Monday, June 3, 2013

Rosberg's Monte Carlo Dream: Mercedes Driver Wins Monaco Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

One of the most anticipated events on the Formula 1 schedule, the Monaco Grand Prix is rich in history and prestige. Holding a grand prix race since 1929, a tight 2.075-mile street course serves as an one-of-a-kind scene for the 2013 Formula 1 season.

On Saturday, Nico Rosberg secured his three-straight pole position driving his Mercedes AMG race car to a small advantage over teammate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg and Hamilton have combined for four consecutive grand prix poles for their German team but were still chasing a first race victory in 2013. The 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix would be the precise period where the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team officially equals the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Lotus F1 Team in 2013.

From the start of the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg asserted control over the 22-car field leading commandingly in the early part of the race. As the Mercedes AMG of Rosberg remained unchallenged at the front, the race from second to fourth had Lewis Hamilton fending off the Red Bull Racing duo. The Red Bull-Renaults driven by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber starting from the second row on a mission to win their fourth straight Monaco Grand Prix.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

After 28 laps, the only retirement from the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix was the Caterham-Renault of Charles Pic. Pic's exit has been attributed to a gearbox failure. The retirement from the grand prix would came on lap 29 when the Ferrari of Felipe Massa crashed. Massa's crash closely mimicked his accident in final practice on Saturday. The day following the Monaco crash, Ferrari engineers analyzed Massa's car and determined the Brazilian driver's collision was a result of a front suspension failure.

While the appearance of the safety car has grown more common in recent years, it would prove surprising that there had yet to be a grand prix incident requiring the vehicle. It took the sixth race of the 2013 season for the first safety car period to occur. When the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG safety car was put in control of the Formula 1 field, the appearance was a game-changer for the Monaco Grand Prix

The safety car period provoked the top teams to convert to a two-stop strategy. In what could have been the only misstep for the Mercedes AMG team at Monaco, a double pit stop for Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton resulted in a loss of position for one of their team cars. While Rosberg was successful in jetting back into the lead of the race, Hamilton lost two spots due a small gap on the Red Bull Racing cars. The 2008 Formula 1 World Champion would be unable to regain a podium position but still finished respectfully.

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

The Massa crash would end up not being the last moment where special considerations had to be made for mishaps. On lap 45, a red flag period was needed to clean up a collision between the Williams-Renault of Pastor Maldonado and the Marussia-Cosworth driven by Max Chilton. The accident also caused damage to the second Marussia car piloted by Jules Bianchi An accident resulting from an error made by Chilton, the Marussia team driver was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident that ended the grand prix for Maldonado. Max Chilton would wind up finishing an impressive 14th place as more cars would retire.

Once more in the race, the safety car was deployed around lap 61. An incident where Lotus-Renault driver Romain Grosjean crashed into the back of Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso-Ferrari spread considerable debris on the street circuit. Grosjean will be penalized at the Canadian Grand Prix for the collision.

As the remaining 2013 Monaco Grand Prix field was unleashed again for an 11-lap sprint to the checkered flag, other battle would result in one more retirement. McLaren's Sergio Perez was attempting to pass Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus-Renault for running fifth. Through a chicane, Perez and Raikkonen made contact. Perez would fall out of the race with suspension problems to his McLaren-Mercedes. After attending pit road to replace a punctured Pirelli tire, Raikkonen would finish the race in 10th.

Photo Credit: Nissan/Infiniti

At the flag, Nico Rosberg took the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix in dominating style. Finishing 3.8 seconds ahead of the Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel, the multiple safety car periods might have skewed how effective of a day the Mercedes AMG car had in the 78-lap race. Rosberg's second-ever Formula 1 race win, the triumph comes almost on the 30th anniversary of his father Keke Rosberg's Monaco Grand Prix victory.

As the unfortunate pit stop for Lewis Hamilton cost the Mercedes AMG team a presence of two drivers on the podium, the result was another team accomplishing the double-podium finish. Red Bull Racing took second and third with Sebastian Vettel in front of Mark Webber. In the Formula 1 Drivers' standings, 18 points for Vettel gave the three-time champion a major boost at the top of the board over closest challenger Kimi Raikkonen. For the 2013 manufacturers' points, the strong presence on the podium allowed Red Bull to gain a larger advantage over second place Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth ahead of Force India driver Adrain Sutil. Sutil's teammate Paul di Resta finished further back in ninth place but recovered well from a 17th place starting spot. Sandwiched between the Force India-Mercedes race cars was Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Jean-Eric Vergne.

The next race on the 2013 Formula 1 racing tour is the first North America stop in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.

2013 Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix
Race Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault
4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
5 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes-Benz
6 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
7 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
8 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
9 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes-Benz
10 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault
11 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari
12 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
13 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
14 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth
15 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault
16 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes-Benz
17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
18 19 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth
20 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams F1 Renault
21 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari
22 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault

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