F1 Monaco Race Results & Report: Vettel Wins 1st Monaco After SC, Red Flag, Restart

What Happens When Red Flags, Safety Cars, and Restarts Occur

10:21am EST — Sebastian Vettel won the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix in a five-lap sprint to the end, after two safety car deployments and a red flag. It would have been a fascinating fight to the finish, with podium finishers Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Jenson Button all covered by a second and fighting for the lead with three different types of tire degradation, until they caught a train of cars fighting over points positions. The subsequent incident took Alguersuari out and put a soon alert Petrov into the ambulance, pausing the race with a safety car then red flag.

Mark Webber and Kamui Kobayashi completed the top five. There had already been a safety car when Michael Schumacher stopped near the pit entrance with an unidentified problem, as Felipe Massa had slid along the wall in the tunnel at the same time, ending his race. Lewis Hamilton (who finished sixth) received a drive-through for inappropriate contact with Massa through the hairpin just before the incident, dropping him back to ninth in a Monaco marked by passing, glancing blows, and close fighting.

Vettel (1:13.556) started on pole after a frantic and subdued qualifying session Saturday afternoon. Q3 was marred by a massive crash from Sergio Perez, who had already out-qualified Sauber teammate Kamui Kobayashi by progressing to Q3, into the barrier at the chicane after exiting the tunnel. The session, with just over two minutes remaining, was red flagged for a half hour to allow Perez to be extricated from his car and the barrier to be rebuilt.

Later, it was confirmed that Perez had suffered only a sprained/bruised thigh and a concussion, and would not be racing on Sunday. Button, Webber, Alonso, Schumacher, and Massa completed the first three rows of the starting grid. On his single run of Q3, Hamilton shortcutted the chicane, leading to the deletion of his lap and a demotion to ninth on the starting grid. Both HRT cars were allowed to start by stewards, despite neither having set a time during qualifying. Liuzzi was unable to run after a Saturday morning practice crash damaged his car too heavily to be repaired in time while Karthikeyan’s mechanical issues kept him in the garage.

Start:
The grand prix got underway with royal watchers and under a sunny sky, as Button dived directly behind Vettel, who kept the lead. Alonso slotted into third and ahead of Webber, while Schumacher had quite a bad start, dropping down to tenth. He gained position on Hamilton at the hairpin, leaving Hamilton to radio back to McLaren with worries about a rear tire. At the end of the first lap, Vettel led Button (by 2.4s), Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Maldonado, Petrov, and Schumacher as the top ten. Button’s power steering felt “heavy” on the formation lap, which might have been why Vettel was pulling away so very quickly. Alonso was close behind the Briton, with experience in fighting his way through the field at Monaco after his 2010 race.

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F1 Monaco Quali Results & Report: Vettel on Pole After Red Flag for Perez Crash

What Happens When Monaco Is a B*t(h

9:47am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:13.556) won pole for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix in a session marred by a red flag, after Sergio Perez had a heavy impact into the wall separating the escape road from the circuit at the chicane with just over two minutes left in Q3. He was taken away by ambulance, conscious and talking in the vehicle. There is no definitive word, other than his consciousness, on his condition or whether he will start the race Sunday.

Vettel’s time was set before the stoppage, as the starting order remained the same after the restart, with time enough for only one lap. Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, and Michael Schumacher were the top five qualifiers, with Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Perez Maldonado completing the top nine. Both Perez and Pastor Maldonado (starting ninth) out-qualified their more experienced teammates, with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi thirteenth and the most experienced man on the grid, Williams’ Rubens Barrichello, twelfth.

The early weekend was very kind to Alonso, perhaps Monaco’s way of making up for the 2010 shunt that saw him starting from the rear of the grid, as he was second fastest Thursday morning and fastest in both the second and third practice sessions, posting the fastest time of the weekend (1:14.443) Saturday morning. The closest the Spaniard came to damaging his Ferrari came Thursday when he nearly ran into the back of Massa’s much slower Ferrari. However, neither Vettel (who was fastest Thursday morning) nor Hamilton managed a clear run on the super soft tires as Saturday morning’s practice was twice interrupted with red flags.

Rosberg had the most dramatic crash of Saturday and the weekend, flying through the air and narrowly missing the wall at the nouvelle chicane, while Liuzzi stopped the Saturday morning session with minutes remaining after sliding through St. Devote. Those two parts of the circuit were the most likely to cause incidents, with multiple drivers damaging their cars there through the weekend. Schumacher and Maldonado damaged their cars Thursday at St. Devote while Liuzzi and Petrov were caught out after exiting the tunnel a la Rosberg.

