Vettel holds off Alonso and Button to win Monaco GP
It was Vettel's 5th win in 6 races this season and he now appears on his way to a 2nd straight F1 world title.
Fernando Alonso said that he was ‘ready to attack’ Vettel’s Red Bull during the final stages of the 78-lap Grand Prix, with the Ferrari driver admitting that his team’s strategy was based around a late push for victory. The two-time Champion pitted for a set of prime tires later than his German rival, closing in substantially before a red flag on Lap 71.
"Well you never know what is going to happen with the final result, but 100 percent I was ready to try," Alonso said in the post-race press conference.
"I think he was having some more problems with his tires in the last ten laps of the race, we were managing the tires when I pitted because I knew that at the end of the race it was our time to attack. But those last ten laps didn’t come because we had the red flag and the Safety Car.
"I was ready to attack, obviously it’s difficult here as there’s not much space, there is the risk of 50 percent you overtake and 50 percent maybe you crash, but this is Monaco. He is leading the championship so he had much more to lose than me."
Vitaly Petrov was taken to hospital in an ambulance but is basically unhurt after Sunday's Monaco grand prix.
The Renault driver's crash caused the late red flag during the thrilling race in the famous Principality.
"Vitaly is okay," team boss Eric Boullier said.
"He complained only about leg problems, but the doctors say nothing is broken. He has been taken to hospital for observation, but it seems only that his legs are bruised."
Indeed, a Renault spokesman said the Russian's ankle was examined and "no fracture" was diagnosed.
"He should be back in the paddock within a few hours," he added.
Sebastian Vettel's victory was his first in Monaco, extending his runaway championship lead to 58 points.
The crown for the angriest driver goes to Lewis Hamilton, who was livid after the race in the wake of several on-track incidents and stewards' enquiries.
"Maybe it's because I'm black," he told the BBC, jokingly hypothesizing the FIA officials' interest in his on-track antics. "That's what (comedian) Ali-G says."
Fastest lap: Webber, 1:16.234
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It's difficult to describe today; it's a great feeling. I've seen what it takes to win here. Today it was a crazy race. It's difficult to imagine you can one-stop at this race, but that's more or less what we did. Our first pit stop was not spot on and we lost the position to Jenson. I was surprised when Jenson came in and we had to react, he was pulling away on the soft tires while I was on the hard tires. I thought 'don't give up' and kept pushing to close the gap. The safety car helped us, but it was no walk in the park to do roughly 60 laps on the same set of tires - our estimation was not allowing that! We took a lot of risks, but that made today's win even sweeter. Towards the end of the race the tires I had were nowhere close to fresh - but I saw the only way to win the race was to stay out. I had 20 laps where I was under pressure from Fernando and Jenson, it would have been a difficult final six laps, but there was another safety car and a suspended race, so we were able to change the tires. I'm extremely happy. At some stage I was in P2 and 15 seconds behind Jenson, so victory seemed far away, but it's a crazy place here. I think the roulette was spun last night and kept on spinning during this race. I'm really, really happy. A fantastic result and a huge honor to put my name on the list of Monaco race winners. We fully deserved this win, we took the risk and we got the reward."
