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Webber doubles up in Monaco to become sixth winner in first six races
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 May 2012   |  5:25 pm GMT  |  292 comments

Mark Webber made history today becoming the sixth different winner in the first six races of the season; something that has never happened before in F1.

In an extremely close finish, the Australian polesitter won by a margin of 0.6 seconds over Nico Rosberg, his fellow front row starter, with Fernando Alonso moving from 5th on the grid to 3rd at the finish. He takes sole control of the drivers’ world championship table. Sebastian Vettel who went from 9th to 4th.

Improved qualifying has been a key to Webber’s improved performance this season and his pole here, while unexpected, was crucial to his success here. He inherited it from Schumacher after he took his five place penalty, but had been quick enough to challenge and take the opportunity.

“I’m very happy it’s good to win here fair and square from the pole position,” he said. “Consistency is noce but wins are what wins championship. If you get a chance, as I did today, you need to grab it with both arms and anything else. This is the weakest car we’ve had in the last three years here but it was enough to win.”

Webber said it was only on the last lap that he believed he would win for the second time.

It was a race that had a surprising twist on what we have come to expect this year, with the new Pirelli tyres holding out longer than expected to allow the drivers to make just one stop. The leading drivers had expected to make another stop further on in the race, however Sebastian Vettel proved in the first stint that the harder prime tyre could withstand the final fourty laps and he was able to leap-frog Lewis Hamilton during his stop to take fourth position.

The winding characteristics of the circuit meant that overtaking was scarce, and up until the final ten laps the race was uneventful with the threat of heavy rain never coming to fruition. In that final part of the Grand Prix the top three cars were joined by Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa to make for an exciting climax as the cars made their way through traffic, but the cars finished in that order.

Webber made a perfect start and controlled the race throughout, only losing the lead to his late stopping team mate. Behind him there was chaos at the first corner as Romain Grosjean was forced into the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and spun across the track at the first turn. The remainder of the grid managed to take avoiding action, except for Kamui Kobayashi who hit the Lotus and they both retired from the Grand Prix.

Behind Webber and Rosberg, Hamilton initially led the chasers and sat comfortably in third, but a very quick in-lap from Alonso allowed him to exit the pits ahead of the Briton after staying out an extra lap. Hamilton dropped back further when Vettel eventually stopped and the two came very close on the pit-exit, with Vettel coming out on top. Vettel’s pace on worn soft tyres was astonishing and as the leaders struggled to warm up their new soft tyres after the stops, he was able to get himself into the game.

Ironically, the warm up issue also meant that had he known, Alonso could have won the race by staying out a few laps longer before stopping. This would have got him ahead of Webber and Rosberg. But no-one would have predicted it or gambled on it.

Felipe Massa had his strongest showing of the season, matching the pace of those in front and pressuring his team mate early in the race. He ended the race only five seconds behind Webber making for one of the closest finishes in Grand Prix history.

The second group of the race was led by Paul Di Resta, the Force India driver getting the better of his team mate to collect a decent haul of points for the Silverstone squad, albeit thirty-five seconds behind Massa.

Bruno Senna completed the points scorers and made up for a poor qualifying, he was one of the main gainers during the first lap incident. Further back Heikki Kovalainen had a race long battle with Jenson Button and they came very close on more then one occasion as Button became frustrated and spun trying to overtake the Caterham driver. Button soon retired and will be happy to see the end of a miserable weekend. For Kovalainen however he will have given his team a lot of confidence, showing a lot of competitiveness throughout the weekend.

Button was one of many non-finishers, after Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Pedro De La Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi retired on the opening lap Michael Schumacher also failed to make the finish due to a fuel pump issue. The fastest qualifier yesterday still has only two points this season and has been extremely unfortunate with reliability.

Rosberg was magnanimous after the race; “Mark drove a very good race, in control of the race and of me and there wasn’t much I could do,” he said.

