Before coming to Monaco for the latest Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar, Mercedes were firm favorites to win. Not much changed on the day, with Nico Rosberg going fastest in FP1, FP2, FP3 and qualifying, lining up on pole with teammate Lewis Hamilton alongside.
The Silver Arrows got away okay, as did Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber from row two. It quickly became apparent the Mercedes drivers were in no great hurry.
Sebastian Vettel: I was a bit surprised by the slow pace in the opening laps. Usually you expect two Silver Arrows in front of you and there were two buses today going for a cruise.
Mark Webber: Obviously the pace wasn’t electric and, fair enough, you can do that if you’re at the front of the race, as I did last year.
A procession followed -- but the race wobbled when Felipe Massa hit the wall hard at Ste. Devote. The safety car was terrible timing for Hamilton who fell back to fourth, promoting Vettel and Webber to P2 and P3.
Lewis Hamilton: When the safety car came out, I needed to maintain a gap so we didn't get delayed with the double pit stop; unfortunately the gap was too big and we lost out to the two Red Bulls. That's motor racing and these things happen sometimes.
Sebastian Vettel: Obviously Lewis lost a couple of positions with the safety car -- I’m sure he’s not too pleased about that -- but we took it, no question. I think we got lucky today.
I was really looking forward to Monaco, and now I’m really looking forward to leaving.
And then a red flag. Maldonado and Chilton had a huge collision, wrecking the Williams and a barrier. The field formed on the grid again, but their ability to take fresh tires nullified any potential drama.
Rosberg re-established his lead, only to be pulled back with another safety car; this time for Romain Grosjean attempting to wear Daniel Ricciardo as a hat. Grosjean picked up a ten-place penalty for Canada, and Dan was out of the race.
Daniel Ricciardo: I was really looking forward to Monaco, and now I’m really looking forward to leaving. It’s been one of those weekends.
Nico Rosberg: It’s never nice to get out of that rhythm… around Monaco it’s so easy to have a quick concentration error and then you’re in the tire barrier and it’s the end of the race. It was really important today to remain concentrated and that didn’t make it easy, all those safety cars and the red flag and everything -- but fortunately in the end it all worked out.
…and work out it did. 30 years after his father won this race, Nico had the Rosberg name etched into the trophy for a second time. He led every lap on the streets of his hometown, adding Monaco 2013 to his Chinese Grand Prix victory of 2012.
Nico Rosberg: Monaco is such a special place to win and it just feels amazing today. It was my childhood dream to win this race and to do it in a Silver Arrow on the streets where I have lived all of my life is fantastic. I can't quite believe it has happened yet and it will probably take a while to sink in… I hope this win today is the first of many more to come for us.
It was a good, if unspectacular day, for Red Bull Racing, after the team and Sebastian extended leads in their respective championships.
Sebastian Vettel: I think we can happy with the result. Great achievement from the team again. We seem to like this place the last couple of years, so very happy.
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