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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 MONACO GRAND PRIX - RACEDAY IN MONTE CARLO
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Raceday in Monte Carlo
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
08:00 Good morning Everyone, and welcome to Autosport.com Live - on this, the biggest day of the motorsport season.

Later today we will bring you live commentary from the 92nd Indianapolis 500, as 33 drivers fight for a place in motor racing history, and their likeness etched onto the famous Borg-Warner trophy. But before we switch attention to Indy, all eyes are on glamourous Monte Carlo, and the 66th Monaco Grand Prix - round six of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

We will bring you news updates on the weather situation ahead of the race, as well as a round-up of yesterday's qualifying session, a detailed look at some of the drivers competing today, and of course full live text commentary of the race itself.

08:02 The weather has been a talking point of the Monaco Grand Prix, ever since the teams arrived earlier this week. On Monday, the initial forecasts suggested rain for raceday. Overnight that rain began to fall, and this morning the racetrack is soaked with moderate rain continuing.

The rainfall radar suggests that there could be a break in the rainfall later this morning. But, for now, moderate rainfall is keeping the track very wet indeed.

08:05 You can join in the fun by chatting live with other autosport.com forum members.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

With rain currently falling on the circuit and very wet conditions, let's hear your views on the potential for a dramatic event in Monte Carlo.

08:07 The Porshe Supercup is currently racing around the streets on a full wet track as the rain continues to fall.

Following a safety car start, and a couple of laps behind the Mercedes, the brutish tin-tops have been let loose for a splash around the circuit.

The race has now become a timed event with around eight minutes remaining.

08:22 Jeroen Bleekemolen has won the Porshe Supercup race in Monaco. With rain continuing to fall on a well-soaked surface, the Dutchman held off a train of cars after leading from the safety car start.

Ireland's Damien Faulkner started, and finished, second but Briton Sean Edwards did make up a place to finish third, despite the advances of Uwe Alzen to restore his place on the podium.

Patrick Huisman, David Saelens, Rene Rast, Jan Seyffarth, Christian Mamerow and Stefan Rosina made up the top ten, closing down the lead quartet at the finish.

Despite full wet conditions, with some standing water, it was a largely uneventful race.

08:24 The rain continues to fall lightly on the streets of Monte Carlo. A break in rainfall is approaching however, which will result in the track drying out slowly, before further showers are expected later.

08:33 The World Series by Renault cars are next out on the circuit for a 25 lap race, the final support event of the meeting.

08:50 Formula One qualifying took place in dry conditions, with rain threatening in the latter stages of the session. The first qualifying period saw 20 cars out on the circuit together, battling for 15 places in phase two.

Causalities at the end of the first 20 minutes were predictable: The Force India and new Toro Rosso cars didn't make the cut. Renault driver Nelson Piquet - who has struggled to get to grips with the winding streets this weekend - wound up 17th and was also eliminated.

The second period produced excitement and drama until the very last moment. The McLarens and Ferraris strolled through the session as expected, but behind them it was a free-for-all. Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld both left it very late for a final attempt, when they were still placed in the dropzone with just two minutes of the session remaining. Alonso made it through, but Heidfeld didn't manage to secure a place in the top ten after a poor performance. Along with Heidfeld, Glock, Button, Nakajima and Rubens Barrichello found themselves on the sidelines.

One driver who did make it through to the final stage of qualifying was David Coulthard, with a very positive tenth position. However, on his final attempt to make sure his time wouldn't be beaten, the Scot lost control of his Red Bull machine at the quickest part of this 2.075 mile circuit. Exiting the tunnel and braking down the hill for the chicane, the rear wheels locked, pitching him sharp right into the barriers. The car then speared down the escape road at high speed, and Coulthard was fortunate to escape injury. He had made it through to the final 10-minute shootout session, but with his car heavily damaged, there would be no way Coulthard would be taking any further part in the session.

In the final phase of the qualifying, it was predictably a battle between McLaren and Ferrari. Ferrari won the day and have locked out the front row for this afternoon's race, with Felipe Massa on the pole ahead of his world champion teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Lewis Hamilton was third, and Heikki Kovalainen will start fourth in today's 78-lap event.

Massa heads all-Ferrari front row

09:20 The rain is now abating. The circuit will now slowly begin to dry, although that drying process will take some time in overcast conditions and a cool ambient temperature.

The track surface is still wet.

Nico Rosberg
09:30 Much of the stand-out driving in Monaco this year has come from two men: Robert Kubica and Nico Rosberg.

Kubica looked on top form in the wet third practice, lapping quicker than the Ferraris in equal conditions. He followed this up with a strong fifth place on the grid, and is ideally placed to score an upset if the top four run in to trouble on a rainy day in Monaco - particularly if he has more fuel aboard his BMW than the leading quartet.

Back in 1983, Keke Rosberg triumphed for Williams in a rain-affected race by gambling on slicks for a drying track at the start. 25 years on, his son Nico - driving for the same team - is well placed to pick up the pieces on a day filled with potential for chaos. After clocking an outstanding Q2 time of 1:15.287, the second quickest of the segment, Rosberg took sixth on the grid with a 1:16.548 in Q3. This time difference hints at a hefty fuel load in the Williams for his first stint, something that could play into his favour if tyre changes or safety cars fall at the right time.

