Red flag helps Vettel to Monaco victory

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monaco, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monaco, 2011

Sebastian Vettel scored his fifth win of 2011 in the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver came under fierce pressure in the closing stages of the race from Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

But a red flag with six laps to go changed the complexion of the final laps as it allowed Vettel to discard his old tyres for fresh ones.

Vettel held the lead from pole position at the start while Button fended off Mark Webber for second. Alonso took advantage of the slow-starting Red Bull to grab third place.

Button was the first of the three to pit, taking on a second set of super-soft tyres. Vettel came in on the following lap but his stop was delayed as the team didn’t have his tyres prepared.

He eventually got away – on softs, instead of the planned super-softs – having fallen to second behind Button. Alonso came in on the next lap and also switched to softs.

Button opened up a gap over Vettel before pitting again on lap 32, falling behind them. Alonso came in shortly afterwards but Vettel stuck with his soft tyres.

At this point the safety car was deployed following a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.

Hamilton had been delayed after Michael Schumacher had hit his car on the first lap, and passed him at the hairpin. Hamilton later squeezed past at Sainte Devote.

He arrived on the tail of the Ferrari and made a move at the hairpin. Massa braked deep and tagged Webber’s Red Bull with his front wing, and Hamilton and Massa made contact.

Massa stayed ahead, but Hamilton came back at him as they went into the tunnel. The Ferrari ran wide, got onto the treacherous marables and made heavy contact with the barrier.

After the restart Button put Vettel under pressure until lap 47, when he made his mandatory switch to the harder tyres. Vettel stayed out, his tyres now 32 laps old.

Button reeled in Vettel and Alonso, whose tyres were slightly less old, and the pair ran nose-to tail for several laps, covered by just half a second. But he couldn’t find a way past Alonso, who was able to use his DRS while attacking Vettel.

Vettel’s lap times began to slow as he passed the 50-lap mark on his tyres and the battle for the lead seemed to be building to an exciting conclusion. But it all went wrong as they approached a clutch of cars to lap them.

Among them was Hamilton, who was mounting a recovery having been delayed at his first pit stop and being handed a penalty for the collision with Massa. He went down the inside of Vitaly Petrov at Tabac.

The three leaders picked their way through the mess and the safety car was deployed, but within a few laps the race was red-flagged as there was concern over Petrov’s condition. He was later confirmed to be conscious and talking.

But the red flag brought an end to the battle for the lead, as Vettel and Alonso were able to change tyres on the grid while waiting for the restart.

Fortunately for McLaren, they were able to use the time to repair Hamilton’s rear wing in time for the restart.

This proved to be unlucky for Pastor Maldonado, who Hamilton tied to pass at the restart. The pair clashed and the Williams, which had been running sixth, ended the race in the barrier.

At the sharp end of the field the battle for the lead was over and Vettel duly collected his fifth win out of six. Alonso and Button completed the podium.

Mark Webber passed Kamui Kobayashi for fourth place two laps from home and Hamilton finished sixth, albeit under investigation for the clash with Maldonado. The stewards were also looking into a collision between Kobayashi and Sutil, who finished seventh.

Nick Heidfeld was eighth for Renault ahead of Rubens Barrichello, who gave Williams their first points of the year.

Sebastien Buemi claimed the last point for Toro Rosso in front of Nico Rosberg, Mercedes having struggled for pace during the race.

Paul di Resta was 12th, after a drive-through penalty for a collision at the hairpin, followed by the Lotuses of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.

Jerome d’Ambrosio finished 15th, Timo Glock retiring earlier with suspension failure, ahead of the two HRTs.

Vettel’s fifth win from six starts extends his dominant start to the season. But F1 will reflect on an incident-packed weekend in Monaco which ends with two drivers, Petrov and the non-starting Sergio Perez, recovering from injuries.

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

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121 comments on Red flag helps Vettel to Monaco victory

  1. Jian said on 29th May 2011, 16:45

    Let’s look at this objectively, are there racists out there? Definitely! Could any of the stewards be racists? Highly unlikely.

    That’s the issue for people of non”standard” colour (white), they know racism is there but if its not explicit then they can never prove it. That creates a feeling of vulnerability and sense that you don’t control your own fate. Imagine a f1 driver feeling out of control, in that context, in the heat of the moment, I can understand why Lewis made the joke, to vent his frustration. (Read: if he made a serious accusation that would be bad, this was a joke, not very funny but understandable)

    I don’t take offence and if you do, well haters gonna hate.

    • MVEilenstein (@mveilenstein) said on 29th May 2011, 16:52

      It’s good to know you speak for all “non-standard” people with all that talk of feeling vulnerable and out of control.

    • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 29th May 2011, 16:55

      I Like Hamilton a lot, but this is not understandable at all. Hamilton is MASSIVELY rich and SUPREMELY talented, but when he had an off day (which we all do froM tome to time), he blames everyone else.

