Monte Carlo, 27th May 2007 - McLaren Mercedes drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton scored a dominant one-two in Sunday's mainly sunny Monaco Grand Prix, but Felipe Massa was happy to salvage third place - and the only other unlapped runner - to keep his and Ferrari's championship hopes alive.
The McLaren pair were in a class of their own, finishing a whole minute ahead of their rivals. In a largely processional race of just three retirements, the McLaren pair were content to claim first and second, even though Hamilton suggested that he had the quicker car at the start of the third stint. But then he pointed out that he had number two on his car, and was thus the second driver. Ferrari's second driver, Kimi Raikkonen, was handicapped from the start after hitting the barrier in qualifying, starting sixteenth on the grid, and claiming a single point with eighth place at the end.
At the start, the two McLarens shot straight into the lead which is where they would stay, as would third place Massa and fourth place Giancarlo Fisichella. But Nick Heidfeld picked up two places to head Williams's Nico Rosberg, while Rubens Barrichello also picked up two places to hold seventh from Mark Webber who lost two places in comparison to his grid position. Raikkonen moved up four places on the first lap to hold 12th.
The opening stages were marked by Alonso leaving Hamilton behind, the British driver being mainly shadowed by Massa, who pulled away from Fisichella. These four were left on their own as Heidfeld desperately held up Rosberg and Button found Webber and Kubica queueing up behind him
Webber became the second retirement when he lost third gear which cost him eighth place. That was just before the first fuel stops. Fisichella was the first in from fourth place on lap 23. Alonso and Massa pitted on lap 26, the Brazilian changing to the softer tyres and taking it easy early on as they had showed a tendency to grain. Hamilton came in on lap 29, having expected a five lap advantage over teammate Alonso, but found that it was only three.
It meant that Alonso's lead was still 4.2s over his teammate when they rejoined. Massa, however, was 21s behind and would lose more time in traffic. Heidfeld was initially fourth, ahead of Fisichella, until his one pit stop just before half distance, which left Barrichello fifth, pushed by Kubica, until the Honda driver pitted on lap 37.
Massa's only drama had come on lap 30 when he missed the chicane at the swimming pool exit which cost him a couple of seconds, but he was still losing time to the McLarens. He was over half a minute behind when Alonso pitted on lap 51, followed two laps later by Hamilton. Massa came in a couple of laps after that, as did Fisichella.
Now came the only real threat to Alonso's lead, as Hamilton closed onto his tail, but he dropped away again with 18 laps to go, and the pair cruised to the chequered flag. Massa's deficit grew by 15s at the pit stop, so that he emerged 47s behind Hamilton, a margin with again grew to 65s by the end.
Fisichella was a lapped fourth, while Kubica was fifth and Heidfeld sixth. Alexander Wurz scored his first points of the year with seventh, while Raikkonen scored a single point with eighth, ahead of Scott Speed and the Hondas.
The result means Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are equal on 38 points in the World Championship although Alonso has two wins to Hamilton's zero. Massa has 33 points, with Raikkonen another ten points behind.
McLaren Mercedes have 76 points in the Constructors' series, twenty ahead of Ferrari, while BMW Sauber are another 26 points behind.
RACE FACTS - LAP-BY-LAP REPORT
* Lap 1: On pole position for the first time in his McLaren career, Fernando Alonso makes a clean start to lead team-mate Lewis Hamilton into Ste Dévote. Felipe Massa keeps third from Giancarlo Fisichella. Nick Heidfeld vaults to fifth ahead of Nico Rosberg, the fast-starting Rubens Barrichello, Mark Webber, Robert Kubica, Alexander Wurz, Jenson Button, Kimi Räikkönen (up from 16th), Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed, David Coulthard, Heikki Kovalainen, Takuma Sato, Jarno Trulli, Anthony Davidson, Adrian Sutil, Christijan Albers and Ralf Schumacher.
* Lap 2: Liuzzi crashes out at Massenet.
* Lap 4: Alonso leads by 1.8s and is edging away. Fisichella is being dropped – but he’s pulling away from Heidfeld.
* Lap 5: Alonso posts a 1m16.515s to lead by 2.5s.
* Lap 7: Alonso extends his lead to 3.1s.
* Lap 8: Trulli passes Sato for 16th.
* Lap 12: Alonso leads by 5.5s. Massa is 2.3s shy of Hamilton. The rest remain as they were.
