Vettel scores home pole at Hockenheim

Sebastian Vettel achieved his 55th career pole position in Formula 1 with a brilliant Q3 lap at Hockenheim. As for his title rival, Lewis Hamilton was only P15 after stopping with a hydraulic problem in Q1.

The Ferrari driver held pole position after the first runs in Q3, with all drivers on the ultrasofts compound, but faced a challenge from the remaining Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on the second runs.

Bottas briefly claimed pole position with a lap of one minute, 11.416 seconds, helped by a mighty run through the final sector, the stadium section.

But Vettel, who was faster in the first two sectors before losing a quarter of a second to Bottas in the final sector, did enough to take pole by 0.204 seconds on his final lap.

Kimi Raikkonen was third in the other Ferrari, 0.335 seconds off his team-mate, having again looked like a potential threat for pole position.

The Iceman made a mistake at Turn 12 on his first run that cost around three tenths after he hit the inside kerb, then couldn’t quite find the pace on his second run.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth, just under three tenths behind Raikkonen, and benefitted from the absence of Hamilton.

Hamilton was ordered to stop on his second Q1 run after losing gear selection, which followed immediately after he ran wide in Turn 1.

In rejoining, he struck the rumble strip at the exit of the corner, which kicked the car up and appeared to cause the problem that manifested itself on the run to Turn 2 – although he reportedly subsequently said the problem had appeared before this moment.

Hamilton attempted to get the car back to the pits but eventually stopped at Turn 10 after being ordered to do so by the team.

Currently P15 thanks to setting a time good enough to escape Q1 before the problem, he will move up a place thanks to Daniel Ricciardo’s penalties – subject to incurring any grid drops himself.

The Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean locked out the third row with fifth and sixth, with the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg missing out on splitting the pair by 0.016 seconds.

The second Renault of Carlos Sainz was eighth, ahead of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez’s Force India.

Fernando Alonso was quickest of those eliminated in Q2 in P11, with a gap of six tenths to Perez ahead in that segment of qualifying.

That put him ahead of Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who posted the team’s best qualifying result since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in P12.

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was P13 and slowest of those to set a time in Q2 after causing a nine-minute red flag period when he spun into the gravel at the Turn 13 left-hander.

Ericsson was able to dig himself out of the gravel, but in doing so pulled it onto the track and led to the session being stopped two minutes later.

After his second run, the Sauber driver suggested that he lost grip on his final qualifying attempt and speculated he might have sustained some minor damage when he hit a kerb.

Esteban Ocon was bumped into the drop zone late in Q1 when Force India teammate Perez improved on his second push lap on his second set of ultrasofts.

Ocon went into qualifying with only one dry free practice session under his belt, having sat out FP1 to allow Nicholas Latifi to drive then been hit by rain in FP3.

Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley were P17 and P18, separated by three-tenths of a second.

Lance Stroll was P19, while Stoffel Vandoorne’s troubled weekend continued as he brought up the rear, two tenths slower than the Williams driver.

So a perfect qualifying result for Sebastian Vettel. Pole position in front of his home crowd. His 55th in Formula 1 and Ferrari’s 218 in P1. With title rival Lewis Hamilton near the back, this play into the hands of Vettel to score big in the championship race.

Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m11.212s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.416s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.547s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m11.822s
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.200s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.544s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.560s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.692s
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.717s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.774s
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m13.657s
12 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m13.702s
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m13.736s
14 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes –
15 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m13.720s
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.749s
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m14.045s
18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m14.206s
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m14.401s
20 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault –

Vettel wins thrilling British Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel achieved his first British Grand Prix victory in a thrilling Silverstone race. The Ferrari driver passed Valtteri Bottas late on to win, while home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton charged back to second after being spun around on the opening lap.

Mercedes used a safety car to get Bottas ahead of early race leader Vettel but the Ferrari driver used fresher, softer tyres to steal the victory with a superb move five laps from the end of the race.

Hamilton then passed his team-mate Bottas at the same spot a lap later to seal second and Kimi Raikkonen made it a hat-trick of late passes at Brooklands to demote his fellow Finn from the podium entirely.

Hamilton dropped to the tail of the field at the start after Raikkonen locked his right-front tyre at the tight Turn 3 right-hander at Village, ran wide and hit the Mercedes.