A buoyant Nico spoke with the media scrum after qualifying: "It was a really good qualifying. Everything went well, I got the best out of it all the way through, so I think looking at Q3, I probably had more fuel than the other guys around me. My competition is probably Kubica, in front of me, I need to try and beat him because Ferrari and McLaren are not going to be beatable, I think, for me, but Kubica - it's possible.

"To win, first of all [you need] reliability, it's always a track where that can be a problem so we need to be reliable. We have a good strategy, I think, so I think we are lined up for a good result.

"In the wet it is definitely quite difficult, especially because the tyres take some time to start to work properly, so it's quite a challenge. We had the problem this [Saturday] morning that the rubber doesn't attach properly to the ground and it takes some laps to get them to work. Once they work properly then it's OK, it's not much of a problem, because we are really starting to get used to it."

09:37 Mark Webber has spoken on his thoughts for a wet race in Monaco:

Drivers 'nervous' ahead of wet Monaco

10:00 David Coulthard will get a five-place grid penalty after his gearbox was damaged beyond repair in the crash yesterday:

DC gets five-place grid penalty

10:05 The World Series by Renault cars have completed their race on a damp and drying racetrack. The race was started under safety car for safety reasons, and also ended under safety car after a two-car crash at the Massenet.

Charles Pic was leading the race, but soon the red flags were displayed, bringing the 25-lap event to a premature halt. Giedo Van der Garde finished second, with Fairuz Fauzy in third place.

The rain holds off for now as the track continues to dry. Some parts of the racing line are drying quickly, but the rest of the circuit is damp still, with the occasional wetter patch offline.

10:32 The break in the weather continues for now, but on the horizon more showers are gathering in the Mediterranean Sea.

The main line of rain has slowly shifted north throughout the morning, lending weight briefly to a drier race than anticipated.

However, the recent radar images are showing another cluster of showers approaching Monaco, on a track further south than the main area of rain, which you can see slowly moving northwards through France.

The Meteogroup radar picks this cluster out in the sea very well.

Moving closer to home, the local radar is just beginning to show the leading edge of this feature at the bottom of the radar screen.

If the showers make it as far as the circuit, then the latest prediction is that rain could be falling again very close to the start of the race.

Meanwhile, the track continues to dry all the time. The surface is still damp, but the racing line is almost dry most of the way round the circuit.

10:41 As the track continues to dry slowly, the Formula One drivers are on show for the traditional driver's parade.

Felipe Massa
10:55 A shocked and stunned Felipe Massa manhandled his Ferrari perfectly through the winding streets of Monte Carlo yesterday, to claim pole position for today's race, with a time of 1:15.787.

His achievement is all the more incredible against the backdrop of comments the Brazilian made in the lead-up to the weekend, where he explained that he didn't particularly like the circuit, because to be fast here you have to drive "like an old woman."

After qualifying, one very happy driver greeted the world's media.

"I'm very satisfied. It's a great time to come here and be first, and without expecting it," said Massa. "I didn't expect to be first, and suddenly I just did a perfect lap. I came to the first corner, and everyone was quiet, and then suddenly my engineer came to say 'I can't believe you are first! What's happened?' Then I was laughing like crazy, I couldn't stop laughing. It was a great time, a great moment. When you don't expect it you enjoy even more. You need to do every corner perfectly to be on pole, and that's what I did."

Felipe, by his own admission, has always struggled with this circuit, with his best result in five attempts being a third place finish in last year's event. High levels of concentration, working hard to extract every last tenth of a second, and a well-balanced racecar are keys to performing well, as he explained.

"Monaco is a track where I was always struggling, compared to my teammates, comparing the previous years. I finished on the podium last year, but even like that I knew I wasn't 100 percent. This year it looks like things change a little bit, and I can say I got the best of the car and the best of myself as well."

"On Thursday the car was much better, but I was not on the top, and I was not 100 percent in every corner. Here to be on pole you have to do every corner right, and then suddenly I was studying with my engineers to understand what I have to do to improve every corner. Turn one was one of those, also turn 12, the Tabac, and the quick chicane – I was always having understeer there. Everything was missing, but I was very quick in some other corners. The on Thursday I had a very good second sector once. I said that if I can do it once then I can do maybe twice or three times, then I managed to improve that and to learn how it works."

Although extremely pleased with his day's work, Massa remained focused on the job that he still has to do in the race.

"We know the rain can come anytime, we just need to be prepared for whatever conditions we approach. Monaco is about being quick, consistent, keeping your head in the right direction and your concentration because here anything can happen, but I'm looking forward to having everything in the right direction tomorrow as well, and trying to win."

11:08 The cluster of showers that we mentioned a short time ago, are still on track to reach the circuit.

From the local radar you can see the finger of rain making its way north-east, passing Toulon, and heading towards Nice.

If that small area of rain continues its current track and speed, there is likely to be a shower around the time the race starts. However, it will not last long.

