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As it happened: The Monaco Grand Prix
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted. Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT live for coverage of round six in the 2011 FIA Formula 1 world championship - the Monaco Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel came through a difficult qualifying session yesterday to claim the 20th pole of his career ahead of Jenson Button and Mark Webber, but all eyes were on Sauber's Sergio Perez in the final segment, as he suffered a horrifying crash at the chicane that brought back memories of Karl Wendlinger in 1994.

Thankfully, the Mexican emerged largely unscathed from the incident, but the FIA doctors have sensibly prevented him from taking part in today's race, leaving Kamui Kobayashi as the team's sole representative this afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton will start from a lowly ninth position on the grid after a disappointing performance in qualifying. Disrupted by the red flags, he couldn't get a good lap together - but worse was to come. His Q3 time was later deleted by the FIA stewards, as he had missed the chicane on his only flying lap.

Neither HRT driver took part in qualifying. Tonio Liuzzi crashed in final practice and Narain Karthikeyan suffered a suspension problem, but both have been allowed to start by the FIA as they had posted satisfactory lap times in practice.

11:30 The pitlane is now open for the drivers to complete their reconnaissance laps to the grid.

11:32 Most of the drivers are already heading out for a lap around the circuit, feeling out the grip levels that may have changed overnight.

11:33 Here's a reminder of the standings after five rounds:
World Championship standings, round 5:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel       118        1.  Red Bull-Renault          185
 2.  Hamilton      77        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          138
 3.  Webber        67        3.  Ferrari                    75
 4.  Button        61        4.  Renault                    46
 5.  Alonso        51        5.  Mercedes                   40
 6.  Rosberg       26        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             11
11:35 Lewis Hamilton passes through the pitlane and back out onto the circuit to begin a second tour.

11:36 Conditions are brilliant once again, with clear skies and strong sunshine to round off a perfect Monaco weekend.

Air temperature has reached the maximum of 24 Celsius and with just a light breeze from the south, that should translate into a track temperature of around 42 degrees.

11:39 Here is the grid line-up for today's race:
Pos  Driver                Team
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari
 5.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth
 9.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes *
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault
11.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes
14.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes
15.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault
16.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault
18.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault
19.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth

* Q3 time deleted for cutting the chicane
11:39 Cars are now in place on the confined grid, which as ever here is bustling with VIP guests.

Tyres11:42 So far this week, F1's strategists have been somewhat surprised by the relatively low tyre degradation from the softest end of Pirelli's compound range.

One stop is even being considered as a viable strategy in some teams, although most feel two changes of rubber will be the quickest way to make the flag. The big worry is traffic, with early stoppers desperately hoping they don't feed out of the pits into a train of slower cars.

The harder tyre looks to provide the best compromise between speed and durability, so look for the front runners switching to the prime compound after completing the first stint on the super soft rubber used in qualifying.

The safety car is yet to intervene in an F1 race this season, despite extensive use in chaotic support events. An untimely deployment could ruin even the perfect strategy, so expect to see a dramatic rush for the pitlane if it does emerge today.

11:43 McLaren chairman Ron Dennis is among the crowd surrounding the team's cars on the grid.

11:45 The pits are now closed. Any driver not on the grid by now, will be required to start behind the rest of the field.

11:46 The crowd around the principality rises to respect the Monaco national anthem, as it plays out over the public address system.

11:48 Drivers begin to return to the grid after taking a break from the chaotic throng surrounding the cars.

11:49 Keep up to speed with our minute-by-minute commentary on the move with the AUTOSPORT app.

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11:51 The grid is slowly clearing, leaving the mechanics working to get the drivers comfortable in their cars.

Safety car11:52 Motor racing fans love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.

• Who will get the jump off the line and into Ste. Devote? You have to think that we will see a more exciting early phase of the race if Button manages to snatch the lead.

• The safety car has not featured in any of the five races thus far in the 2011 campaign. Will we see the Mercedes used today?

• How many do you think will be classified at the end of the race?

Tell the world what you think.

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.

11:53 A lot of work has been carried out on Michael Schumacher's car since he arrived on the grid. The German will start from fifth today.

11:55 There are five minutes to go until the formation lap begins at Monaco.

11:56 All 23 cars made it to the grid without problem and track temperature is up at 42 degrees Celsius.

11:58 Lewis Hamilton will be one to watch at the start from ninth. His first target will be Pastor Maldonado's Williams.

11:58 Down the field, Jaime Alguersuari is also slightly out of position, and will be looking to get past the Lotus duo in the early stages.

11:59 The engines fire with a minute to the formation lap.

12:00 The formation lap begins at Monaco and polesitter Sebastian Vettel leads the field of 23 away from the start line.

