Daniel Ricciardo converted his magnificent pole position to the race win on Sunday. Ricciardo managed to guide his ill RB14 car to the finish ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Ocon came home in a brilliant sixth position after his strong position and Max Verstappen managed to avoid the walls to bring his Red Bull to ninth place after starting last.
Daniel Ricciardo dominated the entire weekend with the fastest time in all free practice sessions, pole position and the race win. However, during the mid-way point of the race, Ricciardo felt a loss of power after pulling a sizeable gap to Vettel.
The issue which was unknown until team boss Christian Horner revealed that the Australian driver had to suffer from a failed MGU-K unit in the engine, leading to him not being able to reach 7th or 8th gear due to the lack of speed.
The Ferrari of Vettel could see the issue Ricciardo was having and attempted to push. This was until the ultra-soft tyres that was equipped to Vettel’s car for the majority of the race decided that they no longer wanted to be pushed, leaving him to lose touch to Ricciardo.
Vettel was not the only driver experiencing tyre issues. Lewis Hamilton stopped for his only pit-stop at a similar time to Vettel. Hamilton was quick to inform the team that he was unable to push and was persistent with that. Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, also pitted early but for Super softs, hoping to reach the end of the race. Bottas was able to be within reach of DRS to fourth placed Kimi Raikkonen but was unable to pass.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon had a quiet but enjoyable race from his point of view. Ocon was able to capitalise from his great qualifying performance to finish in sixth position. Surprisingly, being able to catch up to Bottas despite being under pressure from other.
Pierre Gasly proved his worth again by finishing in a fantastic seventh position for Toro Rosso Honda. A similar performance to his amazing fourth place in Bahrain earlier on in the season. Nico Hulkenburg was able to fight his way up to eight after missing out on a Q3 spot in qualifying and finished under a second behind Gasly.
Max Verstappen was able to finish in ninth place and at the back of the Gasly train. Verstappen was able to finish in the points from the back of the grid after some great overtaking specifically into the nouvelle chicane, an effective strategy by his team and patience. Verstappen was able to take one achievement from his team-mate this weekend by having the fastest lap of the race, completed shortly after his only pit-stop onto the hyper-soft tyres. Renault were able to achieve another double points finish with Carlos Sainz gently bringing his car home in tenth place, over 40 seconds behind Verstappen.
Despite the high chance, the safety car was surprisingly not needed at Monte Carlo as the drivers seemed to be able to behave themselves. However, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed towards the later stages of the race as home hero Charles Leclerc, of Sauber Alfa Romeo collided with the Toro Rosso of Brendan Hartley. It was reported on Hartley’s team-radio that Leclerc was suffering from some sort of issue and Hartley was advised to push by his team.
Seconds after Hartley’s radio was transmitted on TV, Leclerc lost control under braking into the nouvelle chicane and smashed into the rear of Hartley’s car, leaving Hartley to slowly guide his car back to the pits with his rear wing upside down, hanging by a thread. The incident would end both driver’s races. Upon replay, it seemed that Leclerc was suffering from a braking issue which would lead to them failing, causing the incident. Brake dust was seen flying out of the front left wheel on Leclerc as soon as he touched the brake and the Monegasque driver was a passenger with Hartley being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The two drivers were joined in the retirement list by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who disappointedly had what seemed to be a gearbox failure after fighting well into a points position.
The disaster of a season continued for Williams, Sergey Sirotkin, who outperformed the car in qualifying, was instantly smacked with a penalty after his Williams mechanics were spotted working on the car in the three-minute window before the race. Sirotkin came across the line in 16th place. Lance Stroll continued his run of bad form with multiple pitstops, one due to a puncture, and a finishing position of 17th place and over a minute behind the leader. Still only 4 points on the board for the Williams team.
What did you think of the race?
By Stanley Jones