Mark Webber leads Red Bull charge

May, 30, 2012

The unpredictable nature of Formula One has been on full display all season, and Monaco was no exception. A second career win in Monte Carlo for Mark Webber did not come easy, and he was forced to play defense for much of the event to secure victory. Because of his superb drive, Webber is now the 13th driver to win this prestigious event multiple times.

In addition, Red Bull further emerged as the constructor to beat on the streets of Monaco, having now won this event three straight years. That's an impressive accomplishment, considering it is the first time that's happened since a dominant McLaren squad won six straight from 1988-1993. What's more, it's an achievement not even Ferrari can claim in its illustrious history.

The past three trips to Monte Carlo now have seen Red Bull lead over 90 percent of the laps run, which is a testament to just how dominant the team has been there recently. This year, Red Bull was well prepared for multiple scenarios. Had the rain come, Red Bull would have been in excellent shape, as Sebastian Vettel was staying out in hopes that the track would dampen. If it had, he would have been primed for victory. The circuit remained dry, however, and therefore teammate Webber was again the man to beat.

More importantly for Webber, it brings his name toward the forefront of the championship discussion, and it is a reminder of just how balanced and highly contested this season is. Looking ahead, the eventual champion may not need to post the most victories, but consistent finishes in the points are without a doubt critical.

Just behind Webber was Nico Rosberg, who performed admirably but simply could not find room to overtake the leader in the closing laps. Still, it was a significant finish for him, as it was his first podium at Monte Carlo in Formula One. Rosberg has displayed some impressive performances this year, and with the maiden victory now behind him, he can focus exclusively on a championship run. So far, he's right in the title mix and has been vastly outshining teammate Michael Schumacher to the tune of 59 points to two. Of course, Schumacher has suffered from some bad fortune this year, but it is a rather staggering gap between the duo.

The top seven drivers are separated by just 31 points, meaning a victory next time out puts any one of those pilots in great position. That includes Jenson Button, who has struggled since his season-opening victory in Australia. Including Monaco, Button has failed to collect points in three events this season, already surpassing his total from all of last year.

In the past five events, Button has lost 46 points on Fernando Alonso, but the chaos that has been this season means change may just be a grand prix away, as McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh noted to reporters, "Our next stop will be Montreal, another non-purpose-built racetrack, but one on which overtaking is at least feasible. Jenson won brilliantly there last year, and Lewis [Hamilton] won superbly there the year before, so although we weren't able to add to our unrivalled record of 15 wins here at Monaco this afternoon, you can rest assured that in two weeks' time we'll be aiming to score a hat trick of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Canadian Grand Prix victories."

Right now, it's certainly anyone's guess as to who will be the next man on the podium's top step.



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