Daniel Ricciardo rules Monaco streets

2018-05-30 06:02

FOR several reasons the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix will go down as one of the most bizarre races on the streets of the Principality.

First, there was the laptime that secured pole position. At just over seventy seconds Daniel Ricciardo’s time of one minute ten point eight seconds obliterated the circuit record and the rest of the field.

While Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was roughly two and a half tenths off the Red Bull’s pace, it felt like a faraway and impossible lap to beat.

Not only was Ricciardo easily quickest in quali, but also dominated all three practice sessions preceding it. There was seemingly nothing that could stop the Aussie from claiming his win in Monaco.

However, it wouldn’t prove to be a straightforward task as he had to contend with running more than half the race with the use of only six gears and decreased power due to a failure of the MGU-K system.

Besides this, he and all the front-runners had to nurse their tyres to the end of the 78 lap race by lapping significantly slower than their ultimate pace.

To make the one-stop strategy work, the front five of Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Bottas were, on occasion, turning in laptimes in the 1:19s, while the midfield were easily in the 1:17s, some even in the 1:16s. But such is the characteristics of Monaco that overtaking is nigh impossible.

Though he tried his utmost to take advantage of Ricciardo’s issues, Sebastian Vettel couldn’t take the lead of the race and finished second on the road. While Ricciardo struggled with a slow car, his tyres were in relatively good nick.

Ironically, it was vice versa for Vettel who had a fast car but nothing to play with in terms of tyres. Equally struggling to coax the ultrasoft tyre to the chequered flag was Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver dubbed the race “the most boring” he’d ever been involved in but was able to limit the damage to his championship lead to three points.

Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas showed a good turn of pace, but both were unable to follow through due to the lack of overtaking opportunities in Monaco. The Finnish duo finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Elsewhere, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg came home in sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Max Verstappen did manage to pull off some importantly clean overtakes to finish ninth. The Dutchman started plumb last after crashing in the final practice session and not getting out for qualifying.

This latest incident makes it six out of six crashes for Verstappen so far in 2018. While he may be adamant that he does not have to change anything in his approach, reality suggests otherwise. Renault’s Carlos Sainz snapped up the final point on offer.

Despite the tight confines of the street circuit, there was unusually few issues and only three cars retired from the race.

Fernando Alonso pulled off with a gearbox issue, while brake failure caused Sauber’s Charles LeClerc to run into the back of Brendon Hartley, putting both of them out of the race. Even this incident necessitated only the Virtual Safety Car for a couple of laps.

The 2018 Monaco GP won’t go down in history as one of the great races, but Daniel Ricciardo’s performance will.

With a wounded car he pulled off a memorable win that will be incredibly popular up and down the pitlane. It’s no doubt as to why his signature has become one of the hottest commodities in the sport.

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