Sunday, May 27, 2012

Webber Wins Tight Monaco GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

The streets of Monte Carlo is the most exotic Formula 1 racing locale in existence. The 2.075-mile street course is one of the slowest but most mentally testing circuits for Formula 1's drivers as they race within the wealthier sects of European culture.

With 5 different winners in the opening 5 races for the Formula 1 tour, the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix's unpredictable nature for competitors has historically resulted in some bizarre outcomes to the prestigious event. Even before this 6th race of the year started, the plot of the Monaco Grand Prix was one of intrigue. Saturday qualifying session's fastest car of Michael Schumacher was required to serve five-grid position penalty resulting from an incident at the Spanish Grand Prix. As the race's pole-sitting Mercedes GP racing machine was demoted to a 6th place start, Mark Webber was able to take the top position on the 24-car starting order.

When the green lights turned off to start the 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix, Webber's Red Bull-Renault got the necessary launch to hold off his fellow front row starter Nico Rosberg's Mercedes GP car. As two of the leaders got away safely into the first corner on the tight street course, the 4th and 6th place races cars in the Monaco Grand Prix would be involved in one of the race's early skirmishes. An altercation between Michael Schumacher and the Lotus-Renault of Romain Grosjean resulted in the Frenchman coming on the losing end of contact. Grosjean would fall out of the event without completing a single lap. In a separate incident on the start, the past grand prix winner Pastor Maldonado was also taken out of the Monaco race early with damage to his Williams-Renault.
The Monaco Grand Prix was an event that just took a turn for the worse for the 7-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher since winning pole in qualifying. The initial grid position penalty served at the start of the grand prix cost Schumacher the top position at the start with his Mercedes GP and a fuel pressure problem last in the event cost the German a solid race on a circuit he holds 5 previous victories. Parking his Mercedes GP car after 63 laps, Michael Schumacher has failed to finish 4 of the first 6 races in the 2012 Formula 1 season.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Rain was in the forecast through the afternoon event at Monaco. As race cars circulated around the Circuit de Monaco, the anticipation for showers steered the pit stop strategy which most teams planned only a single tire change. Most of the leaders pitted between lap 27 and lap 30 of the Monaco Grand Prix but Sebastian Vettel experimented with a different plan during the race. Compelled to be in position to take advantage of potential incoming rain showers, Vettel stayed out on track as him and his Red Bull Racing team gambled that rain could fall and they can pit for a set of wet weather tires. The strategy was abandoned on lap 46 when Sebastian Vettel pitted.  

With 10 laps to go, some light precipitation fell on the streets causing at least one car (the Toro Rosso-Ferrari of Jean-Eric Vergne) to pit for intermediate tires. The rain in the late stage of the Formula 1 event would not be effort to significantly phase drivers in the final laps and Vergne's intermediate tires was unable to capitalize.

The top-6 cars were only within 6.1 seconds of each other as Mark Webber took the checkered flag of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. Only 0.6 of a second ahead of the Mercedes GP team's Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber records his first win since the Brazilian Grand Prix Formula 1 finale last season.

While Webber is the 6th winner of 6 grand prix races in 2012, an equally impressive streak came to end at the Circuit de Monaco. The 2012 Monaco Grand Prix ends the 5-race run of different teams winning Formula 1 rounds as the Red Bull-Renault becomes the first car to hold repeat victories in the series. The win for Red Bull Racing extends their continuous streak of victories on the streets of Monaco to three. Mark Webber won the 2010 race while Sebastian Vettel took last year's event with his Red Bull-Renault. Intending to take advantage of the weather, Vettel settled with a 4th place result at the end of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix.

Photo Credit: Eric Vargiolu/DPPI

The final spot on the Monaco Grand Prix podium went to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso will started 5th in the event. Alonso's embattled teammate Felipe Massa had a very respectable outing at Monaco collecting a 6th place finish for a double point day for Ferrari. It was also a double manufacturer's points day for the Force India squad as Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta secured spots inside the top-10. Lewis Hamilton captured 5th in the event for what was a disappointing event for his McLaren-Mercedes team.

Noteworthy, Sergio Perez was allowed by the formula 1 racing stewards to race the Monaco Grand Prix after a serious crash in qualifying that derailed the Sauber F1 team from entering a lap time. Starting from 23rd spot, Perez improved to 11th place, just missing a points-paying position. Bruno Senna (who's Williams-Renault in Spain was in the midst of a garage fire) took home the final point in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula 1 teams next race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Canadian Grand Prix.

2012 Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix
Race Results

1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
5 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
7 11 Paul di Resta Force India
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
9 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
10 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
12 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
14 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
15 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
19 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
21 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
23 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
24 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault

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