The Monaco Grand Prix is widely considered the most prestigious race on the Formula One calendar. The course is one of the most challenging in F1 with narrow streets, many elevation changes and tight corners and these factors also make it one of the most dangerous races. Ayrton Senna has won the Monaco Grand Prix more times than any other Formula 1 driver with six victories between 1989 and 1993.
The 2008 Monaco Grand Prix sees Frank Williams celebrating his 600th Grand Prix and Giancarlo Fisichella his 200th. There is a late change to the grid with David Coulthard s Red Bull dropping from 10th to 15th thanks to a gearbox change after his crash on Saturday. Toro Rosso s Sebastien Vettel and Force India s Giancarlo Fisichella also face penalties, starting 19th and 20th respectively.
The big question is the weather the parade lap sees light rain and it is expected to stay that way for at least another 20 minutes.
Kovalainen is stuck on the grid as the rest of the cars head off on the parade lap. He was pushed to the pit-lane where mechanics get his car started. The Finnish driver will start from the pit-lane.
All drivers look to be using the standard wet tyre.
Lap 1- Raikkonen looks to have a slow start and Hamilton overtakes him. Massa remains in the lead. Everyone is safely through Saint-Devote. Contact between Rosberg and Alonso as Rosberg hits the back of Alonso at the hairpin. There are questions over whether Rosberg has damaged his front win. The rain starts to fall harder. Button hits the back of Heidfeld s BMW and loses his wing, forcing him into the pits for a new nose-cone before rejoining at the back of the field.
Lap 3 The top three are slowly pulling away from the rest of the field. Massa extends his lead over Hamilton to over a second.
Lap 4 Rosberg pits to replace his front wing. He rejoins in 19th place. Glock is running in 7th place without his front wing.
Lap 5 The Toyota of Glock pits for a new front wing. It appears he knocked his wing off when he spun in the final corner. The Toyota team send Glock out on full wet tyres.
Lap 6 Hamilton hits the wall when exiting the Swimming Pool and causes a right-rear puncture. Hamilton pits. The McLaren team elect to continue with intermediate tyres. Hamilton s car appears to be undamaged. Hamilton rejoins in fifth place.
Lap 8 Alonso tags the wall and ends up with a right rear puncture and suspension damage. He pits and the team send him out on extreme wet tyres, apparently happy that there is no significant damage to the rear of the car.
On the way into Casino Square, David Coulthard and Bourdais crash. Coulthard loses the back end of his Red Bull before tagging barrier. Bourdais has exactly the same accident and ploughs into the back Coulthard. Safety car deployed.
Lap 9 The pit lane re-opens.
Lap 10 The stewards announce Raikkonen is under investigation. Safety Car comes in at the end of the lap.
Lap 11 Raikkonen is given a drive-through penalty for not having tyres fully fitted within the three minute signal before the start of the race. Raikkonen is currently running in second place and the news will probably ruin his race.
Lap 12 The weather forecast is that the weather is set to improve therefore it is expected that most drivers will stick with the standard wet tyre. Alonso overtakes Webber at the Mirabeau to take sixth place.
Lap 13 Alonso hassles Heidfeld the Spanish driver appears to have far more grip than the German thanks to his full wet tyres. Raikkonen pits for his drive-through penalty and rejoins in fourth, just behind Lewis Hamilton.
Lap 14 Alonso tries to overtake Heidfeld at Loews. The two touch and come to a stop, but both are able to continue. Mark Webber almost tags the back of Alonso while the Spaniard is at a stop.
Lap 15 Alonso pits again. Rosberg also pits from 17th for a new front wing. Kubica is flying in second place, five seconds behind race leader Felipe Massa.
Lap 16 Massa makes a mistake and Saint-Devote after putting a tyre onto the wet line. Kubica takes the lead. Massa keeps the car out of the barriers by going down the escape road, recovers and continues on in second position around 2.5 seconds behind Kubica.
