Daniel Ricciardo nursed his wounded Red Bull home to claim his second win of the Formula One campaign in Monaco on Sunday.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton saw his title lead reduced to 14 points after he finished in third place, behind rival Sebastian Vettel.
Here, Press Association Sport looks back at five things we learned from the Monte Carlo race.
Time for Monaco to raise its game
Hamilton may not be averse to a dose of hyperbole, but when the four-time world champion described Sunday’s Monte Carlo procession as the most boring of his career, alarm bells should start sounding for the sport’s most famous race. Hamilton’s argument was backed up by Fernando Alonso, too. “F1 needs to think about the show,” the Spaniard, a two-time world champion, said. “After that race, we should give something to the fans to pay back the ticket.” Indeed for all the pre-grand prix glitz and glamour, the Monaco race so often turns out to be a dud.
Ayrton Senna holding off a thundering charge from Nigel Mansell in 1992, and Olivier Panis’ win from 14th – when only three drivers made it to the finish in 1996 – are among a handful of exceptions to the rule. So, what next for Monaco? Hamilton’s suggestions; a longer track, banning one-stop strategies and the addition of an extra race. Should we anticipate change? No. Monaco are stringent traditionalists (note their defiance of F1’s grid girl ban on Sunday). But something needs to give, for if Monaco is F1’s finest race, it is not a very good advert for the sport.
Is Ricciardo a serious title challenger?
Ricciardo joined Hamilton and Vettel on two victories this season following his impressive defensive drive, but should he now be seen as a contender to the four-time world champions? The low-speed Monte Carlo circuit plays to the strength of Red Bull’s marvellous chassis, but the problem for Ricciardo, and it is a big one, is that there the circuit by the Mediterranean is one of a kind. Power still rules
in F1, and the Renault engine in the back of Ricciardo’s Red Bull is comfortably slower than that of Hamilton’s Mercedes and Vettel’s Ferrari.
Ricciardo is 38 points behind Hamilton, and leading Red Bull’s charge, but you fancy he will need a collapse from Hamilton and Vettel to mount a serious challenge. And when you consider Hamilton has now finished 31 consecutive grands prix in the points, it would seem unlikely.
Monaco chiefs defy grid girls ban
F1’s American owner Liberty Media outlawed the sport’s tradition of using grid girls back in January, describing the practice as “at odds with modern-societal norms”. But Monaco’s race organisers snubbed the ban by using both male and female models employed by their long-time partner Tag Heuer. Ahead of the race, F1 attempted to put their spin on Monaco’s defiance by insisting that grid models had been used by race promoters at four of the five previous rounds this year. That may have been the case, but it did not register. On Sunday, however, models – armed with social media messages for the drivers – stood in front of their cars. “There are no grid girls…except for the 65 models you can see on the grid,” a well-connected F1 figure joked in the moments before the race.
Mercedes row rumbles on
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was clearly disappointed with F1’s governing body for revealing specific details of their concerns with Ferrari. Race director Charlie Whiting cleared the Italian team of any wrong-doing – after it was alleged they were breaking the sport’s complex engine rules – and then named Mercedes’ technical director James Allison as the man who approached the FIA. “One of my roles is to protect my people and if they are named it is disturbing,” Wolff said after Sunday’s race.
The Williams nightmare continues
Williams’ miserable campaign took another sorry twist in Monaco after both of their cars propped up the order. Sergey Sirotkin finished 16th, while his team-mate Lance Stroll was one place worse off and two laps down on winner Ricciardo. The Canadian teenager, who suffered two punctures, moaned: “What’s the point of even racing,” as he tottered round in last. Williams are rooted to the foot of the constructors’ championship, and with one of their worst cars in recent history – and probably their poorest driver pairing of all time – the future looks bleak.