11:20 The pit lane opens for the cars to make their way to the grid in ten minutes.

11:25 The track continues to dry out, and there are only a few damp patches around. The pitlane and paddock remain fully damp, but the track surface is much drier after having had cars run on it during the support races this morning.

Showers continue to move up the coastline and the threat of rain as the race starts remains high.

11:30 The pits are now open in Monaco as we get to within half an hour of the formation lap.

11:32 The teams hesitate as they watch the radars for as long as they can get away with.

Nico Rosberg sits in his Williams, with no tyres on the car as the team ponder the forecasts.

11:34 The racing line is dry but offline there is still dampness in the surface, as Bernie Ecclestone takes his customary stroll.

11:34 The cars heading to the grid are using the intermediate tyre but the circuit is largely dry at the moment.

11:36 Official weather forecast: 60 percent chance of rain in 25 minutes.

11:36 Lewis Hamilton is pushed to his third-place grid slot, having completed the out lap on intermediate tyres.

11:38 Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld make their way round to the grid on intermediate tyres.

11:40 Rain is now falling on the circuit. Light rain at this time as the spectators in the grandstands begin to don their raincoats.

11:41 Felipe Massa is one of the last cars to make a lap to the grid with intermediate Bridgestones on his car.

"The weather is a little bit difficult but we will try to do the best we can to react to the conditions and have the right tyres and be able to finish the race - hopefully in a better position than we start."
Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren

11:44 Light rain continues to fall on the grid as the Monaco national anthem rings out over the Principality.

"With the wet and dry conditions it will be very tricky. Nico likes this place and has always been quick here from when he started with us in 2006."
Patrick Head, Williams

11:46 There are chaotic scenes on a tightly-packed grid as the teams ready both dry and intermediate tyres for the start.

11:47 The rain continues to fall lightly as we move to within 15 minutes of the formation lap.

11:49 Lewis Hamilton begins to get ready for the challenge ahead. The driver puts his helmet on and moves towards his car.

11:49 The track temperature is 21c, with 20c ambient and 80% humidity.

The teams are currently pondering their choice of tyres for the start with light rain still falling.

11:51 David Coulthard climbs aboard his Red Bull Renault, meantime Felipe Massa is in discussion with his race engineer Rob Smedley on the grid as they continue to work out which tyres to start on.

11:52 The teams must have wheels on the cars by the time the hooter sounds to mark three minutes to go before the formation lap.

11:53 The tension is incredible on the grid as the teams debate, discuss and continue to watch the skies above the circuit.

We are scheduled for 78 laps of one of the tightest racetracks on the planet.

11:54 With further rain expected over the next few minutes, the safe bet for tyres is the intermediate or 'Wet' Bridgestone, as it could cope with a drying track or some light to moderate rainfall.

If further rain does not appear, those starting on intermediates would quickly be forced to pit as their tyres overheat.

11:55 There are just five minutes to go until the start of the formation lap for the 66th Grand Prix de Monaco.

11:57 Official weather forecast: Rain expected for next 20 minutes

11:57 The rain is falling slightly heavier as we move towards the start.

11:58 Starting on dry rubber now looks like an easy ticket to contact with the barriers as rain continues to fall.

11:59 Kimi Raikkonen has intermediate tyres on his Ferrari.

11:59 One minute to go until the formation lap.

12:00 All the front running cars have chosen intermediate rubber.

12:00 The formation lap begins. Heikki Kovalainen has stalled.

12:00 Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren has failed to get away and he will start at the back of the pack.

12:01 Kovalainen is now being pushed by his machanics towards the pitlane.

12:01 Massa continues to lead the pack of 19 remaining cars through the streets, now in the Swimming Pool section.

12:02 Felipe Massa comes round the final corner at Anthony Noghes and pulls towards the grid.

Lap 1: The lights go out and we are racing towards Ste Devote as it rains in Monaco!

Lap 1: Felipe Massa reacts to the lights and he leads into Ste Devote. Hamilton passes Raikkonen into second.

Lap 1: Massa leads from Hamilton, Raikkonen and Kubica through Casino Square.

Lap 1: No major incidents in the opening stages of the first lap, the drivers are doing a supreme job of keeping the cars on track.

Lap 1: Conditions are very slippery as the cars come round on to the harbour for the first time.

Lap 2: The rain continues to fall as Massa rips through and into the second lap of the race.

Lap 2: Heikki Kovalainen got away on a pit lane start and now runs at the tail of the field.

Lap 3: Jenson Button pits his Honda and he needs a new nosecone, after contact with Nick Heidfeld in the Swimming Pool area on the opening lap.

Lap 3: Felipe Massa sets the fastest lap two in 1:37.079, over 20 seconds slower than dry pace.

Lap 3: The rain now is faling much heavier as the race continues. Nico Rosberg comes up the hill with a damaged front wing, and the German may need to pit soon.

Lap 4: Replays show Lewis Hamilton got a great launch and managed to slip up the inside of Kimi Raikkonen to take second in Ste Devote.

Lap 4: Heavy rain is now falling in Monaco.

Lap 4: Rosberg pits and now he will get the nose of the Williams changed. He was lying seventh at the time. Rosberg rejoins after a total pitlane time of 30.5 seconds.