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Monte Carlo, 78 laps
1. Webber Red Bull 1h46:06.557
2. Rosberg Mercedes + 0.643
3. Alonso Ferrari + 0.947
4. Vettel Red Bull + 1.343
5. Hamilton McLaren + 4.101
6. Massa Ferrari + 6.195
7. Di Resta Force India + 41.500
8. Hulkenberg Force India + 42.500
9. Raikkonen Lotus + 44.000
10. Senna Williams + 44.500
11. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
12. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1 lap
13. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
14. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
15. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps

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Gordon won here in 2001 and 2002 and has a streak of four straight top-five finishes on this track.

This could be anyone’s race, although last year’s Sprint Cup Series runner-up, Carl Edwards, wants it to be his.


JA, can you find out what was going on with this business about number flaps coming out of the pit boards, and hitting Lewis in the helmet? I saw one article where LH says “I don’t know if it was the Ferrari or Red Bull guys, but it kept happening”. This is such a strange assertion, that I have to believe it happened, and if it was always coming from the same pit board crew, and always hitting Hamilton, then I think it should at least be investigated to ensure there was no nefarious “clumsiness” behind it all.

Nevermind that it’s extremely dangerous to the safety of the drivers! Imagine if one of those flaps covered a visor and stayed there b/c of the wind pressure? It could be lethal at Monaco!


OK, let me get this straight, Lewis’ strategists and race engineer know Seb will be pitting soon…they know the necessary gap to ensure Seb comes out behind Lewis, and that Lewis was outside (just barely) of this window…but they decide to keep this information to themselves.



Refuelling doesn’t promote racing and reduces strategy. We’ve been there… It may have been tedious but we actually had differing strategy in Monaco compared to most other tracks – one stops!


I can’t speak for every one but to answer the questions of what a fan wants its simple.

F1 to have the fastest cars possible being driven to their full potential on a tight budget thats fair to all teams to fight.

For this to happen. Bring back refueling and strategies that go with it. Have tyres with variation ( as we have!), but can be driven harder for a bit longer- I suspect this won’t be an issue with refueling anyway.

Make all teams compete in Quali-they can have fresh set to start the race. Have races that allow overtaking at least one part of the track! I have the f1 app and use it with all races.. Watched F1 for 30 years and yes it is getting a bit farcical !

On a separate note Fernando Alonso is incredible. He will probably win the title at this rate. I don’t see anyone with his will to win ATM! Want it to be Kimi or Lewis but Ferrari have stepped up to the plate now.


The F1 slow drive tyre management championship is now a lottery, where driver skill and technical excellence are secondary.

The BBC “thrilling” article like others show the vested interest of all commentators , teams, pundits etc to say its great because they all have a vested interest in propelling the myth(unfortunately, you too James). The masses won’t be fooled for too many months; the purists aren’t fooled now.


Congratz to Webber on winning the race, Great to see him win, Just wish Ricciardo had been able to do a little better.

I can not belive the amount of whinging going on, call a frikken wahhhhhhhmbulance people.

Monaco is what it is and always has been.

As for the current tech regs, Things change all the time, I disliked it when they changed from V10’s to V8’s, but I didn’t sit around and cry about it, I got onboard and went with it.And hasn’t there been some fantastic racing since then!. Self proclaimed “purists” make me laugh. If the sport was still “pure”, they’s all be still racing around in 1906 cars, on dangerous circuts. But I’m sure the “Purist” could still find something to whinge about if that was the case.


Quickest reaction in the field goes to Kimi avoiding Perez move. 9 out of 10 other driver would have crashed. Kimi is master of reaction and keeping out of trouble!


Everyone been saying the race is boring but seriously, this is Monaco! What do you expect??! 😐 The race has been like this for the past decades and no one complained till now! Funny people…



I completely agree with your comments on Alonso pit stop…looked like there was still “life” on his super soft tires for 2 more laps, but his job was to beat HAM and VET. I start to see Alonso thinking like Lauda did in the past.

On another point I would like to say that I think RBR were holding Mark to allow VET to make the most of his strategy, not compromising his own (WEB) race at the same time…like Jaime mentioned on your show there is no reason to take so many laps to warm up those tires…something else was going on. I would like to have your comments on this.




