The Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg executed a perfect display of race management to win the Monaco Grand Prix.
As many of his rivals disintegrated behind him Rosberg controlled the race from pole position to beat Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
On the 30th anniversary of his father Keke Rosberg’s win in the Monaco GP, Rosberg drove to instructions preserving his tyres which has been the Mercedes team’s nemesis this year.
Although the race stammered and stopped amid yellow flags, safety cars and red flags which played into the Brackley outfits hands with Rosberg brilliantly mastering the restarts.
“This is my home. All my life I’ve lived here – went to school here. I was able to control the pace and the tyres held on quite well,” Rosberg said.
His team-mate Lewis Hamilton played a pivotal role early eventually finishing fourth ahead of Adrian Sutil, who performed brilliantly in the Force India.
Rosberg and Hamilton had controlled the race from the start, cleverly managing their lap times as they maintained their starting positions.
The Silver Arrows had been clocking around eight seconds slower than qualifying, prompting Vettel to comment that “they were like a couple of buses going quite slowly in the early stages at least”.
Then by lap 25 both Rosberg and Hamilton were told by their engineers to pick up the pace in order to combat the teams on two-stop strategies.
On cue Webber came in for Red Bull which triggered similar action by Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button.
On lap 30 Felipe Massa clobbered two walls in a violent accident entering Sainte Devote which was a carbon copy of his crash in Practice 3.
Massa was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after being subjected to heavy knocks inside the cockpit.
Mercedes took a lucky break from Massa’s unfortunate impact by effectively receiving a free pit stop, coming in under the safety car.
When the race resumed on lap 39 Rosberg maintained the lead but he had lost his rear gunner with Hamilton shuffled back to fourth from the safety car unwind.
There were early indications that the war between McLaren rivals Button and Sergio Perez stepped up a notch with the former firing verbal artillery fire over the in-car radio.
Button claimed Perez cut a chicane to maintain position as they were fighting for seventh place early in the race.
The Briton eventually exchanged positions with Perez not long after replays showed Perez had indeed short-cut two sections of the circuit to stay ahead of Button.
Several laps after the restart Perez slipped by Button for seventh at the Nouvelle chicane on lap 42.
Four laps later a collision between Max Chilton and Pastor Maldonado brought out the red flag with the stoppage delaying the race for about 20 minutes. Maldonado’s Williams was launched in the air and made heavy contact with the barrier at Tabac.
As track officials were making repairs to the barrier replays showed that Maldonado was compromised when Marussia’s F1 season first-timer Chilton moved to the right to take the line into the next corner. Chilton was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty.
Charles Pic’s Caterham caught fire after barely turning a dozen laps with the French driver disappointed after being confident of picking up more places from 15th position where he had settled at the time of the incident.
On lap 60 Jules Bianchi’s horror weekend continued when he locked up and slid into the Sainte Devote barrier, bringing out the yellow flags.
A few laps later Romain Grosjean slammed into the back of Daniel Ricciardo, continuing a crash-fest for the Lotus driver in the Principality and putting the Australian out of the race going into the Nouvelle chicane.
The race restarted with 11 laps remaining as the Grand Prix flirted with finishing under timed conditions – set at 2:25mins. It eventually took 2:17.52.056s to finish the 78 laps.
Raikkonen dropped from fifth to 16th with seven laps remaining after tangling with Perez and having to pit but miraculously stormed into 10th at the finish.
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||78||2h 17:52.056|
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||78||22:42:07|
|3||Mark Webber||Red Bull/Renault||78||22:42:07|
|5||Adrian Sutil||Force India/Mercedes||78||22:42:07|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||78||22:42:07|
|9||Paul Di Resta||Force India/Mercedes||78||22:42:07|
|15||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham/Renault||78||22:42:07|
|16||Sergio Pérez||McLaren/Mercedes||72||Not running|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||61||Collision|
|–||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||28||Spun off|