Formula One

Rosberg back on top in Monaco

Nico Rosberg won a closely fought race around the streets of Monte Carlo as he broke Lewis Hamilton’s momentum of four straight wins.

Rosberg secured a much needed victory in the principality state in what was an eventful race as tensions rose between the Mercedes pair, whilst Daniel Ricciardo secured a first podium finish at Monaco.

Hamilton was left angered following the controversial circumstances in which his team-mate took pole position in qualifying, preventing the 2008 World Champion from completing his final timed lap and denying him the chance to compete for pole.

Rosberg was later cleared of any wrongdoing following a steward’s enquiry, who deemed the trip into the escape road at Mirabeau to have been down to driver error. This however did nothing to improve Hamilton’s mood, who admitted it was an “ironic” incident.

Much anticipation surrounded the start of the race, but no suspected drama came as the Mercedes held position at the front.

A slow starting Ricciardo saw him lose places to Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, with the latter taking advantage slotting into fourth ahead of both Ricciardo and team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Unsurprisingly it was to be a busy afternoon for the safety car, which made a first appearance on the opening lap after the McLaren of Jenson Button spun Sergio Perez on the exit of Mirabeau.

Vettel meanwhile, suffered from a brief lack of electrical power from his hybrid system, before retiring on lap seven with turbo failure in what proved to be a disappointing 100th race behind the wheel of a Red Bull.

It wasn’t long before the safety car emerged once more, this time on lap 28 following the Sauber of Adrian Sutil crashing at the chicane.

This prompted almost the whole field into the pits, including both Mercedes’ who only just avoided stacking their cars.

Hamilton, who lost out at last year’s event as a result of a similar pit stop strategy was evidently unhappy as he complained to his team over the radio “why didn’t we stop the lap before?”

The Brit firmly believed that he should have been called in as an immediate response to the crash, rather than waiting until the safety car was actually deployed. He proceeded: “I knew we should have pitted on that lap. I also knew you wouldn’t call me in”.

Lap 31 saw the race commence once again as Rosberg was informed that his fuel use was too high and was advised to begin shifting longer gears. This allowed Hamilton to close the gap to a mere 0.5 seconds, but could not get close enough to attempt a pass.

The 29 year old had matched Rosberg for most of the race, before suddenly dropping back on lap 56. An irritated Hamilton reported over the radio that he “couldn’t see out of his left eye – it’s impossible”.

Mercedes prepared for a pit stop but despite the unusual problem Hamilton soon picked up his pace, holding off the charging Ricciardo who worked his way back up to third following a puncture to the Ferrari of Raikkonen.

The Finn lost out dramatically following a collision with the Marussia of Max Chilton, dropping Raikkonen to 14th place.

The Ferrari driver recovered to challenge Kevin Magnussen for seventh – before an over-ambitious move at Lowes hairpin left both drivers tangled in the barriers, dropping the Dane to 10th and Raikkonen to 12th.

Team-mate Alonso fared better in fourth, as Nico Hulkenberg continued to impress in the Force India to come home fifth.

Jenson Button ended McLaren’s barren pointless spell in sixth, ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.

The Frenchman made history for the popular British based outfit, claiming the first points in the teams four year spell since its arrival to the sport in 2010. This was despite starting in 21st place and receiving a five second time penalty which saw Bianchi drop to ninth, promoting Grosjean up to eighth in the process.

It was almost a point’s haul for both of the ‘new teams’ as the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson narrowly missed out in 11th place as Magnussen rounded off the top 10.

The result sees Marussia climb up to ninth place in the constructors, passing Sauber who are still yet to score this season – suffering another double retirement as eight cars failed to finish.

Meanwhile Rosberg returns to the top of the drivers’ Championship with a four point lead. After the race the German said: “It was a tough race out there today but I am absolutely delighted to have won my second Monaco Grand Prix in succession.

“It’s an amazing feeling and I’m proud to have done it at home, in front of my family and friends who were all here this afternoon.

“Lewis drove really well and pushed me massively hard but I was able to hold on.”

The F1 circus takes a short break from the European leg of the season as it heads to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix on June 8th, a race which will be eagerly anticipated with all eyes on the Mercedes pair as the fight for the Championship heats up.

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