12:00 After having his Q3 time deleted, Hamilton is rolling the strategy dice by starting on the harder tyres.

12:00 No problems on the grid and Vettel leads the pack round Casino Square towards the Mirabeau.

12:01 Through the tunnel and out onto the waterfront, Vettel guides his Red Bull round towards the completion of the lap.

12:01 As ever, the DRS will be disabled during the first two racing laps.

12:02 There is a large gap between the top three and the rest of the pack, as Vettel rounds Anthony Noghes and heads towards the grid.

12:02 Button tells his team that his steering feels "really heavy".

12:02 Vettel brings the RB7 onto pole position but the HRTs aren't even at La Rascasse yet.

12:02 A power steering problem for Button would give the McLaren man a very difficult afternoon around here.

12:03 The cars slowly form up behind Vettel and it is a long hold for the polesitter. We await the lights ...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing in Monaco!

Lap 1: Vettel drops the hammer ... Button is alongside but doesn't make it. Vettel leads from Button and Alonso into Ste. Devote.

Lap 1: Down to the harbourside for the first time, it is Vettel from Button, Alonso, Webber and Rosberg.

Lap 2: Schumacher made a shocking start but nails Hamilton into the old Loews hairpin to take ninth place on the opening lap.

Lap 2: Vettel has a 2.4 second lead as he flashes past the line for the first time.

Lap 2: Alonso is right on the gearbox of Button's McLaren, with Vettel comfortably clearing off up front.

Lap 2: A remarkable move there from Schumacher. Hamilton is down in 10th with Barrichello 11th, di Resta 12th and Kobayashi 13th.

Lap 4: DRS is now available to the drivers, but there isn't likely to be much successful use of the rear wing system down into the first corner.

Lap 4: Down the field, Alguersuari has passed Kovalainen but Trulli has done well to stay ahead of the Toro Rosso.

Lap 4: Replays show another storming start from Alonso in the Ferrari, who easily cleared Webber and was even looking to challenge Button.

Lap 5: But the Spaniard is still boxed up behind the McLaren, while Vettel is streaking off to a 4.3 second lead.

Lap 5: Hamilton is chasing Schumacher with his harder tyres, but he is losing two seconds per lap to the leaders at the moment.

Lap 5: Massa is also harrying the car in front - Rosberg - who was lucky to clear his slow-starting team-mate off the line.

Lap 6: Hamilton is staying under the rear wing of Schumacher's Mercedes, as they continue to battle for ninth.

Lap 6: Barrichello is 1.3s behind them in 11th, with di Resta 12th, Kobayashi 13th, Sutil 14th, Heidfeld 15th, Buemi 16th and Trulli 17th.

Lap 7: Hamilton gets a great drive out of Ste. Devote and pulls right up to the gearbox of Schumacher, but there is no way through.

Lap 7: Vettel's lead remains a comfortable 4.4 seconds as the battle between Hamilton and Schumacher rages on, increasingly further behind.

Lap 8: A gap is developing as Petrov in eighth pulls away from these two. Hamilton again has good speed on the start-finish straight but the wily Schumacher just eases over a touch to maintain track position.

Lap 9: No change up front as Vettel leads strongly in the early stages from Button, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Maldonado and Petrov.

Lap 9: Hamilton gets another chance on the pit straight, but he is not close enough this time round.

Lap 9: Schumacher reports on the team radio that he can feel his rear tyres graining up.

Lap 9: Alonso takes away the fastest lap from Vettel but remains over a second behind Button's McLaren.

Lap 9: Button's pace has been good in recent laps, matching leader Vettel in the mid 1m19s bracket.

Lap 10: Hamilton sends one up the inside of Schumacher at Ste. Devote and sheer belief and commitment takes him through and into ninth position.

Lap 11: A great move from the McLaren driver. Schumacher began to turn in and the pair made very light contact, but both got through and continue.

Lap 11: So Hamilton now has a 5.9s deficit to Petrov and he should close that down fairly quickly.

Lap 11: Meantime, Schumacher is now left to fend off the advances of Rubens Barrichello - that could be interesting.

Lap 12: Rosberg also seems to be struggling for speed on his tyres at this stage, with Massa, Maldonado and Petrov all forming a train behind.

Lap 12: Barrichello is on Schumacher's gearbox through Rascasse but the German is able to pull away in the early part of the pit straight.

Lap 12: Barrichello doesn't give up and makes a move up the inside of the Mirabeau ... it sticks and the Williams is up to 10th.

Lap 13: The lead gap is down slightly to 4.1 seconds, with Alonso a further 1.3s behind Button in third.

