Vettel grabs thrilling race

Vettel grabs thrilling race

German pockets fifth win; Sutil finishes creditable seventh

With the safety car twice deployed and the race red-flagged after 71 of the 78 laps due to a pile-up at the Swimming Pool complex, the 23-year-old German held on from the re-start for his first win in the principality. Vettel now has a 58-point lead over McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who scrambled to sixth place despite a drive-through penalty and numerous scrapes that triggered another stewards' investigation.

Ferrari's double world champion Fernando Alonso finished second ahead of McLaren's 2009 winner Jenson Button in third, with the top three separated by just 2.3 seconds in a knife-edge chase to the line. The race was red-flagged when Renault's Russian Vitaly Petrov slammed into the wall on lap 71 after Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and 2008 winner Hamilton had tangled ahead of him as the leading trio came through. While marshals cleared up the debris, an ambulance and doctors tended to Petrov.

After a 21-minute delay, the race re-started behind the safety car. Before the red flag, the top three had been separated by just 0.6 of a second with Alonso vainly seeking a way past the Red Bull as they skimmed the metal barriers with Button right behind the Spaniard.

The German, who had started on pole, made one stop to Alonso's two and Button's three. There was more drama after the re-start when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, in sixth place and heading for Williams' first points of the season, tangled with Hamilton and spun into the barriers.

Hamilton was in the thick of the action throughout a sunny afternoon, collecting his drive-through for a collision at the hairpin with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who then crashed out in the tunnel as Hamilton swept past. However stewards said Kobayashi and Force India's Adrian Sutil, who finished seventh, were both under investigation for an incident.

Sutil ends seventh

Adrian Sutil produced Force India’s best result of the current Formula One season by finishing seventh. Sutil earned eight points for Force India after returning empty handed in the last four races, while team-mate Paul di Resta finished 12th, an improvement of three position from the grid. India’s Narain Karthikeyan, who drives for Hispania, finished 17th.