Mark Webber (4th): "We didn't really go long enough on the first stint, which is normal for me on these tires, so that compromised me. When I arrived in the pits we didn't have any tires out, I arrived and sat there, but the boys were still getting them ready. There was a radio communication problem within the team and so they weren't properly prepared. When you wait here, you lose track position and you have to wait behind people, so it was not bad to get fourth from there. I don't know why we restarted the race when there were only five laps left - but that was the decision and it turned out okay. I hope Vitaly (Petrov) is okay."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A phenomenal drive by Sebastian today. We had a communication problem with the first stop, which affected both drivers as they were both stopping on the same lap. It delayed Sebastian, but we managed to re-adjust our strategy. We didn't panic and managed to engineer ourselves out of the situation to get him back into the lead. He then had an awfully long way to go on the harder tire, which he made work. He soaked up huge pressure from Fernando and Jenson and then our hearts were in our mouths when the accident happened just in front of him. But he picked his way through that and, with the benefit of the option tire, was able to have a bit more comfort in the remaining laps after the re-start. It was a classy drive from Sebastian today and a tremendous team performance to recover from what looked to be a difficult first stop to win the race. At one stage Mark was 15th after the first round of stops, but he never gave up and kept on pushing through. He pulled a great move on Kobayashi on the last couple of laps who's not an easy guy to pass and it was a shame not to have him on the podium today, as he deserved to be there."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "Once again it was a really good result for Sebastian and it could be worse for the start of the season - five out of six wins! I don't know where we have to go back to, to see these kind of results. Regarding Mark, it was a bit chaotic in the first pit stop, but it was a great recovery and nice to see him finish fourth. It's hard to overtake on this track, but he did it. Overall we had a great result this weekend, we scored more points than our opponents and it's a great start to the season."
Jenson Button (3rd):
Lewis Hamilton (6th):
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal:
Fernando Alonso (2nd): "This is my best result of the year and I think it is very important, especially for the team. A podium was needed, we needed to be fighting to the end for the win. Sure, this is not a typical circuit and we should not draw conclusions from a race that always produces its own story. We must close down the distance that separates us from the best: in Canada, we will have some updates on the car and we hope they will prove useful. I got a good start: if there had been a bit more room, maybe I could have done the same as in Spain. Then I tried to look after the tires, before attacking Vettel at the very end, but then came the red flag and that meant it was over, because on new tires, he was impossible to beat. Unfortunately, these sort of things can always happen here and they are part of the character of this Grand Prix. We must be pleased with this result and look to Montreal and Valencia, two races where we went well last year, with confidence. The gap in the championship is very big, but there is still a long way to go."
Felipe Massa (DNF, Accident): "I am very disappointed with the way my race ended. After Hamilton had tried to pass me at Loews, which is an impossible place to do it, hitting me and pushing me into Webber, the car was no longer right and I could not drive it properly, which is why he got on the inside of me inside the tunnel. That put me on the dirt and then I ended up in the barrier. At the start, I got away well, but at the first corner I found Webber and Fernando in front of me: I was on the outside and Rosberg managed to get inside me. That meant I missed out on the train that would have kept me up with the leaders, as I spent too much time behind the German's Mercedes. Today, we were competitive and, given how things went, I could have finished fourth. Now, we head for Canada, where we hope to have a car capable of fighting, as was the case here. The fact we will have the same two types of tire, the soft and supersoft, is definitely positive for us."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Going into this weekend, if we'd been told that we would finish second, eleven tenths off the winner, I would have signed up for it on the spot, but now there's no denying there is a slight feeling of regret. Fernando was fantastic all weekend long and today he fought for the win, right down to the final meter. The race had a deserving winner, but there's no doubt the red flag towards the end deprived our driver of the opportunity to attack in the final laps, making the most of having tires with slightly less degradation. At the restart, with everyone on new tires, there was not much more we could do. There's much regret for Felipe too, who was also capable of getting a good finish: the collision with Hamilton pretty much put him out of the running and then he immediately ended up in the barriers. It is only a week on from when we were lapped at the Catalunya Circuit and we have seen how quickly things can change, depending on the track characteristics and the type of tire we are using. Clearly, the situation in both championships is getting ever more difficult, but we are not giving up: we are coming up to two races where, on paper, we should be competitive and then, before the summer break, we will see where we stand."
