Sebastian Vettel wins Monaco Grand Prix, heading up a Ferrari 1-2

With Formula 1 returning for the Monaco Grand Prix, Chris Soulsby looks at the race that unfolded, which saw Sebastian Vettel secure his third win of 2017.

Following Lewis Hamilton‘s second win of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix, Formula 1 headed to Monaco for the sixth race of the 2017 Season around the twisty and narrow streets of Principality. In first practice, Mercedes looked on the pace early on, however, from second practice it was shaping up to be a Ferrari race weekend. This was proven when Kimi Raikkonen secured pole position in qualifying, putting him in prime position to win the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of his team mate and fellow front row starter, Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel wins Monaco Grand Prix, heading up a Ferrari 1-2

When the lights went out, F1’s crown jewel event was finally underway, and Kimi Raikkonen got the start that he needed from pole, leading into turn 1 from Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas. By the end of the first lap, the front of the field remained the same, with only a few changes happening in the middle of the pack after Kevin Magnussen put his Haas F1 car into ninth after jumping Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg into turn 1 and Hamilton moved into 12th place, getting a better start from Stoffel Vandoorne.

After a battle for the fastest lap between Raikkonen and Vettel which saw the gap between the first and second placed drivers vary was the most exciting action out on track, Sergio Perez became the third driver to pit in the race for Force India, fitting the supersoft tyres on lap 17 after damaging his front wing.

On the same lap, the yellow flags waved for the first time of the race, with Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault smoking from the rear end. The German driver then pulled over to retire from the race, just before the entry to the iconic tunnel. This retirement was pinned down to a terminal gearbox issue, leaving only one Renault remaining in the race.

Ten laps later on lap 27, the front runners encountered their first issue of the race in the form of Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein, with the McLaren and Sauber drivers about to be lapped. This proved to be an issue when blue flags weren’t being waved for the back markers, prompting third placed Bottas to close in on Vettel and Raikkonen, with the Finn closing in on the leaders by 1.194 seconds in the space of a single lap.

In an attempt to move into third place, Red Bull Racing pitted their leading driver, Max Verstappen on lap 32, attempting to perform the undercut strategy on Bottas. Mercedes then pitted Bottas on lap 33 in an attempt to cover off Bottas and hold onto their podium position. A slow stop from Verstappen meant that the Dutchman stayed behind Bottas once the pit stops cycled through. This however, prompted pit stops across the field, with race leader Raikkonen pitting on lap 35.

After pitting on lap 35 from the lead, Raikkonen rejoined the race in third place, marking the first lead change of the Grand Prix as Vettel moved into first, giving the four time champion clean air to extend his gap from the now second placed Daniel Ricciardo. This proved to be difficult however, with Ricciardo pumping in fastest lap after fastest lap in his Red Bull RB13, clsong the gap to his former team mate of 2014.

After Carlos Sainz Jr pitted on lap 38, Bottas and Verstappen were once again freed into clean air. This proved to be too late however, when Vettel and Ricciardo pitted from first and second one lap later on lap 39. This was it became clear that the overcut strategy was the faster strategy call around Monaco, with Vettel rejoining in first place ahead of Raikkonen and Ricciardo rejoining in third ahead of Bottas and Verstappen despite the two drivers being ahead on track in the first stint.

After Hamilton started in 13th place, the former F1 champion found himself racing around in the lower points paying positions and battling Carlos Sainz Jr for much of the race. By extending his first stint on the ultrasoft tyre and pitting on lap 47, Hamilton held onto seventh place, jumping a number of drivers in the pit strategy.

The Safety Car was then deployed on lap 61 after the yellow flags were waving in sector 2 for an overturned car just before the entry to the tunnel. This overturned car was the Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein, with the car propped up sideways against the outside wall of the entry to the tunnel. This accident happened following contact with Jenson Button, when the stand in McLaren driver lunged up the inside of Wehrlein in going into turn 8.

When the lapped drivers were ordered to overtake the Safety Car on lap 64, disaster once again struck for Sauber, when Marcus Ericsson attempted to pass into turn 1, and instead carried on into the wall due to low tyre temperatures and low brake temperatures, ending his day on lap 65.

