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Webber Dominates Incident Filled Monaco Grand Prix

by F1Fan on May 16, 2010

Monaco lived up to its reputation today as the most difficult challenging circuit of the F1 Season, it had everything, great racing, dramatic crashes and even controversy, but through it all Mark Webber controlled the race from the drop of the checkered flag.

It must have been a frustrating race for Webber, with several crashes and even an errant drain cover causing the Safety Car being released four times during the race, in each case eliminating the commanding lead he had been able to build. While his team mate Sebastian Vettel managed to set the fastest lap late in the race while Webber was already driving in preservation mode, throughout the race Webber’s pace completely dominated the rest of the field. Not even his team mate could come anywhere close to the lap times that Webber put down.

The Start saw Webber get off the line cleanly, easily claiming the lead. Robert Kubica in his Renault lining up alongside webber on the dirty side of the Grid did not have such a good start and even though he had his car set at an angle to help him cut off Vettel on the second row, Vettel managed to force his way through into Second place by the first corner. While Kubica continued to challenge Vetel throughout the race he was unable to get past Sebastian Vettel and finished third.

The first safety car was deployed before the first lap was even finished after Nico Hulkenberg in the Williams F1 FW32 seemed to drift wide in the tunnel and crashed heavily into the tunnel wall destroying the left hand side of his car and scattering debris along the track. During the safety car period Jenson Button’s Mercedes engine expired on lap 3 causing his retirement and apparently caused by human error, someone left one of the engine cooling covers on the car during the out lap causing the engine to overheat and with the slow pace behind the safety car the temperature became critical. The safety car period lasted until Lap 7 when the circuit went green and the race was on again.

During the first safety car period Fernado Alonso who started the race from Pit lane immediately pitted to change from the option tire to the prime, this early tire change turned out to be a brilliant strategy, when the race restarted Alonso had already fulfiilled his tire change requirement and drove the rest of the way on the Prime tire. After the restart Alonso’s F10 quickly moved through the field of back markers picking off almost one car per lap, until Lewis Hamilton pitted early on lap 19 from fifth place coming out behind Massa and in front of Alonso, effectively ending Alonso’s forward progress apart from the positions he picked up as the other cars fullfilled their tire change requirement. Even So Alonso had a remarkable drive starting dead last and finishing well into the points.

When Webber Went into the pits on Lap 23 to change tires he had built such a commanding lead during the previous 15 laps since the restart that he was able to reenter the race still in first place ahead of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.

The next Safety car period on lap 32 was caused by the rear suspension of Rubens Barrichello’s car failing sending Rubens bouncing of the armco from side to side of the track eventually ending up facing the wrong way on the circuit with only one wheel still attached to his car. Remarkably Rubens emerged unhurt. Two laps later the circuit went green again and the race resumed.

Lap 43 saw the next release of the Safety car this time for a loose drain cover at turn three, although the TV coverage that I was watching never showed the problem or any fix. Lap 46 the track goes green and again Webber storms of into the distance gradually building a substantial lead when with just two laps to go back markers Bruno Senna (HRT) and Jarno Trulli (lotus Racing) come together in a nasty looking crash at the La Rascasse corner where Jarno Trulli’ s Lotus ended up on top of Bruno Senna’s HRT. Yes you guessed correctly Safety Car out again.

This is where the controversy arises. The pit lane entry is just after La Rascasse before the final corner Virage Antony Noghes which leads onto the start finish Straight and the checkered flag. The issue is was the final lap under the safety car, definitely the safety car was on track for 90%+ of the final lap dipping into the pit lane so that the Cars could take the Checkered Flag. Just after the safety car went into the Pits Michael Schumacher who at the time was in seventh place managed to overtake Fernando Alonso before the final corner.

So the Monaco Grand Prix Finishing order looks like this:

Preliminary Monaco Grand Prix Results (Top Ten)

PositionDriver
Nationality
DriverTeamGrand Prix
Points
1AustraliaMark WebberRed Bull Racing25
2GermanySebastian VettelRed Bull Racing18
3PolandlRobert KubicaRenault F115
4BrazilFelipe MassaFerrari12
5GBLewis HamiltonMcLaren10
6GermanyMichael SchumacherMercedes GP8
7SpainFernando AlonsoFerrari6
8GermanyNico RosbergMercedes GP4
9GermanyAdrian SutilForce India2
10ItalyTonio LiuzziForce India1
last updated May 16, 2010
Animated flag images by 3DFlags.com

However after the race the FIa Stewards penalized Schumacher for breaking the rules:

“As the overtaking manoeuvre was in breach of Article 40.13 of the 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations, the Stewards decide to impose a drive through penalty but, as it occurred during the last five laps, 20 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of car Nr 3.


Mercedes Gp and Schumacher don’t agree and have appealed the ruling, their position is that as the Safety car left the track the race was on again and the Schumacher’s maneuver was within the rules.

If the Stewards penalty stands then Schumacher is out of the points and Sebastien Buemi will score his first point of the season as shown below:

Monaco Grand Prix Final Results (Top Ten)

PositionDriver
Nationality
DriverTeamGrand Prix
Points
1AustraliaMark WebberRed Bull Racing25
2GermanySebastian VettelRed Bull Racing18
3PolandlRobert KubicaRenault F115
4BrazilFelipe MassaFerrari12
5GBLewis HamiltonMcLaren10
6SpainFernando AlonsoFerrari8
7GermanyNico RosbergMercedes GP6
8GermanyAdrian SutilForce India4
9ItalyTonio LiuzziForce India2
10SwitzerlandSebastien BuemiToro Rosso1
last updated May 16, 2010

Results reflect Michael Schumachers 20 second penalty which moved him out of the points
Animated flag images by 3DFlags.com

While Mark Webber has made light of his recent performance the other top teams and his young Team Mate must be wondering what the hell has come over him, he is driving like a man possessed, currently no-one else comes anywhere close, if Webber can keep this up then just maybe he can go from “over the hill” to “over the top” and take home the world championship this season.

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