[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] MONACO GRAND PRIX: RACE REVIEW

Formula 1 news story about [F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] MONACO GRAND PRIX: RACE REVIEW

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has won the Monaco Grand Prix, despite nursing a debilitating power unit issue for most of the race that put him under pressure from his former teammate, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo’s win, his seventh career victory and first from pole, on his Red Bull Racing team's 250th Grand Prix weekend, was arguably his greatest. The Australian losing power from Lap 28 after an MGU-K failure, but managed the gap to Vettel - taking advantage of the four-time F1 World Champion’s tyres issues and a late race virtual safety car for a collision between Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came home in third, 17-seconds adrift of the leader.

For Ricciardo, the win was redemption for his nightmare Monte Carlo race in 2016 - in which his Red Bull team botched the pit stop, costing him the lead and win.

“[This was] 2-years in the making,” said Ricciardo, who is the first Australian driver to win in Monaco since Mark Webber in 2012, the same year Red Bull last won the event.

“I finally feel like the redemption has arrived. We had problems. I don’t know how much the radio broadcast. We had a lot to deal with during the race. I felt a loss of power and I thought the race was done. We got home, just using six gears so thanks to the team we got it back. I’m stoked!”

Vettel’s second place means he’s now just 14-points behind Hamilton in the title battle, as the grid now heads over the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, the Montreal event on June 10.

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

Here’s how the FORMULA 1 2018 MONACO GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:

Build Up:
It may be tight and twisty, and very difficult to pass, but Monaco never fails to thrill. Since 1929, and the advent of the Formula One World Championship in 1950, the streets of Monte Carlo have provided one of the most stunning events in world motorsport. And this year should be another nail-biter.

The man to beat is Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who has been fastest in every session so far, set two laps that were good enough for pole position yesterday to take his second career pole - his second in Monaco. And he’ll be looking to right his 2016 wrong, when his Red Bull team botched his pit stop costing him what was a surefire win. But the Australian won’t have his teammate to act as a rear gunner, with Max Verstappen starting from the back in P20 after failing to set a time in qualifying. The Dutchman not running due to a crash in final practice, requiring a gearbox change.

Next to Ricciardo on the front row is Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and the German needs to stay ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who starts from third, and can’t afford to let that 17-point gap in the standings extend any further. He won from second in Monaco last year. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen starts from fourth, ahead of Valtteri Bottas. So it’s Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Ferrari and Mercedes for the top-five.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc starts his home race from P14, the 20-year-old the first Monegasque to start his home race since Olivier Beretta back in 1994. Can he take points for the second race in a row? At the back, it’s Williams’ Lance Stroll (in P17), and the two Haas’ (Romain Grosjean in P18, after he was penalised three places for his involvement in an incident at the previous round, with Kevin Magnussen in P19) followed by Verstappen. So there’s going to be lots of aggressive from the front and back going into Turn 1, Ste.Devote.

Strategy wise, Monaco is all about track position. Pirelli’s hypersoft tyres are likely to suffer with cooler temperatures, though, with front graining and rear degradation so managing the grip through the opening stint will be crucial. So will we see drivers pitting after 10 laps to switch to the ultrasofts, or will they stay out to take advantage of track position? It’s a sure one-stop race, but safety cars can change everything - especially if a driver has already pitted. Rain could also be a factor, with a short shower before the pit lane opened.

We’re set to see the fastest-ever Monaco Grand Prix today, with the 2018 cars shod with the new hypersofts, and the track resurfaced in parts. Ricciardo broke the track record in setting his pole time of 1:10.810, but what will we see in the race? It’s the Australian’s race to lose, with Ricciardo needing a clean race and a clean stop to win. Vettel and Hamilton behind, though, are focused on scoring more points than each other with the title race in mind and a fifth world title on the line, levelling the winner with the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio.

Formation Lap:
The top-10 are starting on the hypersoft, naturally as they set their fastest time on that tyre in Q2 - along with Sirotkin (P13) and Hartley (P15). On the ultrasoft are Hulkenberg (P11), Leclerc (P14), Ericsson (P16), Stroll (P17), Grosjean (P18), Magnussen (P19) and Verstappen (P19). So most of those below the top-10 are going long into the first stint, with Sirotkin and Hartley hoping to make up places. Sirotkin’s wheels weren’t fitted within the 3-min signal, a cross-threaded wheel nut causing the delay, meaning he’ll likely get a penalty. That is not something Williams needed. Air temp is 25 degrees Celsius, track temp 33.

Lap 1:
Ricciardo gets a great start, and covers off Vettel - who slots in P2, ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen and Bottas. The Australian already pulling out a nice gap already up to the hairpin. Hartley says he’s had contact.

Lap 2:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by barely a second, followed by Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas and Ocon. Alonso is P7, followed by Sainz.