Lap 5: Timo Glock has a damaged front wing as he continues to circulate in seventh position. The Toyota driver will have lost front downforce and will need repairs soon.

Lap 5: Felipe Massa is picking up his pace as he feels out the track. His new fastest lap is a 1:34.600.

Lap 6: Glock pits the Toyota and now the crew go to work replacing the front wing.

Replays show that the German spun at the final corner of the lap, and damaged the wing against the guardrail.

Glock rejoins with extreme wet tyres bolted onto the Toyota.

Lap 6: The rain is now significant and it could begin to challenge the grip of the intermediate tyres.

Lap 6: Felipe Massa leads by 3.1 seconds over Lewis Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen now having fallen 7.3 seconds behind the McLaren.

Lap 6: The field spread is huge in the early stages of this race, which will certainly now last the full two hours.

Fernando Alonso is on the radio asking his team if anyone else is out there on full wet (extreme wet) tyres.

Lap 7: Lewis Hamilton has hit the barriers in Tabac and is pitting the McLaren with a damaged wheel.

Lap 7: Hamilton ran wide at Tabac and glanced the armco with the left rear wheel. The rain continues to fall moderately.

Lap 7: The McLaren crew are happy with the suspension and have sent Lewis out with more intermediate tyres and a slug of fuel.

Lap 8: Hamilton exits the pitlane after a total time of 29.0 seconds, and we now have quite a collection further down the field trying to make their way towards the front.

Lap 8: Robert Kubica is very happy with the BMW in the current conditions and he is tailing Raikkonen's Ferrari.

Raikkonen appears to be struggling and is now 11.5 seconds behind leader Massa.

Lap 9: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 9: Carnage now in Monte Carlo.

Fernando Alonso crashed in the Massenet by glancing the outside barrier after understeering. He crawls back to the pits with a damaged Renault.

Lap 9: Fernando Alonso has rejoined after taking extreme wet tyres to repair his damage.

Lap 9: The pits are currently closed as the safety car leads the pack.

Lap 9: Jarno Trulli also pits in his Toyota, but also in the Massenet there has been a two-car shunt.

David Coulthard slammed the barrier moments after Alonso - whio had already left the scene. Sebastien Bourdais then followed Coulthard into the same barrier and crashed into the back of the Scotsman.

Lap 9: The pits are now open.

Lap 10: Lewis Hamilton has resumed in fourth after that early stop for repairs. He was lucky that the leading pack had pulled a sizable gap over the mid-field.

Lap 10: So three cars in the space of a minute ran wide and met the armco. Reviewing the Coulthard incident from his on-car camera we can see he had oversteer in the middle of the corner, corrected the steering, and then met his destiny in the armco on the outside of the circuit.

Lap 10: The stewards are investigating Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

Lap 10: The safety car is in this lap.

Lap 11: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 11: Alonso, who was the first of those three cars to crash, made it back to the pits, took new tyres and is currently in seventh position.

Lap 11: Conditions are very tricky at the moment, really difficult to keep the cars on the road with the intermediate rubber and lack of traction control.

Lap 11: Race control: Drive through penalty for car 1 (Kimi Raikkonen) for not having tyres fitted to the car after the three minute signal was given.

Lap 12: Massa leads from Raikkonen, Kubica, Hamilton and Heidfeld.

Lap 12: Nick Heidfeld is doing an incredible job in his BMW Sauber. He started 13th, and is up to fifth place, by driving sensibly and keeping out of trouble.

Lap 12: Raikkonen is holding off taking his drive through for now but this is disastrous for the world championship leader.

Lap 13: Fernando Alonso overtakes Mark Webber and is now in sixth position. A very opportunistic move by the Spaniard which comes off perfectly at the Mirabeau.

Lap 14: Lewis Hamilton is now falling away from third-place Kubica. Perhaps the McLaren has damage remaining from that clash with the barrier.

Lap 14: Down the field, Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg are running in 14th and 15th places as they continue their recoveries.

Lap 14: Kimi Raikkonen has taken his taken his drive through penalty. With the field quickly spreading after the restart, Raikkonen resumes in fourth.

Lap 14: Fernando Alonso now sets about trying to overtake Nick Heidfeld. Alonso, circulating on extreme wet tyres, has more grip available to him than Heidfeld and they are battling for 5th.

Lap 15: Alonso sends a move up the inside of Nick Heidfeld at the Grand Hotel hairpin, and the pair collide. Alonso T-bones the BMW, and spins Heidfeld round. Fernando Alonso has a damaged front wing and has to pit.

Both drivers continue in the race.

Lap 15: Robert Kubica is now homing in on leader Massa as the BMW has now been released by the penalty for Raikkonen.

Lap 16: Felipe Massa has gone too deep in Ste Devote and Kubica leads in Monaco!

Lap 16: Massa has resumed but now runs behind the new leader.

Lap 17: Robert Kubica leads from Massa, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Heidfeld.

The rain has now eased.

