Daniel Ricciardo Finally Wins The Monaco GP

Daniel Ricciardo clinched his first win at the Monaco GP. After a disastrous pitstop denied the Australian of a sure victory in 2016, this was sweet revenge. Sebastian Vettel claimed second spot comfortably.  Lewis Hamilton completed the podium places in Monaco.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth, as Valtteri Bottas completed the top 5. Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz rounded off the top 10 positions.

Daniel Ricciardo Finally Wins The Monaco GP

The race started in overcast conditions with air temperature at 25 degrees C and track temperatures at 33 degrees C. Daniel Ricciardo was on pole for only the second time in his career. Sebastian Vettel joined him in the first row.

Title-rival Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen were on the second row. Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon lined up on the third row. Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly lined up at the front of the grid.

All the top ten drivers started on the new pink-striped hypersoft tyres. The performance of these tyres was the key for the team strategies. Max Verstappen started at P20 at the back of the field, after he missed qualification.

The Start

Ricciardo led Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Bottas into Turn 1. Except for Brendon Hartley complaining about damage, everybody made it comfortably through the first lap. By the time DRS was enabled at the end of lap 3, Ricciardo had a comfortable 1.290 second gap to Vettel. The order was Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ocon, Alonso, Sainz, Perez and Gasly.

Drivers Move Up

Verstappen who started dead last moved to P18 by the end of lap 1. The Dutchman made steady progress and was in P14 by the end of lap 8. Sergey Sirotkin was given a 10-second stop-go penalty.

First Pitstops

On lap 10, Lance Stroll after he suffered damage to his front wing and a puncture pitted for a new nose and tyres.On lap 12, Hamilton made a very early pitstop and took on the ultrasoft tyres. Hamilton rejoined in P6 behind Ocon. On lap 16, Vettel pitted, also for the ultrasoft tyres. All the frontrunners pitted one after the other at this point. Among the leaders, only Bottas in P5 took on the hardest compound tyre, the supersofts.

Ricciardo Hits Trouble

On this track on which it is hard to overtake, everybody was just holding position. Verstappen continued to battle and move forward. On lap 29, Ricciardo reported that he was losing power. Even as the Red Bull pitwall looked on anxiously, Vettel closed in on the leader.

On this track without long straights and very few overtaking spots, Ricciardo was able to handle the problems with his Energy Recovery System. Even as Vettel closed within a second, Ricciardo was able to hold him off for lap after lap.

Hamilton complained on the radio about graining on his tyres. Bottas on the hardest compound tyre closed in on Raikkonen, but could not overtake. Hulkenberg and Verstappen went well into the race without pitting.

Alonso Retires From the Race

Alonso reported a similar loss of power in the Renault engine that Ricicardo experienced. Soon with gearbox issues, the Spaniard retired for the first time this season. He was the only car that retired in the race.

After Hulkenberg and Verstappen pitted for brand new hypersofts, they overtook Sainz to occupy P8 and P9 respectively. Both the drivers and Gasly in front of them were all within DRS range and battled for over 20 laps. But they crossed the finish line in that order.

Charles Leclerc with brake issues ran into Hartley with six laps to go. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed. On the restart, Ricciardo pulled a comfortable gap to Vettel. Both Vettel and Hamilton were on worn ultrasofts and held on to their positions.

Ricciardo Clinches A Sweet Victory

Ricciardo crossed the finish line to an ecstatic reception from his Red Bull Racing team. The team had let him down badly in 2016. By the halfway point of the race, it appeared that the Renault engine would scupper his chances again. But the Australian held on with a heroic drive and clinched his first victory at Monaco.

Vettel at times looked like he could push Ricciardo, but never got close enough. For Hamilton it was damage limitation this weekend. His lead in the drivers’ championship was cut by 3 points only. Raikkonen and Bottas at P4 and P5 finished behind their teammates.

Ocon and Gasly finished P6 and P7 after creditable drives. Hulkenberg and Sainz scored valuable points for Renault with their P8 and P10 finish. Verstappen made it to P9 all the way from P20. But it was a case of a big missed chance for him at Monaco.

Ricciardo will savour this seventh career win from pole position. He topped every session of this Grand Prix and brought home a race win under pressure.

Race Results:

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 78 1:42:54.807 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 +7.336s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 +17.013s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 78 +18.127s 12
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 78 +18.822s 10
6 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 78 +23.667s 8
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 78 +24.331s 6
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 78 +24.839s 4
9 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 78 +25.317s 2
10 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 78 +69.013s 1
11 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 78 +69.864s 0
12 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 78 +70.461s 0
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 78 +74.823s 0
14 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 77 +1 lap 0
15 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 77 +1 lap 0
16 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 77 +1 lap 0
17 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 76 +2 laps 0
18 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 70 DNF 0
19 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 70 DNF 0
NC 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 52 DNF 0

* Provisional results. Note – Hartley received a 5-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Embed from Getty Images