(Image source: Alberto-g-rovi)
A race weekend that threatened to become dramatic ended up being emphatic for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo as the Australian driver clinched a thrilling victory in Monte Carlo, despite experiencing a serious engine problem with his RB14.
At the start of Lap 30, Ricciardo, who got off to a clean start and had built a comfortable lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, reported a power problem. An issue with his car’s MGUK system put his chances of sealing a second win of the year under threat.
But instead of succumbing to pressure, Ricciardo, informed of the car’s status over the team radio, continued to drive and seemed untroubled as he fended off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to collect his maiden Monaco win.
This leaves us to examine whether the second, third placed drivers stood a chance of winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
Could Sebastian Vettel (P2) have won?
Realistically, the only situation in which Sebastian Vettel could’ve challenged the Australian driver would’ve been in the event of a total engine failure of Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which didn’t transpire.
From Lap 30 to Lap 78, an interesting battle ensued between the two, but Vettel struggled for race pace despite the Red Bull’s handicap.
Having pitted early on, Vettel had to look after his tyres while trying to put pressure on Ricciardo. But he could not make the defiant Australian buckle under pressure.
However, given Vettel’s P2 and Raikkonen’s P4, Ferrari will not be too disappointed. They delivered an error-free race with the German driver securing 15 valuable points. Meanwhile, Mercedes could only manage P3 and P5.
Could Lewis Hamilton (P3) have won?
At the conclusion of the Grand Prix, when former driver David Coulthard asked Hamilton whether if it was a good result for him, the four-time world champion confessed: “It’s easily the most unexciting race I’ve driven all season.”
Given his brilliant record over the last few seasons, it’s rare to see the Briton third on the podium. But even on a weekend where Mercedes lacked the pace to compete on a track where it’s nearly impossible to pass, Hamilton’s P3 wasn’t a bad result. However, he never stood a chance to challenge Ricciardo for the win.
Hamilton should leave Monaco a satisfied man as he continues to lead in the driver’s championship with a 14-point gap over second-placed Sebastian Vettel.
Who could have done more in Monaco? Let us know in the comments below.