Monaco countdown - F1 season so far

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With the Monaco Grand Prix set to get underway this Sunday, we take a quick look at how the Formula One season has panned out so far. It's been an exciting season, which has produced five different winners in just five races and Monaco could see a record sixth.

Australian Grand Prix - March 18

McLaren's Jenson Button threw down the gauntlet to two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel as he relegated the German to second in a flying start to the season. McLaren had locked down the front row of the grid and it was Button who nipped past pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start and went on to dominate.

Vettel grabbed a giant slice of luck when a timely safety car intervention allowed him to steal second from Hamilton late in the race. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished fifth.

Standings: Button 25pts, Vettel 18, Hamilton 15

Malaysian Grand Prix - March 25

A nearly hour-long storm interruption threw the race into confusion and left drivers fighting just to stay on the track. Alonso emerged from the chaos at the head of the field and he drove his unrated Ferrari brilliantly to win the unpredictable race, chased all the way by Mexico's Sergio Perez, 22, who claimed a career-high second place for Sauber.

Hamilton, heading another grid one-two for McLaren, was happy to settle for third again after an early crash left Button outside of the points alongside Vettel, who suffered a late puncture following a collision with India's Narain Karthikeyan.

Standings: Alonso 35pts, Hamilton 30, Button 25

Chinese Grand Prix - April 15

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg claimed what he termed an "amazing" first F1 victory in 111 attempts as he led from pole position to take the Chinese Grand Prix in style.

The German's faultless drive in Shanghai saw him home more than 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, for what was also Mercedes' first victory since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull of Mark Webber was fourth and reigning two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel fifth after some frantic jostling for the other podium places. Fernando Alonso trailed in ninth.

Standings: Hamilton 45pts, Button 43, Alonso 37

Bahrain Grand Prix - April 22

Bahrain's controversial Grand Prix race went off without incident after a week of angry protests away from the F1 desert circuit that put the non-sporting focus on reform demands in the Gulf state. Double world champion 24-year-old Sebastian Vettel of Germany led from start to finish to claim his first win of the year to take over as leader of the title race.

He registered his 22nd career victory with a near-flawless drive from pole position. In second came Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, and the Finn's Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean. Mark Webber finished fourth in the second Red Bull. Nico Rosberg, who claimed his maiden victory for the Mercedes team in China, finished fifth.

Standings: Vettel 53pts, Hamilton 49, Webber 48

Spanish Grand Prix - May 13

Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to win an F1 race by triumphing at the Spanish Grand Prix before going on to play an heroic role in a dramatic blaze in his Williams team's garage. Maldonado's win, in just his 24th race, was also the team's first victory since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix and came on the weekend of team founder Sir Frank Williams' 70th birthday.

But on a dramatic day for the Venezuelan driver, he later carried his young cousin to safety after the team garage was engulfed by flames. A total of 16 people were injured, one with severe burns, when the fire -- believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a fuel rig - broke out.

On the track the Venezuelan produced a flawless race, holding off two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen was third for Lotus, with Romain Grosjean fourth in the second Lotus. Sebastian Vettel was sixth.

Standings: Vettel 61, Alonso 61, Hamilton 53


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