Lap 17 Heidfeld is struggling. Webber and Sutil both overtake him. Nakajima and Trulli also pass. Heidfeld pits. The team fit a new nose-cone to the BMW. He also has a right-rear puncture. He stays on standard wets and rejoins in 11th place.
Lap 18 Barrichello passes Nakajima. The rain stops, but the track is still very wet. Lap times are falling with Kubica putting the fastest lap of the race so far with a 1:34.529.
Lap 19 Massa responds with a new fastest lap of 1:34.002. Rosberg is flying in 17th place and smashes Massa s lap time with a 1:33.273. Rosberg s lap 20 is even quicker and he is starting to catch 16th placed man, Alonso.
Lap 22 Massa and Kubica trade quickest times as a dry line starts to appear on the race-track.
Lap 24 Kovalainen starts to apply pressure to 11th placed man, Piquet locks up into Mirabeau allowing Kovalainen to pass. Vettel takes advantage of the situation and also passes the Renault of Piquet.
Lap 25 Kubica and Massa continue to trade fastest lap times as lap times drop into the low 1 minute 31 seconds.
Lap 26 Kubica pits from the lead. He elects for standard wet tyres and rejoins the track in fourth. Raikkonen locks a wheel and goes straight on at the first corner in the same place as his team-mate earlier. Raikkonen taps the barriers with the front of the car and damages his front wing. Kubica is now in third.
Lap 28 Raikkonen pits for a new nose cone. The team put standard wets on along with some fuel. The stop is slow at 16 seconds, but there is the possibility that Raikkonen is now fuelled to the finish. He rejoins in sixth place as Massa puts in a quickest lap of 1:30.749.
Lap 30 Glock, Button and Fisichella put in their best times of the race. Weather reports have more rain predicted.
Lap 31 there is a train of three cars behind Trulli as Trulli, Barrichello, Nakajima and Kovalainen fight for seventh place. Trulli is on extreme wets and is thought to be holding up the three cars behind him.
Lap 32 Hamilton sets a new fastest lap, before Webber goes even quicker, and Massa then tops them both.
Lap 33 Massa being held up by traffic before pitting from the lead. Massa elects for standard wet tyres. Hamilton takes the lead as Massa rejoins in second, just ahead of Robert Kubica. Mark Webber is the first man to put in a lap of under 1 minute 30, with a fastest lap of 1:29.535.
Lap 35 Piquet is being hassled by Vettel. Piquet has complained of a vibration in his car. Kovalainen pits and puts on another set of standard wet tyres. He rejoins in 17th place.
Lap 36 Adrian Sutil sets a new fastest lap in his Force India with a 1:29.292
Lap 38 Very light rain starts to fall. Trulli pit from 8th place. He changes from extreme wets to standard wets.
Lap 39 Fisichella pits. Glock spins his Toyota at Mirabeau and smacks the rear of his car into the barrier. The rear of the car looks to be damaged but he is able to continue. Fisichella retires from his race.
Lap 40 Glock pits. Barrichello and Hamilton are trading fastest lap times. Hamilton has extended his lead over Massa to just under 22 seconds.
Lap 41 As Button responds to the waved blue flags and lets Massa past, loses a place to Rosberg who follows the Ferrari through.
Lap 44 Hamilton and Alonso look set to pit soon. The teams must decide whether to stick with standard wets, or go with dry tyres there is a dry line on the track, but rain is predicted soon.
Lap 46 Alonso pits and is the first man to put the dry tyres.
Lap 47 Rosberg overtakes Piquet as the Renault team prepare for a pit stop.
Lap 48 – Piquet pits from 11th and he also switches to the dry tyres as Alonso has a bit of a moment on-track. Sutil laps Kovalainen. Webber pits from fourth and he also puts dry tyres on. The Force India of Sutil is up to fourth place.
Lap 49 Piquet bins his car down into Saint Devote, smacking his car into the barriers and out of the race.