Lap 17: Behind the leading four, Nick Heidfeld is now in a strong fifth place, Webber is sixth three seconds behind the BMW. Adrian Sutil, the young driver in the Force India car is in an astounding seventh place, with Kazuki Nakajima chasing him hard in eighth.

Lap 17: The sun is now sneaking through the clouds in Monte Carlo.

Lap 18: Mark Webber overtakes Nick Heidfeld for fifth, and unbelievably Sutil follows through as well to take over sixth position.

Lap 18: Lewis Hamilton, after that stop for repairs, now has a significant fuel load on his car. He is running 10 seconds behind the leader but in theory will only need one more stop.

Lap 18: Heidfeld has dropped down the order and now pits in the BMW. He has a front wing change and puts on another set of tyres.

Heidfeld rejoins way down the order.

Lap 19: Kubica leads by just over a second as Massa's Ferrari is closing in on the BMW.

Lap 19: So much has happened in the race already, but we have 60 laps still to go in this race.

Nick Heidfeld also had a puncture and while the BMW changed the tyres, they changed the front wing as well. Heidfeld is now 18th and last of the remaining runners on the racetrack.

Lap 20: Nico Rosberg in 17th position has set the fastest lap of the race - 1:33.273. That is over four seconds per lap faster than the drivers he is chasing. He will catch Alonso very quickly.

Lap 21: The mid-field are running laps in the 1:37s, meantime Rosberg sets another new fastest lap with a 1:33.244.

Lap 21: Kubica leads by 2.2 seconds from Massa with Hamilton a further 11.2 seconds further adrift, chased by the Ferrari of Raikkonen.

Lap 21: The track is drying quickly as the rain has now fully stopped.

Lap 22: Felipe Massa is now the quickest man on the track in a 1:32.703 as conditions improve.

Lap 22: Mark Webber has dropped a long way behind the leading four cars. The Australian is over 25 seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen.

Adrian Sutil is holding onto his sixth place very well, albeit 5.9 seconds behind Webber. Jarno Trulli is now seventh, with Rubens Barrichello in eighth place.

Lap 23: Hamilton and Raikkonen continue to fall away from the leading duo. Kimi will likely to be heading for the pits over the next few laps as he still has the original qualifying fuel load onboard.

Lap 24: Heikki Kovalainen has passed Nelson Piquet for 11th place at the Mirabeau. The McLaren driver then also gets past Sebastian Vettel and now runs in tenth.

Lap 25: Hamilton's fuel position is currently quite favorable, he can run much longer than the Ferrari's due to that early stop for repairs. He must hope that his need to stop coincides with the track being ready for dry rubber, if no more rain arrives.

Lap 25: The BMW mechanics are in the pit lane for leader Robert Kubica.

Lap 26: Kubica takes further intermediate tyres and rejoins behind Raikkonen's Ferrari.

Lap 26: A Ferrari that has been in the wars at Ste Devote ... Raikkonen in trouble and is forced to pit this lap.

Lap 27: Massa sets the fastest lap, 1:30.809 as he now leads from Hamilton and Kubica.

Lap 27: Adrian Sutil in sixth is doing a great job, maintaining a healthy three second lead over Jarno Trulli. In fact Sutil pulls away from the Toyota and extends the gap to 3.7 seconds.

Sutil is likely to be stopping once in this race. If so, then the Force India team are looking good to be in the fight for the lower points-paying positions come the end of the race.

Lap 27: Raikkonen grabs a new front wing, some intermediate tyres and fuel as he rejoins sixth behind the Force India of Adrian Sutil.

Lap 27: Adrian Sutil sets his personal fastest lap of the race and is pulling away from Trulli with ease. The gap between them is now over seven seconds.

Lap 28: Felipe Massa is sprinting away at the front but must require fuel quite soon. He is trying to pull a gap on second-placed Lewis Hamilton but is only 17.3 seconds ahead at this stage.

Lap 29: Massa lost over a second on that lap as backmarkers continue to be lapped.

Lap 30: Lewis Hamilton now has the gap to Felipe Massa under control at 16 seconds but is on the tail of a train of lapped cars.

Lap 31: Kimi Raikkonen rejoined in sixth position after that pitstop for the new nosecone. The Finn appeared to miss his braking point for Ste Devote, slightly damaging the nose, necessitating the change.

Raikkonen is behind Sutil who is now in fifth place. Sutil is able to pull away from the Ferrari and on the last lap was 1.5 seconds faster than Raikkonen!

Lap 31: Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest lap with a 1:30.553, edging a few tenths out of Massa's 16 second lead.

Lap 32: Behind Jarno Trulli in seventh place a queue is forming. Barrichello, Nakajima and Heikki Kovalainen make up the scrapping quartet.

Lap 32: The track continues to dry with hazy sunshine in the Principality. Things look too tricky for dry rubber as yet with Massa now due to stop.

Lap 33: Mark Webber sets the fastest lap of the race so far with a time of 1:29.880 as the track continues to dry.

Lap 33: Felipe Massa takes intermediate tyres in the Ferrari pit and Lewis Hamilton leads in Monaco.

Massa's rapid recent laps put him back out ahead of Kubica's BMW.

