Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend
Race 6, Monaco 2018
Mean Reader Score: 3.60
In a result not too dissimilar to 2017, (4.16) Monaco scored the lowest rating of the season so far, with a miserly 3.60. What can I say? I guess the only ‘good’ thing that happened was Ricciardo finally got a win in Monaco, ‘redemption’ for the 2016 debacle where his team were not ready for him when he made the pit stop and he lost a comfortable lead to Hamilton. Not so this year.
As with last year, there was no drama at the start of the race (or throughout, really). On a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult, grid position is very important. This year’s starting grid was: Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ocon, and guess what? The finishing line up was Ricciardo, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ocon.
As expected, the high downforce, short wheel based Red Bulls were well suited to this track, and had not the wundekid Vercrashen wrecked his car in the dying seconds of FP3, we could have seen an almighty battle for pole as the Bulls locked horns for the coveted pole position. Sadly, being Monaco, this was not to be. Ricciardo walked it, some two tenths quicker than nearest contender, Vettel. Ocon qualified in P6, Hartley’s P16 (although he started in P15 due to Grosjean’s grid penalty) was a little disappointing after his P7 position in FP3, Pierre Gasly qualified in P10 and Alonso and Raikkonen both showed there’s life in the old dog yet, qualifying in P7and P4 respectively.
Ricciardo briefly had us on the edge of our seats when he reported he had lost power, Verstappen had no grip on any of his tyres, Alonso retired with a gear box problem, Lance Stroll had two (identical) punctures and Leclerc rear ended an unsuspecting Hartley, taking both out of the race and Hamilton complained that he’s been put onto ultrasoft tyres for his second stint. (Bottas was put onto supersofts, Hamilton’s tyre of choice.)
As is often the case, Monaco turned into a bit of a procession: who, then won our coveted Driver of the Weekend?
Driver of the Weekend: Daniel Ricciardo, 78.05% of reader vote.
It was, of course, none other than our very own Dan The Man. Having come top of the leader boards in all free practice sessions, broken the track record (several times), taken pole position and won the race with a non-existent MGU-K, (with 25% loss of power), he swept to victory with 78.05% of our reader vote. He dominated the weekend from start to finish, controlled the (very slow) race, made a great restart after the VSC and romped home some 5 seconds ahead of nearest rival Vettel. Ironically, on what many considered the dullest race, Ricciardo had to drive (possibly) the best race of his life. Was Monaco the start of Ricciardo’s WDC challenge? We’ll just have to wait and see. Well done Danny Ric!!