      Then, he has the bare faced cheek to insult the stewards, and call them racists! He seriously lost the plot today, made some dumb moves, and made some idiotic comments. I hope they throw the book at him, silly little boy :-(

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th May 2011, 3:27

      I’m black, but I don’t go around feeling paranoid, vulnerable and out of control like the guy from Balls of Steel.

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 29th May 2011, 16:50

    Ahhh!!! It could be one of the best race ever!! RF and SC spoiled it! even though I think it would be the best race of this year. pretty sure. maybe. perhaps.

  3. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 29th May 2011, 16:54

    Red flag helps Vettel to pole. Safety car helps Vettel to lead. Red flag helps Vettel to stay in the lead. Tyre rule helps Vettel to win. :P

    Not saying he’s not a good driver, but I can name several drivers who drove better and deserved the win more than him today. Nothing could have worked out better for him. Nothing.

  4. JohnBt said on 29th May 2011, 16:56

    One of the best Monaco race until the red flag was waved. Last six laps meant nothing.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 29th May 2011, 17:04

      It wasn’t really the red flag, because the drivers would have been close anyway… it were the new tyres for Vettel that neutralised any lack of performance he had.

  5. Fixy (@fixy) said on 29th May 2011, 17:03

    I just wanted to say how lovely the trophies were… simple but unique, gold, silver and bronze, something we’ve lost with sponsor-shaped trophies.

  6. Fonseca said on 29th May 2011, 17:20

    Like Schumacher in the old days: besides being a super talented driver and having a fantastic car, every little detail conspires in favour of Vettel. Amazing.

  7. peto4000 (@peto4000) said on 29th May 2011, 17:30

    Did anyone else notice that the marshals appeared to wave blue flags at drivers that was racing for position against the likes of Webber and Hamilton when they were out of position. DiResta made a comment on it in his post-race interview.

    • Ral (@ral) said on 29th May 2011, 17:37

      Yeah, they were waving blue flags at Kobayashi in the second to last lap while Webber was hounding him. It must be confusing for them to know what is going on and who is fighting for what position.

  8. alpha said on 29th May 2011, 17:37

    I enjoy this race very much, and I love the circuit and I shall say it is one of the best Monaco GP in the last 5 years at least!

    Having said that, this is also one of the most artificial race. All result isn’t really reflecting the actual result. 2 red flags over the 2 days, only Vettel really get huge benefit in both occasions. Is he just lukcy? I just dont like to see him winning anymore. Its not good for the sport. It just so frustrating that he got away with it everytime.

  9. alpha said on 29th May 2011, 17:48

    I am so surprised that teams were allowed to change tyres during red flag. It was simply a free pit stop for all. Monaco was a good show, definitely not a good race, and it just shows the weakness of the current Rules.

    Noone should be allow to fix / change tyres for their car. I accept Tyre warmer, but not to change tyres!

  10. Tom said on 29th May 2011, 17:48

    I can’t for the life of me understand why they put the super softs on button’s car during his penultimate stop. All they had to do was throw softs on and he had the race in the bag. Why would they force him into a 3 stop strategy That was worse than ferrari’s duff during AD last year.

    • dlaird said on 29th May 2011, 19:28

      Agreed. Threes stops? Vettel did one. Mclaren needs to really look at their race strategies.

  11. Tyre changed after red flag and cars stopped was a complete mistake that helped only Vettel.

    If tyres are allowed to be changed after race is resumed, the time of the pit stop plus the transit via the pits for Vettel would had been in favor of Alonso and Button who went 2,3 times to pits and that time was against them.

    This have to be revised and challenged.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 29th May 2011, 21:58

      I have to disagree. Vettel was still doing laps in the mid 1:19s when Button was lapping in the mid-to-high 1:17s, just before he caught up with Alonso and Vettel. Unless Vettel’s tyres went off the cliff in the 6 laps between the Alguersuari-Petrov crash and the end of the race, he would have held on to win.

      Also, didn’t Alonso and Button change their tyres after the red flag? Maybe they wouldn’t have passed Vettel at the re-start if they were also on worn supersoft tyres.

  12. dennis said on 29th May 2011, 18:43

    I think the headline is a bit terrible.
    Vettel helped himself to victory just fine with a brilliant drive on that old rubber.

  13. Jonny said on 29th May 2011, 19:07

    Was a shame about the crash I would loved to have seen Vettel defend his position until the end of the race.

    To last as many laps as he did on the same tyres was amazing, unlucky for Jenson, amazing race!

  14. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 29th May 2011, 19:14

    I’d love to see a rule change where if there is a red flag in the dying moments of the race, the tyres cannot be changed.

    • foolsm8 said on 29th May 2011, 19:28

      This is getting ridiculus…

      The rule is the same for everybody and Alonso and Button also had the advantage of new tires. Besides, if you’re favorite driver had been leading the race in that situation, my guess is you would not be pleading for a rule change now…

  15. General questions : how many tire changes are mandatory in F1 ?

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