For the second consecutive season Nico Rosberg captured the most prestigious race on the Formula One calendar by winning the Monaco Grand Prix on the streets of Monte Carlo. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton stalked him for 66 of the 78 lap race but fell off pace when something got into his eye forcing him to do everything in his power to hold off Daniel Ricciardo for second place.
The win is the fifth of Nico Rosberg's F1 career and second of the 2014 season. Mercedes has won all six races of the season so far and finished first and second for the fifth straight time. With the victory Rosberg also moved into the championship lead by leapfrogging Hamilton.
It was Rosberg who won the pole on Saturday, which ended up being the winning move since he got a great initial standing start to the race and held the lead for every lap.
On lap 1 the first safety car of the day was released when Jenson Button made contact into Sergio Perez in Turn 5. The contact sent the Force India into the Armco barrier and ended Perez's race. The only driver to have a worse day was Pastor Maldonado as his Lotus never got off the grid for the warm up lap.
On the lap 4 restart Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull Racing car never accelerated from third with a software issue. Vettel would eventually retire his car from the race on lap 7. Rosberg got a good restart on that and held the lead over Hamilton and it was Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari that moved up to third place with Vettel's issue.
The fourth driver to retire from the race was Daniil Kvyat of Torro Rosso on lap 11 when he experienced an issue. By lap 15 Rosberg had opened a 1.7 second gap on Hamilton up front.
On lap 25 the second safety car of the race was released when the Sauber of Adrian Sutil crashed hard into the Armco coming out of the tunnel. Pit stops ensued under the caution and Rosberg maintained the lead over Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo inherited third when Kimi Raikkonen made a second pit stop under the caution due to a tire puncture. That dropped Raikkonen to 13th. On the pit stop Jean-Eric Vergne's team had an unsafe release where he cut off Kevin Magnussen.
The race restarted on lap 31 and Rosberg again held the lead over Hamilton. Vergne served a pass thru penalty on lap 37 which dropped him from sixth to 13th. At the halfway lap of 39 it was Rosberg with a 0.8 second lead but Hamilton was stalking his teammate not letting him get away.
On lap 45 Felipe Massa pitted from fifth for his first stop of the race. He did not come in under the previous safety car which moved him from 11th to fifth at the time. After the pit stop Massa returned to the track in 11th.
Then on lap 52 Vergne's Torro Rosso went up in smoke ending his race. The same thing happened to Valtteri Bottas for Williams Martini Racing on lap 57. His car stopped on track but safety crews removed it before a safety car had to be released. On lap 61 Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber hit his right-rear tire into the Armco by cutting a corner too short and spun on the track ending his race. Again safety crews removed the car before a safety car had to be released.
It looked like heading into the final laps it would be a dual between Rosberg and Hamilton for the win, however, on lap 66 Hamilton all of the sudden dropped from one second back to over four seconds behind and radioed in that he had something get into his eye that impaired his vision. Hamilton continued to struggle and Ricciardo started putting in the fastest laps of the race to close the margin for second.
On lap 74 Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen tangled while racing for seventh and both drivers has to hit pit road. At about that same time Ricciardo had caught Hamilton but the Mercedes driver persevered to hold off the Red Bull driver to finish second. Rosberg won by 9.2 seconds.
Ricciardo earned his second career podium finish in third. The only other driver able to stay on the lead lap during the race was Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in fourth. Finishing in fifth was the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. McLaren driver Jenson Button finished sixth, Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams Martini Racing, Romain Grosjean ended up eighth for Lotus, Jules Bianchi ninth for Marussia, and Kevin Magnussen tenth for McLaren to grab the last championship point. Finishing 11th was the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson, Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari was 12th, Kamui Kobayashi of Caterham was 13th, and the final car running was Max Chilton's Marussia in 14th.
Jules Bianchi's finishing position of ninth is up in the air because he was issued a five second stop/go penalty on lap 66 by race stewards for serving a previous penalty during a safety car but he never did make the stop. He came across the line in eighth so the thinking is he was assessed a penalty which resulted in his ninth place finish instead. But there is some confusion over the situation until something official is announced. It is the first ever championship points scored for the Marussia team and for Bianchi which makes this a really big story.
After six of the 19 races Nico Rosberg moved back ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the points lead. He has 122 points to Hamilton's 118. Third is Fernando Alonso with 61. Daniel Ricciardo is fourth with 54 and Nico Hulkenberg is fifth with 47 points. Sebastian Vettel dropped to sixth and has 45 points.
Mercedes is dominating in the constructor standings with 240 points. Red Bull Racing has 99 points in second. Ferrari is third with 78, Force India is fourth with 67, and McLaren and Williams have 52 points to tie for fifth.
The next race is the Canadian Grand Prix on June 8th.Tags: Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Formula One, Jules Bianchi, Lewis Hamilton, Marussia, Mercedes, Monaco Grand Prix, Motorsports, Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel