Vettel claims emphatic win in Monaco to extend championship lead

Monaco Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Monaco GP ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo took P3 for Red Bull Racing, while Lewis Hamilton’s title hopes suffered a setback as he finished P7.

The race was a straightforward affair, with Raikkonen leading cleanly away at the start from Vettel. The two Ferraris steadily pulled away up front from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, with the two Red Bull drivers slotting into P4 & P5. Lewis Hamilton gained a place off the line as he passed Stoffel Vandoorne but the order remained very similar at the end of Lap 1.

Raikkonen never escaped Vettel’s clutches, and pitted at the end of Lap 34 as Ferrari responded to the stops of Verstappen & Bottas behind. Vettel didn’t immediately pit, instead churning out some fast laps before coming in on Lap 39. As a result of his fast laps, he emerged into the lead and never looked back again. Daniel Ricciardo employed a similar tactic to jump past his teammate & Bottas, and held the final podium place until the end of the race. This was despite clouting the barrier at Ste. Devote after a late Safety Car as the race resumed.

Lewis Hamilton stayed out on his UltraSoft tyres until Lap 47, and had had enough time in clear air to move up to P7 after his stop. The Safety Car threatened to shake up the order as the top five closed up as the race resumed, but it finished Vettel ahead of Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Bottas and Verstappen.

The Safety Car was deployed, along with the Medical Car, to attend a collision between Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein & McLaren’s Jenson Button. Button, having been staring at the back of the Sauber all race after the pair both pitted at the end of Lap 1, attempted a move into Portier and tagged the Sauber, tipping Wehrlein onto his side. He was fine, and clambered free when the car was turned back over.

Other retirements included Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, whose gearbox expired early in the race, as well as Marcus Ericsson & Stoffel Vandoorne. Ericsson hit the barriers at Ste. Devote under the Safety Car, while Vandoorne did the same as the race resumed. The McLaren had been running P10 and in the points at the time. Daniil Kvyat retired late on with what looked like driver error, and Lance Stroll pulled into the pits in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs with a technical problem.

Behind the top five, Carlos Sainz finished P6 for Toro Rosso, Hamilton P7 for Mercedes, P8 Romain Grosjean for Haas, Felipe Massa took P9 for Williams, and Kevin Magnussen the final points scorer in the second Haas.

Vettel’s win leaves him 25 points clear of Hamilton at the top of the standings.


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Thomas Maher

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