Lap 3:
Ricciardo sets the fastest lap, a 1:18.135, he’s now 1.3 seconds up on Vettel. Verstappen is in P18. Top-5 are all in the mid 1:18s. DRS has been enabled. Vettel and Hamilton setting fastest sectors.

Lap 4:
Another fastest lap for Ricciardo, a 1:17.810. Hamilton complains that the pace “is quite slow” with the race leader likely conserving tyres.

Lap 5:
Ricciardo leads, but Vettel has just set the fastest lap, a 1:17.488. He’s 1.3 seconds adrift, though. Raikkonen in P4 is 0.7 secs behind Hamilton, the pair enjoying a strong battle. Verstappen passed Ericsson for P17 into Mirabeau, impressive move.

Lap 6:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.7 seconds, then it’s Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ocon, Alonso, Sainz, Perez, Gasly for top-10. Sirotkin is under investigation for grid infraction. Verstappen is now behind Stroll and fighting for P16.

Lap 7:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.4 seconds, with Vettel setting another fastest lap, a 1:17.321. Sirotkin gets a 10-second stop-go penalty for mechanics not fitting his tyres within the 3-min signal on the grid. Hamilton says his front tyres are graining. Verstappen takes Stroll at the Nouvelle chicane for P16.

Lap 8:
Ricciardo responds to Vettel’s pace with the fastest lap, a 1:17.074. He is 1.5 seconds ahead of Vettel. Gasly in P10 is 0.7 sec behind Perez, a big battle there, while Verstappen is approaching Leclerc.

Lap 9:
It’s Ricciardo, Vettel, then Hamilton who sets the fastest lap, a 1:16.988. He’s 2-seconds behind Vettel now. Verstappen is closing down Leclerc in the battle for P13.

Lap 10:
Another fastest lap for Ricciardo, a 1:16.872. He’s responding to threats behind him. Vettel is 1.6 seconds adrift in P2, with Hamilton 2-seconds further behind. 15-seconds covers the top-6, 27-secs the top-10. Stroll has a front-left puncture, as the leaders are coming through.

Lap 11:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.6 seconds, as the German sets the fastest lap - a 1:16.659. Stroll’s front wing is changed. Magnussen complains of debris at the hairpin.

Lap 12:
Ricciardo sets the fastest lap, a 1:16.435. Vanmorgen, Leclerc and Verstappen get past a Williams at the chicane.

Lap 13:
Hamilton pits from P3, goes onto the ultrasofts - he exits in P6, behind Ocon. Sirotkin under investigation for team working on car under stop-go penalty.

Lap 14:
Another fastest lap for Ricciardo, a 1:15.562. He’s 2.4 seconds up on Vettel now, Raikkonen up to third, then Bottas in P4. Vettel says he can keep the pace up to stay out.

Lap 15:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 2.8 seconds. Hamilton is up to P5, having now passed Ocon on the run down to the chicane. Can he now overhaul the cars ahead? Leclerc pits from P16.

Lap 16:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 4.1 seconds. Sainz complains debris. Hulkenberg in P11 is less than a second behind Gasly.

Lap 17:
Vettel pits for ultrasofts, he comes back in P3 - dropping a place. What will we see from Ricciardo. Verstappen is in P13, very close to Vandoorne - 0.5 seconds the gap there. Ricciardo is doing 1:16s, whereas those behind him are doing 1:18s.

Lap 18:
Ricciardo pits for ultrasofts, and he retains the lead over Vettel after Raikkonen pits as well - as does Bottas (on supersofts). The Australian has 3.3 seconds in hand over Vettel. Ricciardo asks how warm up is on the ultrasofts, his engineer says not sure.

Lap 19:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 2.8 seconds. Verstappen is in P12, 0.4 seconds behind Vandoorne. Ricciardo is 0.4 slower than Vettel behind on that last first sector, can he get his tyres up to temperature?

Lap 20:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 2.6 seconds, Hamilton is 5.6 seconds behind the German in P3. Ricciardo told others suffered more than he did with the performance drop off. Verstappen is all over the back of Vandoorne.

Lap 21:
Ricciardo is having his lead eaten into, with Vettel 2.1 seconds behind - and 0.9 seconds faster on that last lap. Bottas is 2.3 seconds faster than Riciardo in P6 on the supersofts.

Lap 22:
Perez pits. Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.8 seconds, and the Australian is now responding - both doing roughly the same times.

Lap 23:
Bottas in P6 is 0.3 seconds behind Ocon, with that place looking set to change. And it does.

Lap 24:
Ricciardo is 1.8 seconds ahead of Vettel, the pair doing similar times on that last lap. But the Australian asks his engineer about the threat of Bottas, who’s in P5 - 10-secs behind Raikkonen.

