Vettel takes complete control over Raikkonen at Monaco

© XPB 

Ferrari clinched its third race win of the 2017 Formula 1 season, with Sebastian Vettel claiming his 45th career win and his second at Monaco.

Vettel took the lead from the polesitter, Kimi Raikkonen, during the sole round of pit stops. Vettel stayed out longer to gain the advantage on his team mate, a team strategy that seems to suggest the Finn is on the brink of being relegated to number two status at Ferrari.

Ricciardo also took advantage of pit stop timing to take third place ahead of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and his own team mate Max Verstappen. The Dutch teen finally broke his 'Monaco' curse with his first finish at the principality.

Hamilton carried out his best damage limitation, climbing from 13th on the grid to finish in seventh place behind Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz.

The race saw only one safety car, after a clash between Pascal Wehrlein and McLaren's Jenson Button resulted in the bizarre sight of the Sauber coming to rest perpendicular to the ground, propped up on its side against the barrier.

Trouble-free start

An unusually incident-free start to the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix saw Raikkonen and Vettel fly away at the front, quickly pulling out a big lead over Bottas. After a brief squabble, Verstappen and Ricciardo slotted in behind in formation. Carlos Sainz maintained sixth place ahead of Sergio Perez who was seventh in the Force India.

Kevin Magnussen had the best start, climbing two places to ninth place putting him just behind his Haas team mate Romain Grosjean. By contrast, Daniil Kvyat lost two spots putting him behind Renault's Nico Hulkenberg. Starting from 13th place on the grid, Hamilton was able to pass McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne on the first lap. After that he had to join the parade, unable to make further forward progress.

The first retirement of the race came on lap 16 when Hulkenberg suffered what the team tactfully described as "a major gearbox problem". He parked the car just before the entrance to the tunnel, avoiding the need for a safety car. Even so, Perez took the opportunity to pit to replace his damaged front wing, dropping him to 16th place. The net effect also promoted Hamilton into the top ten for the first time.

Pit stops trigger lead change

While Jenson Button and Pascal Wehrlein had pitted at the end of the first lap - Wehrlein getting a penalty for unsafe release in the process - the main stops didn't start until lap 33. Verstappen was in first in an unsuccessful effort to undercut Bottas, who came in the following lap. Raikkonen surrendered the lead for his own stop next time by; with Vettel and Ricciardo staying out, he found himself coming back out in third place.

Ricciardo finally pitted at the end of lap 38, and Vettel a lap later after punching in a series of fastest laps. The overcut strategy worked for both men, Vettel successfully leapfrogging his team mate for the lead and Ricciardo up to third ahead of Bottas and Verstappen. A dispirited Raikkonen quickly fell off the back of Vettel, who led to the chequered flag unchallenged.

Hamilton briefly found himself up to sixth position. When he finally pitted on lap 47 he lost only one place, coming back out immediately behind Sainz and ahead of Grosjean, Kvyat and Vandoorne.

Safety car for Wehrlein

The race had seemingly settled into a procession to the finish. However a clash between Wehrlein and Button triggered the first safety car of the day on lap 60. Button's attempt to sneak down the inside of Portier ended in contact. Wehrlein's car was flipped up onto its side where it came to rest against the barrier, but he told the team over the radio that he was okay. Button's left front suspension was wrecked, forcing him to end his final Formula 1 race prematurely.

Verstappen took the opportunity to take a 'free' pit stop. The restart was then delayed when Marcus Ericsson crashed his Sauber at Ste Devote while unlapping himself behind the safety car. Matters were further complicated by worsening break-up of the track surface through the corner. When the race eventually resumed on lap 67, Ricciardo brushed the wall and Vandoorne went nose-first into the barrier, forcing him to join Button on the sidelines.

The top eight were unable to take advantage of the restart to improve their positions. Behind them, a frustrated Perez made a move on Kvyat down the inside of Rascasse, putting the Toro Rosso out the race. Perez had to pit for repairs and resumed in 13th, ending his run of points finishes. Lance Stroll also retired after complaining of brake temperature issues on his Williams.

All this late-race excitement meant Stroll's team mate Felipe Massa was promoted into the points in ninth place ahead of Magnussen. The Haas had been forced into a second pit stop after suffering a puncture on the turn 1 track surface. Esteban Ocon suffered a similar fate, meaning he finished in 12th place just behind the sole surviving Renault piloted by Jolyon Palmer.

Race results

1Sebastian VettelFerrari78 laps - 1:44:44.340s1
2Kimi RäikkönenFerrari+ 3.145s1
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+ 3.745s1
4Valtteri BottasMercedes+ 5.517s1
5Max VerstappenRed Bull+ 6.199s2
6Carlos SainzToro Rosso+ 12.038s1
7Lewis HamiltonMercedes+ 15.801s1
8Romain GrosjeanHaas+ 18.150s1
9Felipe MassaWilliams+ 19.445s2
10Kevin MagnussenHaas+ 21.443s2
11Jolyon PalmerRenault+ 22.737s1
12Esteban OconForce India+ 23.725s3
13Sergio PérezForce India+ 39.089s3
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso+ 7 laps1
15Lance StrollWilliams+ 7 laps3
16Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenDNF1
17Marcus EricssonSauberDNF1
18Pascal WehrleinSauberDNF2
19Jenson ButtonMcLarenDNF1
20Nico HülkenbergRenaultDNF0

“Want to win a trackday experience? All you have to do is subscribe to our FREE newsletter HERE”
Win the Ultimate Trackday experience

Gallery: All the pictures from Saturday in Monaco

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter