F1 2011 Monaco Grand Prix: Hamilton under investigation
PUBLISHED: 15:23 29 May 2011 | UPDATED: 14:16 01 June 2011
LEWIS Hamilton crossed the finish line sixth in today's dramatic, incident-packed 2011 Monaco Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star finished off the podium as reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag for Red Bull ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button’s McLaren.
Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull, with Kamui Kobayashi fifth in the Sauber ahead of Hamilton.
All but the top six were lapped in an eventful race that saw plenty of overtaking on Monaco’s narrow streets.
However, Herts-born McLaren F1 driver Hamilton crossed the line in Monte Carlo under investigation by race stewards for an incident with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado at Ste Devote in the closing laps after a lengthy red-flag period.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix result
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3 Jenson Button (McLaren)
4 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
5 Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
6 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
He was later punished with a 20-second penalty added to his racetime, although that didn’t change his final finishing position.
The fact Hamilton was even out on the track at that point was down to smart emergency work by McLaren’s mechanics during the stoppage.
Hamilton sustained serious damage to the rear wing of his McLaren after being smacked from behind by the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari in the incident which caused the race to be temporarily halted.
“I was hit by a backmarker, a Toro Rosso,” said Hamilton over the radio at the time.
Amid chaotic scenes on the track with the leading trio catching the middle runners, Renault driver Vitaly Petrov, trying to avoid the same incident, hit the barriers and the safety car was deployed.
The race was then suspended while the tight street circuit was cleared of debris at the swimming pool section.
At the time pole-sitter Vettel, on very old Pirelli tyres, was leading from Ferrari rival Alonso and McLaren’s fast-finishing Button.
While the cars lined up back on the grid, McLaren mechanics frantically repaired the rear wing of Hamilton’s struggling MP4-26, completing the work with just seconds remaining before the restart at 3.04pm BST.
The pit told Lewis: “We are P7, six laps to go, the first of those will be behind the safety car.”
It was not long after the race resumption that an aggressive Hamilton tried to pass Maldonado on the inside at Ste Devote and collided with the Williams.
That completed a rollercoaster weekend for the 2008 F1 world champion from Herts in Monte Carlo.
He went out too late in Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying and failed to post a time before the session was temporarily halted with less than three minutes remaining.
Hamilton, whose family live in Tewin, was later penalised two places down the grid for cutting a chicane after initially qualifying seventh in Q3.
Starting today (Sunday) from ninth place, he was soon overtaken following an audacious move at the hairpin by Michael Schumacher on the first lap.
Hamilton, watched by former Pussycat Dolls singer and new US X Factor star girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, later complained that he had been hit by the German’s Mercedes in the braking area into Ste Devote, the first corner.
He said over the radio: “I’ve been hit by Schumacher, I have a flat tyre, right-rear.”
2011 FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship standings
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 143
2 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 85
3 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 79
4 Jenson Button (McLaren) 76
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 69
6 Nick Heidfeld (Renault) 29
His tyres were fine, although he did suffer some rear wing damage.
He got his revenge on lap nine by bravely overtaking Schumacher up the inside at turn one for ninth place.
The pitwall told Hamilton: “Lewis you are over one second per lap faster than the cars in front of you.”
The McLaren Mercedes star later had a disastrous first pitstop, when he caught the hesitant pit crew unready and the tyre change took an agonising 9.7 seconds. He came out 13th.
He was later told over the radio: “Car ahead is Webber, eight seconds ahead, you’re catching him at over a second per lap.”
However, Hamilton’s eventful race took another turn for the worse after 34 laps when he tried to overtake the Ferrari of Felipe Massa on the inside at the hairpin.
With Webber just ahead of them, the two cars tangled and Hamilton smacked into the side of Massa’s machine, causing damaged to the red Ferrari.
Hamilton said over the team radio: “Felipe just turned in on me.”
He added: “I went up the inside and he turned in on me on purpose.”
Lewis was later penalised by stewards with a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.
When told of the penalty, Hamilton replied: “Surprise, surprise. I know the stewards love me, really.”
Not long after that incident, Hamilton harried Massa again in the tunnel, with the Ferrari driver, on the dirty side of the track, crashing into the barriers and out of the race, forcing a safety car period.
After taking his drive-through for the first Massa incident, Hamilton lost two places and found himself back in ninth spot.
He clawed his way back up to sixth by the finish – only to find himself in the stewards’ room under investigation for a second time in the same race.