Nico Rosberg secured his second consecutive Monaco Grand Prix victory and retook the lead of the Drivers’ Championship after leading every lap around Monte Carlo ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton.
In a dramatic and incident filled race, Hamilton only just held off Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo after suffering from apparent vision issues in the closing stages. But the most remarkable result was Jules Bianchi finishing ninth to secure the first ever world championship points for Marussia.
At the start, Rosberg successfully reached Sainte Devote ahead of team mate Hamilton as a great start by Kimi Raikkonen saw him jump into fourth while Daniel Ricciardo fell to fifth. Contact between Sergio Perez and Jenson Button at Mirabeau left the Force India stranded and saw the Safety Car deployed before the end of the first lap.
When the race resumed at the start of Lap Four, Sebastian Vettel was passed by Raikkonen for third before slowing with an apparent gearbox problem that left him cruising back to the pits. The reigning champion resumed in last a lap down, but immediately complained of being stuck in first gear. He was later told to retire the car.
As expected, the Mercedes immediately began to pull away from Raikkonen’s Ferrari with Hamilton remaining within a second of his team mate before dropping back to around 1.5 seconds after complaining of rear tyre wear.
By Lap 24, the Mercedes had caught traffic, allowing Hamilton to close up the gap to his team mate ahead. But then the Safety Car was deployed for the second time when Adrian Sutil lost control under braking for the Harbour Chicane, crashing into the inside barrier and sliding to a stop along the escape road.
The leaders were immediately called into the pits, with Hamilton forced to queue behind Rosberg but able to rejoin in second. Despite pitting under the Safety Car, Raikkonen was brought into the pits for two consecutive laps, dropping him from third to 13th and promoting Ricciardo back up to third.
The race resumed on Lap 31, with Hamilton told that he would not be required to stop again for the remainder of the race and that tyre degradation would be the key. Kevin Magnussen appeared to pass Jean-Eric Vergne before the Safety Car line at Rascasse at the restart, before being passed himself by Nico Hulkenberg with a superb move into Portier.
Once again, the Mercedes disappeared into the distance leaving Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso to circulate behind them. Rosberg was informed that he would need to use longer gears to avoid his fuel level becoming critical by the end of the race.
Jean-Eric Vergne suffered an apparent engine failure from 13th place, putting him out on Lap 53, while in the lead, Rosberg was told he was now back on target with his fuel usage. Valtteri Bottas then fell victim to an engine failure of his own, stopping at the Hairpin. The Williams was cleared without the need for a third Safety Car.
On Lap 62, Esteban Gutierrez spun exiting the Rascasse, taking him out of the race and promoting Jules Bianchi’s Marussia into tenth place. However, the Frenchman was under investigation for taking a five-second penalty under the Safety Car and would receive an additional five second penalty added to his race time.
With just over ten laps remaining, Hamilton began to drop back significantly from Rosberg ahead before complaining to his team over the radio that he was suffering with vision problems due to not being able to see out of one eye. This allowed Daniel Ricciardo to close up the margin to Hamilton dramatically with the Mercedes almost two seconds off the pace.
With the tension mounting, there was yet more drama when Kimi Raikkonen dived down the inside of Kevin Magnussen into the Hairpin, putting both cars into the tyres and forcing them both out of the points. This elevated Bianchi up to eighth with Magnussen too far behind to make up the gap.
Despite catching the second Mercedes, Ricciardo was unable to pass Hamilton and was forced to settle for third. Alonso finished fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg fifth in the sole remaining Force India ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren.
Although he recieved an additional penalty, Jules Bianchi was classified ninth, officially securing Marussia’s first ever points finish in their 84 race history.
2014 Monaco Grand Prix
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