Lap 13: Schumacher pits from 11th and the team is replacing the front wing.

Lap 13: Hamilton is charging up to that train behind Rosberg and is now just over a second behind them.

Lap 13: Schumacher rejoins in 21st position and will face a very hard afternoon from there.

Lap 14: Massa is virtually pushing Rosberg around the circuit but is yet to find a way past the German's Mercedes.

Lap 14: Massa clips the Mercedes with his front wing heading up the hill from Ste Devote, but there was no chance of a move there.

Lap 14: Barrichello is 10th and after Schumacher's stop di Resta is up to 11th with Kobayashi 12th, Sutil 13th, Heidfeld 14th and Buemi 15th.

Lap 15: Massa sends a remarkable move at Tabac and he is through!

Lap 15: Schumacher in 21st is 6.6 seconds behind Jerome d'Ambrosio, with Glock a further five seconds up the road.

Lap 15: Maldonado snuck past Rosberg as well, leaving Petrov now chasing after the Mercedes.

Lap 15: Button pits, as Hamilton dives past Rosberg into the chicane.

Lap 16: Button resumes on another set of super soft rubber in fourth place on the road.

Lap 16: Rosberg admits defeat and pits his Mercedes.

Lap 16: Button has resumed in clear air ahead of Massa and is looking to get an undercut on the leader.

Lap 16: Vettel pits and Red Bull make a mistake!

Lap 17: There is total confusion at Red Bull as Webber pits as well and they scramble to find the right tyres.

Lap 17: Rosberg has rejoined in 19th position and Schumacher has closed to within 1.4s of d'Ambrosio as they battle for 20th.

Lap 17: Vettel is back underway but he is now behind Button on the road after some disastrous pit work at Red Bull.

Lap 17: Alonso reacts with his own stop in the Ferrari.

Lap 18: Button leads for McLaren in Monaco.

Lap 18: Barrichello moves still further up the list in the pitstop phase to eighth, with di Resta ninth, Kobayashi 10th and Sutil in 11th place.

Lap 18: Vettel is now down to second after that bungled pitstop, but Vettel is on the harder tyre while button opted for super softs.

Lap 18: Alonso wasn't quite able to make it past the slowed Vettel and is third on the road, also on the harder tyres.

Lap 19: Heidfeld is 12th with Buemi 13th, Webber currently 14th after his stop, Trulli 15th and doing well with Alguersuari on his tail in 16th.

Lap 19: Button sets the fastest lap as he pushes on to a lead of 6.2 seconds over Vettel.

Lap 19: Behind the top three, Massa is the first man yet to stop, chased by Maldonado, Petrov and Hamilton.

Lap 20: Barrichello is 4.8s behind Hamilton in eighth and 2.3s ahead of di Resta who is having a good first Monaco in ninth.

Lap 20: Button continues to eke out his advantage as he finds promising speed from the super soft rubber at this stage.

Lap 20: Kovalainen pits from 17th in the Lotus. He was just 3.5s behind his team-mate's battle with Alguersuari when he came in.

Lap 21: Hamilton is all over the gearbox of Petrov's Renault but is yet to find a way through.

Lap 21: Di Resta pits the Force India from ninth place.

Lap 21: Petrov is wide out of the first corner but it's just too tight for Hamilton to capitalise up the hill into Casino Square.

Lap 22: Schumacher has passed d'Ambrosio for what is now 19th place after Kovalainen's stop. Schumacher is now less than one second behind his team-mate Rosberg.

Lap 22: Rosberg is all over the gearbox of Glock's Virgin, as they fight for 17th.

Lap 22: Button's advantage is up to 9.7 seconds as he pulls away from Vettel at around a second a lap thanks to the opposing tyre choice.

Lap 23: Hamilton pits.

Lap 23: Rosberg is not able to pass the Virgin into Ste. Devote and the three of them are together. Just ahead of this three-car scrap is di Resta.

Lap 23: Once again it is a late call and Hamilton surprises the McLaren mechanics with his visit.

Lap 23: Hamilton resumes on super soft rubber in a lowly 15th place.

Lap 24: Glock pits the Virgin and that releases the two Mercedes drivers into some free air. They are 6.6s behind di Resta, who is 16th.

Lap 25: Trulli pits from 13th place and that releases Hamilton into some clear space.

Lap 26: Trulli has done well to keep Alguersuari behind him in the opening stint of the race, as di Resta has a go at Alguersuari and it all goes wrong.

Lap 26: Maldonado is in for his first stop of the afternoon, resuming behind Hamilton on prime tyres.

Lap 26: Di Resta tried to pass the Toro Rosso up the inside at the old Loews hairpin, but the Spaniard turned in and they made contact.

