F1: Ricciardo Hits the Jackpot in Monaco

Source: redbull.com

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) managed to overcome engine and gearbox issues to claim a well-earned win around the streets of Monaco.

Before the start of the race, there was a light shower, but all moisture had disappeared when the lights went out.

Pole sitter Ricciardo managed to get a good start and successfully defended his lead on the approach into St. Devote ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Amongst the midfield pack, Brendon Hartley damaged a front wing endplate after a collision but opted to continue.

Moreover, Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) was given a ten second stop/go penalty for wheels not being fitted to his car before the 3-minute warning because of a wheel nut issue.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) had a strong start to the race from 20th, executing some well time passes on the likes of Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) and Lance Stroll (Williams) and had moved up to 14th by Lap 10.

Stroll’s race then took a turn for the worst as he picked up a front left puncture which caused by contact with one of the Sauber drivers, believed to be Charles Leclerc.

The Canadian subsequently dropped to last and a lap down on his competitors in what turned out to be a dire race for the Williams team.

Back at the front, Verstappen’s team-mate Ricciardo was controlling the pace, with Vettel and Hamilton each setting personal bests close behind.

As this happened, several drivers – most notably Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Renault) – expressed concerns regarding debris at the Loews Hairpin.

Then, at the beginning of Lap 12, Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to stop for the ultra-soft tyres.

Shortly after, he past Esteban Ocon (Force India) at the Nouvelle Chicane to inherit fifth place.

On Lap 16, Ferrari responded and brought in Vettel for his first pit stop and re-joined in third, followed by Ricciardo, Rӓikkӧnen and Bottas doing the same a lap later, with the Australian retaining his lead whilst the latter put on super-soft tyres.

Having led comfortably, Ricciardo started to lose power on Lap 28 caused by an electrical fault with the MGU-K, which allowed Vettel to close significantly on the pit straight and challenge for the lead.

However, Ricciardo managed to stabilise the gap but at the cost of lap time and was informed on the team radio that the engine situation would not improve.

As the race approached the half way stage, the top four drivers were all experiencing graining on their ultra-soft tyres, with Hamilton communicating concerns over their ability to last the remainder of the race.

This allowed Bottas to get within 10 seconds of race leader Ricciardo, albeit in fifth place.

Amongst the midfield, Verstappen’s long first stint had allowed to the Dutchman to get into ninth place and made his only pit stop on Lap 48 for the hyper-softs and dropped to 11th.

Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) managed to go even deeper into the race in sixth, making his mandatory stop on Lap 51 and re-joined just in front of Verstappen in tenth.

Further ahead, seventh placed Fernando Alonso (McLaren) was doing his best to try and manage a gearbox issue as he was hounded by Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso).

However, on Lap 53, the engine gave way and the Spaniard was the first to retire.

In what then became the battle for eighth, Sainz Jr allowed team-mate Hulkenberg to pass on the run to Massenet and held up Verstappen.

Verstappen attempted a pass into the Nouvelle Chicane but the two banged wheels, forcing Sainz Jr. to cut the corner.

On the following lap, Verstappen made another attempt but opted to go around the outside of the Renault driver, which saw the Dutchman almost cut the chicane but managed to cut back onto the track and claim eighth place.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo was still leading Vettel, whilst Hamilton started to fall back as he struggled to manage his tyres.

Then, with 7 laps left, Leclerc crashed into the back of Hartley due to a braking issue at the Nouvelle Chicane, bringing out the virtual safety car.

Surprisingly, most drivers opted to stay out and when the race restarted, Ricciardo established a five second lead of Vettel as the German’s tyres were completely worn out.

As a result, Ricciardo pulled away and claimed a well-deserved win at the Principality, making up for the pit stop error which cost him two years ago.

Speaking with David Coulthard before the podium ceremony, the Australian explained about the relief he felt when he took the chequered flag:

“I felt a loss of power and I thought the race was done. This was two years in the making, I finally feel like this is redemption!”

Vettel managed to hold on to second place, with Hamilton completing the podium.

Rӓikkӧnen held off fellow Finn Bottas for fourth, whilst Ocon held off a late charge from Gasly, Hulkenberg and Verstappen to finish sixth and Sainz Jr. rounding up the top ten.

2018 Monaco Grand Prix Classification:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality) Team Time
1 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing 1:42:54.807 (78 Laps)
2 5 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari +7.336
3 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes +17.013
4 7 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari +18.127
5 77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes +18.822
6 31 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India +23.667
7 10 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso +24.331
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg (DEU), Renault +24.839
9 33 Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing +25.317
10 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Renault +1:09.013
11 9 Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber +1:09.864
12 11 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India +1:10.461
13 20 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas +1:14.823
14 2 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren +1 Lap
15 8 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas +1 Lap
16 35 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS), Williams +1 Lap
17 18 Lance Stroll (CDN), Williams +2 Laps
Not Classified
Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso Crash with Leclerc
16 Charles Leclerc (MON), Sauber Brake Failure
14 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren Gearbox Issue


2018 FIA Formula One Drivers’ Championship after Six Rounds:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality) Team Points
1 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes 110
2 5 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari 96
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing 72
4 77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes 68
5 7 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari 60
6 33 Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing 35
7 14 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren 32
8 27 Nico Hulkenberg (DEU), Renault 26
9 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Renault 20
10 20 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas 19
11 10 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso 18
12 11 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India 17
13 31 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India 9
14 16 Charles Leclerc (MON), Sauber 8
15 2 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren 8
16 18 Lance Stroll (CDN), Williams 4
17 9 Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber 2
18 28 Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso 1
19 8 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas 0
20 35 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS), Williams 0