Lap 34: Mark Webber is enjoying a great series of laps in the Red Bull. The Australian in fourth is pulling far away from Adrian Sutil. The gap between the pair is 11 seconds.

Lap 34: Lewis Hamilton has the lead in Monaco and sets the fastest lap of 1:29.420. The question now is how much fuel that car has from the stop on lap six and if it will last until the dry tyre conditions are reached.

Lap 35: Heikki Kovalainen pits from tenth position. He takes on another set of intermediate tyres and rejoins the fray.

Lap 37: Hamilton leads by 16.1 seconds from Felipe Massa, with Robert Kubica 1.6 seconds behind him

Lap 37: For several laps now Adrian Sutil has maintained a nine second lead over Kimi Raikkonen.

Nico Rosberg finally overtakes Fernando Alonso after spending many laps behind the Renault. Rosberg moves up to 15th position, as Adrian Sutil sets the fastest lap of the race thus far in the Force India - yes, a Force India. 1:29.292 and the German is flying out there.

Lap 38: Official weather forecast: Rain expected in 15 minutes.

Lap 38: Timo Glock loses the back end of his Toyota and slams rearwards into the barrier at the Mirabeau. Timo is crawling back to the pits but he will likely have to retire from the race with a broken rear wing.

Lap 38: Lewis Hamilton continues to stretch a lead, despite encountering further backmarkers. He needs to push further to clear Kubica and Massa when he needs more fuel.

Lap 39: Amazingly Timo Glock came in, had the car checked, and was sent back out again by his crew.

Lap 41: Its a new fastest lap of 1:27.385 from Lewis Hamilton as the track continues to dry.

Lap 41: Glock has rejoined in 16th place and is seemingly fine on the track, and is up to full racing speed quickly.

Lap 41: Hamilton now has a gap of 21.6 seconds on Massa, which is nearly the gap he needs to pit and stay out in front of the Ferrari.

Lap 42: Hamilton continues to stretch a healthy advantage as Massa weaves his way through lapped traffic.

Lap 42: Adrian Sutil in fifth is catching Mark Webber hand over fist. Sutil is running over two seconds per lap faster than the Red Bull, and is just under four seconds behind.

Lap 43: Nico Rosberg has passed Jenson Button at the Grand Hotel hairpin for 11th place. A good move from the Williams driver. His next target is Nelson Piquet, who is immediately ahead.

Lap 44: Lewis Hamilton keeps pushing at this critical phase and is now over 25 seconds up on Massa's Ferrari.

His next headache is what tyres to take at the stop, with the track drying but further rain a threat.

Lap 45: Mark Webber sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1:26.921. It won't be long before dry tyres could be considered by the teams. However offline and in the pitlane the track surface is damp or wet.

It would be a very brave decision to switch to dry tyres at this time.

Lap 45: Official weather forecast: Rain expected in six minutes.

Lap 46: Alonso stops and it's dry tyres going on the Renault. Fernando is taking the gamble and now the excitement builds again. Alonso is down in 16th as he rejoins.

Lap 46: Hamilton further trims the fastest lap with a 1:26.546 as he leads by a comfortable 28.1 seconds from Massa's Ferrari. Robert Kubica is a further 5.6 seconds behind in the BMW.

Lap 46: Nelson Piquet is desparately holding off Nico Rosberg. The pair are battling over 10th. Nelson wants to come in for some new tyres, because his existing set is shot. The team ask him to wait to see what Alonso does on dry tyres in the sister car.

Lap 47: Kubica in the BMW is now the quickest man on the track as the circuit continues to dry.

Lap 47: The Renault team now call Piquet in, as he loses that tenth place to Rosberg. Piquet comes in and he too takes dry tyres.

Lap 48: Kubica is harrying the Ferrari of Massa on worn intermediate rubber and is now on the gearbox of the Brazilian.

Lap 48: The gap between Fourth placed Mark Webber and Adrian Sutil in fifth is now down to 2.9 seconds. The gap between them has swung like a pendulum in recent laps, but now Sutil is faster again and catching Webber.

Lap 49: Webber pits in the Red Bull and he too takes on dry tyres.

Sutil is now promoted to fourth place in the Force India.

Lap 49: Nelson Piquet has put the Renault in the Ste Devote wall on his dry tyres.

Lap 49: Jenson Button pits from 12th and takes dry rubber on the Honda.

Lap 50: Timo Glock is another man to roll the dice and he takes super soft dry rubber.

Lap 50: Nelson Piquet is out of the Monaco Grand Prix. The Brazilian couldn't keep the Renault under control on the dry tyres. He slid wide at the exit of the Swimming Pool on the previous lap, but then coming down the main straight into Ste Devote he couldn't slow down, and nosed the car into the barrier.

Lap 51: Heikki Kovalainen pits from 12th and he switches onto dry tyres. The Finn rejoins and will now see if he can make some further headway through the pack.

Lap 53: Fernando Alonso, on dry rubber, has now matched the pace of Lewis Hamilton with heavily worn intermediates.

Hamilton has a 36 second lead and is sprinting away from the battle between Massa and Kubica over second.

