Sebastian Vettel has extended his lead of the 2017 F1 drivers’ world championship to 25 points with victory ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the Monaco GP.
Monaco is a race more associated with the glitz and the glamour rather than the racing. The street circuit is notoriously difficult to pass around meaning the race can often pass by without much action. One thing guaranteed however is at some point someone will hit a barrier. Sure enough that is what happened, when Button, standing in for Alonso who is at the Indy 500, had a lunge at Wehrlein, who ended upside down in a tyre wall. Which bunched up the field up – made everyone’s tyres go cold – And half the field crashed out at 30mph. Even behind the safety car. The day, however, belonged to Ferrari in more ways than one.
Vettel’s victory – amazingly the Scuderia’s first at Monaco since 2001 – was clouded in controversy after he overtook Raikkonen in the pits after running for five laps longer than the Finn. While Raikkonen struggled to warm up his tyres, Vettel set a series of blistering laps to emerge ahead of the Finn after Raikonnen led the opening stint.
“I tried to push as hard as possible and I was surprised to come out in front,” admitted Vettel. “I can understand Kimi’s upset.”
Raikkonen’s body language spoke volumes after the race when he stood stony-faced on the podium and barely acknowledged his team-mate.
“It’s still second place but it doesn’t feel awfully good,” said Raikkonen. “It’s one of those days where you wish you’d led a bit more.”
Vettel’s closest title rival Lewis Hamilton finished seventh on a poor but unlucky weekend for the Mercedes driver. After starting 13th, Hamilton jumped to seventh in the pit window but couldn’t find a way past Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz during the final stages. Even the late safety car proved no help to Lewis. The difficult to pass nature of Monaco justifying why Hamilton was so upset with his Saturday qualifying effort. He knew he had a mountain to climb on Sunday.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo grabbed the final podium finish after copying the strategy of Vettel jumping both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen in the pits, much to the annoyance of Max heard over team radio.
Last time out at the Spanish GP the Mercedes pace was clear. Hamilton passing Vettel ‘like a train’ down the main straight. Ferrari needed to reply – and they just did.
Spanish GP race result
1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
4. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
6. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso
7. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
8. Romain Grosjean, Haas
9. Felipe Massa, Williams
10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
11. Jolyon Palmer, Renault
12. Esteban Ocon, Force India
13. Sergio Perez, Force India
Did not finish: Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat, Stoffel Vandoorne, Marcus Ericsson, Jenson Button, Pascal Wehrlein, Nico Hulkenberg