2018 Monaco Grand Prix
Heading to the Monaco Grand Prix, Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo had only one thing in mind: payback.
After missing out on the win in 2016 following a bungled pit-stop, the big-smiling Australian returned to Circuit de Monaco as a man on a mission. And fortunately, he was able to get the job done this time despite an engine problem that threatened his chances and brought back memories of the events two years ago.
While the tournament provided little action, no thanks to the nature of the circuit, it isn’t without talking points as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso managed to take the spotlight with their post-match comments about the “most boring race ever.”
Highlights of the game
It was a masterful race from Ricciardo as he led from start to finish to put the Monaco Grand Prix results beyond doubt.
After an impressive performance during the practice session and qualifying, the 28-year-old Perth native entered the race as the favourite. He then made sure to delight his supporters, securing the top spot and finishing well ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Hamilton.
It was far from a straightforward victory for Ricciardo though as the race that looked to be heading into an easy win was suddenly filled with troubles. On Lap 28, ten laps after making his pit-stop, Ricciardo noticed an engine problem and saw his three-second lead over Vettel reduced to nothing.
As it turns out, Ricciardo lost the MGU-K which reduced his car’s power by about 25 percent. To put that into perspective, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the drop in performance was worth 2.5 seconds per lap—that and Ricciardo still has 50 laps to go!
Despite the issue, however, Ricciardo showed great composure and remarkable control over his car. He managed his engine problem well while ensuring that Vettel did not get close enough to try and overtake him.
“Two years later I finally feel like redemption has arrived,” Ricciardo said after the difficult win. “We had a lot to deal with during the race. I felt loss of power and I thought the race was done. I got home just using six gears. Thanks to the team I got it back.”
“There were a few doubts getting it to the end of the race but we won Monaco.”
The win is Ricciardo’s first in Monaco and second this season after taking the Chinese Grand Prix title earlier last month.
Ricciardo finished the race 7.3 seconds clear of Vettel who ended up second. Hamilton, meanwhile, was third and 17 seconds behind in a largely dull competition. In fact, the top six drivers finished in the same order they started from the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen securing fourth followed by Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon.
Furthermore, in our preview of the race which cited the Monaco Grand Prix betting odds, except for Max Verstappen, the drivers finished as predicted.
Circuit de Monaco is known for its tight track which makes overtaking hard or nearly impossible, so the outcome isn’t surprising at all.
However, Hamilton and Alonso, who failed to complete the race due to a gearbox failure, were critical of the competition and called it a “boring” race.
“We are driving at high speed, there is not a lot of action, you’re just trying to bring it home, for 56 laps. Oh my God, it was long,” Hamilton explained. “Forty laps to go, I was like, Oh God, please. When it finished, I was like, ‘thank goodness’.”
Meanwhile, Alonso added: “This is probably the most boring race ever. Without a safety car, without yellow flags, I think the sport needs to think a little bit about the show because this is very disappointing.”
With the win, Ricciardo toppled Mercedes’ Bottas for third in the driver standings. He now has 72 points but still way behind Hamilton and Vettel.
After his failure in Spain a couple of weeks ago, Ferrari’s Vettel would be happy with the result as he cut Hamilton’s lead to just 14 points.
Meanwhile, Mercedes remain the team to beat for the constructors’ championship, leading by 178 points followed by Ferrari (156) and Red Bull (107).
Next up is the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where Mercedes will look to defend their title. The team bagged a one-two finish in last year’s edition of the race, with Hamilton cruising to a comfortable win.
Moreover, despite failing to get into the podium in last year’s tournament, Ferrari are expected to fight for the Montreal title, at least according to the latest Canadian Grand Prix outright odds.
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