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Monaco GP 2008

MAY 25, 2008

Race Notes - Hamilton wins wet-dry Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton, Monaco GP 2008
© The Cahier Archive

Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic, incident packed Monaco Grand Prix in his McLaren-Mercedes, coming on strong after hitting the barriers early on, puncturing a tyre and needing to pit. The race started in damp conditions, rained harder and then dried out at the finish. Robert Kubica finished second in his BMW Sauber, 3 seconds behind, followed by Felipe Massa in third in his Ferrari, 4.8 seconds behind the leader.

Hamilton's early pit stop ended up being fortunate for the British driver, as it allowed him to build up a decisive lead over his rivals before having to make his final pitstop.

Adrian Sutil in the Force India-Ferrari faced heartbreak after a fine performance which saw him running in fourth position, when Kimi Raikkonen ran into the back of the German in the final minutes of the race.

Hamilton's win puts him into the lead in the Drivers World Championship, and is the first win at Monaco by a British driver since David Coulthard in 2002.

Mark Webber finished fourth in the Red-Bull Renault (19.2s), followed by Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari in fifth (24.6s), Rubens Barrichello in sixth in the Honda (28.4s), Kazuki Nakajima in seventh in the Williams-Toyota (30.1s), and Heikki Kovalainen in the final points paying position in the second McLaren (33.1s).

The circuit was damp before the start, with rain expected during the race. David Coulthard was forced to drop five grid positions, to 15th, for changing his gearbox after his qualifying crash.

Heikki Kovalainen has a problem getting off on the formation lap from fourth place, and was pushed away to start from the pitlane.

At the start, with all the drivers on wet tyres, Felipe Mass took the lead from pole, while Hamilton passes Kimi Raikkonen for second place in the first corner. At the hairpin Nico Rosberg touches the rear of Fernando Alonso's Renault but continues, while Jenson Button touches Nick Heidfeld, and breaks his front wing and has to pit for a new one.

At lap 2 Massa leads Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kubica, Alonso, Rosberg, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Heidfeld and Mark Webber in tenth.

On lap 3 Rosberg pits for a new front wing, while out on the circuit Glock losses his front wing and pits from seventh at the end of the lap - the rain continuing to get worse.

On lap 6 Hamilton makes contact with the barriers before the swimming pool puncturing his right rear tyre, and needs to pit from second - rejoining in fifth place.

On lap 8 Alonso touches the barriers and pits taking on full-wet tyres, while just after, at the same spot, David Coulthard losses control and hits the barriers, Sebastien Bourdais having the same problem piles into the back of Coulthard and the Safety Car is deployed - while Raikkonen is under investigation by the Stewards.

At lap 10 the race is restarted, with the rain continuing.

At lap 11 Massa leads Raikkonen by 3 seconds, followed by Robert Kubica, Hamilton, Heidfeld, Webber, Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima, Rubens Barrichelo and Nelson Piquet in tenth place.

On lap 12 Alonso on full-wets forces his way past Webber at Mirabeau for sixth, and then battles Heidfeld for fifth place.

On lap 13 Raikkonen serves a drive through penalty for not fitting his tyres before the 3 minute mark on the grid.

On lap 13 Alonso tries to force his way past Heidfeld at the hairpin and the two make contact, but continue, bunching up the runners behind them - Alonso pitting at the end of the lap. Meanwhile Rosberg pits for another new front wing.

At lap 15, Massa leads Kubica by 4.7 seconds, followed by Hamilton (14.4s), Raikkonen (16.6s), Heidfeld (30.6s), Webber (33.8s), Adrian Sutil (35.0s), Nakajima (35.6s) and Trulli (37.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 15 Massa runs wide at Ste Devote and Kubica takes the lead.

On lap 16 Heidfeld in fifth is running slow with a tyre puncture and pits at the end of the lap, taking on a new front wing - the rain seeming to stop.

