Mark Webber won the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix from pole position for Red Bull on Sunday to build on his victory a week ago in the Spanish GP and move top of the drivers’ championship standings.
The Australian held off teammate Sebastian Vettel to claim his second season victory in a row and fourth overall. The win also sees Webber head the overall standings with 78 points from six of 19 races, level with Vettel but ahead on race victories, and five clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
“For sure, this is the greatest day of my life,” said Webber after an incident-packed race that saw four safety car phases.
“This place is such a test for two hours and I knew I had a lot of work to do.” Renault’s Robert Kubica took the final podium place followed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in fourth.
“Third place, we have to be positive. No one expected us to finish on the podium here,” said Poland’s Kubica.
Defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren retired early on with engine trouble while teammate Lewis Hamilton drove an uneventful race to finish fifth.
Michael Schumacher overtook Alonso on the final lap to snatch sixth while the German’s teammate Nico Rosberg had to be satisfied with eighth spot.
Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi completed the top ten points places.
Webber never looked back after making a clean start from pole while Vettel managed to overtake Kubica at the first corner to move up to second place, a position he held until the end.
The safety car made an early appearance as Williams driver Niko Hulkenberg crashed at the exit to the tunnel on the opening lap.
Button’s race was over by lap three when his McLaren suffered an engine overheating problem after his team mistakenly left a bung in on the left-hand side of his car while once the safety car phase came to an end Webber slowly pulled away from Vettel at the front.
Hamilton pitted on lap 18 to change to hard tyres, returning in ahead of Alonso, who made steady progress up the field after starting from the pit lane and took advantage of the early safety car phase to change his tyres.
Vettel came in for his hard tyres on lap 23 followed by Webber a lap later. The Australian returned as race leader ahead of Rosberg, who was the last of those battling for points to change his tyres five laps later, coming out in eighth behind Schumacher.Webber’s lead over Vettel evaporated when the safety car was deployed for a second time on lap 31 after Rubens Barrichello crashed out in his Williams.
Normal racing returned on lap 34 with Webber once again pulling away from Vettel at the front. A loose drain cover saw the safety car reappear 10 laps later but once again Webber pressed on at the front, leaving Vettel to battle it out with Kubica for second spot.
“I wasn’t able to keep up with him,” said Vettel of his duel with Webber. “Late on, when I finally felt the grip, I wasn’t too far off.”
Any chance of a late change in the leading places looked to have ended with four laps remaining when a collision between Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok saw the safety car return once again but there was still time for Schumacher to pip Alonso to sixth place on the final lap.