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Monaco Formula One Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo ends Monaco hoodoo despite mechanical issue

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull

Monte Carlo, May 27: Daniel Ricciardo overcame a mechanical problem to hold off Sebastian Vettel and win the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time in his career amid late drama on Sunday (May 27).

Red Bull driver Ricciardo suffered an issue that led to an irreparable loss of power on lap 28, but he showed incredible skill and grit to hang on for the top step on the podium, despite a virtual safety car being deployed with six laps remaining after Charles Leclerc smashed into the back of Brendon Hartley.

Vettel backed off after initially pushing for an overtake and he was unable to succeed on deteriorated tyres later in the race, settling for second to cut Lewis Hamilton's championship lead to 14 points - the Mercedes driver finishing in third.

A botched pit-stop denied Ricciardo a win in the principality in 2016, while a poorly judged release during qualifying denied him a shot at pole position last year.

It looked like nothing could stop him this time around as he produced the fastest time in all three practices sessions and qualified first with a track record time, as Mercedes and Ferrari seemingly resigned themselves to being beaten this weekend.

Red Bull reacted brilliantly to Vettel's first stop by getting Ricciardo in for fresh tyres and back out in first place at the start of lap 17, but a loss of power in the RB14 threw a spanner in the works.

But the Australian was able to manage his ultrasoft compound until the end of the race, despite Vettel, Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas closing - the gap from first to fifth was less than six seconds as the race entered its final third.

A virtual safety car threatened to undo all of Ricciardo's hard work, but it was withdrawn with four laps remaining and the Red Bull driver quickly opened a five-second gap over Vettel after the restart to put himself firmly in the championship frame.

His Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen produced a similarly mature drive to cap a hugely positive day for the Austrian outfit. After a crash late in FP3 caused gearbox damage that ruled the 20-year-old out of qualifying, he worked his way up to ninth from the back of the grid.

"Two years in the making this, so I finally feel like the redemption has arrived," said Ricciardo after the race.

"We had problems - I don't know how much the radio broadcast - but we had a lot to deal with during the race. I think it was before halfway I felt a loss of power and I thought the race was done.

"We got home just using six gears so thanks to the team we got it back. I'm stoked.

"There was a few doubts that came in mid-race, but we won Monaco. It feels good, it feels good."

Source: OPTA

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Story first published: Sunday, May 27, 2018, 20:30 [IST]
Other articles published on May 27, 2018
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