Lap 50 – Button pits and puts on dry tyres. Glock has also pitted for the third time. Kovalainen pits from 11th and also puts on the harder dry tyre option. It appears that McLaren are using Kovalainen as a guinea pig for Lewis Hamilton.
Lap 52 Alonso puts in a fastest sector 2 of anyone, showing the dry tyres are starting to work well. Kubica is all over the back of the Ferrari of Massa. The pair are around 36 seconds behind race leader Hamilton.
Lap 53 Mark Webber is struggling with the dry tyres and loses three places. Nakajima and Vettel pit from 8th and 9th respectively. Glock who is still on extreme wets – spins again at the chicane as Kubica pits from third and is sent out on dry tyres. Sutil also pits and also elects from dry tyres. Hamilton pits, takes on dry tyres, and rejoins in the lead. Sutil rejoins in fifth place behind the second Ferrari of Raikkonen.
Lap 55 Trulli and Rosberg pit. Kovalainen tags the back of Button as they enter the chicane after the tunnel, causing the Brit to spin. Kovalainen s nudge allows him to overtake Button s Honda.
Lap 56 Massa pits to take on some dry tyres. The two Ferrari drivers were the only top drivers still on wets. Kubica overtakes Massa for second place.
Lap 57 Heidfeld pits from the back of the field. Kovalainen puts a stunningly quick lap time in of 1:22.648. Raikkonen pits from fourth and puts the dry tyre on. He rejoins in fifth behind the Force India of Adrian Sutil.
Lap 60 Kovalainen is absolutely storming, running in the 1 minute 20s, two and a half seconds a lap quicker than his team-mate and race-leader Hamilton.
Lap 61 it is predicted that the drivers will not complete the full race distance. Current predictions are that the drivers will only complete around 74 of the 78 laps.
Rosberg has a huge accident at the Swimming Pool. Luckily, he walks away from the wreck of his Williams. Debris is strewn all over the circuit and the Safety Car is deployed.
Lap 62 Replays suggest the Rosberg missed his braking point into the complex and went almost head on into the wall before sliding sideways into the opposite barrier. As the Williams is towed away, it appears that it has dropped some fluids onto the track.
Lap 63 Heidfeld pits again.
Lap 65 Lapped cars are permitted to overtake the safety car. Heidfeld and Kovalainen don t appear to be unlapping themselves even though they are permitted to. There is 15 minutes remaining until the race ends.
Lap 66 Kovalainen and Heidfeld finally overtake the Safety Car to try and unlap themselves. Their delay in unlapping themselves has possibly delayed the race restart. The Safety Car comes in at the end of the lap, with around 11 minutes of the race remaining. The top six are currently: Hamilton, Kubica, Massa, Sutil, Raikkonen, Webber.
Lap 68 We are racing again! Raikkonen locks his brakes, loses the back of his car, snaked down the hill and smacks into the back of Sutil, heavily damaging the front of his Ferrari. Both drivers are able to carry on but are both having to pit. Raikkonen gets a new nose cone and goes back out in ninth place. Sutil unfortunately has to retire.
Lap 70 Hamilton is storming at the front of the pack and has pulled out a lead of around 3.4 seconds over Massa. The two McLarens are trading fastest lap times.
Lap 71 Sutil looks to be in tears in the pit-lane having been robbed of fourth place.
Lap 72 Raikkonen puts in the quickest lap of the race with a 1:17.516. He is 3.5 seconds off the final points-paying place. Vettel is having a good race in fifth place with 2 and a half minutes on the clock remaining.
Lap 74 Raikkonen continues to fly but it looks to be too little, too late.
Lap 75 Time runs out; this will be the final lap. Hamilton wins and takes the lead of the 2008 Driver s Championship. Kubica second, then Massa, Webber, Vettel, Barrichello, Nakajima and Kovalainen. Barrichello scores his first points since 2006.