Monaco Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel Triumphs While Lewis Hamilton Wreaks Havoc

Craig ChristopherAnalyst IMay 29, 2011

MONTE CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing receives the winners trophy from Prince Albert II of Monaco after the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 29, 2011 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The Monaco Grand Prix of 2011 was a race defined by mistakes.

Even before the race started, Lewis Hamilton made the mistake of not “banking” a lap in the third period of qualifying, and got left without a time when Sergio Perez wrapped his car around the barriers after losing his way in the tunnel.

When it came to the actual race, the mistakes started from the moment the red lights went out. Mark Webber messed up another start, allowing a seemingly rocket powered Ferrari of Fernando Alonso to sneak up the inside and take third place.

Before the end of the first lap, Lewis Hamilton had joined the screw up club and allowed an opportunistic Michael Schumacher to sneak up the inside at the hairpin for an improbable pass, thus beginning a disastrous day for the 2008 world champion.

Not to be outdone, the Red Bull team decided to get in on the act by messing up not one, but two consecutive pit stops.

First, they brought Sebastian Vettel’s front right tyre out still in the blanket, and then they didn’t have Webber’s tyre out at all when the Aussie turned up at the pits, leaving him spending a ridiculous 15 seconds stationary before returning him to the track in 14th place and effectively ending his race.

Not that Red Bull was alone with pit stop mayhem.

McLaren got in on the act, leaving Hamilton sitting up on the jacks for close to 10 seconds—an eternity in F1 terms—and perhaps making Jenson Button’s job harder than it needed to be by forcing him to take one more stop compared to most of the field.

Hamilton continued a bad day by colliding with Felipe Massa, and after the red flag restart, giving Pastor Maldonado an unnecessarily close look at the Armco in St. Devote. Hamilton served a drive through penalty for the first transgression, the verdict is yet to be handed down on the second.

The top three drivers, however, avoided the drama and were in a race of their own out at the front. With 28 laps to go, Button pitted and put on new prime tyres and then the race really came alive.

With the top three now all on the same tyre, but with Button’s being 34 younger than Vettel’s, the Brit seemed destined to round up the others to clinch this most prestigious and highly sought-after title in F1.

Sadly for the fans, any chance of a cliffhanger finish was lost when Adrian Sutil clipped a barrier coming out of Turn 12, puncturing a rear tyre and setting off a chain reaction collision that saw Jaime Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov hit the barrier hard in the Swimming Pool complex.

The collision almost swept up the three leaders who were following very closely. Fortunately all got through unscathed, but the race was red-flagged while an injured Vitaly Petrov was extricated from his ruined Lotus Renault.

The red flag allowed the leaders to get a fresh set of tyres—and Hamilton get new front and rear wings for his battered McLaren—and the race was destined to cruise to an uneventful end.

Except for Hamilton, that is, who felt the need to unleash one further burst of mayhem, ending Maldonado’s day and robbing Williams of some much-needed points.

Sebastian Vettel was able to keep Alonso and Button at bay to secure victory in Monte Carlo. As usual, it was a tense and eventful Monaco GP that delivered plenty of action—not necessarily good racing action—but the broad array of mistakes always makes compelling viewing.

Vettel continues to look unassailable and is building an untouchable lead, now at 58 points, while the four drivers behind him are covered by a mere 16 points.

The rest of the 2011 season looks like a race for second place.


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