Raikkonen continued behind both Red Bulls but was handed a 10-second penalty, which would negate his on-track pass of Daniel Ricciardo into Copse, while Hamilton resumed in P17.

Vettel had already assumed the lead after jumping Hamilton off the line and built a commanding lead in the first part of the opening stint, opening up a six-second gap over Bottas.

Hamilton charged back into the points by lap six and was into sixth four laps later, by which time he was already more than a pitstop behind the race leaders.

Bottas began to chip away at Vettel as the Ferrari struggled with its tyres and the lead was down to 4.8 seconds when Vettel stopped on lap 20.

Bottas pitted a lap later and Mercedes got Hamilton to release him with a position-swap at Brooklands the following lap, and the Finn started to nibble further into Vettel’s lead.

Valtteri had brought it down to 2.4 seconds when Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his car when he turned into the first corner with DRS still open and flew across the gravel and nose-first into the tyres.

That triggered a safety car on lap 32 of 52 and Ferrari reacted by pitting Vettel but Mercedes told Bottas to stay out and claim track position.

Behind, Hamilton moved up to third as Max Verstappen and Raikkonen pit, with Ricciardo staying in sixth as the safety car was called just after he had made a second stop and handed track position to Raikkonen.

Bottas gunned the throttle at the end of the Hangar Straight on lap 37 and kept Vettel at bay, as Raikkonen and Verstappen engaged in a fierce fight that went the way of the Red Bull.

The race was neutralised again moments later for an accident at Copse between Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean, when Sainz attacked on the outside but Grosjean suffered a wobble at the apex.

Both flew off-track and into retirement, with Grosjean ending a miserable race that started with him dropping out of the points on the opening lap thanks to a collision with team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

The safety car’s second appearance lasted three laps, setting up an 11-lap sprint at the end.

Bottas resisted Vettel again at the restart before coming under attack into the Brooklands left-hander at the end of the Wellington Straight three laps in row.

He held on until lap 47, when Vettel took advantage of a slight wobble from Bottas exiting The Loop onto the Wellington Straight and drafted him towards Brooklands before diving inside very late as Bottas failed to cover the inside line.

That released Vettel into a lead he would hold to the end, while Hamilton forced his way inside Bottas at Brooklands a lap later.

Raikkonen cleared Verstappen before the Dutchman retired with a long-standing brake-by-wire problem then blew past Bottas for third on the outside into Brooklands using DRS.

Bottas managed to keep Ricciardo at bay to finish fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth for Renault after taking advantage of the messy first lap to jump five places, and he held that best-of-the-rest slot to the end.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon was a quiet but excellent seventh, as Fernando Alonso bested Magnussen in a fiery late fight to finish eighth.

Pierre Gasly claimed the final point in tenth for Toro Rosso and Honda.

So congratulations to Sebastian Vettel in winning the British Grand Prix. Despite neck pain, the four-time champion was able to race to victory. Vettel now has an eight-point lead to rival Lewis Hamilton.

As for the home hero, Hamilton did his best after a collision on the first lap. The Mercedes driver never give up and charged through to second. At least Lewis is still in a shout in the championship.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 1h27m29.784s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 2.264s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 52 3.652s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 8.883s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 52 9.500s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 28.220s
7 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 52 29.930s
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 52 31.115s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 52 33.188s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 52 34.129s
11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 52 34.708s
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 52 35.774s
13 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 52 38.106s
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 52 48.113s
15 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 46 Not running
– Carlos Sainz Renault 37 Collision
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 37 Collision
– Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 31 Spun off
– Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 18 Retirement
– Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1 Sebastian Vettel 171
2 Lewis Hamilton 163
3 Kimi Raikkonen 116
4 Daniel Ricciardo 106
5 Valtteri Bottas 104
6 Max Verstappen 93
7 Nico Hulkenberg 42
8 Fernando Alonso 40
9 Kevin Magnussen 39
10 Carlos Sainz 28
11 Esteban Ocon 25
12 Sergio Perez 23
13 Pierre Gasly 19
14 Charles Leclerc 13
15 Romain Grosjean 12
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Lance Stroll 4
18 Marcus Ericsson 3
19 Brendon Hartley 1
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Ferrari 287
2 Mercedes 267
3 Red Bull-Renault 199
4 Renault 70
5 Haas-Ferrari 51
6 Force India-Mercedes 48
7 McLaren-Renault 48
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 20
9 Sauber-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

Hamilton takes Silverstone pole position

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth British Grand Prix pole position, beating his championship rival Sebastian Vettel by 0.044 seconds.