An in depth article on this will appear here tomorrow in the Race Strategy Report


I was thinking more when Barrichello moved over to let him win in Austria in 2002 or he winning the GB race in 1998 by coming in the pitlane or taking out Damon Hill in 94 and still keeping his championship.


Even I thought the same thing. Why Ferrari did not stop late for Alonso?

They could have won the race.


I’m a Webber fan, but my god that was a boring race, just as Monaco almost always is.

I appreciate that it’s tight and dangerous requiring great skill to navigate, but as spectacle, this race just doesn’t cut it.

James, why is the Monaco GP never considered for retirement? Must be the wads of cash they pay Bernie, because it certainly isn’t because it’s a good race. Yes, it has history, but so does Spa and Silverstone, yet that are constantly being threatened or removed from the circus.

Darren Andrews

Can’t believe some of the comments complaining of Monaco being a boring race – how many years have these people been watching F1 for??? This race was fascinating, and took me back to the tactical F1 races of the past, where tactics, namely the timing of pit stops, conserving tyres and managing gaps between drivers are all very important ingredients for a great GP driver and team.

For those that are bored with this race – get the F1 live timing app from and have this with you during the race; being able to watch the sector times and how gaps between cars are being managed adds a great dimension to watching a GP.

For those that are still bored and want 10 passes every lap of a GP, go and watch NASCAR. Now THAT is boring racing!


I watch F1 for the racing, not to see how clever the chaps on the pitwall are. I don’t know about 10 overtakes per lap, but one overtake per race would be an improvement…


I don’t know why everyone is calling it a snooze fest – Monaco without rain usually is a fairly straight forward race.

The great thing is we had another winner and that leaves the championship open still. I find F1 a snooze fest when someone keeps winning like Vettel did last year and the boring years of MS domination.

Well done to Mark, he deserved that win after his qualy performance over Vettel especially!!


James – intrigued to what you think of this – do you think Vettel could’ve won by staying out longer in his first stint? Maybe try to make a pitstop gap, or perhaps by virtue of having options that were even fresher at the end of the race?


As a follow up, I think had Raikkonen pitted when he hit the cliff at lap 20-something, or if he had not reached said cliff, Vettel would have won the race for sure if it was decided by pace & track condition (ie not red flags or safety cars.

The leaders would have had traffic, or would have been forced to stay out longer.

James, could you please look at these questions I have brought out in your UBS strategy debrief article? Thank you!


Yes, it’s one of the topics


Great start by Mark. I hope this has given him the confidence he needs in order to start well again in future.

And a vast improvement from Felipe – hope his confidence is boosted, too. As a Ferrari fan I am relieved for him & hope things get better from here.

Back to the race, I take on board people’s comments about the history & Monaco being an exception. But without run off areas, is it as safe as other circuits? To make an analogy with another type of racing, people say the Grand National is historic, a unique challenge, etc. Yet in recent years this hasn’t been enough to stop criticism of the safety record and I doubt it will continue much longer. So is Monaco secure just because it is historic? All it would take is one serious accident, because I don’t think there is much scope to change things from the current setup. We already saw one close shave in the tight pitlane yesterday, luckily it was only a tyre blanket and not a foot that would have been run over. Don’t get me wrong, Monaco is all about the experience, my dad had a great time as a spectator there, but I don’t think anything can continue unchanged indefinitely. Yet the features which make Monaco unique also mean it has little capacity to change.

Two other thoughts: firstly was there any visual footage of Hamilton being hit on the head by ‘debris’ from pit boards? Would be interested to know more about what happened there.

Secondly my thoughts are with the British fan who broke his back & leg when a stand collapsed on Thursday. What a horrible way to spend what should be a fantastic weekend. I hope he recovers quickly.

Matt Cheshire

Schumacher would not have finished 78 laps without incident. I have zero doubt that he would have Hit someone else, a barrier or shagged his car on a kerb.

I was happy to see him produce the old magic for qualifying, but that was massive experience and aggression. He doesn’t have the infallible concentration for F1 any more.

He could not have done what Webber did.

Webber would only have lost if Schuey had pole and he helped Rosberg to get position. That was never going to happen was it?


