Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix as it happened

Mark Webber becomes the sixth winner in six races at Monaco, crossing the line just half a second ahead of Nico Rosberg.

27 May 2012 Last updated at 16:42

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As it happened

  1. 1642: 

    Thanks so much for your company and contributions. It's been a blast. I'll see you on the other side of the pond in a couple of weeks. Until then, I bid you farewell. Bye.

  2. 1641: 

    I'll be back with you for the Canadian Grand Prix in a couple of weeks time. Practice in Montreal gets under way at 15:00 BST on Friday 8 June and I'll be with you every step of the way from 14:30 BST.

  3. 1639: 

    So that is that from the F1 Forum and indeed from me. Mark Webber became our sixth different winner in as many races to make a little bit of history and keep the World Championship nice and close.

  4. 1636: 

    If you missed Mark Webber backflip into the Red Bull swimming pool, we've clipped that up along with what he had to say about his first victory of 2012. We've also got the post-race thoughts from the British boys Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton as well as their amusing attempt to switch F1 for TV presenting.

  5. 1630: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson has got his pen and paper out and is trying to explain the hole in the Red Bull which some teams are considering protesting. Who needs an iPad? This is sensational stuff. "If it does a really good job, it might get you a tenth of a second," says Anderson. "I believe protests are wrong. I think it should be brought to someone's attention and then they can sort it out for the next weekend."


    Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "What can I say? It was simply a pity to end the race in this way. In any case, the fuel pressure problem had nothing to do with the incident at the start. But it made it doubly disappointing because I had secretly been hoping for a podium finish. I will take the boost from the high points of this weekend with me to Canada. The track should suit us and I'm hoping to have a normal, clean race."

  7. 1623: 

    Michael Schumacher will be one man who will feel he could have come away with something shiny from Monaco after his strong performance on Saturday. Sure, he lost pole position because of five-place grid penalty, but he still believed he had the pace to get a good result and add to his measly two championship points. Here's what he had to say...

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Where was the race won? In that first second, just getting off the line. It's the first time this year Mark has managed to get a good start. He's never really made good starts, but today in Monaco he did."

  9. 1616: 

    Newcastle manager Alan Pardew allays Norwich fan Jake's fears he might be about to swoop for Grant Holt: "He's a great player but we're not going for Grant Holt - we have Cisse remember!"

  10. 1610: 

    Good news, folks. We're back online in the video module above. DC has grabbed Felipe Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley. "He was just as quick as anyone today and I'm never going to be happy unless he wins," he said. "We've changed the car round a little bit. He's just got to take one bit at a time and get better every time."

  11. 1605: 

    If you missed today's race, here's Andrew Benson's race report to get you up to speed. But if you've got a bit more time I'd suggest watching the race highlights which our multimedia team have clipped up and then listening to what the top three have to say...


    Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth: "The number of different winners is good for you (the public) but for us it's very difficult to know what's happening. Nevertheless, it's a long year, it will be crucial to keep scoring points."

  13. 1602: 

    Apologies if the F1 Forum has suddenly disappeared from the Red Button or the video module above. Our technical bods are looking into it and hopefully we'll be able to rejoin the boys in Monaco soon. We wouldn't want to miss EJ ending up in the pool now...

  14. 1600: 

    Mark Webber dries himself off and then hops over to talk to Jake and EJ. "Of the three victories we've had here, this is probably the weakest car we've had so it's brilliant for the team," he said.


    Kev Bratt on Twitter: "That pool is just asking for Eddie to be thrown in!"

  16. 1556: 

    Mark Webber has finally been released from the rounds of interviews. He's up on the Red Bull barge and taking his shoes off. I think he's preparing for a little swim, Monaco-style. One back flip later and in he goes, closely followed by the rest of his team. I think the tumble dryers will be under pressure in the Red Bull hotel later on today.

  17. 1551: 

    Jake, EJ and DC have headed up to the Red Bull barge to get involved with the celebrations. You can see how worried Eddie is - he doesn't want to end up in the pool again. He's soaking wet already, though, thanks to the rain so it won't make that much difference...


    Red Bull Racing on Twitter: "Mark Webber trending worldwide. And rightly so."


    Julian Williams ‏on Twitter: "I nominate DC for Britain's Got Talent - amazing cycling-whilst-microphone-holding dexterity. Love the red button show."


    Tennis legend Boris Becker: "I wish it had rained earlier but overall, I'm happy because I support Mercedes and Nico came second. It was pretty tight towards the end. I was hoping for a good finish for Michael, but it wasn't meant to be."


    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg: "Mark did a great job but I think I had the best car today. It's nice to see how we're managing to progress. The next few races could be really good for us. We've been the most consistent. I've scored the most points in the last four races, just had two bad races to start with."

  22. 1545: 

    And here's the constructors' standings...

    1) Red Bull - 146

    2) McLaren - 108

    3) Ferrari - 86

    4) Lotus - 86

    5) Mercedes - 61

    6) Williams - 44

    7) Sauber - 41

    8) Force India - 28

    9) Toro Rosso - 6


    Rory Madden on Twitter:‏ "Jake Humphrey falling over a forklift truck on national TV...that'll make the #bbcf1 season highlight reel even in 2012!"

  24. 1540: 

    We have a new outright championship leader in the form of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is "Mr Consistency" this season and it's paying off...

    1) Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 76

    2) Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull - 73

    3) Mark Webber - Red Bull - 73

    4) Lewis Hamilton - McLaren - 63

    5) Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 59

    6) Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus - 51

    7) Jenson Button - McLaren - 45

    8) Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 35

  25. 1536: 

    It's absolute carnage in the Monaco pit-lane. There are cars, car parts, crates and all sorts dotted everywhere with fork-lift trucks trying to navigate their way through to move this gear onto the team trucks.

  26. 1534: 

    The coverage may have ended on BBC One, but the boys haven't finished yet. They're still live on the BBC Red Button or the module above for the F1 Forum. Will EJ and DC end up in the Red Bull swimming pool once more? Well you'll have to stay tuned to find out...


    McLaren's Jenson Button, who had to retire from the race: "If someone places their car well and has good exits its very difficult. That's part of racing but it's so frustrating when you are so much faster than the car in front. It's just one of those things. It comes from a bad qualifying and being unlucky at the start. We were more prone to incidents. It was a tough afternoon but congratulations to Mark, he's a good lad and it obviously livens up the championship. Hopefully we'll have our day soon."

