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DANIEL WINS MONACO

Highlights

  • Daniel leads away from pole position.
  • Engine issues strike midway through race.
  • Daniel defends superbly to claim maiden Monaco win.
  • Max starts from P20 after gearbox change.
  • Max executes series of great overtaking moves to finish P9.

Daniel defied engine issues and absorbed race-long pressure from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to claim an incredible Monaco Grand Prix win as the team celebrated its 250th race start.

Max doubled the celebrations by delivering an overtaking masterclass to carve his way through to the points from last on the grid.

At the start Daniel led away from pole position, resisting a brief attack from front-row starter Vettel, with Hamilton third.

At the back of the field, Max was already making moves he swiftly cleared the Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean to hold P18 at the end of the opening lap.

Max then worked has way past Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Williams’ Lance Stroll, before he eased past Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley and he was up to P14 before the start of lap nine.

At the front Daniel eked out a 2.5s gap to Vettel but then on lap 12 Hamilton headed to pit lane for ultrasoft tyres, triggering the sole round of pit stops for the front runners who had started on used hypersofts. Vettel was next in taking on ultrasofts and then, at the end of lap 17, Daniel pitted from the lead. He also took ultrasofts and rejoined in the lead, about four seconds ahead of Vettel.

Further back Max was still making his way through the field and as others pitted and he passed a number of rivals he found himself in P11 behind McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who had pitted for supersofts.

By the end of lap 25 Daniel was nursing a 1.7s lead over Vettel, while Hamilton was now 8.6s off the lead. That should have the beginning of a comfortable spell for Daniel, offering the possibility of stretching his lead in clean air, but suddenly Vettel; began to close on the leader and by lap 30 he was just 0.7s behind Daniel.

The Aussie quickly reported a loss of power and he asked race engineer Simon Rennie whether the problem could be rectifiued. Simon’s response was a swift negative and Daniel suddenly found himself in a different race – needing to defend with all his might against a hard-charging Vettel for more than 40 laps.

And he delivered on the demand in superb style, managing a significant speed difference to the cars behind, the need to repeatedly move brake balance forward, degrading ultrasoft tyres and eventually using only six of his eight gears to take a stunning victory 7.3s ahead of Vettel and 17 clear of Hamilton.

Max finally made his sole pit stop at the end of lap 48, taking on hypersofts for a late race push to the flag. He emerged in P11 and quickly set off in pursuit of the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz gave way to the quicker Hulkenberg and Max began to harry the Spaniard for tenth place. He didn’t need to pass the Renault man as ahead Fernando Alonso dropped out of the race with a gearbox issue and Max now found himself battling Sainz for ninth.

Under pressure the Spaniard cut the chicane and was forced to cede the position. Max then chased down Hulkenberg in the final laps, but he couldn't find a way past the German and crossed the line in P9.

There was late drama when local hero Charles Leclerc crashed into the back of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, but with Leclerc sliding up the escape road and Hartley able to limp to the pits, it was only cause for the Virtual Safety Car to be deployed.

That might have caused Daniel problems but as the caution came to an end, Vettel dropped right back, settling for second place as he struggled with tyre wear and Daniel crossed the line to take a stunning win for the Team.

Behind Hamilton, fourth place went to Kimi Raikkonen, with Valtteri Bottas fifth and Force India’s Esteban Ocon sixth. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly drove superbly to hold onto seventh ahead of Hulkenberg and Max and the final point went to Sainz.

OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:

57 – Wins for the team.

4 – Wins for the team in Monaco, with Webber in 2010 & 2012, Vettel in 2011 and now Daniel.

7 – Career wins for Daniel.

3 – Career fastest laps for Max. He set the fastest time of today, 1:14.260, on lap 60.