Pat Fry: "It was an incredibly close race from the first to the last lap. After we managed to sort out Fernando's car, which had not been as quick in yesterday's qualifying as it had been in free practice, today we showed a good race pace on both types of tire. I think we took the right decisions at the right time at every point in the race, making the most of our opportunities. When the race was neutralized after Felipe's accident, we chose to change tires on Fernando's car, so as to put him in the right condition to attack in the final stages. Unfortunately, there was a red flag which meant the Spaniard could not try all the way to the end, but that's Monaco for you and you have to accept that anything can happen. As for Felipe, we have to work out why his DRS was not enabled by the FIA electronic control in the first part of the race, because maybe, if everything had worked properly, he would have managed to get past Rosberg sooner and not lose so much ground to the leaders. A shame, because I think he also had the potential to run a good race all the way to the end. Now we go to Canada, wanting to continue to improve our performance. There will be some new parts on the car: we must continue to push on the development front in order to reduce the gap which still separates us from the best."
Nico Rosberg (11th): "I had a good start today, and that's the one positive thing that we can take from the race. After that, I thought that I would be able to push but unfortunately the rear tires went off in the first stint which really cost me performance. It was a difficult weekend for us with the car not at its best, and I was not at my best either, so it didn't really come together. That happens sometimes but we will push and be better in Montreal. We will learn from what happened today and we know that the result is not where we belong. I'm sure we can improve and look forward to seeing that in a fortnight."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Airbox fire): "Unfortunately, there are not a lot of positives we will be able to take away from this race. At the end, there was a fire inside the airbox and the car simply stopped, but the beginning of the race was not satisfying either. At the start, the anti-stall system suddenly kicked in which meant I had to re-do the whole starting procedure. Then I had a rendezvous with Lewis at turn one which left my front wing not working properly, so I lost downforce which also handicapped my tires. That meant we had to stop much earlier than we had planned and, from then onwards, the race was obviously compromised. All in all though, the race was quite exciting, and I am happy that Vitaly Petrov seems to be well."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We felt confident after qualifying and practice that both drivers would have some good opportunities today but clearly it turned out to be a very disappointing race. The difficulties that we experienced on the first set of tires, with the super softs falling away from us and graining so early, really dictated our race. We need to look into it as this was surprising after the good pace we had during the practice sessions. We had a few technical problems with the cars in the race but the core issue was the inability to make the first set of tires last more than ten or twelve laps."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "These were not the results we wanted here in Monaco. Nico's accident on Saturday morning, from which he thankfully escaped unhurt, was certainly a handicap for us, but our guys did a fantastic job to build the car up in record time ready for qualifying. Michael started fifth but did not make a good getaway and the reason for this will be investigated. As a follow-up, his front wing was damaged in contact with another car at the first corner and this badly handicapped his performance in the first stint. After his pit stop, with a new nose and another set of option tires, his lap times looked better, but an airbox fire stopped his race when he was about to pit during the first safety car period. In addition to a car that was not handling well, Nico suffered some KERS problems during the race and finished outside the points. Despite the lack of results, I would like to thank everybody in the team for their hard work and dedication throughout a difficult and challenging weekend. We will do a better job in Montreal."
Nick Heidfeld (8th): "Firstly, I am glad that Vitaly is doing ok. Hearing that he has not broken or fractured anything is good news. He was in a strong position and was very unlucky to have the incident. For me, the start of the race was ok, I almost got one of the Force Indias but I did not manage to make up a place unfortunately. When the safety car came out, I got a very late call into the pits but I made it, which definitely helped me. It was a difficult weekend for us here but to take four points for the team is ok given my qualifying position."