  28. 1531: 

    Jenson Button had a miserable end to what was a miserable weekend for the 2009 world champion. He missed out Q3 and then lost track position at the start due to the first corner carnage and found himself stuck behind the slower Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen. He tried and tried to get past, but couldn't find a way to make it stick. Then he lost patience and clipped the back of the Finn's car, spinning Button round. And that, was that.

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "The one thing that struck me immediately about Lewis Hamilton's interview is that he sure doesn't like going backwards. The start was poor. There are some questions to be answered, but it's whether the responsibility lies with him or the technicians."

  30. 1527: 

    During the race, Lewis Hamilton complained that someone was dropping things on his head. Here's what he had to say about that instance: "The guys hold the pit boards over the track and two or three slips fell out and hit me in the front of the helmet. I was like 'guys this is getting ridiculous' as they kept dropping them and dropping them."


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth: "It wasn't the best result, but this is motor racing. I really dislike going backwards, but we still go away with some points. There are many races ahead of us and we still need to keep pushing. My start was one of worst starts I've had in a long time. I don't understand why it happens when two guys next to be and those behind us got perfect starts. I was fortunate not to get caught up in the crash. We do thousands of starts, it shouldn't be a problem."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "I thought Paul di Resta drove a hugely mature race. He managed the situation better than anyone else around him and his seventh place finish is remarkable. A great confidence boost for the team."

  33. 1517: 

    It's the first time we've seen everyone dressed in jackets all weekend. The rain continues to fall with Jake, EJ and DC squeezing under a single brolly as they head down the pit lane assessing each of the team's performance.


    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who finished third: "The target was to try to finish in front of Sebastian and Lewis as they are with us in the championship. If you go race by race, you aim to finish ahead of different drivers. Now it is Mark. It will be interesting, as we are constantly developing the car and we are constantly surprised at every race. At the start I had contact with Grosjean so thought there was damage, but the car was fine. We took Hamilton at the stop with a perfect time and a perfect stop again, so well done to the team."


    Mercedes Nico Rosberg, who finished second: "I got a good start, but so did Mark. It was a matter of tyre management. I was a bit surprised how strong we were in qualifying and in the race. We probably had the fastest car out there. We are making progress all the time. Unfortunately it didn't come together perfectly - first would have been nice - but we are pleased with second place."


    More from Mark Webber: "The first phase of the race was strange. It was hard to get the soft prime tyre warmed up. Seb had his tyres in and wasn't wearing them so he was coming back into the picture. I didn't want him to get the magic 21 second gap and take the lead. It's an amazing day for the team, myself and really happy to have won here again."


    Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who finished first: "I'm feeling incredible. It was an interesting race. It was reasonably straight forward at start, getting the gap and managing super-softs. Then it was matter of trying to get back into gap on track after the stops. The weather was threatening around the pit stop window but Nico went for it, went for undercut, so a few people had to react to his chess move."

  38. 1512: 

    The rain is really coming down now. How different the race could have been if it had fallen 10-20 minutes earlier. Jake, EJ and DC have taken cover under a gazebo which the Marussia team have kindly popped up in the pit-lane. It's time for the top three driver press conference....

  39. 1507: 

    On the subject of the legality of the Red Bull car design, here's what Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Red Bull designer Adrian Newey had to say:

    Horner: "The car complies with the regulations. We're happy with that. It's the nature of the sport that."

    Newey: "This first arose after the Bahrain GP. We have a letter from Charlie Whiting saying categorically that it's legal so we're not worried."


    Marcus Chippindale on Twitter:‏ "Congrats to Webber. Great racing all round at Monaco. Must be Lewis Hamilton's turn next time out."


    Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "It was a very intense race. We weren't sure if it was going to be one or two stops. Mark was very disciplined. He stretched it out and did what he needed to do. It was a tactical race and stressful race when the rain came."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "The frontrunners had no alternative but to stay out. You came in and changed your wheels at your peril. Fortune favours the brave, Mark Webber kept the coolest head of anyone and he won fair and square."

  43. 1501: 

    The Australian national anthem rings out before the obligatory podium photo and then the carnage of the champagne celebrations. Mark Webber runs over to his team and douses them in the sparkling stuff before taking a well-deserved sip for himself.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This is just incredible, this is a golden era for Formula 1."

  45. 1458: 

    Princess Charlene gives Nico Rosberg a congratulatory kiss and then his trophy for second place before Fernando Alonso receives the trophy for third. Unbelievably, Alonso now leads the World Championship in a car thanks to his remarkable consistency. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are tied on 73 points in second, three points behind the Spaniard.

  46. 1456: 

    Mark Webber embraces Red Bull designer Adrian Newey at the bottom of the podium before being guided up to receive his trophy from Prince Albert II of Monaco. He holds the trophy - which is an outline of the Monaco GP circuit - aloft and waves to his team and fans.

  47. 1454: 

    Mark Webber parks his Red Bull on the start-finish straight as is tradition at Monaco. He gets a hug from Fernando Alonso and then steps up onto the nose of his Red Bull and punches the air with both hands.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "No one can begrudge Mark Webber that, fantastic victory, well controlled. It is a huge weight off his shoulders. A brilliant drive."


    Red Bull designer Adrian Newey: "We've had a great three years here. Mark drove flawlessly. The weather was a real concern, but he did a great job to do what he needed to do."

  50. 1451: 

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner gets on the radio and tells his race winning driver Mark Webber: "Fantastic Mark, you've won the Monaco Grand Prix again. Great drive." Webber punches the air as he cruises around his slowing down lap taking in the plaudits.

  51. 1449: 

    A brilliant drive from Mark Webber to hold his nerve in those tricky conditions. Nico Rosberg follows him home in second with Fernando Alonso completing the podium. This is the first time ever we've seen six different drivers win the first six races. Super stuff.



    LAP 78

    And after one hour and 48 minutes, we arrive at the final lap of the race. Mark Webber rounds St Devote and powers up the hill with Nico Rosberg around a second behind.


    Box Of Neutrals on Twitter: "Vergne's had a gamble with inters and has failed. Wonder if he'll have better luck in the casino after the race?"

    LAP 77

    Just two laps remaining now and Mark Webber looks like he's going to get his second win here. That will be the third successive Red Bull victory at this track and the first time a constructor has one more than one race this season. It's still the sixth different driver to win a race this season, though.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This looks more like the scene from the start of a Grand Prix, never mind the end of it."

    LAP 76

    Jenson Button is out of the race. The McLaren driver clashed with Heikki Kovalainen a few laps ago and is now walking down the pit lane, back towards the McLaren garage. He's still got his helmet on, so he's not up for chatting either.

