F1 Monaco Results and Report: Webber Wins at Monaco with Safety Cars & Results to be Investigated


What Happens With Four Safety Cars

9:58am EST —  Mark Webber monopolized the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix from pole in a race that saw four safety cars, two for incidents caused by a Williams, one for a lose drain cover at Massenet, and one for a scary looking accident between Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok nearly in front of Webber with three laps left in the race.  Sebastian Vettel crossed the line second, with Robert Kubica third, Felipe Massa fourth, and Lewis Hamilton fifth.  Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso (who started the race last form the pit lane) for sixth as the safety car had peeled off just before the line and racing had resumed, it is thought.  The incident was under investigation as this report was published, though the sporting regulations seem to suggest that the pass was not legal.

Mark Webber started on pole, after having taken it from Robert Kubica at the end of Saturday qualifying.  The Pole completed the first row, with Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel third, Felipe Massa fourth, and Lewis Hamilton fifth.  Michael Schumacher will be behind teammate Nico Rosberg (who will start sixth), while McLaren driver Jenson Button started eighth.  Rubens Barrichello showed promise from the Williams with a good qualifying, moving into Q3 and qualifying ninth.  Ferrari weekend pace-setter Fernando Alonso did not set a qualifying time after a heavy slow speed shunt during Saturday morning practice and started from the pit lane with a new chassis.  Kubica’s also fast at Monaco teammate Vitaly Petrov had the only crash during qualifying, which kept him from moving to Q3.

On a cloudy and celebrity-studded day, Webber led into the first turn as Kubica attempted to shoot across infront of Vettel, but Vettel managed a great start and second position.  Massa looked to the wide as Hamilton looked to the inside to try to get around Kubica.  Schumacher got around teammate Rosberg, but Barrichello leapfrogged both.  Button got a bad start and dropped to eleventh.  The safety car was deployed for a heavy shunt by Nico Hulkenberg in the tunnel, after he got quite wide and into the dust and marbles and then into the wall.  Alonso, who started on the option tire changed to the prime tire after going through the debris.  Senna also pitted as Button stopped at Sainte Devote with a smoking and blown engine, forcing the end of his race.  Later, Button explained that a plug was left in the radiator on the way to the grid and it helped to destroy the engine.  When the safety car was deployed, it was Webber leading Vettel, Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, Barrichello, Schumacher, Rosberg, Liuzzi, and Sutil as the top ten.

The safety car left the circuit for the beginning of L7, as Alonso had only gained one position at the rear, on Senna because of the Brazilian’s stop.  Webber got a good restart, with a small margin back to Vettel, who had a similar gap to Kubica, who had Massa and Hamilton close behind.  Kubica began pulling away himself.  At the back, Alonso was quite close behind di Grassi and Trulli, having picked off Chandhok.  The Alonso attempt to get to the front would likely be the most exciting part of a race which traditionally has little passing.  He was already twenty-three seconds behind the leaders, as he got around di Grassi at the chicane after di Grassi got squirrely out of the tunnel.  On the next lap, Alonso got another run out of the tunnel and around Trulli, who did not put up a particular fight.

Nearer the front, Barrichello in sixth position was neatly keeping the Mercedes of Schumcher and Rosberg behind him as Webber had a nearly five second gap on Vettel while Kubica, Massa, and Hamilton had a couple of seconds between them.  Alonso got around Glock in what was rapidly beginning to look like the Spaniard’s favorite place on the circuit, bravely entering the chicane after the tunnel beside and just ahead of the German for seventeenth, setting off to do the same (though on the outside) to Kovalainen for sixteenth.  On L18, Hamilton was the first to pit, returning to the circuit fifteenth and between Alguersuari and Alsonso.  Mercedes set up for a stop for Schumacher, who was being held behind Barrichello, who also stopped, as did Massa.  Schumacher and Barrichello came out behind Alonso, which could mean great things for the Ferrari strategy.  The German got around Barrichello during the stop as multiple drivers came in and switched up the running order.

Vettel pitted form second (and nine seconds adrift of Webber) on L23 in a very fast stop: 3.9s, which got him back out in third.  Webber went in the next lap and returned to the circuit still in the lead, but with Rosberg right behind him.  The German still had yet to pit.  At the rear, Timo Glock had some sort of mechanical failure and was forced to stop on track, but was safely out of the way of racing.  In the pit, de la Rosa had some sort of issue, overheated his brakes and was pushed into the garage.  With Rosberg (2nd) and Kobayashi (5th) the only front runners still to pit, Webber led Rosberg, Vettel, Kubica, Kobayashi, Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, and Sutil.  If Alonso’s tires could hold and he kept from crashing, he could possibly finish sixth.  Then Kobayashi stopped somewhere on the circuit.  Finally, Rosberg stopped, coming back out behind his teammate in eighth despite a very quick stop.

With forty-eight laps left in the seventy-eight lap race, Webber led Vettel, Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Rosberg, Sutil, and Barrichello in the top ten.  All had made the required one stop to change tire compounds, with any other stop only coming because of sever tire degradation or debris.  Proving the point, Petrov stopped with a flat rear tire and the safety car was deployed due to a left rear suspension failure and subsequent crash by Barrichello, who had been having a better race than many this season.  Barrichello, in a fit of pique, threw his steering wheel across the track while still in the car, where it was promptly run over by Chandhok.  The fifteen or so second gap between Webber and Vettel at the front quickly dissolved.  The safety car was in two laps later, on L33.

