If you were up early on Sunday to catch the Grand Prix of Monaco before watching the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, you saw something rarely seen in Formula 1 and you saw something that has become very familiar in 2011.
Sebastian Vettel scored his fifth win in six races this season, sprinting away from Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in a five lap shootout after a red flag.
The red flag came out for a crash between Jamie Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov right in front of Vettel, Alonso and Button, who were nose-to-tail battling for the lead. Petrov was briefly knocked unconscious, and transported to the hospital.
Before the crash, Vettel, who was in first, was hanging on with old tires, having pitted just once. Button had the freshest tires, having pitted three times, and had caught Vettel and Alonso by running laps consistently a second faster than the top two because of the new tires.
However, unlike NASCAR, when no changes can be made to the cars during a red flag period, F1 race stoppage rules allowed the teams to change tires -- and in Lewis Hamilton's case, fix the rear wing -- while the crash cleanup was ongoing. With Vettel on brand new tires thanks to only pitting once, he darted away from Alonso and Button as soon as the green flag waved.
Petrov's crash was the second scary crash in 24 hours at Monaco. During Saturday's third qualifying session, Salvador Perez lost control coming out of the tunnel and skidded through the chicane into the wall. He, too, lost consciousness on impact, but thankfully suffered no other serious injuries.
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Vitaly Petrov
- Jenson Button