Vettel had the edge after the first runs in the Q3 top ten shootout by 57 thousandths of a second, but Hamilton stepped up to the challenge on the second runs.

With the soft-compound Pirellis the tyre of choice through qualifying, Hamilton outpaced Vettel in the first and second sectors on the final run.

This meant Vettel’s flying final sector was not enough to reclaim P1 and left the Ferrari driver second on the starting grid.

Vettel missed his qualifying simulation during the final practice session with a neck problem, and admitted after his run that he wasn’t sure he would have been able to run in qualifying.

Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, qualified third and just 0.098 seconds off the pace after finding a three tenths improvement on his second run despite a lockup into the Turn 16 left-hander.

This followed complaining of losing his quick shift on his first run, and put him ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Max Verstappen was fifth quickest for Red Bull, half-a-second faster than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Red Bull driver did not have the use of the DRS on his first run, which team principal Christian Horner attributed to a glitch with the system that governs when it can and cannot be used.

The problem wasn’t solved on his second run, although he was told he had manual use of the DRS provided he only activated it in the permitted zones.

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean gave Haas best-of-the-rest honours in qualifying for the second consecutive race by locking out the fourth row.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc qualified ninth, three tenths faster than Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

Nico Hulkenberg was P11 and quickest of those who didn’t reach Q3 after lapping 0.058 seconds behind Ocon.

With very few time improvements made on the second runs in Q2, that put Force India’s Sergio Perez in P12 ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was the only one of the drop zone contenders to find time on his second run, declaring himself happy he got the maximum out of the car.

This was enough to elevate him to P14 ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who had a relatively slow run through the final sector on his quickest lap.

Carlos Sainz was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 when he was bumped to P16 by Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s late improvement and said he lost time owing to Magnussen locking up ahead of him into Turn 3.

That put him ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who shed a piece of bodywork when he hit the inside kerb at Brooklands on his first run and ended up 0.640 seconds slower after his second attempt.

Vandoorne complained about something fundamental being wrong with the car and things not feeling right during both the morning practice session and qualifying.

Lance Stroll ended up P19 but did not set a time after spinning into the gravel at the Brooklands left-hander on his first flying lap – admitting he was “shocked” by the suddenness of the rear end snapping away.

As Stroll was unable to dig himself out of the gravel, he was forced to switch the car off and triggered a six-minute red flag while his Williams was recovered.

Brendon Hartley was unable to participate in qualifying thanks to damage sustained when he crashed at Brooklands during the final practice session.

This was caused by a front-left suspension failure, and the team must rebuild his car around a spare monocoque ahead of tomorrow’s race for him to start from the pitlane.

So a brilliant pole position for Lewis Hamilton. His 50th for Mercedes. Scoring this P1 result, right in front of his passionate fans was a magic moment. Kudos Hamilton on this achievement.

British Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.892s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m25.936s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m25.990s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m26.217s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m26.602s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m27.099s
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m27.244s 1.352s
8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m27.455s 1.563s
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.879s
10 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m28.194s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m27.901s
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m27.928s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m28.139s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m28.343s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.391s
16 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m28.456s
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m29.096s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m29.252s
19 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes –
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda –

Verstappen victorious as Mercedes suffered double retirement

The crowd favourite Max Verstappen scored a popular victory at Red Bull Racing’s home race as Mercedes’ challenge imploded in a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen headed the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who stole the championship lead from Lewis Hamilton by one point after Mercedes turned a one-two in qualifying into a double retirement.

Poleman Valtteri Bottas retired with a gearbox problem while a strategy error under the ensuing virtual safety car ruined Hamilton’s race and a loss of fuel pressure forced him to a late retirement.

Hamilton and Raikkonen jumped Bottas on the run to Turn 1, with the leaders three-wide, before Raikkonen tucked into Hamilton’s slipstream and attacked into Turn 3 but locked up and ran wide.

That allowed Verstappen to challenge him on the run out of the corner but Max was rebuffed aggressively and Bottas was able to re-pass both on the outside of Turn 4.