    LAP 75

    It looks like the rain has eased off and the track is starting to dry out. As a result, the frontrunners have picked up the pace and are lapping in the 1m20s like earlier in the race. Mark Webber looks comfortable up front, managing the gap to Nico Rosberg.

    LAP 74

    It looks like Toro Rosso have made the wrong call with that tyre change. He's down in 11th, out of the points and not catching those in front of him.

    LAP 73

    The leaders are now trying to negotiate traffic in the form of Sergio Perez and Heikki Kovalainen. It's nip and tuck, but they all get through cleanly, leaving the two backmarkers to fight it out among themselves.

    LAP 72

    We've just seen a replay of Jenson Button getting frustrated and hitting Heikki Kovalainen. The McLaren driver spins round but the Caterham continues on his way.


    Nader Khan on Twitter: "These gaps between the first five cars are outrageous!"

    LAP 71

    No one will want to come in because they don't want to lose a position. Jean-Eric Vergne has decided to take a punt and gone for intermediates. He has dropped down from seventh to 11th. Will it pay off?

    LAP 70

    It's got really dark now and you can see the spots of rain on the drivers' visors. Felipe Massa has caught up to the back of this train of cars. The drivers are lapping around five seconds slower than earlier in the race which shows how tricky the conditions are.

    LAP 69

    Mark Webber has slowed down massively and that has had a knock on effect on those behind him. I don't think I've ever seen this many cars so close up front at this stage of the race. Race control also inform us that they will investigate the incident between Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean at the start after the race.

    LAP 68

    Mark Webber is controlling the race well at the front in these slippery conditions. The Red Bull driver is 0.8 seconds ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Fernando Alonso is one second behind. The top five have bumped up. It looks like a traffic jam filing around the hairpin. Who is going to have a stab?


    Chris Miller on Twitter: "Brollies going up. Either it's rain or EJ's about to break into a musical number."

    LAP 67

    We've got another retirement - it's Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. Not sure what the problem is, though. He's just pulled into the pits and is being pushed into the garage.


    Mark Webber leads with everyone having pitted. Rain falling at Rascasse corner. Michael Schumacher has retired. Grosjean, Maldonado, De La Rosa, Kobayashi and Petrov all out. 1 Webber 2 Rosberg 3 Alonso 4 Vettel 5 Hamilton 6 Massa 7 Vergne 8 Di Resta 9Hulkenberg 10 Raikkonen.

    LAP 66

    Jenson Button and Heikki Kovalainen almost touch on the run down the hill on the exit of the tunnel into the chicane as the McLaren driver manages to get alongside the Caterham. Button is on the outside, though, and can't make the move stick.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It is raining down here now, the heaviest it has been today."

    LAP 65

    There are a couple of umbrellas going up in the grandstands. Has the rain finally come? Up front, Nico Rosberg has closed the gap to race leader Mark Webber. But it's all over for Michael Schumacher. He comes into the pits and retires the car.

    LAP 64

    The Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg have caught Michael Schumacher and the breeze past him on the start-finish straight. The Mercedes is so slow on the straights. He definitely has a problem.

    LAP 63

    Red Bull tell race leader Mark Webber that there are a few drops of rain. Oh no, not this again.

    LAP 62

    And Jean-Eric Vergne passes Michael Schumacher on the start-finish straight. The German doesn't put up any resistance. BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard says the Mercedes sounds very sick.

    LAP 60

    It looks like Michael Schumacher's race is over. The Mercedes has back right off and he's fallen into the path of Jean-Eric Vergne. More bad luck for the seven-time world champion.

    LAP 58

    Heikki Kovalainen is doing a great job of protecting his 13th position from Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez. Meanwhile, just as I said Michael Schumacher was going a good job his lap times start to drop off.


    Schumacher team radio: I've got a problem switht he car - I don't know what it is." Team replies: "We can see that on the telemetry also, just keep pushing."


    Lewis Hamilton team radio: "We hear that Massa is trying to look after his tyres to attack us at the end of the race." Hamilton replies: "Well, I'll try to look after my tyres as well then."

    LAP 57

    Seventh placed Michael Schumacher is lapping one second quicker than Lewis Hamilton in fifth. The gap was 20 seconds, it's now 17 with 21 laps to go.

    LAP 56

    We've got yellow flags in the Swimming Pool section after a piece of front wing endplate detached itself from a Marussia. Don't think a Safety Car is needed, though.


    D.A.R 1980 on Twitter: "Can someone in the McLaren team please tell Lewis Hamilton to stop moaning and get on with driving the race!"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It's incredible we have third, fourth, fifth and sixth so close together. It's Alonso dictating that pace right now."

    LAP 54

    Nice and tight at the front of the field. Mark Webber has a comfortable lead over Nico Rosberg who is being kept honest by Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel isn't too far behind the Ferrari either with Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa hanging on. Massa's engineer Rob Smedley tells the Brazilian that he needs to keep his tyres fresh so that he can "have a go at old Lewis" at the end of the race.


    Jonathan Jones on Twitter: "Five seconds separating the top six after 49 laps - amazing!"


    Shannon Hollis on Twitter: "I think this season it's anyone's game. Could not guess what is going to happen!"

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "As a driver you have to drive to the limit on all occasions and not wait to be told, Button and Hamilton haven't done that during this race. You have to drive as fast as you can to deliver the best performances."

    LAP 51

    Sergio Perez goes even quicker, getting into the low 1m17s. That's nearly 2.5 seconds faster than the leaders. The Sauber driver is hunting Timo Glock down in the Marussia. The gap is currently five seconds. Up front, Mark Webber leads by 1.5 seconds from Nico Rosberg. Fernando Alonso is 1.7 seconds further back.

    LAP 50

    Michael Schumacher is seventh, 27 seconds behind the leaders and although he just made a mistake on the last lap, he is generally lapping around six tenths quicker than those in front of him. If he can keep doing that, he'll be mighty close to the leaders by the end of the race.

    LAP 49

    Sergio Perez sets the fastest lap of the race - 1:18.085 - by he's down in 17th, 72.8 seconds off the leader. He is lapping two seconds quicker than the leaders, though, which is impressive.

    LAP 47

    Look at this, the top six are separated by just 5.3 seconds. It's just so close. Felipe Massa has closed up onto the back of Lewis Hamilton as they navigate the traffic. Kimi Raikkonen is told on his radio that the rain has moved away and they're not expecting any more so he needs to go to the end on his current set of tyres.