Vitaly Petrov (DNF, Accident): "First of all, I would like to thank all my fans for all their well wishes, the medical teams at the circuit, the hospital for their efficient and friendly assistance, and the team for their concern. It was quite a big impact and I could not feel my legs very well after the crash. I thought it was best for the medical team to assist with removing me from the car as it was difficult for me to move and my legs were trapped in the cockpit. I did not lose consciousness but I was in quite a lot of pain when I was inside the car. It is a shame as I made a good start, gaining two places straight away. After my pitstop, I was stuck behind Kamui Kobayashi - who was very slow- and Adrian Sutil -who was defending his position really too aggressively- but I was being cautious as it is very difficult to pass on this track. Then I got caught in the incident. It is a shame, as we could have got quite a few points this weekend. I'm now looking forward to Montreal. We need to sort out our problems in qualifying and we will get some good results, as our race pace is usually very good."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It was a bit of a disappointing day to be honest. First of all we are glad to report that Vitaly is ok and he has no fractures. He has a sore ankle, but he is already joking and we expect the hospital to release him within the next couple of hours. With regards to the race result itself, there is disappointment because we could have finished P4. We had fresher tires than Sutil and Kobayashi and so could have caught them, but they managed to pit when the safety car was called. Nick moved back up to tenth position, which was not bad and finishing eighth was ok given the position he started in. However, there was an opportunity to score more points."
James Allison, Technical Director: "After a disappointing weekend during which we struggled to find a decent qualifying pace, we managed to bring some points home. More importantly, Vitaly is OK and this is a relief for the whole team. We elected to go for a one-stop race in order to step ahead of the cars in front of us and this strategy seemed adequate a few laps before the end of the race, as both R31s were in the points. Unfortunately, Vitaly has been caught up in the crash involving Adrian Sutil and Jaime Alguersuari. There are not a lot of positives to be taken from this weekend, but Nick moves up one place in the drivers' championship and we have extended our lead over Mercedes GP in the constructors' classification. This said, we're under no illusions and we know we must raise our game in order to perform at the level we want to."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "First of all it's great news to hear that Vitaly is OK after a heavy impact with the barriers. Until that point he was looking like scoring some decent points but the most important thing is to know that he hasn't got any serious injuries. Nick finished in eighth after a busy race, which is good considering his starting position after a disappointing qualifying. It was a great team effort to gain so many positions and even though we would have expected more on previous form this season, it's a good result this weekend. We have, however, extended our advantage over Mercedes, which overall can be considered a good overall outcome."
Rubens Barrichello (9th): "With six laps to go, I thought tenth was the best result we were going to achieve today. I ended up ninth, but not in the way I would have liked to as it was at the expense of my teammate. We lost some really good points for the team so that is disappointing. I'm happy that I've broken my run of bad luck though. The safety car didn't help us as our one-stop strategy would have worked well had I not just done my pitstop before it was deployed. There are positives and negatives to take from today, the positive being we scored some points."
Pastor Maldonado (18th): "The final result was not what we wanted but the rest of the race was good. My pace was strong but after the re-start Hamilton tried a very ambitious maneuver at the first corner and that was the end of my race. I'm really disappointed not to come away with any points today."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good result to get some points on the board. It was close to being a lot more but that is the nature of Monte Carlo. Pastor has driven outstandingly all weekend, so it is a shame that his race ended in the barriers. The tires were solid all afternoon but it became clear that it would be a two-stop race strategy for us. The safety cars both hurt us as well as we lost a lot of time with both drivers. On the positive side, we didn't have any reliability issues and we're looking to continue developing the car ahead of Canada."
Adrian Sutil (7th): "I started the race on the prime tires and our plan was to do a one-stop strategy. When the first safety car came out I pitted to take the option tires and I knew I would be on them for a very long time. I tried to make them last, although they dropped off with about 15 laps to go and that's when I had a big train of cars behind me. It was then that I ran wide on the marbles at turn 12, which gave me a right rear puncture. But that's when the safety car came out and I pitted to change tires so I didn't lose too much ground. So I was in eighth when the race restarted and ended the race in seventh. It's a great result for the team and we're all very happy because we've been waiting a while for this. I have a lot of great memories here in Monaco and this is another special moment to savor."
