Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel took his fifth victory in six races when he won a crash-hit Monaco Grand Prix thriller for Red Bull on Sunday.
With the safety car twice deployed and the race red-flagged after 71 of the 78 laps due to a pile-up at the Swimming Pool complex, the 23-year-old German held on from the re-start for his first win in the principality.
Vettel now has a 58-point lead over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who scrambled to sixth place despite a drive-through penalty and numerous scrapes that triggered another stewards’ investigation.
Ferrari’s double world champion Fernando Alonso finished second and ahead of McLaren’s 2009 winner Jenson Button in third, with the top three separated by just 2.3 seconds in a knife-edge chase to the line.
The race was red-flagged when Renault’s Russian Vitaly Petrov slammed into the wall on lap 71 after Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and 2008 winner Hamilton had tangled ahead of him as the leading trio came through.
“Vitaly is okay. He’s just complaining about leg injuries, but the doctors say nothing is broken. They are taking him to hospital for observation but it seems to be just bruising to the legs,” team boss Eric Boullier told the BBC.
After a 21-minute delay, the race re-started behind the safety car. Before the red flag, the top three had been separated by just 0.6 of a second with Alonso vainly seeking a way past the Red Bull as they skimmed the metal barriers with Button right behind the Spaniard.
There was more drama after the re-start when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, in sixth place and heading for Williams’ first points of the season, tangled with Hamilton and spun into the barriers.