Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes had expressed concerns about the Red Bulls and Ferraris having an advantage on the track, and that certainly proved to be the case at the Circuit de Monaco.
It was a race that saw Daniel Ricciardo drive superbly to fend off the challenge of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in second place, to secure the victory. The Australian enjoyed a superb race weekend where he dominated from start to finish and won the race against all the odds following a power loss following his sole pit stop.
Ricciardo managed to keep Vettel at bay for a remarkable 59 laps, which sees him climb up to third place now in the drivers’ standings, 38 points adrift of current leader Lewis Hamilton. While Vettel did manage to finish ahead of Hamilton, he was only able to claw back three points on the Brit, meaning Hamilton is still in control at the top of the leaderboard with a 14-point advantage over his bitter rival.
The real high, not just of the race, but the weekend, was the performance of Daniel Ricciardo. He had spoken before the race that in many ways he felt Monaco owed him victory after it was cruelly snatched away from him 2 years ago following a mistake in the pits. He knew he would have to earn success though, and he did so with aplomb as he was the fastest in every practice and qualifying session, while also leading the race from start to finish.
You’d expect Lewis Hamilton was quite pleased with his performance and the result, in what was a race all about damage limitation, as it had been last year in Monaco too. Mercedes know they haven’t got the car that’s best suited to this track and barring a miracle they weren’t going to win the race. It was more about finishing as high up the field as possible, while not allowing Vettel to gain a huge advantage, and that was achieved.
The race didn’t really go to plan for McLaren driver Fernando Alonso though who unfortunately suffered his first retirement of the season due to a broken gearbox. This sees the former world champion down in seventh place in the current drivers’ standings, 28 points adrift of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth place. His early exit from the race did allow Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly to profit as he managed to secure seventh place as a result.
Next up on the Formula 1 calendar is Canada, and it’s another street circuit. However, it’s an extremely fast-paced track where there should be plenty of action and overtaking. Lewis Hamilton excels here, and he’s expected to go well as he looks to further strengthen his position at the top of the leaderboard. This also represents a huge opportunity for Daniel Ricciardo to establish himself as a true contender as his Red Bull with the Renault engine should also see him enjoy another great race weekend.