    LAP 46

    Sebastian Vettel finally pits and his Red Bull crew bolt on a set of those super-set tyres. It's a great stop by the reigning world champions and he comes out in front of Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. It was so close as the both round the first corner in their separate lanes, but Vettel has enough momentum to steal fourth.


    Daishun Johnson on Twitter: "43 laps and no pit Vettel? What's in those tyres? #redbull?"


    Sebastian Vettel leads having not yet stopped. All other front runners have pitted. Romain Grosjean retires after making contact with Michael Schumacher at the first corner. Maldonado, De La Rosa, Kobayashi and Petrov all out. 1 Vettel 2 Webber 3 Rosberg 4 Alonso 5 Hamilton 6 Massa 7 Schumacher 8 Vergne 9 Di Resta 10 Hulkenberg.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "I don't understand how the other cars can't go faster than Vettel with new tyres on, he's been going for ages and doesn't look like being changed soon. These tyres seem indestructable."


    Lewis Hamilton team radio: "Someone's dropping something from the pit wall. They keep on dropping things from the pit wall and it hits me on the head!"

    LAP 44

    Sebastian Vettel is doing a phenomenal job on those soft tyres. I know they're the more durable rubber, but he's quick and looking after those tyres. The lead over Webber is now up to 17.4 seconds. Nico Rosberg is one second further back in third, and Fernando Alonso another second behind.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It's getting cooler, it's getting blacker, I think we will see enough rain to cause confusion before the end."

    LAP 42

    Rob Smedley tells his driver Felipe Massa that he needs to get a move on because when Sebastian Vettel eventually stops, he is likely to come out somewhere between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. The Brazilian responds and does a 1m19.1.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Webber has just started to reel in Vettel a little bit. Vettel is 21 seconds up the road from Hamilton and will come out just in front of Hamilton. It's right on the cusp."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "I hear the speculation about Webber backing up Rosberg and Alonso to let Vettel get in and out of the pits ahead, but I know Mark quite well and I simply don't believe he would give up a victory at Monaco to help Vettel in that way."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "I think Webber is backing the rest of them up, to allow Vettel a 20 second gap and for Vettel to rejoin just behind Webber. But it's raining a bit more heavily here now, so that will change everything."

    LAP 40

    Sebastian Vettel, a man who looked well off the pace in qualifying, is somehow leading this race via strategy. Incredible stuff. He now leads Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber by 15.8 seconds.

    LAP 39

    Jenson Button has pitted from eighth and taken on a set of super-soft tyres. But it's all gone wrong for the 2009 world champion. He comes out on track side-by-side with the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen and unbelievably, it's the Finn who gets his nose in front. This really is Bernoldi-Coulthard all over again. Absolute misery for Button.

    LAP 38

    Sergio Perez has been given a drive-through penalty for diving into the pit-lane too late. The Mexican is having a terrible weekend.


    Neil Denham on Twitter: "I think that we should have this dry rain that Monaco has."

    LAP 37

    We're seeing a replay of Kimi Raikkonen narrowly avoiding Sergio Perez at the pit-lane entry. Raikkonen was trying to overtake the Sauber driver, but just as he put a move at Rascasse, Perez dived into the pits forcing Raikkonen to take avoiding action. The move is under investigation.

    LAP 36

    BBC F1 commentator Ben Edwards is speculating that Red Bull may be using Webber to back the pack up to give Sebastian Vettel enough time to pit and get out in front. Don't think the Australian will be happy with that, but looking at the lap times, that appears to be what he's doing. Vettel's lead has gone from 9.7 seconds to 14.7 in the last five laps.

    LAP 35

    In comes Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes driver did a good job to make those super-soft tyres last that long. The German rejoins in 10th place, just ahead the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne. Will we see the seven-time world champion try a one-stop strategy?

    LAP 34

    Vettel, Schumacher, Di Resta, Ricciardo and Button are all yet to stop. I think they're waiting to see if this rain will materialise. I think it's probably worth the gamble based on track position.

    LAP 33

    Sebastian Vettel is told by his team that rain is coming in the next four laps. But we've heard it all before. I'm not so sure it is going to rain any more. The German is staying out in the lead. If it does rain, it will play perfectly into the hands of the Red Bull driver and reigning world champion.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "That one lap from Alonso he just did went purple, purple in the first two sectors. He had that one lap of clean air and he used it."

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "Fernando Alonso had more pace and more tyre life and that's why on a lap like he had to push his car to get as much time as he could. That's so he can make up as many places when he came back out onto the track and it worked, he's ahead of Lewis Hamilton."

    LAP 32

    Felipe Massa pits from the lead which leaves Sebastian Vettel out in lead. Mark Webber is second, ahead of Nico Rosberg. Fernando Alonso is fourth after passing Lewis Hamilton in the stops. Massa rejoins from eighth, one place behind Michael Schumacher who just sneaks by.

    LAP 31

    Lewis Hamilton pits from fourth after Alonso had hunted him down - he was 0.1 seconds behind him before Lewis dived in for new boots. That puts the Spaniard in the lead, but then pits the next lap. That gifts Felipe Massa the lead. Wow. Kimi Raikkonen has pitted, but Michael Schumacher has stayed out. He's doing personal best sectors and will be desperate to get a gap so he can leapfrog Kimi Raikkonen at the stops.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "I do not understand why Rosberg came in because he was the closest to his fastest lap. If I was Rosberg I would have really tried to stay out for the rain."

    LAP 30

    Nico Rosberg has pitted for a set of soft tyres, one lap before Mark Webber who goes for soft slick tyres, too. The Australian comes out of the pits and stays ahead of the Mercedes driver.

    LAP 29

    Kimi Raikkonen has stayed out for another lap. The Finn is doing an extraordinary job of holding everyone up but how long can he do it for? Those rear tyres are finished. Up front, Fernando Alonso is all over the back of Lewis Hamilton. This is brilliant.

    LAP 27

    Kimi Raikkonen is told that he needs to stay out for five laps or so because they are expecting rain. The Finn won't like that because he's painfully slow. He's holding everyone up. Michael Schumacher needs to be sensible here and not take any unnecessary risks.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "We're going to have fun James (Allen) in the next hour, the drivers won't though when that rain comes. I'm very happy to be sitting here for a change."

    LAP 26

    Jean-Eric Vergne has just set the fastest lap of the race in the Toro Rosso. Only problem is, he's way back in 18th, 51 seconds off the leader.

