The 2018 Monaco Grand Prix was high on glitz, glamour and celebrity quotient. Hugh Grant, Tom Brady (NFL), Bella Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger were some of the names that graced the paddock. If only the actual race was as exciting as the guests that braced the circuit on Sunday.
Winner takes all
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo scored his 7th career win in Formula 1. Surprisingly, this was also his first and only win from pole position - a statistic that definitely underlines his talent. The Australian scored his first-ever win in Monaco, after coming agonisingly close in 2016. There’s little doubt that Ricciardo termed his win as a ‘redemption’ after the race.
In an era that has otherwise seen Mercedes dominate, the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix was one of those rare races where Red Bull Racing dominated. It was Ricciardo who clinched top honours for the team in every session, while their prodigy and young Dutchman Max Verstappen, crashed his way out of contention in the crucial Free Practice session on Saturday. A crash that definitely cost him a podium, if not a race win.
The Pirelli tyres didn’t seem to be most suitable for the street race after drivers complained of graining from the early stages of the race itself. In fact, the overall race pace was embarrassingly slow for a Formula 1 Grand Prix!
Vettel makes a mark
After three difficult races that saw Sebastian Vettel be absent on the podium, the Ferrari driver drove a straightforward race to finish 2nd - also the position he started the race from. He finished ahead of his title-rival and Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton. The two Finnish drivers - Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas - finished 4th and 5th respectively after Bottas tried hunting down Raikkonen for nearly 2/3rds of the race distance. However, despite an alternate strategy, Bottas couldn’t overtake his compatriot largely due to the nature of the street circuit in Monaco.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen started last after missing the crucial qualifying session, but drove an entertaining race to finish 9th. In a race that otherwise saw little overtaking, Verstappen was the driver to watch as he clawed his way back into the points. Verstappen’s move on his former team-mate and fellow Red Bull stablemate Carlos Sainz Jr. was probably the highlight of the race. The two went wheel-to-wheel before Sainz’s tyres didn’t permit him to compete with Verstappen.
Force India shines
Force India’s Esteban Ocon grabbed the ‘best of the rest’ position (6th), while Pierre Gasly scored a surprise 7th for Toro Rosso. The two Frenchmen are definitely proving their talent in the top-flight of racing and staking a claim for early promotion with their teams - Mercedes and Red Bull Racing respectively. Gasly was trailed closely by Hulkenberg, Verstappen and Sainz to score the last three points scoring finishes.
Mclaren’s Fernando Alonso was the most high-profile retirement from the race after a gearbox issue cost him another points scoring finish. While Alonso termed the race as ‘most boring ever’ post his retirement, watching Daniel Ricciardo go over the top in his celebrations in Monaco proved that even the if the race was boring, the race winner’s celebrations weren’t.
Photos courtesy: Formula 1, Hindustan Times
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