Ferrari conquered the streets of Monaco with a one-two finish in the legendary GP. The Scuderia started the race from the first row with the order of Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel. The German took control of the action with sensational late laps of his first stint to win his third race of the season.
16 years went by without a Ferrari-win in Monaco. A certain Michael Schumacher scored the last win for Scuderia in the Principality. In 2004, Schumacher crashed his car behind the safety car when he was about to win the race. A pole for Felipe Massa in 2008 and a commanding pace in the race ended in tears when an unfortunate safety car handed the race lead and the victory into the hands of Lewis Hamilton.
Two year later, Fernando Alonso showed electrifying pace over the whole race weekend, but crashed his car into the barriers in the third practice session which forced him to skip the qualifying session.
Ferrari’s 2017 challenger, the SF70-H has conquered every single track with mesmerizing pace so far this championship campaign in the widest variety of conditions, so Monaco was expected to suit the car as well. Sebastian Vettel presented the Scuderia it top form in the practice sessions, but it was Kimi Räikkönen who grabbed the pole position after setting a series of low 1:12 laps.
The German driver was not delighted with the outcome of the all-important session as he felt he did not get the maximum out of his car, especially in the middle sector. In the race, Vettel stayed out longer than his team-mate Räikkönen and could massively up his pace and set the best times of the race bar the ones of Sergio Perez who made a very late pit stop after his clashes.
“It’s an incredible day. In the laps before my pit-stop I was surprised by my own pace because earlier on Kimi and I were both struggling with the rear tires. Those laps I did today were comparatively better than the ones I did in qualifying yesterday."
Vettel's laps right before his sole pit stop was race-deciding and not to match for any other drivers.
"It was impossible for me to predict how fast I could go today. At one point I thought a second, maybe half a second, but then it turned out it was more than that, which was obviously crucial to grant me first place out of the box. It was fantastic to be in the lead and win the race. There was a lot of adrenaline during those laps but in general I could control the race. It sure helps to be the leading car, without any traffic, so that you get better into the rhythm."
The quadruple champion promised heavy partying for Sunday night to celebrate not only the great race result, but also the steady improvement of his team.
"Once I had new tires, again I was able to control the position. We had the chance this weekend to finish first and second and that’s what the team did. It’s great to see what we were able to do. Today the team gained a lot of points. It’s been a while since Ferrari won here so it’s a great day. I really enjoyed driving for the team. It is great to work together, we try to push each other and the best thing is to see that the team keeps growing.”
Kimi Räikkönen could not hide his utter disappointment after the race and found it hard to speak thereafter. However, he was glad to see his team shining around a territory which caused so much headaches over the last years for Ferrari.
“To finish first and second is what we wanted, a very good result for the whole team. Obviously right now I’m not very happy, because second place is not what I was looking for, but that’s how it goes."
Räikkönen was pretty fast on the new supersoft tyres right after his stop even if those required some laps to get heat into them. However, lapped cars meant the Finn lost valuable time and eventually lost out to his team-mate Vettel.
"When you have done most of the hard work and you finish second it’s not bad, but we expected a bit more. When I came out after the pit stop I got stuck behind lapped cars and that was not ideal, but this was out of my control. At the next track in Canada the layout is completely different from here: it’s hard to predict what will happen, but let’s see,” concluded the 2007 champion.