Formula One News » F1 2013: Rosberg does the full Monte Posted on 26/05/2013
Rosberg blitzed the competition over the weekend – setting the pace in all three practice sessions and taking pole position on Saturday – and he maintained that dominance in the race. Indeed despite a somewhat tardy start, the German did enough to lead into the first corner and after that he was never headed.
Initially he controlled his pace in the early stages in order manage the tyre wear, before making his only pit stop on lap 31 after the safety car was deployed when Felipe Massa crashed at Ste Devote.
He re-joined just in front of the Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to retain the lead, although his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t so fortunate and slipped from second to fourth.
Despite a 25 minute red flag period later on – after Max Chilton and Pastor Maldonado made contact – and despite another safety car period near the end, when Romain Grosjean ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo exiting the tunnel, Rosberg held his nerve at both re-starts and eventually brought his car home 3.8 seconds up on Vettel.
It was his first win of the season – and only the second of his career following his maiden F1 victory in China last year. In taking the triumph he not only emulates what his father, Keke Rosberg, managed 30 years ago when he won at the Principality with Williams in 1983, but he also become the first son of a former Monaco GP winner to manage the feat himself.
“Monaco is such a special place to win and it just feels amazing today,” Rosberg said, “It was my childhood dream to win this race and to do it in a Silver Arrow on the streets where I have lived all of my life is fantastic. I can’t quite believe it has happened yet and it will probably take a while to sink in.
“Thank you to the team for the car that we had this weekend and it’s good to have been able to show the same level of performance on Sunday and convert our pole position. The whole weekend went pretty much to plan, even though qualifying was tough with the weather conditions. I didn’t have the best start today which meant Lewis and Seb got pretty close but after the first corner, I was able to set my own pace. Then it was just a case of keeping a cool head through all the incidents and the team did a great job of keeping me in touch with what was happening. Thank you to everyone here today and back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. I hope this win today is the first of many more to come for us.”
Vettel meanwhile had to settle for second, although the result was still enough for him to increase his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, extending his advantage over Kimi Raikkonen to 21 points. The Red Bull Racing driver also took the fastest lap, setting the marker on the penultimate lap.
“Overall I’m happy and pleased with the result, we know that it’s very difficult to overtake here,” Vettel noted. “Congratulations to Nico, he did a very good job and had a very controlled race; I think he had the pace and the tyres to respond whenever we tried to get a little bit closer to him.
“I had a fantastic start, but there was no room! I think I could have gone past both Mercedes, but there was no space and I had to lift. Then Mark came and it was very tight into the first corner. I was a bit surprised by the slow pace of the opening laps – usually you expect two Silver Arrows in front of you, but they were more like buses today going for a cruise on the first couple of laps. But, the strategy for them was clear and they did a very good job. It was a good strategy from our team to get past Lewis. It was hard with the restarts, but we can be happy with the result. It was a good achievement by the team; we seem to like this place.”
Webber took the final spot on the podium, and while the Aussie was pushed hard by Hamilton – with the Englishman even getting right alongside at one point through Rascasse as he tried to get back into a rostrum position – in the end 7.5 seconds split them at the chequered flag.
“First of all congratulations to Nico, it’s a very special place to win here and he had a seamless weekend; that’s what you need to do here,” Webber remarked. “Even though he started in the lead, you still have to pull it off so well done to him.
“For us, we knew we were a little bit against it starting on the second row, but I got an absolutely incredible start and it’s sod’s law that it’s the shortest run into the first corner here. Seb and I had nowhere to go, so we were lifting while Nico and Lewis looked like they had tricky ones. We will save some of those starts for future reference!
“Then after that it was basically about saving the tyres and making the one-stop work for us. It was predictable that if the race was going to stack up, then the two-stop was not really an option as you could have come back into traffic. We had to go pretty long and all the drivers were nursing the tyres – it was nice to get Lewis on the stops.”
Behind, after Hamilton, Force India’s Adrian Sutil took fifth, pulling off two impressive passes on both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso at the hairpin, who came home sixth and seventh respectively.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was next up, with the second Force India of Paul di Resta and Lotus driver, Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top ten. Raikkonen had been set to take fifth, but a puncture late on – caused when Sergio Perez tried to pass the Finn at the Nouvelle Chicane – dropped him back. Kimi fought back however, grabbing tenth and the final championship point from Nico Hulkenberg on the very last lap.
Of the rest, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde were the only other runners to finish in positions 12 through to 15, although Sergio Perez was classified in 16th, despite retiring 6 laps from the end. Perez pulled off a storming move on Button into the Nouvelle Chicane, but his later attempts to replicate that at the same place on both Alonso and Raikkonen weren’t so successful.
In terms of retirements, six drivers failed to finish. Charles Pic was first out when his car caught fire in the early stages. Massa then – as mentioned – crashed out on lap 28. Maldonado was sidelined on lap 46 after the incident with Chilton (when the Brit cut in front and launched the Williams man up into the air and into the barriers), while Jules Bianchi had a front brake failure and went off at Ste Devote on lap 58. Grosjean and Ricciardo both went out after their coming together on lap 63.