Tunnel and hit the wall. This brought out the first Safety Car of the race. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso capitalised on this and came in for his mandatory tyre change pit-stop a lap latter. A real no brainer for a driver who was dead last anyway.

Lap three saw last year’s winner, McLaren’s Jenson Button retire with a cooked engine. Embarrassingly the cause of this well done V8 was a bung being left in the air intake by an engineer on the grid. As a team fan I find this totally unacceptable and most un-McLaren like.

The race restarted on lap seven and Alonso set about making up for starting from the pit lane by picking off: Di Grassi (Virgin), Trulli (Lotus) and the second Virgin of Timo Glock by lap 14.

Rubens Barrichello’s race ended on lap 31 at over 170 mph when his suspension failed at the top of Beau Rivage. The most experienced driver in the sports history then threw his £30,000 steering wheel out of his cockpit and onto the road. The collector’s item was then duly picked up by Karun Chandhok in his HRT. This crash brought out the second Safety Car of the race. The race restarted on lap 34, Webber still leading from Vettel.

Ten laps later the third Safety Car of the race was deployed due to a loose drain cover at Massenet. Fortunately the quick fit fitters were in the area and the race was underway again on lap 46.

Mark Webber by now was probably getting bored of going round and round in the lead all the time away from the action. But he got a grandstand seat and a programme of the crash between Trulli and Chandhok on lap 74.

Trulli tried to pass Chandhok on the inside at La Rascasse but his rear wheels drifted and the Lotus and HRT touched. The Italian’s green and yellow Lotus then went up and over the Indian’s grey HRT. Chandhok was seen holding his helmet after the cars came to a halt but he wasn’t hurt. The fourth Safety Car of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix was dispatched out on track a lap latter.

The race was now going to finish under the Safety Car with Mark Webber taking his second win in as many weekends. But the drama wasn’t over behind him.

On the 78th and final lap the Safety Car pulled into the pits and: Webber, Vettel, Kubica, Massa (Ferrari) and Hamilton (McLaren) all took off for the finish line just down the road. But Alonso was jumped by Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes and the German beat the Spaniard into sixth place.

Now this would have been illegal last year and many years before that, but the rules have changed for 2010. Article 40.7 of this year’s regs states that:

 “Instead of waiting until you cross the Start/Finish line to be allowed to overtake, you can now pass cars after you have crossed the white Safety Car Line.”

 At Monaco Schumacher did just this. He pulled alongside the Ferrari coming out of La Rascasse, crossed the line in seventh took Alonso on the inside as they entered the finally corner, Anthony Noghes. Ross Brawn (Mercedes team principle) was confident that everything he and Schumacher had done was legal.

But Ferrari protested by bringing up article 40.13 which reads:

 “If the race ends whilst the Safety Car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”  

The race stewards found in favour of Ferrari, and Schumacher was given a 20-second time penalty, demoting him to 12th place and last of the runners. Dastardly and Muttley caught again!

Looking at the championships now, it looks increasingly likely that Red Bull will run away with both of them unless the other teams can raise their game or Red Bull themselves continue to suffer from reliability problems.

Drivers’ Standings

  1. Webber 78pts
  2. Vettel 78pts
  3. Alonso 75pts
  4. Button 70pts
  5. Massa 61pts
  6. Kubica 59pts
  7. Hamilton 59pts
  8. Rosberg 56pts
  9. Schumacher 22pts
  10. Sutil 20pts


Constructors’ Standings

  1. Red Bull 156pts
  2. Ferrari 136pts
  3. McLaren 129pts
  4. Mercedes 78pts
  5. Renault 65pts
  6. Force India 30pts
  7. Williams 8pts
  8. Toro Rosso 4pts

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