Nico Rosberg won a crash-interrupted Monaco Grand Prix to follow his father as a winner of the race and give Mercedes its first Formula One victory of the season.
Sebastian Vettel finished second yesterday after 78 laps of the Monte Carlo street circuit to extend his championship lead. His Red Bull teammate Mark Webber came third.
The race was halted for 25 minutes after a crash involving Williams’s Pastor Maldonado and Marussia’s Max Chilton. There were also two safety-car periods following other accidents. Off the track there was a pre-race protest against Mercedes by Ferrari and Red Bull that questioned the legality of a tire test. The matter was referred to the sport’s governing body.
Keke Rosberg, the 1982 series champion, won the Monaco Grand Prix the following year when driving for Williams. He was in attendance yesterday to see Nico become the first son of a former Monaco winner to take the checkered flag at the race.
“Monaco is such a special place to win and it just feels amazing,” Nico Rosberg told reporters. “It was my childhood dream to win this race and to do it 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.”
Rosberg, on pole for the third straight race, led from start to finish. It was the 27-year-old German’s second Formula One win, the first coming at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix.
Red Bull and Ferrari had lodged a protest against Mercedes over a tire test with manufacturer Pirelli & C. SpA (PC) earlier this month in Barcelona. The issue is whether there was a breach of rules that prohibit in-season testing.
Race stewards heard submissions from the teams and after confirming the race result said they’ll report on the matter to governing body Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.
In a statement, the Paris-based FIA said its prosecuting body may bring the matter before its international tribunal, which “may decide to inflict penalties that would supersede any penalty” the race stewards may have issued.
The leaders maintained their grid positions in the early stages of yesterday’s race, the first major disruption coming after 30 laps when Ferrari’s Felipe Massa crashed, bringing out the safety car for the first time. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who’d started second on the grid, lost a couple of places in the pit stops that followed.
The race was stopped on lap 46 when Maldonado’s car became airborne and pushed track barriers out of place when it crashed into them. Chilton was given a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident.
After racing resumed, Rosberg maintained his lead ahead of Vettel, Webber and Hamilton and the four kept that pattern until the end. There was still more disruption as Lotus’s Romain Grosjean crashed into the rear of Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso, resulting in another safety-car period.
Adrian Sutil of Force India finished fifth ahead of Jenson Button of McLaren and Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Paul di Resta of Force India and Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the scoring positions. Raikkonen dropped down the field late in the race after colliding with McLaren’s Sergio Perez.
Vettel, seeking his fourth straight drivers’ title, extended his lead in the standings to 21 points through six of 19 races. Vettel has 107 points, followed by Raikkonen (86), Alonso (78), Hamilton (62), Webber (57) and Rosberg (47).
“I had a fantastic start, but there was no room,” Vettel said. “It was hard with the restarts, but we can be happy with the result. Two cars on the podium is very good.”
Red Bull leads the constructors’ championship with 164 points ahead of Ferrari (123), Lotus (112) and Mercedes (109).
The next race is the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 9.
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