Vettel Leads Ferrari 1-2 in Monaco
MONTE CARLO, Monaco- Taking advantage of a better pit stop than his teammate, plus enduring a safety car period, Sebastian Vettel had no difficulties after the midpoint in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo by winning Formula One‘s most prestigious race by 3.1 seconds over Kimi Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo, who was disappointed last season by a botched pit stop, made up for that error by finishing in third.
For Scuderia Ferrari, it is the first time that the team has triumphed in a 1-2 finish at this street circuit since 2001, when Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello took the honors. The victory now puts Vettel six points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the driver standings, but Ferrari still trails AMG Mercedes by eight points in the constructor’s championship.
“Unbelievable.” said a beaming Vettel afterwards. “I think it was a very intense race. I was hoping at the start to have a bit of a better launch but Kimi (Raikkonen) had a good start. I had nowhere to go, so I had to be patient.”
Being patient is what Vettel needed because Raikkonen led 35 laps of the race following a very clean start for this type of circuit, and only Nico Hulkenberg at the time, was the only retirement of the race on lap 17 with a transmission failure. However, in true Monaco fashion, the attrition rate began to grow, and following Vettel’s successful pit stop on lap 39, which brought him out in front of his teammate, Pascal Wehrlein was struck by McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button on lap 61 at Portier, which flipped the German’s Sauber entry straight up on its left side. Luckily, Wehrlein was unhurt, but the incident brought out the safety car for the next five laps before Vettel jumped out in front again and increased his gap over Raikkonen by 2.5 seconds. By the checkered flag, Vettel had increased his gap by another seven tenths of a second.
Valterri Bottas could never get going into the race and had to settle for fourth, while Max Verstappen, frustrated all day with the team’s strategy, took fifth. Carlos Sainz Jr. had his best finish at this historic circuit, taking sixth, while Hamilton finished in seventh, after starting out the race in 14th. Felipe Massa was ninth, and the American Haas F1 Team had their first double points finish since they began their F1 quest last season, with Romain Grosjean finishing eighth and Kevin Magnussen taking tenth.
Vettel is now in an appropriate position, and is hoping to continue his good fortune at the next race in Canada. But Hamilton is good there, and Vettel would rather think about enjoying this race win first.
“Canada is a completely different track to be honest,” Vettel continued. “For now, I am just going to enjoy the win here. I think we’ll have a fun night and then we have enough time to prepare for Canada.”
MONACO GRAND PRIX
At Monte Carlo- Final race results
1Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
2Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari -- 3.1 seconds behind
3Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
4Valterri Bottas (FIN) AMG Mercedes
5Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
6Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Toro Rosso
7Lewis Hamilton (GBR) AMG Mercedes
8Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
9Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams Martini Racing
10Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
11Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault
12Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
13Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
14 Dani Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso- Accident- lap 72
15Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams Martini Racing- Brakes- lap 72
16Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren-Honda- Accident- lap 66
17Markus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber- accident- lap 64
18Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Honda- accident—lap 60
19Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber- accident- lap 60
20Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault—transmission- lap17
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.