Nico Rosberg took his second consecutive victory in the streets of Monte Carlo today after driving a commanding race and fending off team-mate Hamilton for the bulk of the race. Hamilton had shadowed Rosberg until the 56th lap before he began to drop back, but stayed ahead of a hungry Daniel Ricciardo who was looking to break the run of Mercedes’ 1-2s.
The race was essentially won when Rosberg made it to the first corner in the lead and Hamilton slotted in behind. They were denied the chance to do their usual party trick and bolt into the horizon when Sergio Perez and Jenson Button came together at Mirabeau, spinning the Force India into the barrier and bringing out the Safety Car. The stewards announced that they would investigate the incident after the race while Perez walked back to join Pastor Maldonado, who had failed to start the race after stalling on the grid during the formation lap.
Hamilton failed to get the jump on his team-mate on the restart and Rosberg again maintained his lead into the first corner. Vettel lost his podium position, though, and began to slide down the order as he reported an engine issue. He had dropped to last place before he finished the lap and, although the team sent him back to track, he came back in after two laps as his RB10 began to give up.
With Vettel out of the race, Raikkonen moved up to third and stewards announced that they were investigating both Marussias and Esteban Gutierrez for taking the wrong grid places on the grid. Eventually they handed each driver a five-second stop/go penalty to be served during a pit stop.
Speaking of the pits, Grosjean and Sutil had to come in earlier than planned to replace bodywork damaged in the Perez/Button crash. After leaving the pitlane, Sutil set his sights on Grosjean and threw his Sauber up the inside of the Lotus at the hairpin, forcing Grosjean off-line and moving up the order. He pulled the same move on Marcus Ericsson on the next lap, pushing the Swede wide and moving up a place.
Sutil pulled an impressive move on Max Chilton into the Nouvelle Chicane when he out-braked the Briton, but the German’s luck ran out a few laps later when he lost control at the same spot, hitting the barrier on the right and spraying debris everywhere before swiveling to a halt in the middle of the chicane. Luckily Sutil was okay after the shunt but his race was over and his overtaking to that point now useless.
The Safety Car was deployed for the incident and the grid came into the pits, including the three men who were handed a 5-second stop/go penalty. However, the rules dictate that you can’t serve the penalty under a Safety Car, which they did, meaning they were handed a five second time penalty to be added to their race times. Also in the pitlane, Jean-Eric Vergne earned a drive-through penalty when his team moronically released him into the path of Kevin Magnussen, who was forced to stomp on the brakes to avoid a collision which would certainly have sent the Toro Rosso into the line of Williams mechanics beside them. Raikkonen made a second trip into the pits when Chilton hit him and gave him a puncture behind the Safety Car.
The Mercedes AMG SLS eventually came back in and Rosberg’s Mercedes AMG F1 car bolted away, shadowed again by Hamilton. For the third time, Rosberg made it to the first corner first and maintained his lead while Daniel Ricciardo occupied third after Raikkonen’s second pit stop. Vergne was taken off-guard by Kevin Magnussen at Rascasse and Magnussen was similarly caught off-guard by Sergio Perez who pulled an even more impressive move on the Dane into the Portier corner before the tunnel.
Kimi Raikkonen was trying to move up the inside of Kamui Kobayashi into the Nouvelle Chicane but the Japanese driver repeatedly out-braked himself and cut the chicane, much to the frustration of Raikkonen and prompting his team to radio him to instruct him not to cut the corner. Finally the Ferrari moved past the Caterham and Ericsson also slipped past his displaced team-mate.
With Kobayashi still recovering from this, Bianchi caught him out and put his Marussia up the inside of Rascasse, forcing Kobayashi to allow the Frenchman past into thirteenth, which would equal the team’s best result. Bianchi moved up one better when he passed Jean-Eric Vergne as his countryman served his drive-through. Vergne’s bad luck continued and his engine soon blew, ending his race prematurely and giving Toro Rosso a double DNF.
Esteban Gutierrez was another driver ending his day early when he hit the barriers at Rascasse and spun around, stalling his car and failing to recover. As marshals wheeled his car away, Bianchi moved up to tenth and into the point-scoring positions.
Back at the front, Hamilton suddenly dropped back from Rosberg as he came on the radio to report that some dirt had gone through his visor and into his eye. He began to drop rapidly from Rosberg and into the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo who was looking to end Mercedes’ run of 1-2s on the podium.
As Ricciardo caught Hamilton, they lapped Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen, but as Kimi tried to overtake the McLaren, he overshot the braking zone and sent both cars wide and into the barriers. The Safety Car was not deployed and both cars got going again but now Bianchi was past them and, incredibly, up to eight place.
The laps ran out before Ricciardo could pass Hamilton and while Nico Rosberg won the race, Hamilton led Ricciardo across the line for second and third. Fernando Alonso took his Ferrari to fourth while Nico Hulkenberg recorded an impressive fifth after starting eleventh. Jenson Button was sixth with Felipe Massa seventh, after starting sixteenth due to his crash with Ericsson in Qualifying. Jules Bianchi finished eighth but was demoted to ninth when his penalty was added, although he still scores the first points for Marussia, while Grosjean finished ninth and was prompted to eighth. Kevin Magnussen took the last point while Marcus Ericsson narrowly missed out on points for Caterham when he finished eleventh. Kimi Raikkonen finished twelfth after his late crash and Kamui Kobayashi finished thirteenth. Max Chilton was the last of the finishers, taking fourteenth for Marussia.
- Nico Rosberg
- Lewis Hamilton
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Fernando Alonso
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Jenson Button
- Felipe Massa
- Romain Grosjean
- Jules Bianchi
- Romain Grosjean
- Marcus Ericsson
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Kamui Kobayashi
- Max Chilton
- Pastor Maldonado – stalled on grid
- Sergio Perez – first lap crash
- Sebastian Vettel – turbo failure
- Daniil Kvyat – engine failure
- Adrian Sutil – crash
- Jean-Eric Vergne – engine failure
- Valtteri Bottas – engine failure
- Esteban Gutierrez – spin
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.