F1 Monaco GP: Ricciardo nails it

Pole-sitter and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo had successfully converted a pole position into a win at the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday. Although the Australian took the win at F1’s slowest track, it was still a historic win. Ricciardo topped Championship contenders Sebastien Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Ricciardo later admitted that had it been other tracks, he wouldn’t have won.

Engine issues threatened Ricciardo’s victory in the final laps, as the radio message notified him that a fault was thwarting his power. Using only six of his eight gears, the Australian managed to starve off Vettel by capitalizing on the narrow circuit, cementing the win a full seven seconds ahead of the German.

Ricciardo’s redemptive win comes two years after a bungle at the pit stop resulting in the wrong tyres being prepared in Monaco 2016, cost him the lead and the chance for victory.

Behind Hamilton came Raikkonen who led home Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes and Force India’s Esteban Ocon. Red Bull’s Sister team Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly had a consistent run to finish 7th, having clawed his way from 10th on the grid.

Ricciardo’s team mate Max Verstappen’s determination was in full force after he failed to qualify due to a crash in the practice round. The Dutchman clawed his way back from 20th position to finish 9th on the grid, nabbing fastest lap with a time of 1:14.260.

The Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz were split by the Red Bull of Verstappen. Hulkenberg finished one better than his team mate, eighth and tenth.

Selected top-ten drivers quotes:

Ricciardo:“Wow, it still hasn’t sunk in. It was a perfect weekend but a crazy race. It’s such a long week and because I get so excited for this race, I find it hard to control myself and I just couldn’t wait for the lights to go out today. The start went well and I thought, I’ve pretty much done the hard part so let’s just finish this race. Then on lap 28 I exited a corner and felt like I pretty much had no power. When it was clear that it was an MGU-K issue I wanted to close my eyes and start crying as I thought the race was over and I wondered just what I have to do to win here. I spoke with my engineer on the radio and we changed a lot of things that didn’t fix the problem but we just had to survive with the problem and keep Seb behind. We had a lot less power, fortunately, it’s a tight track and we had a good car so I could make up enough time in the corners not to be vulnerable on the straights. On any other circuit, there was no way I would have won.”

Vettel: “I was trying to get closer to the car in front and do something; but obviously if you get closer it doesn’t help with your tires. In some corners you don’t really need power and Ricciardo was quicker than us. He was always able to open the gap and I was never really there. He could keep his pace and I think that perhaps it could have been worse for us if he hadn’t had some issues. Unfortunately, there weren’t many chances to do something different. I think it was tricky for us to make the tires work the right way. Then, when the Virtual Safety Car came on, a McLaren was just exiting the box and took a lot of time, while I was struggling with tire warm-up, and I think that was the biggest issue that cost me quite a few seconds. It took to me one and a half lap to get the rhythm back, but by then it was too late. However, there are so many races to go and I believe we need to understand our problems. We have a good car, but we can make it better.”

Hamilton: “We were the third quickest team and we almost got second. I’m grateful to only have lost three points to Sebastian in the championship fight – I’ll take that and move forwards. It wasn’t a really difficult race, we just had to take the tyres go a long way; I didn’t think they were going to go as far as they did. It’s a shame that the race is unfortunately not as exciting as the whole spectacle of Monaco, especially since through practice there’s no place like it and the track is just epic in Qualifying. We hope that Canada will suit our car a little bit better; but it will be another close fight, especially with the Ferrari.”

Gasly: “My first Monaco GP in Formula 1 and my second time in the points, honestly, it was an amazing race! Starting P10, we knew it could be difficult but the car was just so fast! I tried to be careful with the tyres from the beginning, and when I was alone on track I could just push flat out because I was feeling good with the car. We managed to exit after the pits in front of the others and I fought hard to keep Hulkenberg behind because we know that in Monaco it’s hard to pass. I just tried to stay focussed and not to make any mistakes because in the end the tyres were quite used – It wasn’t easy but we managed to finish in P7.”

Verstappen: “Although we knew it was going to be damage limitation I still really enjoyed myself out there today as I was able to race other cars and be competitive pretty much from start to finish. Deep down of course I am still disappointed as we could have had a much better result if I hadn’t made the mistake in practice, but on the other hand, I made the most of the race. I had fun, I was passing cars and fighting every lap which is especially rare here in Monaco, normally it is just cruising during the race. The car handled well and we got the strategy spot on and finished in the points so I think that is a good day’s work all things considered.”

Sainz: “It was a very difficult race for me. We changed tyres on lap 16 and then I had to do over 60 laps with the Ultrasoft tyre, which was not ideal due to the heavy graining we had. There wasn’t much I could do – the other cars on other strategies were just much quicker. Let’s look at everything calmly next week and come back stronger in Montreal.”

2018 Formula 1 Monaco GP results

1 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 1:42:54.807
2 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI +7.336s
3 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES8 +17.013s
4 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI +18.127s
5 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES +18.822s
6 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA +23.667s
7 Pierre Gasly TORO ROSSO +24.331s
8 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT +24.839s
9 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING +25.317s
10 Carlos Sainz RENAULT +69.013s

Drivers standings
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 110
2 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 96
3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RED BULL RACING 72
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 68
5 Kimi Räikkönen FIN FERRARI 60
6 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING 35
7 Fernando Alonso ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 26
9 Carlos Sainz ESP RENAULT 20
10 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 19
11 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 18
12 Sergio Perez MEX FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 17
13 Esteban Ocon FRA FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 9
14 Charles Leclerc MON SAUBER FERRARI 9
15 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL MCLAREN RENAULT 8
16 Lance Stroll CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4
17 Marcus Ericsson SWE SAUBER FERRARI 2
18 Brendon Hartley NZL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 1

Constructors rankings
1 MERCEDES 178
2 FERRARI 156
3 RED BULL RACING 107
4 RENAULT 46
5 MCLAREN RENAULT 40
6 FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 26
7 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 19
8 HAAS FERRARI 19
9 SAUBER FERRARI 11
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4