Championship leader Fernando Alonso has strolled to the chequered flag at Monaco, after what was shaping up as a real thriller fizzled in the smoke of car unreliability.
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber, who until deep into the race remained within spitting distance of the victorious Spaniard, succumbed to broken cars.
At the flag, Juan Pablo Montoya took the second trophy, while Red Bull boss Christian Horner vowed to jump naked into the Monte Carlo harbour with David Coulthard inheriting the team’s first ever podium finish.
The Scot, wearing a Superman cape on the podium, accelerated into third after Jarno Trulli broke down up the hill to Casino Square with mere laps to run.
”Every race becomes more and more important for the championship fight,” said victor Alonso, who did not spray his champagne out of respect for Edouard Michelin.
He added: ”We have a good gap now, twenty two, and hopefully we can extend that in the next few races and have an easy end to the season.
”It was a tough race but I managed to put a tick next to this race now.”
Michael Schumacher, who started dead last from pit lane, started rebuilding his reputation by driving through the field to fifth, and nearly took fourth following a late-race battle with Honda’s Rubens Barrichello.
Barrichello’s shot at the podium had gone begging as he sped in pit lane.
Nico Rosberg, dumping his Williams into the Rascasse wall, was another casualty, while Tiago Monteiro screamed blue murder into his radio after an early collision involving his Midland teammate Christijan Albers.
For the dishonour, Albers had to serve a drive-through penalty.
Williams’ Webber, meanwhile, was arguably the man of the race, because he kept up with the leaders and proved that he had not run light in the qualifying hour.
He was furious in the moments after smoking to a halt.
”Something on the electronics failed or something,” Webber said. ”I think Alonso had problems with his rears, Montoya was never a threat and Kimi also had his problems.
”A great result has gone.”
Miserably for Kimi Raikkonen, however, the Finn’s car also did not last through the ensuing Safety Car period, meaning that Alonso enjoyed a clear road to the winner’s crown.