Lap 27: Massa is in for his first stop from fourth.

Lap 27: Massa resumes on the harder tyres - in between Webber and Hamilton.

Lap 27: Di Resta has damage to the front wing of his Force India but has continued on. Now he is given a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.

Lap 28: The Mercedes drivers have closed up to 1.8s behind the di Resta versus Alguersuari battle, as di Resta comes in from 14th to complete his drive-through.

Lap 29: Button leads by 13.3 seconds from Vettel and Alonso. The McLaren man lost some time on that lap passing heavy traffic.

Lap 29: Massa is 11th and Hamilton has caught him easily. The Briton is looking for a way round the Ferrari.

Lap 29: Petrov dives into the pits for his stop. He takes prime compound rubber and resumes behind the scrap between Massa and Hamilton.

Lap 30: Barrichello is now up to fourth, but is yet to stop and is almost a minute behind leader Button.

Lap 30: Maldonado has rejoined in 12th place so that is track position gained for Hamilton in the stops.

Lap 30: Kobayashi, Sutil, Heidfeld and Buemi are all looking at a one-stop plan and are yet to visit the pits.

Lap 31: Schumacher sends a move up the inside of Rosberg at the hairpin and makes it through to 14th. Petrov is next man up the road in 13th, some five seconds away.

Lap 32: Button has picked up his speed again as he pulls back to over 14 seconds clear of Vettel.

Lap 32: Buemi is up to eighth and holding up the drivers that have stopped. Webber, Massa and Hamilton are all nose-to-tail behind the Swiss.

Lap 33: Remarkably, Button is quickly closing on his team-mate to lap him as Hamilton is slowed by this train behind Buemi.

Lap 33: Just ahead of this train is Barrichello, who is fourth but a massive 50 seconds behind the leader. Kobayashi is fifth with Sutil sixth and Heidfeld seventh.

Lap 33: Timo Glock pulls off the track with what appears to be suspension damage on the Virgin.

Lap 34: Barrichello pits from fourth.

Lap 34: Leader Button is in and takes another set of super soft rubber.

Lap 35: Massa is out of the race at the chicane.

Lap 35: Di Resta pits for his second tyre stop of the afternoon, as Hamilton tries to pass Massa at the hairpin.

Lap 35: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 35: The pair made contact and Massa sustained front wing damage. He has since crashed and is out of the race.

Lap 35: Vettel does not opt to pit, while Alonso is in for fresh rubber.

Lap 35: Schumacher has stopped on track as Massa climbs out of his crashed Ferrari at the chicane.

Lap 35: Schumacher is pushed into the pitlane by a team of marshals with no drive.

Lap 35: Heidfeld, Buemi, Rosberg and Liuzzi all react with stops.

Lap 35: Replays show that Schumacher just lost drive coming out of La Rascasse. He is out of the race.

Lap 35: Further replays show what happened between Hamilton and Massa. They battled at the hairpin, made contact but Massa held track position.

Lap 36: Hamilton then tried again and pulled off an unbelievable move up the inside as they went through the tunnel.

Lap 36: Vettel leads behind the safety car from Button and Alonso. There are several lapped cars in between the leaders.

Lap 36: Massa was wide and drifted out towards the wall, damaging the left front corner of the car. He drove slowly to the chicane and parked.

Lap 36: Sutil is now fourth on the road, followed by Kobayashi. After that it is Webber and Hamilton.

Lap 36: Meanwhile, Button is possibly compromised by this intervention as he needed some fast laps in clear air on his super softs.

Lap 37: Maldonado is eighth, with Petrov ninth, Heidfeld 10th, Buemi 11th, Barrichello 12th, Alguersuari 13th and Trulli in 14th place.

Lap 37: Both Button and Vettel will need to stop again, while Alonso could plan to go the distance from here.

Lap 38: Down the order, Alguersuari did gain track position over Trulli in that battle. Let's see if the Lotus driver can hang on to the Spaniard.

Lap 38: That reactionary stop from Alonso could prove to be the winning move if the Spaniard can go the distance on the tyres he fitted.

Lap 38: Rosberg is 15th in the one remaining Mercedes, with Kovalainen 16th, d'Ambrosio 17th, di Resta 18th, Liuzzi 19th and Karthikeyan 20th.

Lap 38: The safety car will come in at the end of this lap.

Lap 39: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 39: There are three lapped cars in between Vettel and Button, who clears one of them by passing Barrichello after the restart.

Lap 40: Everyone from Heidfeld in 10th is one lap down. The German has Buemi and Barrichello tight up behind him.

Lap 40: Vettel obviously needs to push at this stage but his tyres are quite old.

