Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Monaco Grand Prix having started in second place on the grid and enhancing his lead in the drivers’ championship rankings. Second was Kimi Raikkonen, also in Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull in third place.
Pole position is much more important than any other factor at the Monaco Grand Prix, and not to have it is recognised as a major handicap. In addition, the cars themselves were marginally wider in this year’s 75th edition, adding to the near impossibility of overtaking.
The line-up at the start was not how it had been imagined at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton – the winner in Barcelona – started in 13th place after tire problems in qualifying sessions and from the very start on Sunday was almost ruled out of a podium position.
“That’s pretty much the weekend done,” he said on Saturday. “I will try to get into the Top 10 but it will be a nice Sunday drive, I imagine.”
In his Ferrari it was Kimi Raikkonen who took pole, the first time he’d had the top position in nine years, and from Lap 1, the Finn built up a formidable lead. By Lap 5 he’d built up a 1.5 second lead over Sebastian Vettel, which fell back to just over the second mark before Ferrari teammate Vettel took over at the front of the pack.
Button had an unsatisfactory return to Monaco, starting at the end of the grid and making up only two places, one after Hulkenberg retired and the second after Wehrlein hit the barrier in spectacular fashion at Portier.
More drama was added by Sauber’s Ericsson in the 64th lap, when he lost grip at Saint Devote, possibly on tarmac that was resurfaced on Saturday night. The safety car deployed and after the 66th racing lap the same thing happened at Sainte Devote to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, bringing the field down to just 15 before the final laps.
It was an exciting Monaco Grand Prix, certainly confounding the critics who regard the race as a 78-lap procession.