Lap 25:
Top-10 is Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Gasly, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Alonso and Verstappen - the Dutchman now into the points. Ricciardo’s now just 1.6 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Lap 26:
Vettel was 0.4sec faster than Ricciardo on that last lap. Bottas in P5 is demolishing the gap to Raikkonen, 7.1 seconds adrift now. Verstappen says there’s something happening when the rear axle locking up on downshifts. No action required says the team.

Lap 27:
Ricciardo 1.3 seconds ahead of Vettel, so it’s a cat and mouse battle up-front.

Lap 28:
Ricciardo has lost a chunk of time, 1.1 seconds between the Australian and Vettel. But it’s one thing to catch at Monaco, another to pass. Ricciardo says he’s losing power.

Lap 29:
Ricciardo is now less than a second ahead of Vettel, 0.6 the gap. Will we see Vettel pass through the tunnel? Vettel told Ricciardo has a problem. How long can he stay ahead?

Lap 30:
Ricciardo keeps ahead out of the DRS zone, 0.4 seconds the gap. Team tells Ricciardo we can see what’s happening, keep calm and keep smooth. “Keep it focused”. “I got no power, though,” says Ricciardo.

Lap 31:
Ricciardo stays ahead, 0.6 secs the gap. It’s a heart in the mouth moment for Red Bull Racing here. Ricciardo asks will it get better? “Negative”. It’s a limp to the flag, but more than 40 laps to go. Vettel’s front left tyre is grained, though.”

Lap 32:
Ricciardo stays ahead of Vettel. Then it’s Hamilton, Raikkonen and Bottas - who’s got sensational form.

Lap 33:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.3 seconds, so he’s pulled out a minor gap and gotten out of DRS contention. Why hasn’t Vettel made a move? He’s looking unable to challenge, with front graining hobbling him.

Lap 34:
Ricciardo is barely a second ahead of Vettel. Hamilton is 7.3 seconds back in P3. Perez in P15 says Ericsson cut the chicane.

Lap 35:
Ricciardo now 1.4 seconds ahead of Vettel. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” He’s told to change a setting and to shift on the lights.

Lap 36:
Ricciardo’s tyres look good, he’s 1.1 seconds ahead of Vettel, who’s suffering with graining. Hamilton is 6.1 seconds adrift of the top-two in P3. Then it’s Raikkonen and Bottas. Stroll limping around track.

Lap 37:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.3 seconds. No retirements as yet. Both Williams cars have been lapped.

Lap 38:
The battle at the front is slow, with Ricciardo and Vettel in the 1:20s, those behind in the 1:18s. Gasly pits for supersofts, comes back out in P10 for the final points paying position.

Lap 39:
Bottas in P5 is chasing Raikkonen hard, 0.6 secs the gap. Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.7 seconds. Stroll sets the fastest lap on the hypersofts, a 1:15.478.

Lap 40:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.1 seconds. Another fastest lap for Stroll, a 1:15.322. Hamilton complains of graining.

Lap 41:
Vettel complains of a blackout on his dash. Ricciardo is 1.2 seconds ahead, leading this race - and nursing his car well. Hamilton told Ricciardo has a power unit issue limiting lap times.

Lap 42:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.3-seconds, three tenths faster than Vettel on that last lap.

Lap 43:
The top-3 is covered by 2.8 seconds. Ricciardo 1.3 up on Vettel, followed by 1.5 sec back to Hamilton. Ricciardo told he’s doing an impressive job, with tyres looking in good shape.

Lap 44:
Ricciardo less than a second ahead of Vettel, 1.3 seconds back to Hamilton. Verstappen is in P9, with the Red Bull mechanics looking set to stop soon.

Lap 45:
Top-10 is Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Alonso, Verstappen and Gasly. Ricciardo wanting to know Verstappen’s pace.

Lap 46:
Ricciardo is 1.4 seconds up on Vettel. Hamilton is 1.3 seconds behind in P3. Bottas in P5 is chasing Raikkonen hard. 8-seconds covering the top-5. Ricciardo is 20km/h down on the final sector, so that shows the kind of pace he’s giving away.

Lap 47:
Hulkenberg is yet to pit and in P6. Verstappen says his rear tyres are gone and he’s sliding all over the place.

Lap 48:
Ricciardo 1.2 seconds up on Vettel. Gasly in P10 is around a second behind his Red Bull stablemate Verstappen, who looks set to pit. And he does, he goes onto the hypersofts for superior pace. He exits in P11.

Lap 49:
Ricciardo leads Vettel, 1-second. Hamilton 1.6 secs behind in P3.

Lap 50:
Ricciardo just 1.1 seconds up on Vettel, but that gap is yo-yoing all the way. Ricciardo told they can see warning on dash, but he’s doing ok with what he’s doing.

Lap 51:
Looks like we’re seeing another challenge from Vettel, as the gap narrows. Hulkenberg pits, as does Sirotkin.

