(CNN) -- Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel continued his march towards a second successive title with his first-ever Monaco Grand Prix victory on Sunday.
In an incident-packed race, Vettel held his nerve to narrowly repel the dual challenge of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, after the race was halted on lap 73 of 78 following a crash which saw Russian Vitaly Petrov taken to hospital.
When the race resumed after the deployment of the safety car, Vettel clung on to his lead, steering his Red Bull home for a fifth victory in six races this year and 15th win of his career.
It also continued the German's remarkable run of finishing on the podium at every race since the Singapore Grand Prix last year, a run of 11 races.
Alonso's second place was Ferrari's highest position of the year so far, while Button enjoyed better fortunes than McLaren teammate Hamilton, who remains second in the drivers' standings despite only finishing sixth on the day.
Vettel's teammate Mark Webber claimed fourth place after overtaking the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi on the final lap -- although the Japanese driver still managed a superb fifth place.
German Adrian Sutil of Force India came home seventh with his compatriot Nick Heidfeld of Renault finishing eighth. Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello and Swiss Sebastian Buemi completed the top 10.
A delighted Vettel told reporters: "The race was pretty entertaining from the inside of the car.
"This is crazy place -- the roulette wheel must have spun a lot last night and kept on spinning today -- but I'm delighted to add my name to the list of winners here."
Button had led the race after his first pit stop, and was opening up a gap over Vettel until the first safety car incident on lap 35 following a collision between Hamilton and Felipe Massa which saw the Brazilian forced to retire from the race.
"It was fun for quite a few laps until the first safety car came out because it was looking really good," Button told reporters.
"At the Monaco Grand Prix you can expect safety cars, but it's not great when you are on a three-stop strategy."
Meanwhile, Renault confirmed that Petrov was all right despite complaining of leg pains after being removed from his car. "He is OK, there are no fractures," said team chief Eric Boullier.
The race means Vettel has increased his advantage over Hamilton in the overall drivers' standings. He now lies on 143 points, 58 points clear of the Briton with Australian Webber another six points behind on 79.
Red Bull also increased their advantage in the constructors' championship. They now have 222 points from six races, with McLaren on 161 points and Ferrari back in third place on 93 points.