It was thirty years ago that Keke Rosberg claimed his second career win around his hometown of Monaco. And today for the first time in Formula One history a son was able to emulate his father and he too collected his second career win around the streets on which he spent his childhood.
Nico Rosberg delivered a masterclass in poise in a race full of chaos and incident to win a heavily disrupted Monaco Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
The race saw two safety car periods and a red flag stoppage due to three heavy incidents, causing the loss of Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean.
With a race that was split in to four separate stages by the respective incident’s Rosberg made a trio of perfect restarts and won the Grand Prix in the most calm and collected way. He has made a step up in class this weekend, dominating the Formula One Blue Riband event and each one of its sessions from Thursday morning and taking a popular victory.
It had looked to be a one-two for Mercedes during the opening phase of the race as Hamilton followed his team mate with the pair opening a gap on the Red Bull duo. However, leaving their pit stops late came back to bite the team as a safety car for Massa’s crash and bringing both cars in together allowed Vettel and Webber to jump past Hamilton.
The crash for Massa was a carbon copy of the one he suffered on Saturday morning and the Brazilian needed some medical assistance as he stepped out his car complaining of a sore neck.
Following the lengthy safety car period Rosberg set about reinstating his gap to second place and he was able to pull out a three second lead over Vettel in the ensuing laps. The Mercedes showed impressive pace all day and Hamilton was keen on making amends for his position loss as he pressured Webber for the final podium place.
However, as the race pulled itself back in to some sort of routine, a heavy crash between Pastor Maldonado and Max Chilton necessitated a red flag as the safety barriers at Tabac had been scattered across the track.
Chilton had made a mistake at the chicane and on the run down to Tabac the Briton moved across on the Williams driver and forced him in to the barrier.
The twenty-minute red flag stoppage allows for the teams to change the tyres on the car and barring Kimi Raikkonen the rest of the top ten took the opportunity to switch to a new set of super soft tyres for the final thirty laps.
The need for conserving tyres over the lengthy stint was aided by a third crash between Ricciardo and Grosjean, the Frenchman missing his braking point in to the chicane and driving in to the back of the Toro Rosso driver. The final safety car of the day left just eleven laps remaining and Rosberg extended his lead once again to take Mercedes’ first race win since China 2012.
The result sees Vettel extend his Championship lead over Raikkonen to 21 points, with Alonso a further 8 adrift. Red Bull also now lead Ferrari by 41 points in the Constructor’s Championship.
Aside from the race winner and expensive bedlam there was a very interesting race in the remaining points positions.
Hamilton had pressured Webber for much of the middle phase of the race but dropped off slightly as he chose not to make any desperate moves around the twisty street circuit. He came home in fourth place ahead of a great midfield battle.
Adrian Sutil was the best of that group, having a strong race as he passed Alonso and then gained two positions from a collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez.
Perez, being his aggressive self, made some good moves in to the chicane; including one on Jenson Button. However when he tried the same move on Raikkonen the Finn closed the door and forced Perez in to the barriers, both sustaining damage in the process. Raikkonen pitted due to a puncture whilst Perez tried to nurse his damaged car around before giving up the ghost and parking his car at the final turn in the closing laps.
This released the cars behind, headed by Sutil and the positions remained unchanged until the race end.
Button took sixth place in an encouraging race for McLaren, ahead of Fernando Alonso. Alonso was off the pace for much of the afternoon, especially the opening twenty laps, and could not put a smile on the teams face following Massa’s two crashes.
Behind Alonso, Jean-Eric Vergne had a very good drive as he drove a quiet race to collect some points for Toro Rosso.
Closing out the top ten was Paul Di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen. Di Resta made up for a poor qualifying to give Force India a very satisfying number of points. Whilst Raikkonen lost ground due to his stop for a third set of tyres.
MONACO GRAND PRIX, Monte Carlo, Race
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 78 laps 2hr 17m 52.056s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull+00m 03.8s
3. Mark Webber Red Bull +00m 06.3s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +00m 13.8s
5. Adrian Sutil Force India +00m 21.4s
6. Jenson Button McLaren +00m 23.1s
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +00m 26.7s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +00m 27.2s
9. Paul di Resta Force India +00m 27.6s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus +00m 36.5s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber +00m 42.5s
12. Valtteri Bottas Williams +00m 42.6s
13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +00m 43.2s
14. Max Chilton Marussia +00m 49.8s
15. Giedo van der Garde Caterham +01m 02.5s
Rtd. Sergio Perez McLaren
Rtd Romain Grosjean Lotus
Rtd. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso
Rtd. Jules Bianchi Marussia
Rtd. Pastor Maldonado Williams
Rtd. Felipe Massa Ferrari
Rtd. Charles Pic Caterham