The memorial day weekend was huge for motorsports. Here in’merica we had the Indy 500 going on, and just down the road in Charlotte, North Carolina the good ol’ boys were having the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600. But before all that the F1 guys were going head to head on the streets of Monte Carlo for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix AKA the most glamorous race on the F1 calendar. This is the race that all the billionaires bring their yachts out for, and jewelry companies do promotional stunts like encrusting Lewis Hamilton’s and Jenson Button’s helmets with diamonds. However Monaco is about more than just rich and powerful, there was a race going on too!
As usual Sebastien Vettel started from the pole so I’m not even going to talk about qualifying since that dude just can’t seem to be stopped in that area. Starting behind Vettel was Jenson Button who had a good showing in qualifying and behind them in row two were Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso. When the lights went out the group put the hammer down and took off into turn one and for the most part it came off clean. Hamilton got roughed up while being passed by Michael Schumacher while Vettel was busy running away from Button.
On lap 10 Hamilton pulled a brilliant move on Schumacher in the Ste Devote part of the track and took his position back from the legendary German driver. Then later on Hamilton got in trouble for punting Felipe Massa and then Pastor Maldonado. Both infractions earned Lewis penalties from the stewards but neither one was harsh enough to affect his race position. Where was Sebastien Vettel while all the craziness was happening mid-pack? He was busy extending his lead over Jenson Button. However Vettel’s gap started to fade as his tires were staring to give up on him. He had only made one stop for the entire race so far and it looked as if the team was actually going to attempt to push him to the end of the race that way. Just when it seemed that Red Bull’s gamble was going to go bust on them Vitaly Petrov had a hard meeting with the wall at the “swimming pool” and brought out the red flag. Luckily the Russian driver was conscious and talking as he was taken away in the ambulance. The red flag allowed Vettel to come back in and put super soft tires on to restart the race with and retain his lead. Alonso was able to get around Button for second place and the race ended in that order with Vettel taking the win, Alonso coming in second and Button scoring a third place finish.
It is starting to look like Vettel is on his way to a succesful repeat of his 2010 championship… For a full Monaco GP post race report check out SPEED and stay tuned for the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10th!
[Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]