Paul di Resta (12th): "I think it was all running quite smoothly to begin with and our strategy seemed to be going well. After my first pit stop the team told me that to make the strategy work I needed to pass Alguersuari so I tried to overtake him at the hairpin. That's when I made contact and damaged my front wing, which is why I had to make an early second stop. I have to hold my hands up for this accident because I was probably a bit too ambitious. It's a shame because the car was working well and without this incident I think I could have scored some points."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Today's race was full of excitement, drama and great racing. With Adrian I believe we judged the strategy perfectly and his seventh place finish is a great reward for the whole team. He did an excellent job to keep his tires alive in the middle part of the race when we were planning to do a one-stop strategy. Towards the end of the race we got a little bit lucky with the safety car, but we reacted well and Adrian kept pushing hard to score six important points. Paul's race was looking promising in the early laps until he picked up some damage after contact with the Toro Rosso. He was maybe a little over-eager to get by, but this was his first Grand Prix at Monaco and he will learn from this experience."
Kamui Kobayashi (5th): "I am very happy. I was struggling a lot in qualifying, but the team did a great job with the pit stop strategy today. The call for the tire change came at a perfect time. It was no problem to go for such a long stint with the super soft tires, and I think they would have lasted even longer. After the start I had problems with traffic, but then one after the other they stopped and it became better for me. After my one and only pit stop I was stuck behind Adrian Sutil, and at the same time I had to defend against Mark Webber. In this situation it was a bit difficult to manage the tires. Without the restart I obviously could have finished fourth. But when Mark was so close behind me on the final laps there was nothing I could do to defend that place. However, I think fifth is a great achievement at the end of what was a difficult weekend."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Once more Kamui drove a fantastic race, managing the tires very well, and the car was strong too. This is a result he has deserved for a long time. My compliments to Kamui, and also a big thank you to the whole team who prepared the car perfectly. I now hope we can start in Montreal with our regular driver pairing."
James Key, Technical Director: "As always in Monaco, a very eventful race for all concerned. We entered just one car for Kamui with Sergio not racing. Our hopes really relied on Kamui. We opted to go for a one stop strategy, starting on the new soft tires, and we had a new set of super soft for the second stint. Fundamentally Kamui drove a good race. It's great to bring points home in what has been a very mixed weekend, both in terms of performance and emotion with Checo's crash. We can dedicate these points to him as a team and hope that we can get back to normal in Montreal."
Sebastien Buemi (10th): "I started sixteenth and finished tenth after a very difficult Grand Prix, because by the end of it, I have to admit I was not too sure where we were in terms of strategy and tires, with the situation made more complicated by the Safety Car and the red flag. I think we can be happy with our race pace as my lap times were quite good. To come away from the toughest race of the year with a point is pleasing, especially when you consider our qualifying did not go so well. Now I am looking forward to Canada, where I had a good race last year, finishing eighth."
Jaime Alguersuari (DNF, Accident): "I seemed to be in traffic all the time, which is normal here, so I was unable to exploit the full potential of the tires. It was very difficult, or nearly impossible to overtake so there was not much I could do, having started so far back on the grid. As for the accident towards the end, I was overtaking Heidfeld at the time. I think Sutil had a problem with his rear tire, so Hamilton braked very hard in front of me and, although I also braked as hard as I could, it was too late, I could not stop and went into him. Of course it's disappointing, but our race pace is encouraging so I hope we can make use of that in Montreal in two weeks time."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Another very exciting Formula 1 race, with action from the very beginning to the end, including a re-start. On top of that, the top three finished within 2.3 seconds, having each gone for different strategies - a one stop, a two and a three, which shows how complex it is to find the best strategy these days. From the Toro Rosso point of view, the whole team did a good job as we come away with one point, which was better than we could have expected after a rather disappointing qualifying performance yesterday. Sebastien Buemi did a very good job, not making any mistakes which is not easy at Monaco, eventually finishing six places higher than his grid position. Jaime Alguersuari was unfortunately involved in the accident that brought out the final safety car and then the red flag. He had nowhere to go and he could not avoid it. Now, we must analyze why our qualifying performance was not good enough, whereas our race pace was better. For the next two races, we will have the same Soft and Supersoft Pirelli tires, which suggests that Montreal and Valencia should also produce some exciting racing."