Lap 53: Adrian Sutil is now beginning to catch the second and third place battle! He is due in the pitlane on the next for his one and only stop of this race.

Lap 53: Robert Kubica pits in the BMW and takes hard dry rubber as Fernando Alonso signals the time for those tyres with the fastest lap.

Lap 54: Lewis Hamilton pits his leading McLaren and resumes at the head of the pack on dry tyres.

Lap 54: Adrian Sutil pits from fourth and the Force India crew put their driver on dry tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen is the only driver to pass him, and for Force India a solid fifth place is there for the taking provided the German can keep his pace up in the remaining laps of the race.

Lap 54: Hamilton is comfortably ahead of Massa and is well-placed to win in Monaco providing he doesn't slip up on the remaining wet patches.

Lap 55: The Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen are yet to pit for dry rubber. The team may have fuelled the cars to the finish but their tyres would be in terrible shape if they tried to hold on for 23 more laps with the track drying all the time.

Lap 55: Jenson Button has spun out of 11th position at the chicane. Heikki Kovalainen gave the Briton a helping nudge at the entry to the chicane, spinning the Honda round.

Lap 57: Felipe Massa has pitted the Ferrari and resumes with the super soft dry tyre.

Lap 57: Raikkonen has also pitted his Ferrari and he resumes with the same tyres as his team-mate.

Lap 58: Kimi Raikkonen has re-joined fifth with Mark Webber right on his tail.

Lap 58: Adrian Sutil in fifth place, is now struggling to keep the pace up in a drier conditions, although with Raikkonen pitting the German assumes fourth place.

Sutil is where the action is going to be in this race as we move into the last 20 laps. Raikkonen and Webber will catch the Force India car. They are around 12 seconds behind Sutil and catching up quickly.

Lap 60: Lewis Hamilton leads with 18 laps or 25 minutes remaining. Kubica is second, Massa third, Sutil fourth, Raikkonen fifth and Webber sixth.

Lap 61: Adrian Sutil now picks up the pace, and his last lap was a 1:23.255. A very stong pace in comparison with Raikkonen and Webber.

Lap 61: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 62: Nico Rosberg has crashed the Williams heavily in the Swimming Pool section. The cars are threading through a heavy field of debris

Lap 63: Rosberg is out of the car without serious injury but the Williams is heavily damaged.

Lap 63: Lewis Hamilton's lead of over thirty seconds has been reduced to zero by the safety car.

Lap 64: Rosberg came through Tabac corner and into the Piscine. The Williams ran wide understeering on turn-in to the first left at the complex. He then ran out wide onto the piece of no-mans-land before slamming hard into the retaining barrier. The Williams already with heavy damage at the front, then bounced across the road at took a second bite of the barriers on the other side (the outside) of the track.

Lap 64: The pits are now open.

Lap 64: Rosberg climbed out of the car but looked to be in a little discomfort.

Lap 64: Lewis Hamilton leads under safety car from Kubica, Massa, Sutil, Raikkonen and Webber. Only the top six cars are on the lead lap.

Lap 64: Lapped cars can now pass the safety car.

Lap 65: This safety car of course not only wipes out Hamilton's large lead, but now puts Adrian Sutil under huge pressure at the restart from Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber.

Lap 65: Hamilton is now behind the Mercedes pace car with the lapped cars now released.

Lap 66: The restart is being delayed by Nick Heidfeld's BMW and other lapped cars still within the leading snake.

Lap 67: Only 12 minutes remain on the time limit, and with the same number of laps to go, the countdown is now going to win.

Lap 67: Race control: Safety car in this lap.

Lap 68: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 68: Sebastian Vettel in seventh has enjoyed a strong run, but he will come under pressure now from Barrichello as we restart again.

Lap 68: Hamilton leads Kubica and Massa through Casino Square on the restart.

Lap 68: Ten minutes remain in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Lap 68: Sutil already as predicted is under massive pressure from Raikkonen. Raikkonen runs into the back of Sutil at the Chicane! Front wing damage for Kimi Raikkonen and the Ferrari will have to pit.

Lap 69: Raikkonen has pitted and rejoined at the tail of the lead lap.

Lap 69: Adrian Sutil pits in the Force India car, and the dream result, the dream drive, the great performance is over. Sutil is out of the race. Heartbreak for the Force India team.

Lap 70: The diffuser was damaged on the Force India car, and that spells an abrupt end to the day for the team.

Lap 70: Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton is sprinting off at the head of the pack and leads by almost three seconds from Kubica.

Lap 71: Raikkonen runs ninth after that collision and is currently outside the points. If Hamilton wins, the championship will tighten drastically.

Lap 72: Sebastian Vettel is the main beneficiary of the Raikkonen-Sutil contact. The Toro Rosso moves into fifth.

Lap 72: Meanwhile on the other side of the story Sutil is inconsolable in the Force India garage.

Lap 73: The McLarens are comfortably quickest at this stage, with Hamilton leading and Kovalainen holding the last point in eighth after stalling on the formation lap.

Lap 73: Heikki Kovalainen sets the fastest lap but is immediately beaten by Kimi Raikkonen as the Finns get into a battle for the final point.