Kudos to Webber – drove a very controlled race and his excellent start must have throttled a few demons.

PS spotted a couple of typos in the report: “Consistency is noce” and “the final fourty laps”


I don’t think anyone has mentioned it yet but Webber has struggled with the Pirelli’s last year and seemed to struggle again this year. He often wears out his rears before any of the other top runners and would be the first to pit or lose time accelerating out of corners.

Was so impressed he was able to preserve them unlike usual, and cruise home to victory. With 6 or so laps to go, I was getting nervous for him when he really started backing the pack up. But looks like he was just being extra careful with the spots of rain and preserving that rubber.

Was it boring? Perhaps…. but not for us aussie MW fans staying up late to watch a well deserved win:P Well done AMW!


“Consistency is noce but wins are what wins championship.”

James, typo. Shouldn’t it be “nice”?


Congrats to Mark Webber, I think one of his finest victories – an assured flawless drive.

Standard Monaco procession but a reminds why I think F1 needs a couple of toys to shake things up. I really don’t miss the early 2000’s when almost every race was this kind of parade.

I love your site James, but wow, lets all complain about the tyres some more …


you guys must of been watching button in stuck back in 14th or lewis losing places, cos webber was out there leading by the skin of his teeth.
job well done

tom in adelaide

You’ve got to love that enormous wink Mark gave in the press conference when talking about Red Bull strategy. Classic.

Seems to me that even when Mark is leading Red Bull are thinking of ways to use him to better Seb’s position.



I completely agree with this…Mark played the game as long as he didnt get penalised for that.

Grayzee (Australia)


Tornillo Amarillo

Whitmarsh and his horse Button are nowhere.

Lot of errors in the McLaren side with Hamilton and Button, specially with Lewis doing excellent qualifies and later wating everything in raceday.

Today in Monaco, can you explain James why he lose 2 positions in the pitstops? Where he lose the time?

And the Multiyear Button will bore us for how long behind Kovalainen?

Maybe Monaco is just boring, there is no place to overtake, Webber won but it is not a great win, just he keep the car on track and slowdown everybody behind (like DC did many years before).

Erase Monaco in the calendar, not worthy for fans!


“And the Multiyear Button will bore us for how long behind Kovalainen?”

Agree. If that was Hamilton he’d have found a way past in no more than a few laps


Well Alonso had a quick in lap but Hamilton mainly lost to him and Vettel due to no one expecting new primes/softs to take so long to warm up. If Alonso had stayed out for 5 for 6 more laps, he probably could have won the race.

In fact, Schumacher was quick on options and perhaps if his start had gone better and he was with the pack, he may have found himself leading. And his dream prophecy would have come true haha!

With Vettel though, I think McLaren should have informed Hamilton he needed to push. It sounds like they didn’t tell him of the gaps and the threat. However, the McLaren didn’t seem that quick today. Hamilton still fell away from Webber’s train towards the end of the first stint if I recall.

And what did you expect of Button? He got screwed at the start – though in truth he screwed his qualifying. What about all the other ‘bores’ who didn’t overtake?


I don’t know why everyone thinks that these guys can’t push on the tyres – the simple fact is that they choose not to.

We don’t know how the race had come out if someone had have pushed and taken the extra 3 seconds per lap that were possible, chosen to have higher wear and another stop, but I would have been thrilled to watch that. Everyone just seems happy to be conservative and not try something different.

That said, good on MW for an almost faultless lead, and well controlled pace.


I am sure there would of been at least a couple of drivers pushing for 2 stops if there was NO threat of rain… remember that the first rain was predicted around the first stops, so that in turn forced everyone to conserve


Exactly – shame someone didn’t go for the two stop and push like hell..


James do you think it would have been any different without the safety car?


Read the Race Strategy Report tomorrow


You mean push for like 3 or 4 laps after which the tyres would be overheated and fall apart in another 4-5 laps?

Come on James!


Yeah, it was a shame. However, from my admittedly untrained eye, I could see no point in the race where someone hoping to make a two stopper work, could pit and not hit traffic reasonably quickly.

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