Jarno Trulli (13th): "That was a great result for the team, the best of the season so we're all pleased with that. I had another great start - I wish I had made starts like that in previous seasons as I think I would have won several races with starts like that. After that I was holding position and keeping up with the cars ahead but the safety car hit our race strategy hard. The gap we had was wasted behind slower cars and even though I passed D'Ambrosio the second safety car pretty much defined the rest of the race."
Heikki Kovalainen (14th): "Finishing 13th and 14th is a very good team result, but that was a bit of an average race for me. I lost a position at the start and that was pretty much the end of my race. The first stint was pretty difficult and on the second stint I couldn't really find a rhythm as I kept having to let cars past. After the second stop I was able to start pushing but by then I couldn't really do much. Having said that, it's been a good weekend overall and we'll keep fighting in two weeks time in Montreal."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "I watched the race from Bali and that capped off an incredible week for us. This time last year neither car finished the race but today both cars crossed the line in 13th and 14th places. Our pace was good but most importantly both cars finished the race, we brought the Team Lotus brand home and we won the first of the GP2 races in Monaco. That constitutes a very good weeks work at the office. Now we go to Montreal and as we keep moving forwards to the rest of our history, our heritage and our destiny with Caterham. Thank you all for one hell of a ride."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "A strong result for the team and it was good to get both cars over the finish line. Both drivers drove very strong races and we gave them a chance to fight with a two stop strategy, starting both cars on options. We switched Heikki to the prime for the last two stints because he had higher degradation but kept Jarno on the options until the second pitstop and even thought they were held up by slower cars we are very pleased with 13th and 14th."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "I think that is a very good result for us, the best finish of the year for both cars. The car setup and strategy was good for both drivers and we are very satisfied with what we have achieved this weekend."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th):
Narain Karthikeyan (17th):
Colin Kolles, Team Principal:
Jerome d'Ambrosio (15th): "It was a pretty good race for me, which was all about keeping the tires alive. After starting on the Soft Prime tire, the car wasn't as quick, but we decided during the race that we could make a one-stop work. Then the Safety Car came out a few laps earlier than we would have chosen to stop and so we had to switch to the Super Softs at that point. It went okay for 30 laps but then when Heidfeld passed I got some pick-up from the marbles and I couldn't clean the tires again. I just lost grip and the Lotuses were able to pass me, and that was it. Still, a great first Monaco Grand Prix and I look forward to many more. It's a real privilege to race a Formula One car here."
Timo Glock (DNF, Suspension): "I was having a good race until the problem with the rear suspension. Even though the cars in front were slightly quicker, we were keeping up with them and we could have a bit of a fight. But unfortunately the right rear push-rod was damaged and collapsed in the chicane in the harbor - lucky it happened at a slow part of the track. So it's a bit disappointing after what has been a good weekend for us. We had a good qualifying yesterday and today we had a good possibility to finish the race. Unfortunately this was not the case. I want to thank the team for a good weekend after two very busy weeks for all of us."
John Booth, Team Principal: "We predicted yesterday that the race would be incident-filled and that we would need to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that came our way, and this is exactly what both drivers did today. It was a difficult decision to start both cars on a split strategy, but one that ultimately paid off at different stages in the race. We had information from Timo's first stint on the Option tire that made us feel confident that, when the safety car came out, we could switch Jerome to a one-stop and take the track position that we were getting from the strategy. Jerome had done a great job of defending against Lotus for around 15 laps but unfortunately, due to running wide for a blue flag, he picked up some marbles and was unable to stay in front. Timo drove a strong first stint to keep in touch with the guys in front. Throughout the weekend he has demonstrated great skill and faultless performances but unfortunately we believe his right rear push-rod failed in the race, so we will go away and analyze what led to that. All in all it has been a challenging but rewarding couple of weeks of back to back racing and we will return to our base to prepare for the trip across to Canada in two weeks' time."
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