F1 round-up: Sebastian Vettel wins Monaco GP

Brendon Netto 28/05/2017

Sebastian Vettel delivered Ferrari their first Monaco Grand Prix in 16 years on Sunday with teammate and pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen in second.

Vettel's third win of 2017 increased his lead over Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' world championship to 25 points.

Behind the two Ferraris came the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo with Hamilton's teammate Valterri Bottas's Merecedes in fourth.

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Hamilton started in 13th but the three-time former champion fought his way through the pack to claim seventh place.

Despite being a two-time winner in Monaco, but the 32-year-old mysteriously struggled with the handling of his Mercedes car this weekend.

Following his troubled performance in qualifying, he had it all to do on Sunday at a track where it is virtually impossible to overtake and he exceeded expectations.

FASTEST LAP

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Jenson Button, replacing Fernando Alonso for this race only in the McLaren, was always towards the rear of the field before colliding with Pascal Wehrlein on lap 68.

Button, in what is likely to be his last race, retired having sustained significant damage to the front left of his McLaren following the crash. What made it all the more disappointing was that he had a few good overtakes in the race before that collision.

ONE TO WATCH

On his Monaco debut with Force India, Esteban Ocon gave himself a mountain to climb after crashing out in the final session of qualifying on Saturday.

However, despite starting in 15t, he put in a fine performance to finish in 10th place.

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Kimi Raikkonen takes pole for Monaco Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen.

Kimi Raikkonen secured his first pole position for nine years on Saturday when he outpaced his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a dramatic qualifying session for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The 37-year-old Finn, who had not taken pole position for 128 races stretching back to the French Grand Prix of 2008, dominated the afternoon’s action to clock a fastest lap of one minute and 12.178 seconds.

That left him 0.043 seconds ahead of the world championship leader and three-time champion Vettel who in turn was just two-thousandths of a second faster than third placed Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes.

The Finn’s Mercedes team-mate Briton Lewis Hamilton failed to make progress from Q2 and missed the cut for the top ten shootout, qualifying 14th after a miserable afternoon.

“Obviously, it’s great,” said Raikkonen afterwards, showing little emotion. “We’ll try to make the best of it tomorrow… Yes, of course it is good, but here it is all about the fine details.”

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen took fourth place ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India and Frenhcman Romain Grosjean of Haas.

Briton Jenson Button, back from retirement to replace two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso who is racing in the Indianapolis 500, was ninth for McLaren Honda ahead of his team-mate Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.

Button has a 15-place grid penalty for engine replacements and that is expected to lift Hamilton up to 13th.

“I don’t know what was wrong there,” said Vettel of Mercedes’ problems. “But this is one of the highlights of the season – to race at Monaco. It is a difficult one to get right, but if you do, it is great.”

On a perfect azure afternoon, with an air temperature of 27 degrees and a track reading of 53, Q1 delivered few surprises other than the early exit of Frenchman Esteban Ocon of Force India, who had crashed at Casino Square in the closing minutes of the morning’s final practice session.

The Q2 session began with the two Finns Bottas and Raikkonen on track swiftly followed by the title contenders Vettel and Hamilton, who survived a big ‘moment’ at the top of the hill en route to Casino Square.

It proved costly for Hamilton whose first flying lap was more than a second adrift of Raikkonen’s early fastest. “No grip, Bono,” said Hamilton, talking to his engineer before he was stopped at the weighbridge on his way to Mercedes’ pits.

By then, Raikkonen had clocked a 1:12.231 to leap half a second clear of Verstappen at the front until Vettel slotted into second on his second run.

In his haste, Hamilton weaved to heat his tyres and then had a major slide at the exit of Casino Square before he locked up at Mirabeau. “Something wrong with the car,” he reported.

With just seconds remaining, Hamilton’s hopes were ruined when Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne went into the barriers at the Swimming Pool exit, yellow flags flying.

“That’s me out, right?” said Hamilton, deprived of a clean lap and condemned to qualify 14th, one of five men eliminated along with Russian Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso, German Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams.

“Yes, toasted,” came the reply for Hamilton as he pulled in to the pits, his chest heaving and hands waving with frustration.”

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Button handed 15-place grid penalty on his return at Monaco GP

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Jenson Button.

Jenson Button is set to start last for what could be his final Formula One race after being hit with a 15-place grid penalty at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button, 37, is back on the Formula One grid here in Monte Carlo this weekend following Fernando Alonso’s decision to participate at the Indianapolis 500.

McLaren’s season has been derailed by a series of problems with their engine supplier Honda. The British team prop up the constructors’ championship having failed to score a single point this year.

And following a series of changes to the parts on Button’s Honda engine after an issue was detected following second practice at the principality on Thursday, the Englishman is poised to start his one-off race from the back of the pack.

“We have changed Jenson’s MGH-U/TC after detecting an issue with his MGU-H after FP2,” a Honda spokesperson said ahead of final practice.

“The MGU-H/TC will be Jenson’s fifth which means he will receive a 15-place grid penalty for the race.”

Button was 12th-fastest in practice on Thursday ahead of the 306th race of his grand prix career.

Double world champion Alonso will be back in the McLaren cockpit for the next round in Canada. The Spaniard will start from fifth for his rookie appearance at the Indy 500 on Sunday.

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