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Webber cruises to Monaco GP victory

Mark Webber moved into the championship lead by dominating the Monaco Grand Prix from pole position and scoring his second victory in a week

The Australian led home team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull one-two that put the duo equal at the head of the standings, but with Webber's back to back wins edging him ahead on countback. Front row starter Robert Kubica (Renault) had to settle for third.

Pre-race championship leader Jenson Button was an early retirement, but Fernando Alonso kept himself in contention by coming through from last to seventh.

The Red Bulls moved into formation off the line as Vettel immediately accelerated past front row starter Kubica into second. But any thoughts Vettel had of challenging his team-mate for the lead were shortlived, as Webber started churning out fastest laps and established a 10s lead by the time of their pitstops on laps 22 and 23.

Although the race was interrupted by no fewer than four safety car periods - the last of them covering the final three laps of the race - Webber was always able to rebuild his lead and pull away from Vettel, who was shadowed by Kubica all afternoon.

Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) had quiet runs to finish where they had qualified in fourth and fifth, but it was a dreadful day for Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button, who fell to 11th at the start and then retired in a cloud of smoke while running behind the safety car. The team had accidentally left a blanking plate across the car's sidepod on the way to the grid, which Button suspected had caused overheating.

The early safety car was the lucky break Alonso needed after the practice crash that left him starting last. It was prompted when Williams's Nico Hulkenberg - who had already dropped to the back with a clutch problem - slammed into the wall in the tunnel on the opening lap, and while everyone else formed up behind the safety car, Alonso took advantage of a 'free' pitstop and came in to switch to medium tyres for the rest of the race.

He then carved through the new team pack, despite determined resistance from Virgin's Lucas di Grassi in particular, and stayed close enough to the rest of the field to vault to sixth when all those ahead pitted.

Alonso looked set to finish there until the final yards of the race, when he got sideways out of Rascasse as the safety car came in to allow a final sprint to the line, and accidentally let Michael Schumacher slip through.

Schumacher got in front of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the start, although the fast-starting Rubens Barrichello was able to slip his Williams ahead of both as they battled. Despite Rosberg staying out until lap 28 on soft tyres and setting several fastest laps, he was unable to get back ahead in the stops.

Stopping later worked for Adrian Sutil as he jumped past Force India team-mate Tonio Liuzzi to take ninth as the duo gave the team its first double points finish. Barrichello lost ground in the pits and was running 10th until a problem at the left rear of his car caused him to crash at Massenet on lap 31, prompting the second caution. The third followed 12 laps later while a suspected loose drain cover at the same location was swiftly checked.

All the new teams' cars retired, the last of them when Lotus's Jarno Trulli, who had been delayed by a slow pitstop, vaulted over Hispania's Karun Chandhok at Rascasse near the finish. The crash, which happened right in front of leader Webber, prompted the final safety car.

Heikki Kovalainen had comfortably led the group of new cars until gearbox problems on his Lotus.

Both Saubers dropped out early too, in Kamui Kobayashi's case while running fifth having stayed out on medium tyres and moved up as others pitted.


The Monaco Grand Prix
Monte Carlo, Monaco, Monaco;
78 laps; 260.520km;
Weather: Sunny.


Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           1h50:13.355
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +     0.448
 3.  Kubica        Renault                    +     1.675
 4.  Massa         Ferrari                    +     2.666
 5.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +     4.363
 6.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +     5.712
 7.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +     6.341
 8.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +     6.651
 9.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +     6.970
10.  Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes       +     7.305
11.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     8.199
12.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     9.135
13.  Petrov        Renault                    +    4 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:15.192

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Chandhok      HRT-Cosworth                 71
Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth               71
Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth               59
Senna         HRT-Cosworth                 59
Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth            28
Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari               27
Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth              26
Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              23
De la Rosa    Sauber-Ferrari               22
Button        McLaren-Mercedes             3
Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth            1

World Championship standings, round 6:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Webber        78        1.  Red Bull-Renault          156
 2.  Vettel        78        2.  Ferrari                   134
 3.  Alonso        73        3.  McLaren-Mercedes          129
 4.  Button        70        4.  Mercedes                   84
 5.  Massa         61        5.  Renault                    65
 6.  Hamilton      59        6.  Force India-Mercedes       27
 7.  Kubica        59        7.  Williams-Cosworth           8
 8.  Rosberg       54        8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          3
 9.  Schumacher    30       
10.  Sutil         18       
11.  Liuzzi         9       
12.  Barrichello    7       
13.  Petrov         6       
14.  Alguersuari    3       
15.  Hulkenberg     1       
All timing unofficial

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