Redemption for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo as he wins the Monaco Grand Prix
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 27, 2018 Updated: 12:31 PM PT
MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- As one of the biggest race weekends comes to a end, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo closed it out in style. The 28 year-old Australian earned his first Monaco Grand Prix win, and with this win, was able to redeem his near miss in 2016.
Ricciardo completes what has been a dominant weekend as he ran away with all three practice sessions and qualifying, then was able to finish the weekend off with his seventh career victory.
However, it was not leisurely Sunday drive around the principality for Ricciardo after he informed the team that he was experiencing a loss of power. As the team worked to try and solve the problem, there was very little they could do, leaving Ricciardo to manage a wounded car for the duration of the race.
“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 today. It wasn’t fun driving like that and I’m pretty exhausted, but very, very happy. We finally got some redemption and this is the sweetest feeling,” Ricciardo said.
Ricciardo was forced to reduce his pace considerably putting him under threat of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who made a number of attempts to challenge the Red Bull driver. But, Ricciardo would dig deep and hold off the German until the checkered flag. Ricciardo makes up for the disastrous pit stop that cost him a win in 2016.
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton would finish second and third with Hamilton finishing 9s down from Ricciardo. Both cars were limited after experiencing heavy graining leaving both drivers struggling on their tires.
Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were also plagued with graining leaving both drivers in fourth and fifth.
Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly made a ‘French Connection’ finishing sixth and seventh. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finished eighth followed by Max Verstappen who was able to find his way up the field to finish ninth in the second Red Bull.
Verstappen was expected to have a strong showing along with his teammate this weekend, but things took a turn when the Dutchmen crashed in the final practice session which forced a gearbox change. This change sent him to the back of the grid.
Carlos Sainz took the final points paying position in tenth after receiving an order from the team to let teammate Nico Hulkenberg by. However, Sainz would be left to battle it out with Max Verstappen for ninth.
Verstappen’s first attempt came on the inside of Sainz at Turn 10 leaving Sainz to cut across the across chicane.
Sainz would continue to defend until Verstappen made another attempt. This second attempt was on the outside of Sainz, breaking deep into the corner, and driving over the tall curb of the apex with neither driver receiving a penalty during their battle.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson just missed the top ten in 11th with the Force India of Sergio Perez in 12th. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne split the two Haas cars finishing in 14th with Kevin Magnussen in 13th and teammate Romain Grosjean in 15th. Vandoorne’s teammate Fernando Alonso was forced to retire after he suffered a gearbox failure during the race.
Williams’ weekend was a difficult one with both of their cars struggling. Sergey Sirotkin was handed a ten-second time penalty after the team failed to fit the tire on his car in the allowed time before the start of the race. Teammate Lance Stroll suffered a puncture during the opening laps leaving him to nurse his car to finish 17th.
Bad luck struck hometown hero Charles Leclerc after he suffered a break failure which sent his car into the rear of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, taking both cars out of the race.
Despite finishing third, Lewis Hamilton still leads the championship with Vettel’s second place finish trimming the lead to 14 points.