    LAP 25

    We've just has a shot of the mountains that tower over the circuit and I can see a black cloud. The rain is coming, people. It's coming. Nico Rosberg is told "possible light rain in four minutes".

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Michael Schumacher is sizing up Kimi Raikkonen. The pressure on him builds. He will have to drive a bit more defensively which will open up the gap to Vettel in front."

    LAP 24

    Nico Rosberg is doing a good job maintaining a gap of 2.2 seconds to Mark Webber. Rosberg is far enough away not to be disturbed by the Red Bull's dirty air but close enough to possibly jump the Australian at the stops. Jenson Button is told that the guys in front on option tyres are starting to struggle. I'm not convinced that that is true, but at least it will motivate him...


    Andre Harrison on Twitter:‏ "Okay, I WANT RAIN AND I WANT IT NOW."

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus is struggling with the tyres, he's having a bad time already and we're only at 23 laps, so it could be a good opportunity for Michael Schumacher to overtake him before any rain comes."

    LAP 23

    Michael Schumacher is all over the back of Kimi Raikkonen, but the Lotus has such incredible traction that every time Schumacher gets close in a corner, Raikkonen just pulls away out on acceleration.

    LAP 22

    We're only 20-odd laps in and there are already marbles forming on either side of the racing line. But as Gary says, the tyres seem to be holding up longer than the teams will have predicted. Kimi Raikkonen is starting to fall back from Sebastian Vettel and there's a train of cars - including Michael Schumacher, Nico Hulkenberg and Bruno Senna - behind them.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "We are starting to see the lap times dropping off a little bit. We may just be getting into that zone where the tyres are starting to drop away."

    LAP 21

    Jenson Button is keeping Heikki Kovalainen honest, but he still can't get past the Caterham. That's the battle for 13th. Button's not losing too much time, though and is still only 22 seconds behind the leader. If rain comes, he'll be right back in this.

    LAP 20

    Mark Webber has increased his lead to 2.2 seconds from Nico Rosberg with Lewis Hamilton a further two seconds behind. Fernando Alonso has turned the wick up and set the fastest lap to put some clear air between him and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.

    LAP 19

    Sergio Perez puts a great move on the Marussia of Charles Pic the chicane on the exit of the tunnel. A few corners later, he passes Timo Glock on the entrance on Tabac. Great stuff from the Mexican. He's a man on the mission. Very mature driving.


    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean: "I'm very disappointed I wanted to finish the Grand Prix, but it was a terrible start and that was that."

    LAP 17

    If you missed the start, why not check out our new video player for the upcoming Olympics which we're trialling on today's race. It allows you to rewind the live action on all of the six video streams we have for today's race. All in HD quality too. A few other interesting features in there so have a click around.

    Out on track, Nico Hulkenberg is starting to catch Michael Schumacher in the battle for eight place. Meanwhile in the pits, Vitaly Petrov has headed into the pits to part his Caterham.

    LAP 16

    Michael Schumacher is all over the back of Kimi Raikkonen, but the Lotus is getting fantastic traction off the corners. The Mercedes driver will need to focus on looking after his tyres and then try and jump him in the stops.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "They will be trying to go as far as they possibly can in these tyres if the rain is coming. The last thing they will want to do is have to come in again to change them."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "There was an interesting split in views among engineers ahead of the race. Some said there was no way to do a one-stop - that the super-softs would not last long enough, and that the softs would only last a few laps longer. But others were convinced that's the way to go, saying the super-softs would do 25-20 laps and the softs 50-60. We'll have to see whether the front-runners are trying to eke out those super-softs long enough to only have to stop once for the soft tyre."


    Mark Webber leads. Romain Grosjean retires after making contact with Michael Schumacher at the first corner. Maldonado also out after contact with an HRT. 1 Webber 2 Rosberg 3 Hamilton 4 Alonso 5 Massa 6 Vettel 7 Raikkonen 8 Schumacher 9 Hulkenberg 10 Senna

    LAP 14

    Jean-Eric Vergne is told by his team that he must give Sergio Perez the position after he cut the chicane to defend his position. The Frenchman is not happy about that, but he has no choice. As Perez gets through, he quickly sets the fastest lap of the race. Great stuff from the Mexican.

    LAP 13

    Oh goody, Kimi Raikkonen is told by his team that they are expecting rain in 15 minutes time. As if we needed any more excitement, the heavens are about to open.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "It's been a tough weekend for Romain (Grosjean), but he has to stay cool, he's a good driver. He has a good overall package and has a great car and it will come good for him."


    Mike M ‏on Twitter: "Ferrari will never allow Felipe to overtake Fernando."

    LAP 12

    Heikki Kovalainen in a Caterham is comfortably keeping his nose in front of Jenson Button in a McLaren. This is like Enrique Bernoldi vs David Coulthard all over again. Button must be fuming. Up front, Felipe Massa is all over the back of Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.

    LAP 11

    Pastor Maldonado trudges through the pit lane towards the garage. He's still got his helmet on which suggests he's in no mood to talk to anyone. After his weekend, I'm not really surprised. Oh how quickly things can change in Formula 1.

    LAP 10

    We're hearing that those cars who short-cutted the first corner will no face any penalty. That'll be a relief to Sebastian Vettel.


    We now have more about the new controversy surrounding Red Bull's bodywork hole design, discovered by rival teams ahead of the Monaco GP. Check it out on the Formula 1 pages.

    Meanwhile, out on track, Mark Webber continues to set fastest lap after fastest lap. The Red Bull driver now leads by 1.3 seconds, but the top 10 are still separated by only 10 seconds.


    So Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Pedro de la Rosa are all out of this race with damage. Kamui Kobayashi has just headed into the pits and could be out as well.


    We're hearing that some drivers are being investigated for shortcutting the first corner one lap one. One of those drivers was Sebastian Vettel so let's wait and see how that shakes out.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "It's going to be interesting if Sebastian Vettel can stay with the front pack because they are racing very close, they all have the same pace. It's going to be very challenging for Vettel just how he can keep up with them."


    Heikki Kovalainen is a man on a mission. The Caterham driver negotiated the carnage at the start brilliantly to move up to 13, one place ahead of Jenson Button. Button's team tell him not to panic, as he's on the more durable tyre and they can still make their strategy work. He's told to look after his tyres which we all know the 2009 world champion is very good at.


    Kimi Raikkonen is up to seventh - and racing with a special James Hunt style helmet for today - one place ahead of Michael Schumacher who looks to have escaped major damage after Grosjean hit him at the start.