Verstappen got inside Raikkonen two corners later and a slight nudge on The Iceman’s left-rear wheel pushed him wide and allowed the Red Bull driver to sneak through.

Bottas offered no threat to Hamilton before slowing on lap 14 and retiring on the escape road at Turn 4 with a loss of hydraulic pressure.

That triggered a virtual safety car under which the frontrunners all stopped except for Hamilton, a mistake that Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles came on the radio to apologise for.

Verstappen rejoined from his pitstop 13 seconds behind Hamilton, who ran ten laps without being able to stretch out the gap and eventually stopped.

That dropped him to fourth, handing Verstappen the lead, but Hamilton’s misery continued a few laps later when Vettel forced his way past on the grass on the way up to Turn 3 and aggressively ran Hamilton wide on the entry to corner.

Hamilton was gifted a position back just after mid-distance when Daniel Ricciardo had to pit to change tyres after battling a blistering left-rear.

He gave chase to Vettel after receiving another apology from Vowles over the radio but then had to make his own forced stop for the same reason as Ricciardo on lap 52.

Hamilton’s race lasted just another dozen laps before a loss of fuel pressure forced him off the road at Turn 3 and into retirement on the left-hand side of the circuit on the run down to Turn 4.

That ended a run off 33 consecutive races in the points for Hamilton, whose last retirement was his spectacular exit from the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix with an engine failure.

His dramatic race gave the top three an easy run to the podium, with Raikkonen closing to two seconds of Verstappen by the end but not troubling the 20-year-old and likewise being unchallenged by Vettel.

Ricciardo should have finished fourth in Hamilton’s absence but had already retired with an apparent gearbox problem when Hamilton stopped.

That meant Romain Grosjean ended his point-less start to the 2018 season in style with fourth place for Haas, the best result in the American team’s fledgling Formula 1 history.

His teammate Kevin Magnussen battled back from losing places after not pitting under the Bottas-induced virtual safety car to finish fifth and net Haas a huge points windfall.

Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took advantage of the chaos to rise to sixth and seventh from P11 and P15 on the grid, ahead of pitlane starter Fernando Alonso.

The McLaren driver ran P19 early on and, after complaining at that point to his team over the radio that he refused to run in that position all race, used the VSC and a strong, long second stint to charge to eighth late on.

That included an aggressive move on Charles Leclerc, who reclaimed ninth on the last lap from teammate Marcus Ericsson after the Sauber driver was let by to try to catch and pass Alonso on fresh tyres.

While that bid failed, Ericsson was still able to complete a double-points finish for Sauber after an extremely long first stint on softs and late charge on fresh supersofts.

Nico Hulkenberg and Brendon Hartley joined the three frontrunners in retiring from the race.

Renault’s Hulkenberg suffered a spectacular engine failure early on while Hartley stopped near the end after a bizarre mechanical failure forced him off-track at the penultimate corner and eventually forced him to stop at Turn 2.

So an entertaining race at the Red Bull Ring. Full of action, drama and overtaking. Many congratulations to Max Verstappen in winning and for Sebastian Vettel recovery from his grid penalty to take the championship lead by a single point.

It’s quite remarkable that both Mercedes were forced to retire. The last time the team suffered a double DNF was at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. Ironically Verstappen scored his win that day followed by the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Vettel.

The next race is the British Grand Prix and with strong home support, Lewis Hamilton is determined to strike back.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 71 1h21m56.024s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 1.504s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 3.181s
4 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
5 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
6 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 70 1 Lap
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 65 Not running
– Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 62 Retirement
– Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 54 Retirement
– Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 53 Retirement
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 13 Hydraulics
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault 11 Power Unit

Drivers’ standings:
1 Sebastian Vettel 146
2 Lewis Hamilton 145
3 Kimi Raikkonen 101
4 Daniel Ricciardo 96
5 Max Verstappen 93
6 Valtteri Bottas 92
7 Kevin Magnussen 37
8 Fernando Alonso 36
9 Nico Hulkenberg 34
10 Carlos Sainz 28
11 Sergio Perez 23
12 Esteban Ocon 19
13 Pierre Gasly 18
14 Charles Leclerc 13
15 Romain Grosjean 12
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Lance Stroll 4
18 Marcus Ericsson 3
19 Brendon Hartley 1
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Ferrari 247
2 Mercedes 237
3 Red Bull-Renault 189
4 Renault 62
5 Haas-Ferrari 49
6 McLaren-Renault 44
7 Force India-Mercedes 42
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Sauber-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

Bottas scores first pole this season by beating Hamilton

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed his first pole position of the 2018 Formula 1 season at the Red Bull Ring.

