Daniel Ricciardo nursed his wounded Red Bull over the line to win the Monaco Grand Prix and claim his second victory of the Formula One campaign.
Ricciardo was down on power for the majority of the sport’s most famous race by the Mediterranean, but he bravely held off challenges from Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to take the chequered flag.
Vettel, who conceded defeat in the closing stages of Sunday’s glamorous grand prix, cuts Hamilton’s championship lead to 14 points. Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth with Valtteri Bottas fifth for Mercedes.
Here’s our main takeaways from Monaco.
Ricciardo reigns supreme
The Australian was immense all weekend, converting only his second career pole into a second victory of the season.
The 28-year-old utterly dominated the track action, topping all three practice sessions and then set a new Monte Carlo track record in Q3 on Saturday.
His advantage may have only been two hundredths of a second in qualifying, but he was made to work all the way to the chequered flag on race day, with Vettel breathing down his neck for over 45 laps of the race.
A loss of power midway through the race meant he struggled to pull further away from the Ferrari, but victory alone will have boosted confidence for the Milton Keynes outfit after a mixed start to the season.
Vettel cuts gap in title race
Although he was unable to topple Ricciardo, the German can leave Monaco with plenty of positives after sealing second and also reducing Hamilton’s lead at the top of the championship to 14 points.
After failing to make the podium in Spain two weeks ago, Vettel led a consistent Ferrari performance in the south of France, between his superb result and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen crossing the line in fourth.
Staying within a second of Ricciardo for the majority of the race, he didn’t put a foot wrong around a circuit that is renowned for a lack of overtaking opportunities.
With two weeks until the championship rolls into Canada, the 30-year-old is slowly chipping away at Hamilton’s lead, something that is a minor concern with three quarters of the season still to go.
Hamilton resurgence continues
In a race that the Red Bulls were expected to dominate – and Ricciardo rightly did – Hamilton would have taken third before the weekend even began.
With back-to-back wins in Baku and Barcelona, the championship leader may not be fully comfortable in the W09 but looked solid as he stayed within a second of Vettel and two seconds of Ricciardo for large spells of the race.
It’s clear his resurgence is here to stay and represents a huge positive for the title race as he and Vettel go in search of that illustrious fifth world title.
Verstappen steps up
The Dutchman showed serious composure and pace to navigate the tight confines of the circuit and finish ninth after starting from the back of the grid.
One of the favourites leading into the weekend, Verstappen drove into the back of a wall in free practice and was unable to get out to set a time in Q1.
It was the sixth time the 20-year-old has either skidded or collided with another driver so far this season.
But despite the criticism, the Red Bull star proved his class with a stunning driver to move up 11 places and finish in the points.
He still has plenty to work on before the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks.
Ocon shows desire
The Frenchman may be off form and also the pace that saw him clinch 18 top-10 finishes last season, but the Force India youngster produced a masterclass this weekend to take sixth – eight places ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez.
With 10th, 11th, 12th and two DNFs in his first five races respectively, Ocon showed flashes of confidence in Monaco after a poor start to his second season in F1.
In a long season, the Evreux native has time on his side to transform his form and push Force India into a high midfield place again. He needs a consistent run if he is to be considered for a potential Mercedes seat in the future.
Williams struggle again
Another disappointing finish for Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll with both drivers finishing 16th and 17th respectively.
With Williams sitting at the basement of the championship, now is the right time for Paddy Lowe and Co. to give reserve driver Robert Kubica a chance to see if he can help revive fortunes at the garage.
If the 33-year-old fails to prove himself, then Williams can stick to their original plan of pushing the two youngsters until the end of the season before drafting in a more experienced name, something that is well needed.
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