Monaco GP review: yup, it’s that blonde guy again

Posted by topgear at 08:24 am on Sunday August 19, 2012

Sebastian Vettel won his fifth race of the 2011 season this afternoon, taking his first Monaco Grand Prix victory thanks to some fantastic defensive driving and a huge helping of good old fashioned luck. An enthralling, incident-stuffed race saw the lead change hands several times and the safety car deployed twice, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button taking second and third.

Mark Webber finished fourth after a relatively quiet race, Kamui Kobayashi ought to be ecstatic with fifth, while Lewis Hamilton, who started seventh, deserves praise for coming in sixth despite a disastrous pit-stop, a drive-through penalty and assorted bodywork damage. That said, Lewis could still face a post-race penalty following contact with Pastor Maldonado, and even incur the wrath of the FIA after calling the stewards “an absolute frickin’ joke.”

Still, even though Vettel now holds a terrifying 58 point lead at the top of the championship, today’s win wasn’t as dominant as Red Bull’s previous four in 2011. With Fernando Alonso less than a second behind Vettel and sporting far fresher tyres, Vitaly Petrov had a nasty encounter with a steel barrier in the final sector of the track, red-flagging the race with just eight laps to go and sending palms crashing into foreheads over in the Ferrari garage. While the race was eventually restarted after the wreckage of Petrov’s Renault had been cleared, drivers were allowed to change their tyres during the break, with Vettel swapping his threadbare boots for a grippy new set. Even through all the finger wagging and champagne spraying, Vettel’s got to admit that he was beyond lucky to avert an Alonso victory.

So, with a quarter of the season gone, is it too early to talk about a second world championship for Vettel and Red Bull? We don’t think so, quite frankly. In fact, providing the young German doesn’t do a Robert Kubica and drive a Skoda Fabia into a church on his day off, we’d say it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. Just take a moment to think about it – who’s going to stop him?

Lewis Hamilton looked like he might be the man for the job at the start of the season but has suffered some bad luck since taking the win in China, while Jenson Button just can’t seem to get it together in qualifying. Meanwhile, Mark Webber – the man who, on paper should be Vettel’s closest contender – looks half the driver he was last season. As for Ferrari, they’ve only got one driver showing signs of a world champion’s grit in Alonso, and his car just can’t keep up on a Sunday. All are capable of winning races this year, but right now, you can’t deny that Sebastian Vettel is simply in a class of his own.

Let’s open it up to the floor – is the championship as good as Vettel’s already? If not, who’s going to stop him?

Here’s how they finished:

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Jenson Button
4. Mark Webber
5. Kamui Kobayashi
6. Lewis Hamilton
7. Adrian Sutil
8. Nick Heidfeld
9. Rubens Barrichello
10. Sebastien Buemi
11. Nico Rosberg
12. Paul Di Resta
13. Jarno Trulli
14. Heikki Kovalainen
15. Jerome d’Ambrosio
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi
17. Narain Karthikeyan
18. Pastor Maldonado (DNF)
19. Vitaly Petrov (DNF)
20. Jaime Alguersuari (DNF)
21. Felipe Massa (DNF)
22. Michael Schumacher (DNF)
23. Timo Glock (DNF)


TAGS// f1, formula one, monaco gp

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