Lap 40: It is chaotic back in the pack as Webber and Hamilton battle through the lapped traffic.

Lap 40: The incident between Felipe Massa and a charging Lewis Hamilton will be investigated by the stewards.

Lap 41: Alonso is now 8.1 seconds off the lead in third as he begins to cut through the lapped cars.

Lap 41: Button has surged past the slower machines with the benefit of his super soft rubber and is closing rapidly on leader Vettel.

Lap 42: D'Ambrosio is frightened off the road by that group fighting for fourth and he moves off track to the inside of Ste. Devote and lets them all through.

Lap 42: Button flashes across the line right on the gearbox of Vettel's Red Bull.

Lap 43: Button will be keen to get by Vettel as he needs to pull a gap on Alonso with the benefit of the super soft rubber.

Lap 43: Button will have to use the harder tyre for the final stint, while Vettel will be switching to the softer rubber.

Lap 43: Sutil is fourth but already 13.7s behind Alonso. Kobayashi, Webber and Hamilton are right on his tail. Maldonado is eighth.

Lap 44: Lewis Hamilton has been given a drive through penalty for causing a collision (with Massa).

Lap 44: Hamilton is seventh currently, but will only fall to ninth place. He comes in now and tours through the lane.

Lap 44: Alonso has cleared the lapped Heidfeld and is now just 7.5 seconds off the lead pair.

Lap 45: Hamilton rejoins in ninth, because the rest of the field is one lap down. He stays on the lead lap and will charge after Petrov.

Lap 45: Webber tries to make a move on Kobayashi entering Ste. Devote but thinks better of it. This is the fight for fifth.

Lap 45: Alonso is faster than Vettel at the moment and it is looking very good for the Spaniard if he can go the distance without another stop.

Lap 46: Vettel's tyres are getting old at this stage, with this set being the prime rubber he took in that messy stop on lap 16.

Lap 47: Paul di Resta is now 18th and has damage to the Force India. Replays show that he nudged the back of d'Ambrosio's Virgin at the hairpin.

Lap 47: Button is being told by the McLaren team that he must pass Vettel on the road.

Lap 47: Sutil is holding onto fourth in the other VJM04. He is now 24.5s behind Alonso, with Kobayashi and Webber still on his tail.

Lap 48: Alonso is still slowly closing on the lead battle.

Lap 48: Maldonado in seventh is just 1.6s behind the squabbling trio, with Petrov eighth and Hamilton now eighth seconds behind the Russian in ninth.

Lap 49: Button opts to pit for a set of fresh softs for his run to the flag.

Lap 49: Trulli pits from 14th place. He had been holding on well to the back of Alguersuari - their fight continuing since the first lap of the race.

Lap 49: It's a gamble for Button and he now needs a rapid lap to try and undercut Vettel for track position.

Lap 49: Button resumes behind Buemi on the run up the hill.

Lap 50: Button makes it past the Toro Rosso on the run down to Mirabeau, and this is not an ideal first flyer for the McLaren man.

Lap 50: Trulli's stop releases Rosberg up to 14th but he has no chance of points this afternoon, unless there is some chaos ahead of him.

Lap 50: Vettel does not respond to Button's stop and stays out on old rubber.

Lap 50: If Button now pumps in some rapid pace, he's very likely to be ahead of Vettel when the Red Bull makes his final stop.

Lap 50: Sutil is holding on well to that fourth spot, as Hamilton pits from ninth. He takes on the prime tyre and rejoins.

Lap 51: Alonso is now just 5.9 seconds behind leader Vettel and looks to be the man to beat if he doesn't plan to stop again.

Lap 51: Hamilton rejoins still in ninth and some distance ahead of the lapped Heidfeld.

Lap 51: Button sets a rapid 1m17.894s as he pushes on in clear air.

Lap 53: Vettel could potentially go for an epic stint from lap 16 to the flag, but that would surely be an adventure for the closing stages.

Lap 53: But there is no sign of Vettel pitting as Button clocks a storming pace on his fresh rubber.

Lap 53: Sutil is 22.9s behind Button in fourth and still has Kobayashi and Webber on his gearbox. This is a disaster for the Australian.

Lap 54: Maldonado is still seventh with Petrov now less than two seconds behind him in eighth. Hamilton is 24.7s behind Petrov in ninth.

Lap 54: Alonso and Button continue to close down on leader Vettel.

Lap 55: Kovalainen pits from 16th place in the Lotus, for the second time this afternoon.

Lap 55: Button is by far the fastest man on track, lapping in 1m17s. Alonso and Button are sure to be on Vettel's gearbox soon if he does stay out.

Lap 55: Maldonado pits from seventh place, promoting Petrov.

