Nico Rosberg wins at Monaco as inter-team battle heats up

Nico Rosberg has won the Monaco Grand Prix for the second year in a row, and retaken the lead of the drivers championship as a result. After controversy in qualifying, Rosberg was able to lead from lights to flag, despite two safety car restarts, leaving Lewis Hamilton to fend Daniel Ricciardo off for second place. It was yet another 1-2 finish for Mercedes, and they have stretched their constructors championship advantage to 141 points over Red Bull. There were also a lot of post-race celebrations further down the pit-lane as Jules Bianchi secured Marussia their first ever points in Formula One.

The safety car was deployed after just a lap when Sergio Perez and Jenson Button made contact at Mirabeau, sending Perez’s Force India into a spin and straight into the barriers. The Mexican driver was one of just eight retirements including Sebastian Vettel, Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil. Sutil was making his way through the field, pulling off a couple of impressive overtakes at the hairpin after Mirabeau, when he lost his car on the exit of the tunnel and made contact with the barrier, bringing out the second safety car. Pastor Maldonado failed to start the race after stalling on the grid ahead of the parade lap and failing to get going at the end of the pit-lane. Esteban Gutierrez compounded a difficult afternoon for Sauber – which saw them slip to tenth in the constructors championship, by spinning at Rascasse and hitting the barrier. Vettel had power unit problems and after a pit-stop, was asked to retire the car.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen ended up having a disappointing afternoon, after a great start to the race. He climbed to fourth at the start, having started sixth and pulled away from the cars behind, running in third when Vettel retired. He picked up a puncture from Max Chilton during the second safety car period and later, when trying to pass Kevin Magnussen, ran them both into the barrier when he failed to stop to make the turn in to the hairpin. He eventually finished in 12th place while team-mate Fernando Alonso finished up in fourth. It was a positive day for McLaren who got both cars in the points, with Jenson Button unable to pass Nico Hulkenberg for fifth. Also finishing in the points was Romain Grosjean, picking up another few points for Lotus.

There were a number of penalties through the race, including for Gutierrez, Chilton and Bianchi who all started in the wrong grid slot. Bianchi proceeded to serve his penalty under the safety car so was handed a further five second post-race penalty, however, he had done enough to keep ninth. Vergne picked up a drive through penalty after an unsafe release nearly saw him collect Magnussen in the pit-lane.

Hamilton had to battle vision problems towards the end of the race when he reported to the team he had got something in his eye. It didn’t deter him from holding off a pacey Ricciardo, whoever, who has been Mercedes’ closest rival in the past two races. The atmosphere on the podium was frosty as Hamilton and Rosberg failed to acknowledge each other and it looks like the tension is set to rumble on as the pair fight for the championship. Rosberg currently has the upper hand and a four point lead over his team-mate.

The next race is the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks time.

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