For the second weekend in a row Sebastian Vettel soaked up pressure to win.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’13.556 (-0.463)||1’14.019|
Red Bull drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
In qualifying, Red Bull abandoned their recent tradition of doing a single run in Q3 and got both Vettel and Webber out to do laps early in the session. This was vindicated when Sergio Perez’s crash caused a lengthy stoppage.
Having led at the start, Vettel dropped behind Jenson Button when the McLaren driver opted for super-soft tyres at his first pit stop. The usually highly-efficient Red Bull mechanics delayed him by several seconds on this occasion.
At the end of the race Vettel found himself under pressure from behind for the second weekend in a row. This time he had Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button breathing down his neck.
The battle for first place was resolved when the race was red-flagged, allowing him to cast off the soft tyres he’d been using for 56 laps.
But Vettel was convinced he’d have won even without the interruption: “I was struggling with my tyres, but I think we could have made it to the end as it is difficult to pass around here.”
His lap times seem to support his view – he was lapping consistently in the 1’19s, and although his times were getting slower they were not doing so especially quickly.
Vettel did supremely well in keeping his tyres alive for such a long stint. Whether he could have gone the whole way without succumbing to an error or a passing attempt from Alonso, will remain tantalisingly unanswerable.
Last year’s winner only managed three laps in the first practice session due to a gearbox problem. He qualified third but couldn’t keep Fernando Alonso behind as they sprinted to Sainte Devote at the start.
Events took a turn for the worse when he pitted directly after Vettel and lost more time in the pits: “We didn?óÔé¼Ôäót really go long enough on the first stint, which is normal for me on these tyres, so that compromised me.
“When I arrived in the pits we didn?óÔé¼Ôäót have any tyres out, I arrived and sat there, but the boys were still getting them ready. There was a radio communication problem within the team and so they weren?óÔé¼Ôäót properly prepared.”
Having dropped as low as 14th, Webber made patient progress, taking advantage of incidents in front of him to move up to seventh.
He came alive towards the end of the race, passing Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil in a single lap. He followed that up for a move on Kamui Kobayashi for fourth.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix
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