Lap 56: Alonso is now two seconds off the lead, with Button now closing to under 10 seconds behind Vettel.

Lap 56: Maldonado rejoins in eighth, just a couple of seconds clear of Hamilton.

Lap 56: Alonso has Vettel in his sights now as they come up to lap D'Ambrosio in the Virgin.

Lap 56: Webber pits from sixth and completes his second stop of the day.

Lap 57: Hamilton closes down the gap to just 0.6s behind Maldonado as they fight for eighth.

Lap 57: The lead battle cuts past the lapped Virgin car and Alonso continues his charge to take over at the top.

Lap 58: Button sounds intrigued as he asks his team if they think Vettel will try to stay out to the flag. McLaren say they are not sure.

Lap 58: Webber rejoined from his stop just ahead of the developing Maldonado versus Hamilton battle for eighth place.

Lap 58: Meanwhile, Alonso is now right on the gearbox of leader Vettel.

Lap 59: Hamilton gains a little ground to the Williams as they cross the line, but he isn't close enough as they go into Ste. Devote.

Lap 59: Still 20 laps to run here and surely Alonso will pounce on the rubber-challenged Red Bull at some point.

Lap 59: Button is now just five seconds behind the developing fight for the lead.

Lap 59: Webber is now pulling away from this battle and is 3.7s ahead of Maldonado. These are the cars in seventh eighth and ninth.

Lap 60: Sutil is maintaining track position over Kobayashi in fourth, but they have fallen to over 40 seconds behind the top three.

Lap 61: Button clocks the fastest final sector as he closes to 2.6 seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 61: Petrov in sixth is closing down on the Sutil versus Kobayashi battle. We're going to have two three-car fights in the top six soon.

Lap 61: Button has much more grip than the pair ahead and he is quickly closing on to the back of Alonso.

Lap 62: Webber in seventh is hauling in Petrov at almost two seconds per lap on his fresher tyres. But Hamilton is unable to do anything about Maldonado.

Lap 62: But the McLaren man will have to pass both Alonso and Vettel if he wants to make a three-stopper the winning strategy this afternoon.

Lap 63: Button has arrived on the scene, making it a three-way fight between world champions for the lead of a fascinating Monaco Grand Prix.

Lap 63: Kobayashi was just 0.3s behind Sutil as they crossed the line last time round. Petrov is now 3.2s behind them in sixth.

Lap 63: Vettel is warned of Button's arrival, but is told that will "keep Alonso busy for a bit"

Lap 64: There is nothing between the trio, but the man at the back has far fresher rubber than leader Vettel.

Lap 64: Sutil is stuck in the 1m21s bracket, with Kobayashi 0.4s back, Petrov now 2.1s behind them and Webber just six seconds behind all of them.

Lap 65: Plenty of clear traffic ahead of this fight at the moment, although they will lap Karthikeyan again in the next lap or two.

Lap 65: Alonso hints at a DRS move into Ste Devote, but can't make it stick for the moment.

Lap 65: Buemi pits for the final time this afternoon and rejoins behind Barrichello. They are 11th and 12th.

Lap 66: The other potential three-car battle is about to begin, as Petrov catches the Sutil versus Kobayashi scrap for fourth.

Lap 66: They clear the HRT up the hill, but Vettel is again benefiting from strong Red Bull traction out of the slow corners.

Lap 66: Webber is now just 2.5s behind that second group, with Maldonado in eighth and 5.7s behind them.

Lap 67: Patience goes in the second group, as Kobayashi tries to make a move on Sutil for fourth at the Mirabeau. They make light contact.

Lap 67: Alonso is right with Vettel this time but he can't find anywhere to put his Ferrari despite a big speed advantage.

Lap 67: But Kobayashi gets the job done and is through to fourth position.

Lap 67: Sutil is now fifth and left to defend against Petrov as Webber catches them.

Lap 67: Petrov is on the gearbox of the Force India as they cross the line. He makes a move at Ste. Devote but it doesn't stick.

Lap 68: Alonso makes a mistake into the chicane, putting Button right on his gearbox.

Lap 68: Webber took advantage of the confusion ahead to nip past Petrov, then at the Swimming Pool he makes a great move up the inside of Sutil.

Lap 69: Alonso hopped over the inside of the kerb, but Button couldn't do anything to take advantage.

Lap 69: So behind this mighty scrap for the lead it's all change. Kobayashi is now fourth with Webber fifth, Sutil sixth and Petrov in seventh.

Lap 69: The leaders are approaching a massive train of lapped cars now.

Lap 69: It's carnage as the leaders make it through a crash at the Swimming Pool.