Q1:
HRT did not send Liuzzi out for Q1, with his participation in the race on Sunday up to the stewards. Meanwhile, Mercedes was working frantically to get Rosberg’s car repaired. Interestingly, the kerbs put in place to keep drivers from short-cutting the chicane had been removed after Rosberg’s flight over them. D’Ambrosio was the first driver out for the twenty minutes of Q1, followed by Petrov and Schumacher.

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F1 Monaco FP3 Results & Report: Alonso Quickest in Final Practice, Liuzzi & Rosberg Stop the Session

What Happens When Monaco Gets Out Its Claws

6:12am EST — Fernando Alonso (1:14.443) was quickest in the final practice session for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, with Jenson Button the only other driver to post a lap time under 1:15s in a session stopped by two red flags. Nico Rosberg paused the final practice early on, in a terrible looking shunt through the Nouvelle Chicane, flying through the air and very narrowly missing a head-on collision into the wall. Late in the session, Tonio Liuzzi slid heavily into the barrier just past the apex of St. Devote to cause the second red flag. Both drivers were uninjured. Felipe Massa, Alonso’s Ferrari teammate, was third fastest, with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher completing the fastest five.

Thursday’s practices saw Alonso quicker than usual for Ferrari, barely losing the top spot on the timesheets to Vettel at the end of the morning session and fastest of all in the afternoon practice. Rosberg, Massa, and Hamilton completed the fastest five in the morning while Hamilton, Rosberg, Button, and Vettel were the quickest behind Alonso in the afternoon. Webber was only ninth fastest Thursday afternoon after gearbox issues halted his morning running.

Neither of the Thursday practices saw the extreme damage that comes from an off at Monaco, with only a couple of cars getting sideways enough into a barrier to end their session or run repairs into the next. Drivers seemed most likely to slide down the escape road at St. Devote, with only Schumacher and Maldonado damaging their cars after missing the braking point. Liuzzi was the first to hit the barriers on Thursday, damaging his HRT in a spin after exiting the tunnel, with Petrov similarly crashing his Renault that afternoon.

Saturday began another gorgeously sunny day in Monaco, with Kobayashi, Glock, and Kovalainen amongst the first rush to get on track for the hourlong final practice session. Unfortunately, things were not rosy at Lotus, despite their insistence that the recent court battle was decided in their favor. “Lots of the team suffering from food poisioning but operating as normal,” tweeted Mike Gascoyne. Schumacher was the first to set a time, five minutes in, starting at 1:22.441, though he quickly improved that time by more than two seconds. He and teammate Rosberg were the only drivers on track after early installation laps from everyone else.

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F1 Monaco FP2 Results & Report: Alonso Leads Thursday, Red Bulls Down the Order

What Happens When It’s All About the Edge

9:47am EST — Fernando Alonso (1:15.123) led the timesheets for the second practice of the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix weekend with a lap set in the latter half of the session. Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, and Sebastian Vettel completed the fastest five in a session marked by the use of super soft tires and some charging laps, particularly by sixth fastest Felipe Massa. Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil, and Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top ten.

Vitaly Petrov gave some excitement to the final moments, sliding into the barrier after exiting the tunnel and losing his front wing. While plenty of drivers made us of the St. Devote escape road, only Paul di Resta also ended his session early having lost power. Tonio Liuzzi did no run while HRT focused on fixing the damage from his morning incident.

In a last-moment dash, Vettel (1:16.619) took the fastest lap from Alonso during the sunny morning practice on Thursday, held a day earlier at Monaco than all other race weekends. They were joined by Rosberg, Massa, and Hamilton as the top five in a session paused for a red flag and with only two crashes on the narrow streets in Monte Carlo. Liuzzi spun after exiting the tunnel and was the first man into the barriers, while Schumacher tucked his Mercedes into the fence at the runoff for St. Devote. Neither were injured, but their sessions were over after the incidents. Also afflicted was Webber, whose first fast run ended at the same time as Liuzzi’s with a recalcitrant gearbox for the Australian.

The Virgin Racing drivers were the first out for the afternoon session, followed by Petrov and Alguersuari, then half the field. Just five minutes into the session, Petrov was the leader, only to lose his position to Maldonado (1:20.544). Petrov responded, but Maldonado caused a local yellow, having locked up and gone down the escape road quite similarly to Schumacher in the morning. Soon, only Hamilton, Schumacher, and Liuzzi had yet to post an installation lap.

Massa (1:17.483) led ten minutes into the session, with Petrov, Button, Webber, Rosberg, Alguersuari, Perez, di Resta, Maldonado, and Glock the top ten. Only Barrichello, Kobayashi, Hamilton, Schumacher, and Liuzzi had yet to set a time, but Kobayashi and Hamilton soon remedied that situation. Drivers continued to fight over the top position, with Button then Rosberg tacking charge minutes later. Meanwhile, Alguersuari added his name to the list of drivers off at St. Devote, pushing his front wing into the barrier. Schumacher missed the early part of the session while Mercedes repaired his car and would continue to miss more of the session.