    Mark Webber sets the fastest lap of the race to extend his lead to 0.7 seconds over Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel is running well in sixth, three places up on where he started. The Red Bull driver is looking handy there as he's on the more durable soft tyre.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "I think one stop is unlikely to happen here in Monaco, it's difficult to maintain the tyres here. The supersoft is just not good enough for one stop."


    We're back under way at Monaco as the marshals do a great job clearing the track. The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso is all over the back of Lewis Hamilton as they cross the line, but the McLaren driver holds him off. We're also hearing team radio from Hamilton asking his team "watched happened at the launch?" The Brit obviously didn't have the getaway he was expecting.


    We've just seen a replay of the start and Romain Grosjean looks like he banged wheels with a Ferrari and then squeezed Michael Schumacher against the barriers. The Frenchman spun round and made the rest of the grid take avoiding action. That's where Jenson Button lost all those places.


    The safety car is out already because Pastor Maldonado is out of the race. He's made contact with the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa. The Williams has a battered front nose while the HRT is without a rear wing.


    Great start for the Ferraris, with Fernando Alonso up to fourth and Felipe Massa in fifth. Jenson Button didn't do so well and has found himself behind the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen.

  158. 1304: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The lights are out and away we go. Red Bull's Mark Webber makes a brilliant start, keeping Nico Rosberg at bay. Lewis Hamilton has a good getaway, too, but it's a nightmare for Romain Grosjean who gets tagged by Michael Schumacher and spins his Lotus before the first corner.

  159. 1302: 

    We're hearing that the top eight runners are on the option super-soft tyre but Sebastian Vettel in ninth has gone for the more durable soft tyre. Will the move pay off?


    Ferrari on Twitter: "No rain for the start. Showers has begun in the mountains, the nearest at 40 km to the NorthWest is on the path of Monaco says Meteo France."

  161. 1300: 

    And off they go on the formation lap. Mark Webber pulls away cleanly, closely followed by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. The circuit is still bathed in sunshine, but there are clouds looming in the mountains. Oh the tension...

  162. 1259: 

    The buzzer has sounded and the grid is clearing. We're seconds away from the formation lap folks and only a few minutes away from the greatest race on earth. Let's. Get. It. On.

  163. 1255: 

    So here's a quick rundown of the grid with five minutes to go until the lights go out...

    1) Mark Webber 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Lewis Hamilton 4) Romain Grosjean 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Michael Schumacher 7) Felipe Massa 8) Kimi Raikkonen 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Nico Hulkenberg.


    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson on Twitter: "Shower threat is increasing now from NNW based on latest analysis of storm trajectories, but later into race."

  165. 1252: 

    Nico Rosberg looks like calmness personified sitting in his car. Admittedly he is on the front row and sitting in the second best position, but he is about to embark on the most demanding grand prix on the calendar. The German will know that Mark Webber's starts aren't the best so will be setting himself up to try and get into the first corner first.

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "For me the start is all important, particularly for Mark Webber. If he wants to win this race, he needs to get through the first corner first."


    Force India's Paul di Resta, who starts 14th: "We have to go very aggressive to go forward in this race, overtaking here is just not the way and maybe if it rains that will play into our hands in a very positive way."


    Rush film director (and former Happy Days star) Ron Howard: "I never had the race driver's personality, so this film has the racing but also fantastic characters. I was knocked out by the script I didn't know much about F1 at the time but it's just unbelievably cinematic and exciting. I want people to know I now love Formula 1 and I want people to appreciate the characters and appreciate the sport."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "Williams's Pastor Maldonado has gone from hero to zero in Monaco. After winning last time out in Spain, he was given a 10-place grid penalty for colliding with Sauber's Sergio Perez. It looked like a deliberate 'chop', but Maldonado said: 'I was trying to overtake him and I lost the car. Maybe I was too optimistic on the throttle on cold tyres. It was my first lap on new options and trying to recover the car it took too much grip and I touched his front wheel. I'm disappointed about the penalty because I think it's quite big for what happened.'"

  170. 1245: 

    2012 winners:

    Australia - Jenson Button (McLaren)

    Malaysia - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

    China - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

    Bahrain - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

    Spain - Pastor Maldonado (Williams)

    Last five Monaco GP winners:

    2011 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

    2010 - Mark Webber (Red Bull)

    2009 - Jenson Button (Brawn)

    2008 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

    2007 - Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    'The driver-market 'silly-season' has started in earnest here this weekend. There's a lot of talk about Lewis Hamilton's future - his contract at McLaren expires at the end of the season. There have been rumours that he could go to Ferrari, but that seems unlikely because it has emerged that they have their sights set on Sebastian Vettel when his Red Bull contract runs out at the end of next year. More on that on this website on Tuesday. Red Bull and Mercedes are also interested. So who will fill the gap at Ferrari next year until Vettel is free in 2014?"


    Red Bull's Mark Webber, who starts on pole: "I'm looking forward to the race. We've had a few rough starts here, but I'm looking forward to repeating what I did in 2010 and doing the best I can."


    Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug: "It took us a while until our car was good enough but when we did, Michael delivered. It was a shame he got put back, but a great performance and well deserved by the team. I hope Nico [Rosberg] can get Mark [Webber] at the start and then control the race. Not sure whether we can achieve it."

  174. 1240: 

    DC has headed out onto the grid armed with a microphone. Let's see who he can find...

  175. 1238: 

    And here's 1-12:

    1) Mark Webber 2) Nico Rosberg 3) Lewis Hamilton 4) Romain Grosjean 5) Fernando Alonso 6) Michael Schumacher* 7) Felipe Massa 8) Kimi Raikkonen 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Nico Hulkenberg 11) Kamui Kobayashi 12) Jenson Button.

    *Michael Schumacher qualified on pole but will start sixth after a five-place grid drop for smashing into the back of Bruno Senna during the Spanish Grand Prix.

  176. 1235: 

    Here's how they line up for the 70th running of the most prestigious race on the Formula 1 calendar - 13-24:

    13) Bruno Senna 14) Paul di Resta 15) Daniel Ricciardo 16) Jean-Eric Vergne 17) Heikki Kovalainen 18) Vitaly Petrov 19) Timo Glock 20) Pedro de la Rosa 21) Charles Pic 22) Narain Karthikeyan 23) Sergio Perez 24) Pastor Maldonado*

    *Pastor Maldonado was demoted 10 places for colliding with Sergio Perez in final practice and then a further five places for changing his gearbox.

