The drivers love Monaco as well, even if they don’t get to enjoy the nightlife like everyone else. The challenge of the Principality’s streets is enough to leave them enthralled.
“There are 25 points available to the winner, just like other races,” says two-time Monaco winner Fernando Alonso. “But victory in Monaco is the most satisfying because it’s such a difficult grand prix. You have to be 100 percent concentrated because you can end up in the barrier with just the smallest mistake.”
The build-up to the race is unlike anywhere else and this year the grid was rammed with stars like Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Nicole Scherzinger and Ron Howard. The narrow confines of the start-finish straight made it hard for TV presenters to do their grid walks and they couldn’t interview Cameron Diaz anyway because she was surrounded by a wall of bodyguards.
Once the grid was clear of hangers-on, the 78-lap race could get underway and it was as action-packed as ever. Pole-sitter Nico Rosberg got away well, but we didn’t have to wait long for the first collision. It occurred on lap one, when Pastor Maldonado and Guido van der Garde hit each other at the hairpin, and carbon fibre continued to fly for the next two hours.
The first of three race interruptions occurred when Ferrari’s Felipe Massa crashed heavily at Ste Devote. He emerged sore, but okay, and the eight-lap delay behind the Safety Car changed the positions behind race leader Nico Rosberg. His Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate Lewis Hamilton dropped from second to fourth, behind both Red Bulls.
The race then had to be stopped just after half distance when Max Chilton and Pastor Maldonado collided at Tabac and Maldonado’s subsequent 9g impact dragged the TecPro barrier across the track and there was a 30-minute delay while marshals repaired the damage.
The third race interruption occurred when Romain Grosjean hit Daniel Ricciardo at the exit of the Tunnel. The crash ended both of their races and the field had to run behind the second Safety Car of the afternoon while the damage was cleared up.
Following that final incident, there was a 10-lap dash to the flag. Despite lots of pressure from his pursuers, Rosberg was unstoppable at the front of the field. He dominated from lights-to-flag to win his first Monaco GP – 30 years and 10 days after his father Keke achieved the same feat. The Red Bulls were second and third, Vettel ahead of Webber, and Hamilton was fourth for Mercedes.
“Nico has been brilliant all weekend,” said Mercedes AMG Petronas team principal Ross Brawn. “I couldn’t imagine him driving better than he did in the race.“
Praise indeed. We wait with baited breath to see if he can maintain that form in Canada in a fortnight’s time.