Mark Webber has become the first Australian to win the famous Monaco Grand Prix twice, and set a record by becoming the sixth different winner in the season’s first six Grands Prix.
Webber made a strong start from pole, leading the field into the first turn, St Devote, as chaos erupted behind him, the Lotus of Romain Grosjean making contact with Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes and spinning in front of most of the field.
After an initial safety car period to retrieve the stricken cars involved and clean the circuit, Webber began establishing and then managing a lead over Nico Rosberg.
By the time Rosberg stopped on Lap 27, Webber had built a two-second lead over the Mercedes driver. The Australian made his one and only stop of the race two laps later, emerging from the pitlane ahead of Rosberg – albeit with a reduced margin.
With the soft tyres needing to last almost 50 laps around the tight Monaco streets, the race at the front soon became a race of tyre management.
With approximately ten laps remaining, a sprinkle of rain hit the Cote d’Azur and Webber’s tyres appeared to go away almost simultaneously.
Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Massa all closed right up behind the Australian for a tense final run to the chequered flag. Webber managed to fend off Rosberg by just half a second at the finish line to claim his second win in the Principality in just three years.
Fernando Alonso finished third for Ferrari, and catapulted to the lead of the drivers’ championship with 76 points, three ahead of Red Bull team mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber who are tied for second place.
“I’m feeling incredible,” said Webber. “It was an interesting race. The first phase of the race was strange – it was hard to get the soft prime tyre warmed up.
“It’s an amazing day for the team, myself, and [I’m] really happy to have won here again.”Fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo retired his Toro Rosso 13 laps from the finish with a mechanical problem.