Nico Rosberg scored his second career victory in Formula 1 by winning the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix in the Mercedes.
This was the team’s first win of the season thanks to Rosberg’s superb driving. He controlled the race from the front with ease despite two safety cars and a red flag.
Mercedes was unable to repeat its qualifying one-two, as Lewis Hamilton fell to fourth behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Rosberg held his lead at the start and was able to maintain an advantage of around two seconds for the majority of the race, whether in tyre conservation mode or showing his true pace.
Hamilton lost ground when the safety car came out amid the first scheduled pitstops.
Felipe Massa repeated his qualifying crash at Sainte Devote, prompting the interruption and sending the Ferrari driver to hospital for checks.
As all those yet to pit immediately dived in to do so, Hamilton had to queue behind team-mate Rosberg and emerged behind the two Red Bulls.
Hamilton then spent the rest of the race mounting attacks on Webber for third, getting alongside through Rascasse at one point but never making it ahead.
Rosberg was unfazed by a mid-race stoppage, caused when contact between Max Chilton’s Marussia and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams sent the latter flying violently into the Tabac barriers.
Maldonado was unhurt in the incident, for which the race stewards punished Chilton with a drive-through penalty.
While Rosberg cruised to victory ahead of the Vettel, Webber and Hamilton train, which only spread out in the final moments, the rest of the pack engaged in some spectacular and wild racing.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil pulled off brave passes on Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso into Fairmont Hotel hairpin.
He then benefited when contact between Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez at the chicane late on left the Lotus with a puncture and caused damage that would ultimately force Perez to park.
Button came through to sixth position, having earlier had a spat with his McLaren team-mate Perez when the Mexican cut the chicane to hold him off.
Perez was ordered to let Button past, but overtook him cleanly at the same place later on.
The Mexican then had another chicane incident with Fernando Alonso, and this time it was the Ferrari asked to move aside having cut the corner.
Raikkonen was next on Perez’s list, but on that occasion the chicane move ended in contact.
Alonso lost out to Button in the traffic jam behind Perez’s wounded car and finished in seventh position with Jean-Eric Vergne chased the Ferrari driver in eighth.
Paul di Resta converted P17 on the grid to ninth position, thanks to pitting as early as lap nine and making his tyres last to the end.
Raikkonen’s recovery drive ultimately earned him a championship point, as he overtook Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber on the final lap.
The other major incident came when Romain Grosjean ploughed into the back of Daniel Ricciardo at the chicane, causing the final safety car.
Jules Bianchi also crashed, slewing into the Sainte Devote barriers, having earlier sustained damage on debris from the Chilton/Maldonado crash.
So a fantastic weekend by Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. Quick in practice, grabbed pole position in qualifying and now race victory. He matches his father Keke’s 30-year achievement by winning the legendary street circuit.
The result puts Vettel further ahead in the world championship chase with 107 points to Raikkonen’s 86. Alonso’s 78, Hamilton’s 62, Webber’s 57 and Rosberg’s 47. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull have 164 to Ferrari’s 123, Lotus’s 112 and Mercedes’ 109, with Force India on 44 from McLaren’s 37.
A slight cloud hangs over Mercedes’ triumph, however, as prior to the race Red Bull and Ferrari lodged a protest concerning a three-day Pirelli tyre test which Mercedes took part in following the Spanish Grand Prix.
Monaco Grand Prix, race result after 78 laps:
1. Rosberg Mercedes 2:17:52.056
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +3.888
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault +6.314
4. Hamilton Mercedes +13.894
5. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +21.477
6. Button McLaren-Mercedes +23.103
7. Alonso Ferrari +26.734
8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +27.223
9. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes +27.608
10. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +36.582
11. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +42.572
12. Bottas Williams-Renault +42.691
13. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +43.212
14. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +49.885
15. Van der Garde Caterham-Renault +1:02.590
Perez McLaren-Mercedes 72 laps
Grosjean Lotus-Renault 63 laps
Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 61 laps
Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 58 laps
Maldonado Williams-Renault 44 laps
Massa Ferrari 28 laps
Pic Caterham-Renault 7 laps
World Championship standings, round 6:
1. Vettel 107
2. Raikkonen 86
3. Alonso 78
4. Hamilton 62
5. Webber 57
6. Rosberg 47
7. Massa 45
8. Di Resta 28
9. Grosjean 26
10. Button 25
11. Sutil 16
12. Perez 12
13. Ricciardo 7
14. Hulkenberg 5
15. Vergne 5
1. Red Bull-Renault 164
2. Ferrari 123
3. Lotus-Renault 112
4. Mercedes 109
5. Force India-Mercedes 44
6. McLaren-Mercedes 37
7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12
8. Sauber-Ferrari 5
Next race: Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal. June 7-9.