Lap 74: Felipe Massa is stuck behind Nick Heidfeld, who he clears on the run to Mirabeau, but it looks too late for him to challenge Kubica's BMW for second.

Lap 74: Sebastian Vettel is holding his own in fifth place, and far from coming under attack, he is pulling away from Rubens Barrichello with some great laps.

Vettel has endured a nightmare start to the 2008 season, and the party after the race is going to be down with the Red Bull family. Mark Webber runs fourth is the sister car to Vettel.

Lap 75: It looks like two more laps to race in Monaco as the time limit nears its final minute.

Lap 76: The gaps are static through the top ten, and the only battle on the circuit is between Toyota drivers Glock and Trulli who are fighting over 12th place.

Lap 76: The two hours are up and Lewis Hamilton is heading for victory in Monte Carlo.

Lap 76: Lewis Hamilton has driven superbly through the mayhem in Monaco. On his last lap now, it is in the bag for the British driver. Just half a lap to go for Hamilton to take his second victory of the season.

14:04 Hamilton rounds the final corner, comes over the line and Lewis Hamilton wins the 66th Monaco Grand Prix!

14:05 Robert Kubica comes home in a hard fought second, with Felipe Massa third, Webber fourth, Vettel fifth, Barrichello sixth, Nakajima seventh and Kovalainen eighth.

14:06 Kimi Raikkonen comes home ninth and fails to score in Monaco.

14:07 Great results for Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Honda will be pleased with Barrichello's finish - and Sir Frank Williams gets points in his 600th Grand Prix as Nakajima scores two points.

14:07 As the fog horns blare from the yachts in the harbour, Lewis Hamilton waves to the crowd and heads round to the unique podium on the start/finish straight.

14:08 Lewis Hamilton rolls to a halt out of the final corner, and just like Ayrton Senna would do years ago, nails the throttle and lights up the tyres down the start-finish straight. A wonderful sight.

14:09 Hamilton is jubilant after a sensational win and he celebrates wildly with his McLaren crew.

Hamilton now leads the world championship standings by three points from Kimi Raikkonen.

14:10 Lewis Hamilton receives the winners' trophy from Prince Albert of Monaco. He is ecstatic.

14:10 The top three are collecting their prizes in the Royal box, with Ron Dennis beaming as he takes the constructors trophy.

14:11 God Save the Queen rings out over Monte Carlo in salute of Lewis Hamilton winning the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix.

14:12 Rapper P Diddy, along with Hamilton's father and his new girlfriend celebrate Lewis's win as the champagne flows.

14:16 The report and classification for a dramatic race are now available:

Hamilton wins chaotic Monaco GP

"To recover from the puncture is pretty satisfying, we switched strategies and it paid off.

I think it is our track, 15 wins, that's great!

We thought we had the right strategy and I think we had."
Ron Dennis, McLaren

"I think we got it wrong, I'm very disappointed with what we've done today to be honest. We should have done a better job, and we didn't. Some days it happens like that: some days you have a perfect day, like we had on Saturday in qualifying, which was absolutely perfect, and some days you don't. And today we didn't get it right and we live and die as a team.

Robert put the dry tyres on a lap before us and he just managed to get it right, we weren't sure whether it was correct or not from our lap times, because we had graining on the intermediate tyre. So we decided to stay out another lap, which seemed to work OK relative to us, but it didn't work OK relative to Robert."
Rob Smedley, Massa's Ferrari engineer

14:30 Monaco 2008 has given us a memorable Grand Prix weekend.

Highlights include Massa getting to grips with what it takes to be fast round Monaco, Rosberg and his stunning weekend pace, and the week-long talk of rain.

At the end of the story, the race didn't even go the full 78-lap distance - but it didn't need to. The race was stunning anyway. The standard of driving over the first couple of laps on a damp track was exemplary, before the heaviest of the rain came down.

So many drivers had incidents today but got away with it - a rarity on the streets of Monte Carlo. Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and Raikkonen, to name but a few, all found trouble at one time or another during the race but were still circulating at the flag.

Meanwhile, young drivers like Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Vettel picked their way through the old hands and to end up in strong positions as the complex strategies played out.

In the end one of those fairytales didn't come true, and this evening must be hard to accept if your name is Adrian Sutil, after late contact from Kimi Raikkonen put the Force India out of a stunning fourth place. But at Toro Rosso, the party is just beginning. Vettel finished fifth and scores four vital points for the team.

Through the madness of the 76 laps, Lewis Hamilton survived everything - even a prang with the barriers - and won the race in dominant style. He leads the points table as we go to Canada.

This was the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix weekend, but we are only halfway through the biggest day of the season.

Live text coverage of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will begin at 16:00 GMT, and after 500 miles we will find out which of the 33 fastest drivers on Earth drinks the milk.

  OVERVIEW GRAND PRIX  
Race Length 78 laps
  CURRENT WEATHER
Overcast High Temp: 19°C / 66°F
Track: Wet and drying
  INFOBOX
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  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 19 May Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Thursday 22 May
 Thursday Practice 07:30
Saturday 24 May
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 25 May
 Raceday in Monte Carlo 08:00
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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