Hamilton wins chaotic Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton recovered from an early brush with the barriers to take a remarkable victory in a rain-affected Monaco Grand Prix and move into the world championship lead

Hamilton wins chaotic Monaco GP

BMW's Robert Kubica beat pole-sitter Felipe Massa to second, despite the Ferrari driver dominating much of the race.

There was heartbreak for the hero of the race, though, as Adrian Sutil came within a few laps of taking an incredible fourth place for Force India, only to be taken out by world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Their collision allowed Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) to complete the top five.

Rain just before the start meant that the whole field started on intermediate tyres - although Ferrari left it too late to fit Raikkonen's Bridgestones, subsequently earning the Finn a drive-through penalty because his mechanics had been on the grid too late.

Heikki Kovalainen was also in trouble before the start. His McLaren stalled on the dummy grid and had to begin the race from the pit lane after the field had passed.

Hamilton squeezed past Raikkonen to take second into Sainte Devote when the race got underway, but could not keep pace with Massa at first as conditions worsened steadily throughout the opening laps.

Inevitably there were plenty of early incidents: Jenson Button (Honda) lost his front wing trying to pass Nick Heidfeld's BMW on the first lap, Nico Rosberg needed a new nose section for his Williams after tagging the rear of Fernando Alonso's Renault, and Toyota's Timo Glock had the first of three spins on lap four, losing his wing on the wall at the Anthony Noghes corner.

Hamilton was the next to slip up - running wide into the Tabac wall on lap five and sustaining a right-rear puncture.

Fortunately for the Briton, the front-runners had already pulled so far away from the pack that he was able to rejoin in fifth place, behind Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica and Alonso, and having taken on a significant amount of fuel.

The safety car made its first appearance on lap seven after a series of incidents at Casino Square.

First Alonso tagged the wall and - like Hamilton - destroyed a rear tyre but managed to make it back to the pits. Moments later, David Coulthard (Red Bull) slid into the same barrier, and was then collected mid-crash by Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso), who was having an accident of his own.

Alonso switched to extreme wets during his stop for repairs, allowing him to go on a charge when the race resumed following three laps under yellow.

But his chance of pulling off a surprise result then ended when he tangled with BMW's Nick Heidfeld at the Fairmont Hotel hairpin, breaking the Renault's wing again and eventually causing Heidfeld to pit with a puncture.

Rosberg also lost another wing in the incident after a touch with Kovalainen in the traffic jam behind the interlocked BMW and Renault.

Raikkonen received his penalty shortly after the restart, and would later lose more time when he went straight on at Sainte Devote and broke his front wing.

These incidents allowed Kubica up to second, and the BMW began to edge closer to Massa, before taking the lead when the Ferrari ran wide at the first corner on lap 15.

The Pole couldn't shake Massa off, though, and when the Ferrari stayed out six laps longer than Kubica before its first pitstop, Massa was able to get back in front. Both were behind Hamilton, however.

The McLaren driver had fallen away from the top two at first while laden with his full fuel load. But as his car lightened and the track began to dry, Hamilton began to dominate - lapping between one and three seconds faster than second-placed Massa in the middle of the race.

By the time Hamilton made his final stop and took on dry weather tyres on lap 53, his lead was nearly 40 seconds, and he had no trouble rejoining comfortably ahead.

Kubica then jumped in front of Massa again by pitting for 'slicks' one lap earlier.

Only 13 seconds behind them, Sutil had risen to fourth thanks to some bold moves in the wet early laps, a mistake-free drive, and some extremely quick times as conditions improved.

Force India also chose the perfect moment to change to dry tyres, allowing Sutil to take fourth from Webber, as the Red Bull driver made his tyre switch slightly prematurely.

Sutil enjoyed a comfortable advantage over the battling Raikkonen and Webber until Rosberg had a huge crash on the entry to the Swimming Pool section on lap 61 - prompting a second safety car.

Raikkonen was determined to get past Sutil at the restart, but succeeded only in out-braking himself into the chicane and ploughing into the rear of the Force India, causing terminal damage to its rear and breaking the Ferrari's front wing.

Hamilton stretched away from Kubica and Massa to secure the victory after the restart, as the race ran to the two-hour time limit, bringing Ferrari's run of victories to an end.

Webber had a straightforward final few laps in fourth place, just ahead of Vettel, who held off Rubens Barrichello (Honda) as the Brazilian finally ended his long points drought following a strong drive from the midfield that saw him setting several fastest laps as the track dried.

Williams' Kazuki Nakajima and the delayed Kovalainen completed the points-scorers, with Raikkonen trailing home ninth and Alonso tenth after his miscellaneous incidents.

Button, Glock, Jarno Trulli (who lost too much time on extreme wets after an early tyre change) and Heidfeld completed the finishers. Nelson Piquet retired his Renault after crashing on slick tyres, while Giancarlo Fisichella's 200th GP was spent battling gearbox problems at the rear of the field. He finally stopped at half-distance.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Monaco Grand Prix Monte Carlo, Monaco, Monaco; 76 laps; 260.520km; Weather: Wet. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 2h00:42.272 2. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 3.069 3. Massa Ferrari (B) + 4.811 4. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 19.264 5. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 24.657 6. Barrichello Honda (B) + 28.408 7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 30.180 8. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 33.191 9. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 33.793 10. Alonso Renault (B) + 1 lap 11. Button Honda (B) + 1 lap 12. Glock Toyota (B) + 1 lap 13. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1 lap 14. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 4 laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:16.689 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 67 Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 58 Piquet Renault (B) 46 Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 37 Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 13 Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 13 World Championship standings, round 6: Drivers: Constructors:  1. Hamilton 38 1. Ferrari 69 2. Raikkonen 35 2. McLaren-Mercedes 53 3. Massa 34 3. BMW Sauber 52 4. Kubica 32 4. Williams-Toyota 15 5. Heidfeld 20 5. Red Bull-Renault 15 6. Kovalainen 15 6. Renault 9 7. Webber 15 7. Toyota 9 8. Alonso 9 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 9. Trulli 9 9. Honda 6 10. Rosberg 8 11. Nakajima 7 12. Vettel 4 13. Barrichello 3 14. Button 3 15. Bourdais 2 All timing unofficial 
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