Marc Webber benefits from Michael Schumacher’s penalty and goes six for six in 2012 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. Webber became the sixth winner in as many races this season, thus writing a new chapter in the record books. Michael Schumacher put in the fastest time at the very end of the final qualifying session, but a crush during the previous Spanish Grand Prix was ruled his fault and brought with it a five position penalty. This was Michael’s first pole qualifying result since his return from retirement more than two years ago.
He was supremely confident throughout the whole weekend and had his eye firmly on winning Sunday’s race. However, his fortunes turned for the worse once again when he went to the outside and collided with Romain Grosjean who was searching for a clear line just seconds after the start. Although Michael’s Mercedes was undamaged, the contact sent Romain into a spin towards turn one and chaos ensued. This accident also claimed the cars of Pedro de la Rosa, Pastor Maldonado, and eventually Kamui Kobayashi. While Michael dropped back a couple of spots as a result, Sebastian Vettel benefited as he cut turn one to avoid contact and advanced from ninth to sixth. Vettel had a very difficult Saturday as he was unable to match the qualifying pace of his teammate and other rivals and was starting in ninth.
Saturday’s qualifying also brought unexpectedly poor results for Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button. It was especially bad for Jenson, who just managed to qualify in twelfth. Jenson’s weekend turned from appalling to awful as he limped his McLaren to finish the race last and eight laps down to the leader. On the other hand, Monaco was more friendly to Felipe Massa as he used his Ferrari’s formidable grip to qualify seventh and finish the race in sixth, his best finish of the season.
Monaco is a relatively short and slow circuit with constantly curving narrow streets and blind corners. The slow corners are relatively easy on the tires and aerodynamics are not a huge factor. Success at this race depends primarily on driver’s supreme concentration, skill, and also starting position. It is extremely difficult to pass and winning from behind is statistically improbable. This Sunday’s race was made more exciting by the threatening rain clouds. Pit crews were glued to the weather monitors as they calculated and tried to predict the perfect time to change tires. Pit stops are especially important in Monaco as they are the main opportunities for passing. Nico Rosberg was the first of the front runners to pit while other teams were waiting for rain to materialize. A few drops finally fell, but it was not a factor in the end. Rosberg had a relatively smooth race and finished in second. Fernando Alonzo was able to improve his fifth starting position and claimed the final podium spot, displacing Vettel and Hamilton to forth and fifth respectively. This also put Alonzo in the overall championship points lead.
Monaco Grand Prix is regarded as the premier race of the Formula 1 calendar. The densely populated mountain side, historic buildings, and shiny mega yachts provide for a spectacular backdrop. This race holds a special place in the hearts of racers and fans. Winning Monaco is one of the top achievements for a Formula 1 racer, and Webber’s second win here places him among just thirteen elite drivers to win Monaco multiple times.
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.