The Monaco Principality plays host to one of the most important races in the F1 season – The jewel in the F1 crown which is as important as a driver’s home race or championship victory.
Sebastian Vettel took pole position and later the race win to add his name to the list of greats. The current world champion now has five victories from six races and a commanding lead of the championship.
Towards the closing stages of the race, Vettel who was on the softer compound Pirellis was being pushed hard by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari and Jenson Button in the McLaren, both of whom had far fresher tyres and were running faster lap times.
The three were running in close formation and it seemed that Vettel would lose his place to a faster Ferrari until the appearance of the red flag – after Jaime Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov had gone in hard into the barriers. Vitaly Petrov did not suffer any long term damage after his crash, his Renault team have confirmed.
Petrov was in sixth when he hit the Swimming Pool barriers as a large group of cars tried to get around Adrian Sutil's Force India, the race was then red flagged only to start again.
"After his crash during the Monaco GP this afternoon, Vitaly complained about his left ankle to the medical crew, so doctors drove him to the Princess Grace hospital for further checks. No fracture had been diagnosed at the circuit. Once at hospital, it was confirmed that there was no swelling or broken bone. As a precaution, Vitaly will undergo a full body scan but he should be back in the paddock within a few hours" said a Renault statement.
Lewis Hamilton later apologised for his provocative post-race comments after the race, admitting his joke that referenced Ali G had been inappropriate.
“I just made them aware that, when emotions are high and very intense at the end of those races, you don't always say the right thing," he was quoted as saying by Reuters on Sunday evening. "The joke probably didn't come at the most appropriate time. So I went there and made that clear to them and we made our peace...I'm just passionate and I drove my absolute heart off. I felt like I had everything thrown at me and I managed to catch it and deal with it the best way I could, except for just then.”
“They accepted his explanation” said McLaren team Principal Martin Whitmarsh.
Button was disappointed not to have taken the race victory as he had such a speed advantage over both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
“I don’t know if you can call it unlucky,” he said. “We went for the strategy we did and on lap 16 of the race we thought it was the right strategy and for many laps after. We were pulling such a lead, even through traffic. To be able to pull away from these guys was great, the car felt good and I thought it was going to continue that way. But with the safety car it mixed things up a little bit and in hindsight you would say maybe we should have put the hard tyre on, the prime tyre, when the safety car came out. It is disappointing as we did not put a foot wrong. It’s just the way Monaco is, with safety cars and what have you."
Nick Heidfeld took eighth for Renault, Rubens Barrichello ninth to open Williams’ points account for the 2011 season. Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso took tenth.
Mercedes had a bad weekend, Schumacher retired on lap 34 when his car stopped right on the entry to the pit lane with an air box fire.