  177. 1230: 

    The pit lane is open and the gentle hub and bub of Monaco is punctured by the sound of 24 Formula 1 cars firing up their engines and accelerating out of their garages. The grid is rammed with team personnel, very important people and celebrities. The drivers are going to have a job to weave their way through the carnage to find their grid slots...

  178. 1226: 

    Sensational stuff on BBC One and the video module above right now. Lewis Hamilton has stepped into the production office to control the show while Jenson Button has taken over Jake's role in a dummy show. Very entertaining and to be fair, Jenson is giving it his best shot, but I think it's fair to say they shouldn't quit their day job.

  179. 1223: 

    Lewis Hamilton looks relaxed in his garage. The 2008 world champion has just slipped on his gloves, pulled on his helmet and dropped down the visor. It's time to drive round to the grid and begin the final preparations.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "McLaren have changed a significant feature of their pit-stop procedure in an attempt to prevent the problems they have been suffering this year. They have adopted the system used by Ferrari and Mercedes, whereby the wheel nuts are retained within the wheels, rather than in the guns. For now, though, McLaren have only got the retained nut system on the rear wheels."


    Greg Marshall on Twitter: "Couldn't be more excited. The Monaco GP will not disappoint. Hate to say it but Red Bull have this!"


    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson on Twitter: "Showers have formed to NNW of coast and current trajectories suggest some could appear into race window; needs watching. Showers have recently affected coastal districts near Nice; most losing their forcing as they come off mountains...but not all."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Michael Schumacher is the man, he has that swagger and arrogance. He believes he can win, and any driver out there who doesn't think he can win needs to get off the grid."


    Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, who starts sixth: "When I said I could win here, there was some optimism in what I was saying. But there are elements in this car which suit my car. I have to do a lot of work from sixth but it's a long race and I'll try my hardest. I'm much more together with my car, I haven't yet had my luck to show that. It would be nice to show that here."

  185. 1218: 

    Jake, EJ and DC are strolling down the pit lane taking in the sights. They stop at Sebastian Vettel's garage with BBC co-commentator David Coulthard saying: "That was an unusual qualifying for Sebastian [who starts eighth] and in the end I think he threw in the towel and decided to save a set of fresh tyres for the race."


    Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who will start on pole: "It was a fair battle and I came out in P2. The last race for Michael didn't work out and there were some penalties to be taken so I'll take pole. Qualifying is a big part of the jigsaw but you can never get ahead of yourself here. You've got to be composed here. Emotionally it's worth double here, but in terms of points it's the same. I've got a lot of good memories here."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "Alain Prost, four-time champion and second only to Michael Schumacher in the all-time winners' list, is here this weekend, and his remarks have underlined just how strong the current Formula 1 grid is. He was asked which driver he thought was the best at the moment. 'I am impressed by six or seven drivers,' he said. 'They are very close together. I was very impressed by Lewis when he arrived in F1, Fernando is always there even if the car is not competitive, with Sebastian with his maturity, with Jenson - sometimes he is able to do things that seem impossible.'"

  188. 1212: 

    The grandstands are absolutely rammed and we've still got just under an hour until the lights go out. Even up on the hill that straddles the Rascasse hairpin, we've got fans shoulder-to-shoulder in their respective team colours. There's a chap dressed in McLaren gear with what looks like a cake bowl on his head and a megaphone shouting "Eddie, Eddie". He must have something to say about his shirt...

  189. 1208: 

    Anyone a fan of Shrek and in particular, Puss in Boots? Well the man who voices that character and star of Mask of Zorro and Desperado, Antonio Banderas, is down in Monaco enjoying the hospitality of Force India.

  190. 1205: 

    Ah, the glorious sound of The Chain. The credits are rolling, the heart is a beating, the tension is rising. Time to get our engines roaring on BBC One and BBC One HD.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "Sebastian Vettel did not do a timed lap in final qualifying - he said changes made to the car after final practice had not worked. He now has a choice of tyres for the start of the race. Will he start on the prime 'soft' tyre, as he said after qualifying was the idea? Or on new super-softs? Either way, he may be aiming for a one-stop and hoping that can win him serious places. But he doesn't seem to have had that good pace so far."

  192. 1155: 

    Men in Black star Will Smith is back in the paddock again, and once more he's in very good company. The German national football team, hanging from their shock 5-3 defeat to Switzerland last night, are also in attendance as guests of Mercedes. Irish actor Liam Cunningham, star of Game of Thrones is also soaking up the atmosphere.

  193. 1149: 

    Someone must have said something to DC because the bright green has gone to be replaced by plain pale pink offering today. But those standard issue white jeans are back with a vengence...

  194. 1145: 

    Michael Schumacher may have been demoted to sixth from pole, but that's not dampened his confidence. "Overtaking is tough, but we will try," he said after qualifying. "I will do as good as I can, it is likely to be a one-stop strategy so there is not much you can play with." Whatever you do Michael, just keep your nose clean, eh?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "Schumacher's five-place grid penalty means pole is the property of Red Bull's Mark Webber, whose super lap was put in perspective by team-mate Sebastian Vettel's struggles to 10th place (ninth on the grid following Pastor Maldonado's 10-place penalty). Webber said it was a 'good lap' but his concerns will be about the start, which his Red Bull has struggled with too many times. If he leads into the first corner, though, it's hard to see the Australian being beaten."


    David Rossiter on Twitter: "Looking forward to those magic words this afternoon 'Michael Schumacher wins the Monaco Grand Prix'."


    Greg Marshall on Twitter: "What a race. What a location, What a field. I'm tipping Red Bull today but how glorious a Schuey win would be!"


    Rob Turner on Twitter: "I feel a Lewis Hamilton charge in this race, lets hope Mclaren don't let him down!"

  199. 1137: 

    I've just had a sneak peak of EJ's shirt offering and I have to say I'm slightly disappointed. The former Jordan team boss has gone for a conservative (for him) pale blue floral number while Jake has plumped for a standard but sharp white shirt with black jeans combo. No sign of DC yet. Is it possible to top that sensational greener than green piece he donned for qualifying?

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "Michael Schumacher's pole position was a surprise for almost everyone this weekend, two and a quarter seasons since he started his comeback. But Jenson Button said: "Michael has come in for a lot of criticism since he's been back. I think we all forget what he's achieved in his previous career. Sometimes it takes time to feel comfortable with a car and the people you are working with. He's put a great lap together, didn't make any mistakes. I'm sure he was very happy but also disappointed he's being put back to sixth place (after a grid penalty) at somewhere like Monaco."

