Rosberg avoids drama to win in Monaco
26 May 2013 – Nico Rosberg converted pole position into victory during a dramatic and segmented Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, avoiding drama to take Mercedes’ first win of the season. The German led home reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, while 2012 victor Mark Webber completed the podium finishers.
As the lights went out in the principality, Rosberg narrowly kept team-mate Lewis Hamilton at bay, with Vettel having to settle for third after pulling alongside the Briton off the line. The remainder of the top ten positions remained the same, with the traditional Monte-Carlo train forming until the opening pit-stop phase arrived.
Webber was the first of the front runners to make a stop, while the Mercedes drivers broke their team’s recent trend and stayed out the longest. The pair ultimately pitted together on Lap 31, moments after Felipe Massa suffered a massive accident at the first corner and brought out the first Safety Car of the afternoon. Hamilton lost the most ground in this phase, slipping back to fourth and behind both Red Bull drivers.
Rosberg remained in control and had an answer to Vettel’s surges in pace as the Grand Prix wore on, but a major accident between Marussia’s Max Chilton and Pastor Maldonado caused a lengthy stoppage on Lap 45. Heading into the high-speed Tabac corner, the pair locked wheels, with the Williams driver sliding uncontrollably into the TechPro barriers, leading to a red flag period and lengthy repairs.
The top ten runners, aside from Kimi Räikkönen, opted to switch back to Super Soft tyres for the restart, with Rosberg’s lead never in doubt until the chequered flag. Vettel claimed valuable championship points in second, while Webber managed to keep a rampant Hamilton at bay, who struggled with degradation in the closing stages.
Behind the top four finishers, there was plenty of drama for the remaining points-paying positions. Räikkönen looked set to claim fifth on his opposing strategy, but a collision with Sergio Pérez at the Nouvelle Chicane saw him pick up a left-rear puncture and make a costly pit-stop. Adrian Sutil forced his way past the McLaren driver just a couple of laps later, before the Mexican pulled out of the race.
Sixth place went to Jenson Button at the chequered flag, just ahead of Fernando Alonso who was a prime overtaking target for many of his rivals throughout the race. Jean-Éric Vergne picked up a significant points haul for Toro Rosso in eighth, with Paul di Resta and Räikkönen completing strong comebacks to take the final points.
Aside from Massa and Maldonado’s retirements, there were a number of other non-finishers. Charles Pic was the first victim after his Caterham caught fire; Jules Bianchi endured a late accident at Sainte Devote, while Romain Grosjean took himself and Daniel Ricciardo out of the running on the exit of the tunnel.
Rosberg’s victory sees him repeat the feat of father Keke 30 years ago, while Vettel extends his championship leader over Lotus rival Räikkönen to 22 points.
The seventh round of the 2013 season takes place in Canada from 7-9 June, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report