|2012 Monaco Grand Prix|
Race 6 of 20 in the 2012 Formula One season
|Date||27 May 2012|
|Official name||Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2012|
|Location||Circuit de Monaco
3.34 km (2.08 mi)
|Distance||78 laps, 260.52 km (162.24 mi)|
|Weather||Fine and Dry, showers threatening at end
Air Temp 21 °C (70 °F)
|Driver||Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)|
|Driver||Sergio Pérez (Sauber-Ferrari)|
|Time||1:17.296 on lap 49|
|First||Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)|
|Second||Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)|
|Third||Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)|
The 2012 Monaco Grand Prix (formally the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2012) is a Formula One motor race that took take place in the principality of Monaco on 27 May 2012. It was the sixth round of the 2012 season, and the seventy-first running of the Monaco Grand Prix. Mark Webber's victory created a new record for F1 in that there has never been six different winners of the opening six Grands Prix of the season before. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg came in second place, his second podium in the 2012 season, and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third and taking the Formula One championship lead by three points over Vettel and Webber.
Like the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix, tyre supplier Pirelli brought its yellow-banded soft compound tyre as the harder "prime" tyre and the red-banded super-soft compound tyre as the softer "option" tyre. It was the first time for the season that the super-soft compound made an appearance at a race weekend.
The circuit underwent some extensive changes in the aftermath of Sergio Pérez's accident during qualifying for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix. In response to this, the event organisers had the approach to the chicane smoothened by lowering the tarmac 20 centimetres (7.9 in), and the barrier that Pérez hit was moved back a further 15 metres (49 ft). Other changes included the widening of the pit exit and the removal of nearby trees to allow a driver re-joining the race greater visibility. TecPro barriers were also added at Sainte Dévote and Piscine.
Three practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Thursday, and a third on Saturday afternoon. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso set the pace in the first session, run in beautiful morning sunshine, by 0.365 secs from Romain Grosjean.
McLaren's Jenson Button was fastest from Lotus's Grosjean in the second practice session. The Englishman was one of very few drivers to run the faster of the two tyre types, before a rain shower 15 minutes into the afternoon session. That meant Button's fastest time of 1:15.746 seconds, which was 0.392 secs quicker than Grosjean, held for the rest of the afternoon.
Pastor Maldonado was given a ten-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Sergio Pérez during the final free practice session. He then received another five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. The first part ran for 20 minutes and eliminated the cars from qualifying that finished the session 18th or lower. The second part of qualifying lasted 15 minutes and eliminated cars that finished in positions 11 to 17. The final part of qualifying determined the positions from first to tenth, and decided pole position. Qualifying took place at 14:00 local time under fine and sunny conditions with an ambient temperature of 23 °C (73 °F) and a track temperature of 39 °C (102 °F).
Force India's Nico Hülkenberg was fastest in the Q1 with a 1:15.418, followed by Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi and Lotus' Grosjean. The pace was set in Q2 by Ferrari's Felipe Massa with 1:14.911, followed by Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado.
Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher took pole position in the third session with a 1:14.301, however he would start from sixth place after a 5-place grid penalty. Red Bull's Mark Webber would be on pole position after losing out to the Schumacher by 0.08 seconds. Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg was third ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Lotus's Romain Grosjean.
The race began at 12:00 UTC (14:00 local). Conditions for the race were sunny with an ambient temperature of 22 °C (72 °F) and a track temperature of 35 °C (95 °F). Rain was forecast for the day but it was unclear whether the race would be affected. The race begun with humidity at 58%. Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Paul di Resta, Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa were the only drivers to start on the slower yellow-banded soft compound tyre, with the rest of the field either opting or being forced (by qualifying rules) to start on the red-banded super-soft compound.
