Click above for high-res gallery of the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix

Short of a divine calling or some sort of athletic/outdoorsy obsession, let's be honest here... who wants to get up before 8 AM on a Sunday? Racing fans who did rise with the songbirds yesterday, however, were rewarded with one hell of a spectacle. In fact, this past Race Sunday was loaded with wheel-to-wheel action in all manner of motorsports, between the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, Nurburgring 24 and, of course, the Monaco Grand Prix. We're talking about the latter here, and if you've yet to cue up the TiVo, we suggest you go no further. For those looking for a recap of the day's events on the narrow, winding streets of Monte Carlo, click below to read on.

Related Gallery2008 Monaco Grand Prix


Monaco is one of the oldest races on the F1 calendar – this was its 60th running – yet this year's race was an important first for Formula One: the first race run in the rain since the banning of traction control. The combination of a wet track surface, the lack of electronic driver's aids and the singularly difficult street circuit in Monte Carlo promised for a wet n' wild spectacle in the shadow of the Principality's famous casino, and this year's race delivered in spades.

The weekend started with promise for the championship frontrunners at Ferrari, who delivered a devastating beating to the competition during qualifying and left them with a bloody nose in the form of an all-red front row. From there, however, things went downhill and around the bend for the Scuderia. Felipe Massa started from pole and set the pace for the first part of the race – as the spray from the track forced following drivers to keep a distance in order to retain visibility on the notoriously difficult track – but ultimately lost the plot when a wheel locked up and he ran straight into the run-off area. That was the least of the many accidents that occurred in the wet street circuit, sending one car after another into the pits to replace broken nose-cones and retiring six cars early.

Massa fought hard to regain position but ultimately finished third. His defending champion teammate Kimi Raikkonen, however, fared much worse, finally crossing the line in ninth place. After suffering a drive-through penalty on a technicality from the grid, Raikkonen failed to brake on time when following Force India's Adrian Sutil, taking the young pilot out of the race from an unbelievably valiant fifth place. Sutil was seen weeping in the garage after his dream run was cut unexpectedly short, but he had company as teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, who was driving his 200th grand prix, succumbed to gearbox failure halfway through the race.

Perhaps the most spectacular crash saw one of the oldest drivers, David Coulthard, lose control on the wet track surface and smash his Red Bull car into the Armco barrier, only to be rear-ended by one of the newest drivers, Sebastien Bourdais, in the sister Toro Rosso. Both cars had to be lifted out by cranes. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton ran a nearly flawless race that was blemished by only one incident when the young driver smacked his right rear tire on the close barrier, slashing his tire and forcing him to pit early. The emergency stop, however, enabled Hamilton to take on enough extra fuel to last him through the rain, optimizing his out-time before switching to the dry slicks. A stroke of good luck, then, coupled with brilliant driving and well-adjusted strategy for the McLaren front-man. His team-mate Heikki Kovalainen suffered poorer luck, stalling on the grid and later messing up behind the pace car.


Robert Kubica aptly demonstrated that BMW Sauber is a force to be reckoned with, holding down the fort with a commanding second place while Nick Heidfeld in the second Bimmer rounded out the field of finishers in fourteenth, just behind the Toyotas of Trulli and Glock. Ahead of them Jenson Button took eleventh behind two-time world champ Fernando Alonso, who followed Raikkonen and Kovalainen. Williams' Nakajima put in a thoroughly respectable effort for an eighth place points finish behind Barrichello's Honda. STR was proud of its wunderkind Sebastian Vettel who came in fifth, behind Red Bull's Mark Webber in fourth.

With all the crashes, the race was under the yellow flag and behind the safety car for an inordinate amount of time, cutting short at the 2-hour mark instead of running the full race distance. When the checkered flag waved over the finish line, Lewis Hamilton collected a well-deserved win, propelling him into first place in the drivers' championship, with 38 points to Raikkonen's 35, Massa's 34 and Kubica's 32.

2008 Monaco Grand Prix

1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2. Kubica BMW Sauber
3. Massa Ferrari
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault
5. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari
6. Barrichello Honda
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota
8. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
9. Raikkonen Ferrari
10. Alonso Renault
11. Button Honda
12. Glock Toyota
13. Trulli Toyota
14. Heidfeld BMW Sauber

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:16.689

Not classified/retirements:
Sutil Force India-Ferrari
Rosberg Williams-Toyota
Piquet Renault
Fisichella Force India-Ferrari
Coulthard Red Bull-Renault
Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari


World Championship standings
(after six rounds)

Drivers:
1. Hamilton 38
2. Raikkonen 35
3. Massa 34
4. Kubica 32
5. Heidfeld 20
6. Kovalainen 15
7. Webber 15
8. Alonso 9
9. Trulli 9
10. Rosberg 8
11. Nakajima 7
12. Vettel 4
13. Barrichello 3
14. Button 3
15. Bourdais 2

Constructors:
1. Ferrari 69
2. McLaren-Mercedes 53
3. BMW Sauber 52
4. Williams-Toyota 15
5. Red Bull-Renault 15
6. Renault 9
7. Toyota 9
8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
9. Honda 6

Related Gallery2008 Monaco Grand Prix