Lap 69: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 69: Traffic chaos as Hamilton passes Petrov at Tabac. Then Petrov runs wide and crashes.

Lap 69: Alguersuari was caught up the the action and he also hit the barrier. The Spaniard is out.

Lap 69: Vettel leads from Alonso and Button as they form up behind the pace car, emerging unscathed from that dramatic shunt.

Lap 70: The marshals go to work recovering the cars of Petrov and Alguersuari. We think Lewis Hamilton may also have damage from that incident.

Lap 70: Hamilton crosses the line and has continued.

Lap 70: All this is good news for Vettel, with the battle called off for now, letting him save his little remaining rubber.

Lap 71: Maldonado was attempting to pass Sutil into Tabac. Sutil hit the wall at Tabac and slowed. Hamilton took advantage to pass Petrov, who had backed off - the Russian then running wide himself and crashing in the middle of the Swimming Pool, to avoid Alguersuari who had hopped the kerb, triggering the incident.

Lap 71: Kobayashi is fourth, from Webber, Maldonado and the damaged Hamilton.

Lap 71: All this happened as the three-way fight for the lead was coming up to the back of the snake - a bizarre train of cars in the late stages of the race.

Lap 71: The race has been suspended. The cars will return to the red flag line on the start/finish straight to await a restart.

13:43 An ambulance is now on the scene at the Swimming Pool and medics are attending to Petrov.

13:45 The mechanics are now rushing to attend to the cars as they form up on the grid.

13:47 Petrov was right behind Alguersuari when the Toro Rosso driver hit the kerb and bounced out towards the barrier. He had nowhere to go and joined the Spaniard in the Armco.

13:48 Cars can be attended to under this suspended condition, with McLaren rushing to fix Hamilton's broken rear wing.

13:50 The race will of course resume behind the safety car once the medical teams have finished working with Petrov at the Swimming Pool.

13:50 Petrov is now out of the Renault and the marshals are slowly pushing the car away.

13:52 Vettel will be very happy to see fresh rubber being fitted to his Red Bull at the front of the grid.

13:53 Petrov has been taken to the ambulance and it will shortly leave the scene.

13:53 Meantime, there are two other course cars and an enormous number of marshals and staff at the crash site.

13:53 Work continues to replace Hamilton's rear wing. He will resume in seventh if the team can finish repairs before the restart.

13:54 Race control states that the race will restart at 16:04 local time.

13:55 A fresh front wing is being rushed to the grid by Hamilton's mechanics.

13:56 Renault boss Eric Boullier tells the BBC that Petrov is complaining of some pain in his legs but that may just be bruising.

13:56 The crash site is clear and the ambulance has left the scene with Petrov on board.

13:58 A fresh rear wing is now in place on Hamilton's car, with the work supervised by FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer.

13:59 The race will restart in five minutes time.

14:00 Vettel will lead, with Alonso second, Button third, Kobayashi fourth, Webber fifth, Maldonado sixth and Hamilton in seventh.

14:00 Regulations do say that "any such work must not impede the resumption of the race," which could be a concern for McLaren as they finish work on Hamilton's car.

14:01 There are three minutes to the restart, meaning the tyres must now be fitted.

14:01 Sutil is one lap down in eighth. Behind him will be Heidfeld ninth, Barrichello 10th and Buemi in 11th.

14:01 The cars will resume behind the safety car in a similar fashion to the start of a formation lap.

14:03 The engines fire again.

14:03 Super soft rubber has been bolted on Vettel and Alonso's cars.

Lap 73: The safety car moves away and Vettel follows on, with Alonso and Button in tow behind him.

Lap 73: The mechanics clear the grid as the safety car leads the pack down the hill to the hairpin.

Lap 73: Vettel was warned during the red flag about the usual restart rules, with passing allowed at the safety car line.

Lap 73: The safety car will come in at the end of this lap.

Lap 73: Button is on the harder tyres, having used all his options already.

Lap 73: The safety car leads the field through the Swimming Pool section and towards Rascasse, as we wait for the restart.

Lap 74: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 74: Button is slow away, as Vettel leads Alonso up the hill.

Lap 74: Hamilton is right on Maldonado's tail and they make contact at Ste. Devote!

Lap 74: Hamilton tried to get up the inside and the Williams driver claimed the line.

Lap 75: Vettel flashes over the line with Alonso and Button not making much of a challenge at the moment.

Lap 75: That was for sixth place. The Williams has been lifted clear and the racing continues. Maldonado is out of the race.

Lap 75: Hamilton was able to progress and in now sixth. Race control states that the incident between Hamilton and Maldonado will be investigated.

Lap 76: Little change in the top three as the action hots up behind them.