As the race started both Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg got away cleanly and were first and second, respectively, as the field squabbled behind them. Fernando Alonso squeezed through the gap between Grosjean and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, but Grosjean clipped the rear left wheel of the Ferrari which in turn pushed him to the outside of the track and into the path of fast starting Michael Schumacher. Schumacher had nowhere to go and as a result Grosjean's left rear wheel was forced into and over the Mercedes car's front right, which severely damaged the Lotus's suspension. This sent Grosjean into a spin and he ended up broadside across the track at the entry to turn one. Other drivers tried to avoid crashing into each other and the stricken Grosjean, however some failed. Vettel, starting from ninth, clipped the front wing of the still moving Lotus but his car was undamaged. He and a number of others took the shortcut behind the apex of the first corner to avoid the mess. Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, decided to avoid Grosjean by passing him on the racing line. Before the Lotus finally came to a complete stop it rolled backwards slightly and its right rear tyre clipped the left rear of slow moving Kobayashi sending him into the air, nearly landing on Button's McLaren. At the very back of the field, amidst all the chaos Pastor Maldonado, starting last, braked too late and crashed into the back of de la Rosa's HRT, terminally damaging both his front wing and de la Rosa's rear wing. Maldonado retired later in the lap. In order to permit safe clearance of the debris, the safety car was deployed.
Up front, Webber pulled out a lead of about two seconds and controlled that gap, with Rosberg a similar margin ahead of Hamilton. Alonso initially dropped back a little from Hamilton but he was merely saving his tyres so he could use their grip closer to the pit stops. The strategy paid off, as when Webber and Hamilton stopped on lap 29, two laps after Rosberg, Alonso stayed out for one more lap, on which he put in the two fastest sectors of the race to that point. That allowed him to emerge ahead of Hamilton.
The leaders' stops left Vettel, who had started ninth, in the lead. The world champion had started on the more durable 'soft' tyres as opposed to the 'super-softs' on the drivers at the front of the grid. And his race was made by leaping up to sixth place at the start as he took to the shorter escape road at the first corner to avoid the accident. Race stewards investigated Vettel's move, which was echoed by other drivers, but decided to take no action. Once he was running at the front, Vettel pulled out enough of a lead to enable him to stop on lap 46 and rejoin ahead of Hamilton - he needed to chop across the McLaren on the way up the hill after the first corner Sainte Devote to consolidate his position.
From that point on, the top six stayed in close contact, nervously watching the skies for the threatening rain, and driving accordingly when it did start to fall. Only four seconds separated Webber from Hamilton at the flag, with Massa only two more behind.
Schumacher was seventh after the pit stops, but progressively dropped back out of the points with an engine problem, retiring on lap 64, with 14 to go. Schumacher's misfortune moved Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne into an impressive seventh, but he lost out with a late gamble to fit intermediate tyres. That promoted the Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, with Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Williams driver Bruno Senna completing the top 10.
In winning the Monaco Grand Prix Webber became the only Australian to win on multiple occasions at the circuit. It was Webber's first win of the season and first since his victory at the last race of the 2011 season in Brazil. In taking the victory Webber and the five victorious drivers before him set a new record for six different winners from the first six races of a Formula One season.
|Pos.||No.||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid Pos.|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:16.013||1:15.035||1:14.381||1|
|10||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:15.757||1:15.234||no time3||9|
|11||12||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.418||1:15.421||10|
|15||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.062||1:15.718||14|
|16||16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:16.360||1:15.878||15|
|17||17||Jean-Éric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:16.491||1:16.885||16|
|21||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:18.096||20|
|107% time: 1:20.697|
|—||15||Sergio Pérez||Sauber-Ferrari||no time||244|
- ^1 – Michael Schumacher received a five-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Bruno Senna at the Spanish Grand Prix.
- ^2 – Pastor Maldonado received a ten-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Sergio Pérez during free practice on Saturday morning. He was given an additional five-place penalty for a gearbox change after qualifying.
- ^3 – Sebastian Vettel did not complete a timed lap – only commencing exploratory/sighting laps. This was due to tactical reasons in regards to tyre preservation for the race, and also choice of either dry compound for the race start.
- ^4 – Sergio Pérez failed to set a time in qualifying after a crash in the first period. However, stewards allowed him to race due to competitive free practice times. This would mean he would start 24th, but when Pastor Maldonado had his gearbox changed Pérez was promoted to 23rd on the grid. He received a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after he was granted access to enter the race by the stewards, leaving the Sauber driver 24th overall with Maldonado promoted to 23rd ahead.
Championship standings after the raceEdit
- Drivers' Championship standings
- Constructors' Championship standings
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.