The Safety Car peeled into the pits on lap 66 and the green flags waved once again as the drivers went back up to racing speed.

Vettel had the restart that he needed and held onto his lead from Raikkonen. Going into turn 1, third place to fifth was backed up as Daniel Ricciardo clouted the outside wall but managed to continue in third. A few seconds later, the yellow flags waved once again in sector 1 as Stoffel Vandoorne made the same error as Ericsson, crashing into turn 1 after running inside the points for McLaren, forcing him into retirement, marking a double DNF for the team.

In the closing laps of the race, and with points still available, Sergio Perez tried to continue his points scoring streak for Force India by launching an attack up the inside of Daniil Kvyat. With the gap that Perez was aiming for vanishing, the pair inevitably made contact, forcing Kvyat into retirement and Perez into the pits once again. This promoted Felipe Massa into ninth and Kevin Magnussen up into tenth place.

On the 78th lap, Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line to secure his third win of 2017 and second win around the streets of Monaco, extending his lead in the Drivers Championship to 25 points Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen followed his team mate across the line to secure a 90th 1-2 finish for Ferrari, while Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the podium positions to finish in third place for the second race in succession for Red Bull Racing.

Valtteri Bottas held of Max Verstappen for fourth while the flying Dutchman crossed the line in fifth place.

Carlos Sainz Jr finished in sixth place for Toro Rosso after starting the race from there while Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in seventh for Mercedes, being unable to make inroads onto the Red Bull Junior Driver in front of him.

Romain Grosjean finished where he started in eighth place for Haas F1 to secure his second points finish of 2017 while Felipe Massa finished in ninth for Williams after starting in 15th.

Kevin Magnussen rounded out the points paying positions in the second Haas, marking a double points finish for the American outfit.

Jolyon Palmer just finished outside of the points for Renault while the two Force India drivers of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez rounded out the finishers in 12th and 13th.

For the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, my driver of the day is Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull Racing. After qualifying in fifth place, Ricciardo delivered in the race when it mattered, perfectly executing the overcut strategy to secure his second podium in two races as well as putting Sebastian Vettel under pressure at the end of his first stint by setting fastest lap after fastest lap.

Formula 1 will return for the Canadian Grand Prix from June 9th – June 11th. Can Sebastian Vettel make it two wins in a row for Ferrari or can Kimi Raikkonen come back stronger to secure his first win since the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix? We will find out in Montreal.

Results from the Monaco Grand Prix:

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 25 points
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 18 points
  3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 15 points
  4. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 12 points
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 10 points
  6. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 8 points
  7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 6 points
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 4 points
  9. Felipe Massa, Williams, 2 points
  10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1 point
  11. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 0 points
  12. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 0 points
  13. Sergio Perez, Force India, 0 points
  14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Ret
  15. Lance Stroll, Williams, Ret
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Ret
  17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Ret
  18. Jenson Button, McLaren, Ret
  19. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, Ret
  20. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Ret

Drivers Standings after the Monaco Grand Prix:

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 129 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 104 points
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 75 points
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 67 points
  5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 52 points
  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 45 points
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 34 points
  8. Carlso Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 25 points
  9. Felipe Massa, Williams, 20 points
  10. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 19 points
  11. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 14 points
  12. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 9 points
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 5 points
  14. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 4 points
  15. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 4 points
  16. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 0 points
  17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 0 points
  18. Lance Stroll, Williams, 0 points
  19. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 0 points
  20. Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 0 points
  21. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 0 points
  22. Jenson Button, McLaren, 0 points

Constructors Standings after the Monaco Grand Prix:

  1. Ferrari, 196 points
  2. Mercedes, 179 points
  3. Red Bull Racing, 97 points
  4. Force India, 53 points
  5. Toro Rosso, 29 points
  6. Williams, 20 points
  7. Renault, 14 points
  8. Haas F1, 14 points
  9. Sauber, 4 points
  10. McLaren, 0 points

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