* Lap 14: Alonso continues to edge away: he’s now 7.0s to the good. Schumacher is the first driver to be lapped.
* Lap 18: Webber pits to retire.
* Lap 19: Hamilton posts a 1m16.374s to cut his deficit to 6.7s.
* Lap 20: Alonso gets stuck behind Trulli and his lead is cut to 3.0s. As the leader Alonso passes the Italian, so does Sato.
* Lap 21: The Trulli effect hits Hamilton: the gap grows to 5.5s.
* Lap 22: Personal bests for both McLaren drivers: Alonso 1m15.721s, Hamilton 1m16.085s.
* Lap 23: Scheduled stops for Fisichella and Rosberg. Hamilton dips into the 1m15s.
* Lap 24: Hamilton posts a 1m15.833s: the gap is 5.2s. Sato and Albers pit.
* Lap 26: Alonso pits, as does Massa.
* Lap 27: Hamilton leads Alonso by 15.2s but he loses time with a moment at Rascasse.
* Lap 28: Hamilton posts a 1m15.372s. He leads by 15.3s.
* Lap 29: Hamilton pits. He rejoins second.
* Lap 30: Alonso leads Hamilton by 4.8s.
* Lap 31: Hamilton cuts his arrears to 4.2s.
* Lap 32: Heidfeld pits and rejoins ninth, behind Button.
* Lap 34: The top two are separated by 4.0s.
* Lap 35: Davidson is given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags. He serves it one lap later.
* Lap 37: Barrichello pits – as does Davidson, again. This time it’s scheduled.
* Lap 39: Half-distance: Alonso leads from Hamilton, Massa, Fisichella, Kubica, Wurz, Button, Heidfeld and the lapped Räikkönen, Speed, Barrichello, Rosberg, Coulthard, Kovalainen, Trulli, Sutil, Schumacher, Sato, Davidson and Albers.
* Lap 41: Button pits.
* Lap 42: Only the top six cars remain on the lead lap. Coulthard pits.
* Lap 43: Alonso posts a 1m15.500s: he leads by 7.6s.
* Lap 44: Alonso sets a new fastest lap: 1m15.284s. His lead grows to 9.0s. Wurz pits, as do Kovalainen and Sutil.
* Lap 45: Kubica and Speed pit. Kubica rejoins fifth, ahead of Heidfeld.
* Lap 47: Räikkönen pits as, some time later, does Trulli. The Ferrari driver drops to 11th but immediately starts lapping in the 1m16s, his quickest laps of the race.
* Lap 49: Schumacher completes the afternoon’s longest first stint.
* Lap 51: Alonso pits, as does Albers.
* Lap 52: Hamilton leads by 12.0s.
* Lap 53: Hamilton pits. Alonso goes back in front.
* Lap 54: The McLarens are 4.0s apart, with Massa another 18.8s adrift. Sutil crashes into retirement at Massenet.
* Lap 55: Hamilton closes to within 3.3s. Massa and Fisichella pit.
* Lap 56: Hamilton closes again: he’s 2.5s adrift.
* Lap 57: Hamilton presses on again: the gap comes down to 1.9s. Sato pits.
* Lap 59: The McLarens are almost as one: just 0.7s separates them. Rosberg pits.
* Lap 60: Alonso gains a little breathing space: he pulls 1.1s clear. Barrichello makes his second stop.
* Lap 61: Button pits.
* Lap 62: The McLarens post almost identical times: Alonso is 0.007s faster and 1.1s ahead.
* Lap 63: Räikkönen is setting personal bests – in the mid 1m16s – he’s quickly catching the seventh-placed Wurz.
* Lap 65: Alonso continues to edge away: he’s now 2.1s clear.
* Lap 70: Alonso leads by 2.9s. Massa is 54.6s adrift in third. Fourth-placed Fisichella is next in line to be lapped. Fifth-placed Kubica is going relatively slowly – a couple of seconds adrift of those in the gaggle behind, led by his team-mate Heidfeld.
* Lap 71: Albers pits to retire.
* Lap 73: Alonso laps Fisichella.
* Lap 77: The McLarens are 2.8s apart with one lap to go. Kovalainen pits.
* Lap 78: Alonso wins by 4.0s from Hamilton and provisionally retakes the world championship lead (they are level on 38 points, but the Spaniard leads by dint of two wins to Hamilton’s zero). Massa is a distant third. The rest, all lapped, are headed by Fisichella, Kubica, Heidfeld, Wurz and Räikkönen.