WEBBER SECURES SECOND MONACO VICTORY AS 2012 BREAKS RECORDS

28 May

The Michael Report- FORMULA ONE GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2012

THE MONACO Grand Prix is a truly magnificent showcase of celebrities, millionaires, splendour, glamour and motor racing. It remains to this day the most challenging test for any F1 driver- the ultimate test of skill, courage and endurance. The tight, twisting, narrow streets provide very little space for manoeuvres and overtaking, leading to the debate about whether the race has passed its sell- by date. Absolutely not. Almost any driver will defend this wonderful, exciting spectacle steeped in history.

Of all the races in the F1 calendar, all the drivers aspire to take the Monegasque chequered flag, and to follow in the paths of legends like William Grover Williams, who won the first ever “Grand Prix” of any sort in 1929; Graham Hill (aka Mr. Monaco- five victories); Ayrton Senna (King Of Monaco- six wins) and other legends including Alain Prost, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, and today, Mark Webber drove his Red Bull around La Rascasse to win one of the closest Grands Prix for a long time- closely followed by Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton; this concertina formed in the closing stages of the race, providing a nail-biting, thrilling finale to what had- unfortunately- begun to become a procession.

Despite Red Bull’s controversial hole in the car floor which some teams have appealed against Webber took the victory and can celebrate being the first ever Australian to win a Monaco Grand Prix twice, and what an ideal place to celebrate!!! He remained calm and collected throughout the race, and managed to break another record in being the sixth different driver to win an F1 race in the first six races of a season.

Romain Grosjean, tipped to do well, saw his Monaco Grand Prix dream thwarted at the Saint- Devote corner on the first lap- contact with other drivers caused him to crash and spin; the safety car then led the race until his car  was cleared off the track.

Grosjean wasn’t the only retirement- Maldonado, who so famously won his first ever race a fortnight ago in Spain, failed to make it to the end of the first lap after suffering damage; De La Rosa also retired before lap two with accident damage. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi went airborne before retiring on lap 5 with accident damage and Petrov suffered an electrical failure, retiring on lap fifteen.

Mercedes had a mixed weekend- Michael Schumacher, whose amazing first pole position since returning to F1 – was meaningless after his 5 place grid penalty – retired with mechanical problems. Whilst Nico Rosberg managed to look after his precious tyres in Monaco today and never lost sight of Webber, and his reward was a well-deserved eighteen points and a second place spot on the Royal Box (No podium in Monaco). Charles Pic was another Monaco retirement, as was Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso. Toro Rosso also lost 6 points after putting Vergne on wet tyres for the final few laps only for it to not rain.

McLaren were off form today in a worrying trend that has begun to emerge over the last two races- Jenson Button was trying to make something out of his appalling twelfth place qualifying position, but succumbed to a battle with Kovalainen, who fought him off, and Button made contact, spun off, punctured a tyre and returned to the pits, another disappointing result. Lewis Hamilton had a chance, but just simply wasn’t on top form with tyre strategy, or pit stop times, and finished fifth- ten points for his efforts.

Ferrari are the team of the week-end: Felipe Massa looking like he’d found pace he’s lost for so long- congratulations go to him for achieving the feat of Q3, and sixth place in Monaco- not an easy task; Alonso provided consistency under the challenge of the street circuit and received fifteen points and third place. Vettel chose an excellent tyre strategy from soft to super-soft and this was acknowledged with fourth place and twelve points.

Paul Di Resta received sixth points by finishing seventh; Nico Hulkenburg had his eighth  place rewarded with four points, Ice Man Raikkönen came ninth with two points, and Bruno Senna received one point for finishing tenth.

Red Bull have extended their lead in the constructors championship, with 146 points against McLaren’s 108; Ferrari and Lotus are now tied with 86; Fernando Alonso now leads the driver’s championships with 76 points, but Webber and Vettel are only three points behind; whilst Lewis Hamilton and Button are slipping behind- Hamilton is now 13 points off Alonso; Nico Rosberg (59) and Kimi Raikkönen (51) now overtake Jenson Button in the standings, who has 45 points, but going into the Canadian Grand Prix, it is a tight battle, and there are still many races to go- it is still well and truly anyone’s game.

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