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F1 Monaco FP1 Results & Report: Vettel Beats Alonso, Session Red Flagged for Puddle

What Happens When It’s the End That Counts

5:49am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:16.619) pipped Fernando Alonso for the first set of bragging rights of the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix weekend, taking a tenth off the Spaniard’s leading lap time just after the first practice session ended on Thursday. Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, and Lewis Hamilton completed the fastest five in a session marked by slow going early on and only two drivers into the barriers on the narrow circuit.

Tonio Liuzzi spun into the barrier outside the tunnel and just before the chicane, ripping the front wing off his HRT in the latter half of the session. With just under ten minutes left, Michael Schumacher slid sideways into the barrier after attempting to use an escape road to escape braking a bit too late when entering St. Devote. Both were unhurt. The only other casualty of the session was Mark Webber, stuck in the garage after his gearbox became uncooperative during a mid-session run. At the same time, the session was paused with a red flag, as a water pipe under the pit straight was leaking up onto the circuit. Five minutes were required to shut off the valve.

Many drivers were out quickly for installation laps around the sun-drenched streets of Monaco, with only the Mercedes GP drivers not having done so within five minutes of the session beginning. They began their session after the traffic cleared from the first laps. Meanwhile, Ferrari informed Twitter followers, “Contrary to what happened in the recent races, today there are no extra sets of tyres available so only two sets of primes and one options.” After the initial rush to post an installation lap, the circuit quieted right back down.

For the typical Friday (or Thursday in Monaco’s case) wait, some teams began posting random F1 facts, with Force India contributing, “For each lap of Monaco, the drivers make 54 gear shifts.” Karthikeyan was the first driver to return to the circuit, nearly twenty minutes after the ninety minute session began. He was soon joined by Button and Hamilton.

Karthikeyan’s 1:38.718 was the first time posted on the session, quickly bettering his own time by more than three seconds. He did so again on the next lap, dropping the HRT’s lap time to 1:32.260. The next lap was another nearly two seconds slower as the Indian driver remained the only man posting times or even lapping the circuit, nearly a third of the way through the session. As the laps ticked up, Karthikeyan’s time continued to drop as he continued to lap.

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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. Continue reading

F1 Monaco Quali: Webber Keeps Red Bull on Pole, Kubica Second & Alonso Out in the Morning Practice

What Happens When Renault Stands Up

9:12am EST — Mark Webber continued the quick qualifying pace of the Red Bulls with pole for the Monaco Grand Prix, the only man to post a time in the 1:13s range for the weekend.  Robert Kubica will start second, with Sebastian Vettel third, Felipe Massa fourth, and Lewis Hamilton rounding out the top five.  Fernando Alonso, who had dominated the practice sessions all weekend suffered a crash in the morning practice and was unable to qualify.  Nico Rosberg will start just ahead of teammate Michael Schumacher, with the Mercedes in sixth and seventh, respectively.  Jenson Button will start eighth with some Massa traffic issues near the end of Q3.  There were no major incidents with traffic, though Vitaly Petrov scuppered his Q3 hopes with a crash in Q2.

The final Saturday practice session was dominated by Fernando Alonso’s early crash at Massenet, destroying the car enough that he missed qualifying entirely and will start the race from the pit lane with a new chassis.  The explanation from the official F1 website is entertaining in its understatement, in that the crash, “deposited the Ferrari in the outer wall to the serious detriment of its rear suspension.”  According to Ferrari, “The rules are very clear: you cannot use a second chassis on the same day, so once it was clear that the chassis was damaged, not even a miracle could have let Fernando racing today.”  Robert Kubica took over his position as the fastest man of the weekend, but Felipe Massa kept the Ferrari flag flying in the final practice before qualifying, setting the second fastest time.  Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the fastest five.

Q1:
Interestingly enough, a pre-session interview on SPEED with Lewis Hamilton, the former world champion sounded demonstrably high on adrenaline, either from nerves, excitement, or focus, as he spoke of the need to be calm.  Most everyone was out immediately when Q1 started, barring the cars of Williams, Force India, Sauber, and Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso.  Five minutes in, and Kubica led, with Hamilton, Webber, Rosberg, and Vettel the fastest five, though the more important knockout zone included Barrichello, Sutil, Liuzzi, Buemi, de la Rosa, and Kobayashi.  As seemed likely in quali for Monaco, Massa soon set the fastest lap, with Barrichello popping up to second for a surprising moment before being shifted back to fourth, with twelve of the longest and shortest qualifying minutes left, until Q2 began.  Times dropped so quickly that Webber was in the knockout zone at eleven minutes to go, but he recovered quickly to ninth. Continue reading