Seb 2°, Kimi 4° in a race where overtaking was not on the cards
Monaco, 27 May –Scuderia Ferrari come away from the Monaco GP, finishing in their grid positions, with Sebastian Vettel back on the podium in second place and Kimi Raikkonen fending off Bottas in the Mercedes to claim fourth.
There were a few harmless drops of rain prior to the start, while the wind constantly changed direction. From second place, Seb immediately tried to attach Ricciardo and Kimi kept fourth place. Then the classic Monegaque Sunday train set off aroun the 3337 metre-long track. The only one who was in DRS range, for the little it counts here, was Raikkonen, who was right up behind Hamilton. Stroll’s Williams got a puncture and pitted right in front of the leading duo.
After 12 laps, the first to change tyres was Hamilton taking on Ultrasofts. Seb picked up the pace to cover off any possible undercut and Kimi also went flat out. On lap 16, the Number 5 car pitted with Sebastian taking on Ultrasofts, managing to get out, as planned, ahead of Bottas. Ricciardo and Kimi also changed tyres, with Bottas coming in for the harder Supersofts. Out in front, no change, but the gaps grew a bit bigger.
On lap 28, Ricciardo’s pace dropped and Seb tried to make the most of it, using all the aids on the steering wheel. But this is Monaco and in the twisty bits, engine power counts for little, so that we had the usual paradox here that the leader manages the situation, going slower than those behind.
The other unusual feature is that the tyres, rather than getting worse, actually improve as the graining gradually cleans up. Sebastian kept the pressure on Ricciardo right up to the closing stages, but the only chance here is if your rival makes a mistake.
There was still time for some drama, as Leclerc, having run out of brakes, collided with the back of Hartley at the tunnel exit, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. Vandoorne who was lapped, pitted and came out right in front of Seb, who thus immediately lost four seconds prior to the restart. So, a low key finish, but a Ferrari on the podium and 30 points towards the Constructors’ championship in the knowledge that we were on the pace. “Thanks guys, the car was very strong,” was Seb’s comment over the radio.
Report/Photo: Ferrari Media