Another clean restart as Webber got away cleanly.  The gap between the front five was about a second and a bit a lap or two out, though Alonso was getting quite close to Hamilton, and Schumacher similarly close to Alonso.  Webber began gapping his young teammate again as the Bridgestone people noted that all the runners would not need to stop again for tire degradation, not even Alonso.  McLaren radioed Hamilton that his front brakes were critical and to take the balance to the rear, while Hamilton responded angrily, “We’re only halfway through the race. What the hell? Do you want me to race these guys or save the car?”  Interestingly enough, the gap back to Alonso continued to grow while that between Hamilton and Massa in front of him diminished.  In fact, the Briton’s lap times continued to drop, and drop in relation to those around him as Ferrari noted on Twitter, “now everyon [sic] will play his cards by managing tyres and brakes until the end of the race.”

L43 brought the safety car out for the third time, because of a lose drain cover at Massenet.  Webber still led Vettel, Kubica, Massa, Hamilton, and Alonso.  Petrov, in thirteenth, was the first man a lap down.  The safety car came in two laps later, with thirty-three laps left in the race distance.  The restart was another simple one, though the Red Bulls got a bit away as Kubica locked up and held up Massa a bit and Hamilton took a bit of a look on the Ferrari in front of him as the Ferrari behind him did the same.  Still, the positions did not change, though a few laps out from the restart and Webber’s lead grew at what began to look like the usual pace.  Further behind, Hamilton remained in close contact with Massa, but not attacking while Alonso’s tires might have been going off as the back between the former teammates grew and Schumacher loomed close behind in seventh.

With twenty laps to go, the sun began shining as the gaps normalized, with Webber pulling away, those behind him (barring Kubica getting closer and closer to Vettel) had a possibly comfortable few of seconds between them.  At the end, Kovalainen and Senna both pitted from fourteenth and fifteenth.  For Senna, it was the end of his day while the Finn spent an inordinate amount of time in the stall before also retiring.  According to Mike Gascoyne, “heikki has stopped with a power steering problem…Steering joint failed”  Kubica was less than a second behind Vettel while Alonso seemed to be gaining a tiny bit more of a cushion over Schumacher, with a nearly two second gap between the multi-time world champions.

Ten laps left, and Webber’s lead had dwindled slightly, after the team told him to save the car and tires.  Vettel was still second, with Kubica close but not so much as before in third, Massa fourth, and Hamilton fifth.  Hamilton was well behind Massa, as nearly ten seconds separated the two.  Vettel, likely in an effort to keep away from Kubica, set the race fastest lap on L71, keeping the possibility of a grand slam from teammate Webber and lapping nearly a second faster than his leading teammate.

Three laps left and Trulli and Chandhok had quite a shunt fighting for last.  Trulli attempted to go on the inside of the Indian and ended up going over top of him (with a wheel to Chandhok’s helmet) at Rescasse and just about directly in front of Webber.  Both drivers were able to get out directly and seemed to be fine.  The race finished under the safety car with the positions unchanged after the single round of pit stops, except that Schumacher passed Alonso for sixth just before the line.  Official F1 timing and scoring indicates that the pass was legal, but, as Ferrari said on Twitter, “Let’s see what the stewards will say.”  The incident was under investigation as this report was published.

Final Positions for the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix:
1. Webber
2. Vettel +.4
3. Kubica +1.6
4. Massa +2.6
5. Hamilton +4.3
6. Schumacher* +5.7
7. Alonso*+6.3
8. Rosberg +6.6
9. Sutil +6.9
10. Liuzzi +7.3
11. Buemi +8.1
12. Alguersuari +9.1
13. Petrov +5 Laps
Chandhok +8 Laps
Trulli +8 Laps
Kovalainen
Senna
Barrichello
Kobayashi
di Grassi
Glock
de la Rosa
Button
Rosberg

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks Victoria –

    [Disclaimer – I’m a proud and patriotic Australian and supporter of all Aussies]

    An excellent win for Webber and for Australia as the RBR reserve driver (Daniel Ricciardo) also matched Mark’s magnificent feat with a pole and win in the Formula Renault 3.5 race at Monaco earlier in the day.

    I know that it is way too early in the season, but after such dominance by Mark in the past two races it is hard not to start dreaming about the WDC.

    Interesting how glum Vettel looks at the post qualifying and race press conferences, however he is matching Mark in points and if last year is an indication then he could come out on top at the end of the season…

    Now if only Casey Stoner can put some more race victories together – I’m so relieved that Nicky Hayden is now closer to Casey in pace.

    Keep up the good work.
    Regards,
    Matthew

    • Matthew,
      Thanks for the support and great comment! (and for being yet another of my dual F1 and MotoGP fan readers)
      I tend to agree with you, both on this being a bit early in the season to claim complete Webber dominance, and it being a great change of pace for him…both RBR drivers look good, if Vettel could only get his car to stop breaking on him.
      It would also be lovely to see Stoner win, especially since his return to form after the time off last season, but as an American (though that usually doesn’t sway my rider/driver preferences) I’m very thrilled to see Hayden finally taming the Ducati.
      Thanks again, VMR


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