  201. 1133: 

    The drivers are filing onto the back of a truck for the traditional drivers parade. Sebastian Vettel is looking cheery despite starting back in eighth place. Michael Schumacher is smiling, too. Don't think he's stopped since he crossed the line in qualifying even with the penalty.

  202. 1130: 

    And for this week's Lawro's Podium Predictions, I'm going for 1) Nico Rosberg 2) Romain Grosjean 3) Lewis Hamilton because I think the Mercedes could jump Mark Webber at the start and the look after its tyres unlike last year. That prediction has been sniffed at by the team here. One thinks Webber will get a clean getaway and run away into the sunset, another thinks Hamilton because he's oozing confidence this weekend. What do you think? Tweet me @lawrobarretto using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only) remembering to put your name on it.

  203. 1127: 

    Don't forget these live text commentaries are much more fun when you lot get involved. Are any of you in Monaco, enjoying the action from a grandstand, balcony or yacht? If so, what's the atmosphere like and have you spotted any celebs? For those not lucky enough to be there, who do you think will win today?


    Daniel P Miller on Twitter: "Mark Webber must really fancy Monaco today. His drive when he won it a few years back was one of the most impressive I've seen."

  205. 1124: 

    Ah, a spot of rain. That would mix things up nicely. Showers were predicted for qualifying on Sunday, but they failed to materialise. Were they just hanging back and waiting to unleash hell on Sunday? Not long till we find out...

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "The strategy options are fascinating for Monaco. The general wisdom - although not everyone agrees - is that the fastest strategy is a two-stop, but some may well hope the super-softs last long enough at the start try for a one stop. There's also a forecast of rain later in the race. And there is a high chance of a safety car at Monaco - some teams say as high as 92% - and that always has an impact on strategy. You never know when - or if - that will come."


    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: "Tyre wear levels are low, as we expected, so we would envisage most drivers using a two-stop strategy with some maybe trying for a one stop. However, the teams that feel confident of having a quick car could opt for a multi-stop sprint strategy."

  208. 1121: 

    Let's talk strategy for a bit. Sebastian Vettel somehow won last year's race on a one-stop strategy. The move was made even more impressive by the fact he stopped on lap 16 and then completed the rest of the race on the same set of tyres. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button did two-stops and were clearly faster in second and third respectively, but they couldn't find a way past - as is usually the way on the Monte Carlo streets.


    BBC Radio 5 live breakfast presenter Simon King: "Expecting the race to be dry and sunny. With showers again developing over the mountains to the north of the circuit there is a very low risk one of these could stray towards the harbour and give a temporary spell of rain. Feeling cool again with highs of only 20C."


    Sauber driver Sergio Perez, who starts 23rd, on Twitter: "Shame the problem we had @qualifying, we cut have fight for a great position! Sunday is a new day. Thanks for you support in the bad moments."


    Force India driver Paul di Resta on Twitter: "Got a bit of work to do. Not the best day at the office on Saturday, just could not get my car balanced. Strategy will be what counts now."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "There is a bit of a row going on behind the scenes about the Red Bull floor - with McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari all unhappy about it. The argument centres on the area in front of the rear wheels. The Ferrari has a slot here to improve airflow, but it is a cut-out which runs to the outside edge of the floor in an open-ended rectangle. But Red Bull's is closed off at the outside edge, so it is effectively a hole. Their rivals believe this is not allowed. Will there be a protest?"

  213. 1116: 

    Michael Schumacher holds the lap record - 1:14.439 - which he set in 2004 with Ferrari but it's McLaren who are the most successful team with 15 wins in 69 attempts. Drivers will be on full throttle for 65% of the lap, make an average of 62 gear changes per lap - which works out at 4836 in total - and hit a top speed of 285kph.

  214. 1113: 

    We got 78 laps of spine-tingling racing coming up for you on the 3.340km track. Sure the 19-turn circuit isn't the challenge it used to be - as health and safety has put paid to that - but it still demands 100% concentration for the duration of the race.

  215. 1110: 

    Arguably the most challenging races of the year and certainly a victory they are all desperate to have on their CV - the Monaco Grand Prix has it all. Fast cars, mega track, history and tradition, beautiful yachts, champagne bars and celebs galore. Quite simply, this is the big one. It just doesn't get any better.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Monaco:

    "On Saturday night, Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne was one of the people checking out the scene at the famous Rascasse corner, where the eponymous bar had a live band playing. The scene got livelier as the night went on and by the witching hour the race track - which goes right past the bar - was strewn with rubbish and broken glass. It's now back to its pristine state and ready for the most prestigious race of the season. On a lovely day in Monaco, will the season get its sixth different winner in six races?"

  217. 1106: 

    A warm welcome to our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson, too. He's our man on the ground, scooping up the gossip and weaving it into lovely bitesize chunks for you to enjoy...

  218. 1104: 

    Instead, Mark Webber - who started on pole here in 2010 and went onto win the race - will be hoping to repeat the trick this year when he starts from P1 alongside Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Welcome to the land of the rich and famous, welcome to paradise, welcome to the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix.

  219. 1102: 

    Yes, Michael Schumacher - a seven-time world champion with 91 wins under his belt - had seemingly secured his first pole position since his comeback with Mercedes 44 races ago and his first since the 2006 French Grand Prix. Only, he hadn't. No, he will start sixth after a five-place grid penalty he picked up for colliding with Bruno Senna in the Spanish GP.

  220. 1100: 

    On Saturday, a 43-year-old man from Hurth-Hermuhlheim, Germany showed the young tyros that he's not done yet when he ruthlessly attacked the kerbs, soothingly kissed the barriers and simply gave the gas pedal plenty of welly to secure pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 253
2 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 224
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 176
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 122
5 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 139
6 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 131
7 Great Britain J Button McLaren 72
8 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 74
9 Brazil F Massa Williams 56
10 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 53
11 Mexico S Perez Force India 45
12 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 40
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 11
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 France J Bianchi Marussia 2
17 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
18 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham 0
19 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
21 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0


Position Driver Team

First practice underway

1 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
2 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes
4 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
5 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
6 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
9 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
10 Brazil F Massa Williams
11 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
12 Germany A Sutil Sauber
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Finland V Bottas Williams
15 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
16 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
17 France J Bianchi Marussia
18 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham
19 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
20 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
21 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber
22 Great Britain J Button McLaren