At lap 25 with a damp but drying track and lap times falling, Kubica leads Massa by 1.8 seconds, followed by Hamilton (16.7s), Raikkonen (20.8s), Webber (49.1s), Sutil (56.9s), Trulli (60.7s), Barrichello (61.8s), Nakajima (64.1s) and Kovalainen (67.2s) working his way up to tenth place.

On lap 26 Kubica pits from the lead rejoining in 3rd. Meanwhile Raikkonen goes off at Ste Devote and damages his front wing - needing to pit at the end of the lap for a new one, while Massa continues to lead reeling off a number of fast laps, while Trulli leads a train of cars for seventh place

On lap 32 Massa pits from the lead, rejoining on wets in second place - ahead of Kubica. Meanwhile Webber in fifth place is putting in a number of fast laps, and Kovalainen pitting from 10th place.

At lap 35 Hamilton leads Massa by 13.4 seconds followed by Kubica (15.1s), Webber (36.9s), Sutil (48.8s), Raikkonen (57.8s), Trulli (77.2s), Barrichello (77.8s), Nakajima (78.2s) and Piquet (85.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 36 with the times falling, Adrian Sutil sets fast lap, and then resets it again the next lap.

On lap 37 Trulli pits from seventh place, while Glock spins at Mirabeau and backs his Toyota into the barriers, but continues, while Giancarlo Fisichella retires in the pits from his 200 Grand Prix start.

Lap times continue to fall, but there are predictions that rain is in the forecast.

At lap 45 Hamilton continues to stretch his lead over Massa to 26.2 seconds, followed by Kubica (33.7s), Webber (45.7s), Sutil (51.5s), Raikkonen (69.3s), Barrichello (84.1s), Nakajima, Vettel and Piquet in tenth place.

On lap 45 Alonso pits and is the first to take on dry tyres.

On lap 46 Rosberg passes Piquet for tenth place - Piquet then pits taking dry tyres as well.

On lap 48 Webber pits from fourth taking drys.

On lap 49 Piquet goes straight at Ste Devote, and hits the barrier and is out of the race.

At lap 50 Hamilton leads Massa by 30.9 seconds, followed by Kubica (31.5s), Sutil (55.4s), Raikkonen (74.7s), Barrichello (1 lap), Nakajima, Vettel, Webber and Rosberg in tenth place.

On lap 51 Kovalainen pits for drys. Nakajima and Vettel Rosberg, Kubica and Sutil pitting on lap 53, Hamilton pitting from the lead on lap 54 - all switching to drys. Barrichello pitting on lap 54, while Kovalainen punts Button into a spin, both continuing.

On lap 56 Massa pits from second place, finally switching from intermediate wet tyres to drys, losing second place to Kubica. Raikkonen pitting on lap 57.

Kovalainen reels off a number of fast laps, running over a second faster than the leaders, but is stuck in 11th place.

At lap 60 the order was Hamilton leading Kubica by 38.7 seconnds, followed by Massa (43.1s), Sutil (58.1s), Raikkonen (77.3s), Webber (78.9s), Vettel (1 lap), Barrichello, Nakajima and Rosberg in tenth place.

On lap 61 Rosberg crashes heavily at the swimming pool leaving debris across the track and the Safety Car is deployed - the young Finn getting out of the car unhurt.

The field bunches up and the lapped cars are allowed past the Safety Car, and Hamilton's 40 second lead is erased, and there will be a sprint race to the finish.

Heidfeld and Kovalainen finally make their way past the Safety Car on lap 66.

On lap 67 the Safety Car is in and the race is restarted with 11 minutes left - Raikkonen battling behind Sutil for for fourth. Raikkonen losses it under braking out of the tunnel and runs into the back of Sutil - both continue but have to pit, Raikkonen rejoins while Sutil retires from an impressive run.

On lap 70 Hamilton leads Kubica by 3.4 seconds, ahead of Massa, Webber, Vettel, Barrichello, Nakajima, Kovalainen, Raikkonen and Alonso in tenth place.

The order remained the same to the line with the race finishing two laps early at the two hour mark.