Lap 52:
Ricciardo leads Vettel 0.8 seconds, Hamilton 1.2 seconds behind the German. Gasly in P8 is chasing Alonso. Verstappen in P11 is chasing down Hulkenberg. Alonso has a power issue, and Gasly goes past for P7. Alonso is out at Turn 1. Gearbox issue.

Lap 53:
Alonso is out at Turn 1. Gearbox issue. Waved yellows.

Lap 54:
Ricciardo still leads Vettel by 1-second. DRS re-enabled. It’s a Renault sandwich with Sainz holding back Hulkenberg and Verstappen, with the Hulk needing to get past.

Lap 55:
The Hulk gets past Sainz, without letting Verstappen through. Impressive! Bottas in P5 is closing down Raikkonen ahead. Ricciardo is now 0.4 seconds ahead of Vettel, are we about to see a change of lead?

Lap 56:
That gap between Ricciardo and Vettel is very elastic. 0.8 seconds the gap there now. Hamilton in P3 has dropped back by half a second.

Lap 57:
Verstappen in P10 is chasing Sainz for an additional point. And he’s all over the back of the Renault. Sainz cut the track at the chicane, after Verstappen made a last blast move at the chicane.

Lap 58:
Verstappen passes Sainz at the chicane on this lap for P9. Ricciardo is still staying cool out front, though has pulled out a 1.2 second gap. “Can you check the gearbox?” Verstappen asks.

Lap 59:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.3 seconds, Hamilton 2.9 seconds behind in P3 now. Raikkonen in P4, ahead of Bottas.

Lap 60:
Verstappen sets the fastest lap, a 1:14.847 on the hypersofts.

Lap 61:
Ricciardo looks like he’s having to nurse a terminal car, with the top-5 starting to form a train behind him. Verstappen sets another fastest lap, a 1:14.260.

Lap 62:
Ricciardo 0.9 seconds ahead of Vettel. Stroll pits again.

Lap 63:
Hulkenberg in P8 is chasing Gasly, 0.5 sec the gap. Ricciardo out front is managing the gap to Vettel in P2.

Lap 64:
Ricciardo improves lap times, he’s done a 1:17.8, more than three tenths up on Vettel behind. Hulkenberg told Verstappen is about to arrive on his gearbox.

Lap 65:
Big scrap for P7, with Gasly, Hulkenberg and Verstappen. The Dutchman told to keep his overtaking moves clean in future.

Lap 66:
Ricciardo doing all he can to manage the gap to Vettel. But he’s within DRS range now again.

Lap 67:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.5 seconds. Hamilton is 3.8 seconds adrift in P3, the Brit suffering on his ultrasofts.

Lap 68:
We’re now 10 laps from home, and it looks like Ricciardo may just be safe if he can hold his car together. He’s matching Vettel’s lap times in the 1:17.6s.

Lap 69:
Ricciardo and Vettel lap Grosjean, with the German losing time there. So Ricciardo is now 1.7 seconds ahead.

Lap 70:
Ricciardo told that’s it for traffic. Red Bull not saying what the issue is, though likely battery related. Hartley given a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Lap 71:
Ricciardo is 1.8 seconds up on Vettel, so beginning to stretch his legs - with Hamilton now 8.1 seconds adrift in P3.

Lap 72:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 1.1 seconds. Hamilton now 9.6 seconds behind the German in P3. Leclerc smashes into Hartley at the entrance to the chicane, and the Monegasque had brake failure and no chance but to smash into him. Hartley’s rear wing is hanging off the back of his car. Virtual Safety Car deployed with the top-three passing the pit entry.

Lap 73:
Virtual Safety Car deployed and no other cars have pitted. Ricciardo told debris on right hand side of Turn 10 (chicane). Vandoorne pits for hypersofts.

Lap 74:
VSC has ended. Ricciardo has advantage now, with McLaren of Vandoorne in between him and Vettel. DRS enabled. Ricciardo pulling a big lead.

Lap 75:
Ricciardo leads Vettel by 5.4 seconds, has the German got a tyre issue? Hamilton is 8-secs adrift in P3, followed by Raikkonen and Bottas. Amazing to see Vandoorne almost a rear gunner here for Ricciardo.

Lap 76:
Red Bull’s Ricciardo still harvesting energy, as he has all race long. He’s 5.1 seconds up on Vettel. Vettel has a huge lock up into Mirabeau. He’s really suffering now.

Lap 77:
Ricciardo now 7 seconds up on Vettel, the Australian doing 1:16.8s - as Leclerc walks back to the pits.

Lap 78 - FINAL LAP:
Ricciardo takes his seventh win, his first in Monaco - and his first lights to flag victory from pole position. An incredible drive, nursing his RB14 home for most of the race.

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