Vettel began the race in ninth position but in the confusion caused by Romain Grosjean’s turn-one crash at the start Vettel threaded his way through to sixth. Running with soft tyres, in opposition to most of the front runners, who had started on Supersofts, Vettel drove a long first stint and inherited the lead on lap 31.
Over the course of the next 15 laps he cranked up his pace to the degree that by the time he pitted on lap 46, Vettel had found enough time to emerge in fourth place, which he held until the chequered flag. The result means that Vettel slips to second in the Drivers’ Championship standings. Alonso now has 76 points with both Vettel and Monaco-winning team-mate Mark Webber three points behind. After the race Vettel said he felt that he had the pace for a podium finish but that traffic had halted his progress following his single pit stop.
“It would have been nice to have been on the podium today. I think the speed was there, but in the end we had the same strategy as the leaders, just the other way round,” he said. “It was quite difficult as we were on older tyres, but we had some good laps and we gained roughly around eight seconds, so that was strong. After that I was in traffic and it’s difficult to pass in Monaco, as I showed last year and Mark showed this year.
“We were hoping some of the leaders would be forced to do two stops, but unfortunately Kimi made quite a big gap behind me, so the leaders had clean air after their first stop,” he added. “That helped them and it made it more difficult for us, but we started ninth and considering it’s hard to pass here, then to gain five places was a good day. It’s definitely good for Mark to win here and also for the team to get their third Monaco win in a row – it’s impressive.”