Sebastian Vettel jumped ahead of Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by pitting later than the Finn to win the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, the first win for the Italian team at the principality since 2001.
Raikkonen started from pole position and held the lead in the opening stint, but found himself relegated to second when Vettel pitted later than he did, and from there on in, the German was untouchable, surviving a late safety car to win by 3.145 seconds.
The safety car had been deployed when Pascal Wehrlein and Jenson Button collided at Portier, with the Sauber F1 Team driver ending up on his side against the barriers. The German was pinned against the wall, and it was with great relief that when the car was righted on to its wheels, he was able to extract himself from the C36-Ferrari and jump over the barriers.
Button’s return to racing ended with a broken suspension from the incident, with the Briton likely to be handed a grid penalty for the incident, although with Fernando Alonso back in the car for the Canadian Grand Prix, it is likely to be an unfulfilled penalty.
With Vettel pulling a gap at the restart, Raikkonen was left to defend his position from Daniel Ricciardo, but the Australian was unable to get close enough to make a move, ensuring Ferrari finished first and second at the chequered flag.
Ricciardo survived a brush against the wall on the restart as the track at St Devote started to break up to finish on the bottom step of the podium, having jumped both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen during the pit stops. The Red Bull Racing driver had the same plan as Vettel up front to pit later than his rivals, and managed to maintain position after touching the wall.
Bottas finished just off the podium for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, holding off the challenge of Verstappen in the closing stages, the Dutchman having pitted for a second time for fresh tyres during the safety car period to attempt to make a move on the Finn, but it was not to be for the second Red Bull driver.
Carlos Sainz Jr finished sixth for Scuderia Toro Rosso, with the Spaniard holding off the challenge of the recovering Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages as the Mercedes driver climbed from thirteenth on the grid to finish seventh. Hamilton made one position up at the start, jumping Stoffel Vandoorne into turn one, and then, like Vettel and Ricciardo, used a later pit stop to jump up the order, slipping into seventh, but was unable to find a way through Sainz.
Romain Grosjean was eighth, and coupled with a tenth place finish for team-mate Kevin Magnussen, meant for the first time the Haas F1 Team secured points with both drivers in a Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa in between the two for the Williams Martini Racing team in ninth.
Jolyon Palmer had a low-key race and finished eleventh for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, who lost Nico Hülkenberg early on when his gearbox broke in a cloud of smoke.
Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez completed the finishers, with the Sahara Force India F1 Team seeing their run of points finishes end, with both making more pit stops during the race than they would have liked.
For Perez, it was a feisty run after the safety car, with the Mexican making an aggressive move on Vandoorne heading into St Devote that saw the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver crash out of the race whilst running in the points. Vandoorne had been following Hamilton’s strategy, and had looked to be a near certainty for a points finish, but the safety car closed the pack up before Perez made his opportunistic move, on fresh rubber, into the first turn.
For Perez however, he wasn’t done there, and he hit Daniil Kvyat at La Rascasse, with the Russian pulling off a little later with damage to his Toro Rosso whilst on course for ninth.
There were also retirements for Williams’ Lance Stroll, who ended his afternoon in the closing laps due to overheating brakes, while Marcus Ericsson ended his day in the barriers at St Devote, crashing out after being released by the safety car to un-lap himself before the restart.
For Vettel, it was his forty-fifth career victory, but more importantly the twenty-five points he earned, coupled with the six points for Hamilton’s seventh place, he now sits twenty-five points clear at the top of the championship standings leaving Monaco, while Ferrari pull away from Mercedes at the head of the Constructors’ Championship heading into Canada.
Monaco Grand Prix Race Result
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||78 Laps|
|2||7||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Scuderia Ferrari||+3.145s|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull Racing||+3.745s|
|4||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+5.517s|
|5||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||+6.199s|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Scuderia Toro Rosso||+12.038s|
|7||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+15.801s|
|8||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||+18.150s|
|9||19||Felipe Massa||BRZ||Williams Martini Racing||+19.445s|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+21.443s|
|11||30||Jolyon Palmer||GBR||Renault Sport Formula 1 Team||+22.737s|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Sahara Force India F1 Team||+23.725s|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Sahara Force India F1 Team||+39.089s|
|14/RET||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Williams Martini Racing||Retired|
|15/RET||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Retired|
|RET||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team||Retired|
|RET||9||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Sauber F1 Team||Retired|
|RET||22||Jenson Button||GBR||McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team||Retired|
|RET||94||Pascal Wehrlein||GER||Sauber F1 Team||Retired|
|RET||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Renault Sport Formula 1 Team||Retired|