Ger­man de­liv­ers their first Monaco GP win in 16 years as team­mate Raikko­nen fin­ishes sec­ond

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SE­BAS­TIAN Vet­tel se­cured a mem­o­rable onetwo for Fer­rari in yes­ter­day’s75th Monaco Grand Prix to ex­tend his world cham­pi­onship lead to a lux­u­ri­ous 25 points over Lewis Hamil­ton.

Tak­ing full ad­van­tage of gen­er­ous, if grim-faced, sup­port from his team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen, who led from pole po­si­tion un­til the pit-stops, the four-time cham­pion came home 3.1 sec­onds clear of the

Finn in glo­ri­ous Mediter­ranean sun­shine.

Vet­tel’s suc­cess was Fer­rari’s first in the prin­ci­pal­ity in 16 years since seven-time cham­pion Michael Schu­macher tri­umphed in 2001.

It was the 82nd 1-2 in the team’s history and cel­e­brated nois­ily by the tifosi who had thronged into the cir­cuit overnight.

It was also the 29-year-old Ger­man’s sec­ond Monaco tri­umph, his third win this year and the 45th of his ca­reer, lift­ing him 25 points clear of Mercedes’ Hamil­ton in the ti­tle racxe.

Vet­tel now has 129 points after six rounds of this year’s 20-race cham­pi­onship ahead of Hamil­ton on 104.

“Yes, yes, yes,” screeched Vet­tel after win­ning be­fore launch­ing into thanks for his team. “The two laps with old tyres, I gave it every­thing I had,” he said. Raikko­nen was stoney-faced and more tac­i­turn than usual when re­tired 2016 cham­pion Nico Ros­berg in­ter­viewed him by the podium.

“Hard to say, re­ally,” he re­sponded when asked about his feel­ings. “It’s sec­ond place and it doesn’t feel good. This is how it is some­times.”

Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, who was un­lucky not to win last year, fin­ished third for Red Bull, de­spite hit­ting the bar­rier at Ste Devote, ahead of Valt­teri Bot­tas of Mercedes and Dutch teenager Max Ver­stap­pen in the sec­ond Red Bull.

“I didn’t en­joy that!” said Ric­cia­rdo. “I wasn’t sure if I dam­aged any­thing. These tyres are like driv­ing on ice when you get a Safety Car...”

Car­los Sainz was a well-judged sixth for Toro Rosso ahead of Hamil­ton, who had started 13th, and French­man Ro­main Gros­jean of Haas.

Bri­ton Jen­son But­ton, back for one race to re­place two-time cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso, rac­ing at the In­di­anapo­lis 500 later yes­ter­day, re­tired his McLaren fter a col­li­sion with Pas­cal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

The crash left Wehrlein’s car on its side at Portier, but he was un­hurt in the crash, which re­quired a Safety Car in­ter­ven­tion for six laps in the clos­ing stages.

Vet­tel was quick to ask if his com­pa­triot was ok be­fore the ac­tion re­sumed.

He added: “It’s un­be­liev­able. This was such an in­tense race. I hoped to have a bet­ter launch, but Kimi had a re­ally good start so I had to be pa­tient.

“It is very spe­cial to win here and we will have a fun night and then enough time to pre­pare for Canada...

“I had a cou­ple of re­ally good laps when I could take con­trol of the pace and I was able to use the Safety Car.”

Vet­tel’s joy ap­peared not to be shared by Raikko­nen who re­mained eva­sive in in­ter­views after the race and, un­der spe­cific ques­tions, con­ceded that it was not his idea to be the first to pit when he was lead­ing.

“I was called in... That was about it,” he said.

Shrug­ging his shoul­ders, he later added: “It is a great re­sult for the team and that is the main thing...” AFP


Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel steers his car dur­ing the Monaco Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo

cir­cuit yes­ter­day.

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