Lap 76: Webber is fifth but now Hamilton is right on his gearbox with three laps to go.

Lap 76: Kobayashi is just ahead of the pair of them in fourth, with these two three-car battle dominating the race in the final stages.

Lap 77: Alonso sets the fastest lap but Vettel looks to have this under control.

Lap 77: Vettel leads by 0.9s with two laps to go. Button is holding a watching brief in third.

Lap 77: Some 17 seconds behind the top three, Kobayashi is hanging on to fourth as Webber tries to get past him.

Lap 78: Webber makes a move at the chicane ... and he makes it through to fourth!

Lap 78: It's the final lap in Monaco.

Lap 78: Hamilton is now on Kobayashi's gearbox and will try to take fifth on the final lap.

Lap 78: Vettel rounds the Rascasse and it's looking secure for the German ...

14:12 Sebastian Vettel wins the Monaco Grand Prix!

14:12 Another remarkable win for the runaway championship leader, with a bold strategy gamble paying off today.

14:13 Hamilton tries to get past Kobayashi with a do or die effort at the chicane, but isn't able to get the job done.

14:13 Alonso collects a hard-fought second for Ferrari, with Button making three stops to end up third in his McLaren.

14:13 Webber sets the fastest lap on the final tour to secure fourth place in his Red Bull.

14:14 Kobayashi holds off Hamilton to the line, with the latter under investigation for that move on Maldonado after the restart.

14:14 Sutil finishes one lap down in seventh, with Heidfeld eighth, Barrichello ninth and Buemi takes the final point in 10th place.

14:15 Vettel is delighted with his 15th win, a remarkable five out of six so far this season.

14:15 Rosberg finishes out of the points in 11th after a difficult afternoon. Di Resta's Monaco debut ends with a 12th place finish.

14:16 Trulli and Kovalainen come home in 13th and 14th places for Lotus, way ahead of d'Ambrosio 15th, Liuzzi 16th and Karthikeyan in 17th.

14:17 The top three drivers climb the steps to the unique Monaco podium in front of the royal box.

14:18 Vettel steps up to collect his winning trophy, one he will clearly have wanted to add to his bulging collection.

14:19 Fernando Alonso receives his prize for second place, after a hard fight at the front with Vettel and Button.

14:19 Button takes the third-place award, but despite the smiles he is likely to be frustrated that the safety cars dented his strategy today.

14:19 Christian Horner is on hand to accept the constructors' award for Red Bull.

14:20 The German national anthem rings out on the Monaco podium to salute today's winner - Sebastian Vettel.

14:20 That is followed by the Austrian national anthem for today's winning constructor - Red Bull Racing.

14:22 Vettel raises his index finger in the air to celebrate a great victory. The drivers are then presented with their bottles of champagne.

14:23 Vettel makes sure that team boss Christian Horner gets a soaking, before running to the mechanics.

14:24 Vettel's championship lead is now a massive 58 points over Hamilton, based on the provisional result.

14:24 However, Hamilton is the last man on the lead lap, so won't lose position if he is handed a 20 second time penalty in the stewards' room.

14:25 Webber is third in the standings, 64 points behind his young team-mate, with Button fourth and Alonso fifth.

14:26 Red Bull's lead in the constructors' standings is now 61 points from McLaren, with Ferrari still over double that distance further behind.

14:26 Six drivers retired from the Monaco Grand Prix:

Maldonado was involved in contact with Hamilton after the restart at Ste. Devote, while Petrov and Alguersuari crashed in the traffic chaos at the Swimming Pool.

Massa was another to feel the force of Hamilton at the hairpin and again a few seconds later in the tunnel, Schumacher broke down at La Rascasse just as the safety car was coming out for the first time and Timo Glock was the first retirement. He pulled off with suspension damage.

14:31 So it's five out of six for Vettel and you have to wonder where it will end. McLaren and Ferrari gave it their best shot today, and on pace all three teams were close, but again Red Bull pulls through, leaving the rest scratching their heads.

This was the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix weekend on AUTOSPORT Live. Thank-you for joining us over the last four days of action.

Next is the big one. We will have the usual Live service for the Canadian Grand Prix, but like last year, we will also have our simultaneous live commentary running for the 24 Heures du Mans.

We look forward to a bumper weekend of motorsport fever in two weeks time.

Race length: 78 laps
Clear skies High Temp: 24°C / 75°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 23 May Start GMT
 Monaco Grand Prix weather 15:00
Thursday 26 May
 Thursday practice one 07:50
 Thursday practice two 11:50
Saturday 28 May
 Saturday practice 08:50
 Qualifying 11:45
Sunday 29 May
 The Monaco Grand Prix 11:30