Bottas, whose previous pole position came in last year’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, hit the front in the Q3 top ten shootout with a lap of one minute, 03.264 seconds on his first run – almost half-a-second faster than nearest rival Kimi Raikkonen.

His team-mate Lewis Hamilton ran deep into the Turn 3 hairpin on his first run and ended up in third, but the final runs turned into a shootout between the two Silver Arrows drivers.

On his final lap, Bottas shaded Hamilton in the first and third sector, with Hamilton only two-thousandths faster in the middle sector – adding up to pole position by 19 thousandths of a second.

Sebastian Vettel made a mistake on his first Q3 attempt but jumped from seventh to third on his final run ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Ferraris will start Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix on the ultrasoft tyres having used them to set their Q2 times, while Hamilton and Bottas will have supersofts.

Romain Grosjean put in a stunning performance to seal fifth place on his first run in Q3.

Max Verstappen got ahead of him as Grosjean did not improve on his second set of ultrasofts, but the Haas will still start ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

The Red Bulls made three attempts in Q3 after using supersofts to set their Q2 times.

Kevin Magnussen, in the second Haas, took eighth position ahead of Renault pairing Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg.

Esteban Ocon ended up P11 after his final Q2 lap fell almost two-tenths of a second short of beating Hulkenberg, who improved by enough on his second run to jump ahead of the Force India.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly failed to improve on his second attempt and ended up P12 ahead of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc, who only found 0.003 seconds on his final flier.

Leclerc has been hit with a five-place grid penalty after suffering a gearbox failure in final practice, meaning he is set to start P18.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was set to improve on his first-run time when he ran wide at the final corner and lost bodywork on the kerb on his final lap. That left him P14.

Williams driver Lance Stroll, who did a good job to make Q2 for the first time since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two months ago rounded out the top 15.

Stoffel Vandoorne was quickest of the drivers eliminated in Q1 thanks to Stroll’s last-minute lap relegating him to P16.

Vandoorne was one of a number of drivers whose final attempt was compromised by yellow flags in the middle sector, with Leclerc’s Sauber causing one by a visit through the Turn 4 gravel trap, although his first sector time was down on his personal best having also complained about traffic.

Force India’s Sergio Perez was P17, with radio messages suggesting he had some kind of energy recovery problem that possibly restricted his available power at least on his first run.

Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin had set his personal best first sector when the yellow flags hit in the middle sector, meaning he ended up P18 after three runs.

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also completed three runs, but he was unable to improve on his final run having fallen short of his previous best by 0.013 seconds.

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was slowest, a tenth of a second off Hartley. He had to abandon his final lap having set his personal best first sector.

So a well deserved pole position for Valtteri Bottas. It’s been a while since the Mercedes driver scored P1 so it’s great for the sport to see Bottas qualified ahead of the champions. Fingers crossed Valtteri can score his first victory this season come race day.

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m03.130s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m03.149s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m03.464s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m03.660s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m03.840s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m03.892s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m03.996s
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m04.051s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m04.725s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m05.019s
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m04.845s
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m04.874s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m05.058s
14 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m05.286s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m05.271s
16 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m05.279s
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m05.322s
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m04.979s
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m05.366s
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m05.479s

Hamilton takes French Grand Prix victory

Lewis Hamilton reclaimed the championship lead following a masterclass drive at Paul Ricard while title rival Sebastian Vettel clashed with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

Hamilton finished comfortably clear of the Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to move into a 14-point lead over Vettel, who came home off the podium in fifth.

That was one place ahead of Bottas, who was spun around by Vettel at Turn 1 on a chaotic opening lap.

Vettel got a great start and drew alongside Bottas on the run into the first corner, but backed out on the inside only to lock his front-left and clatter into Bottas.

That broke Vettel’s front wing and gave Bottas a left-rear puncture, with both limping back to the pits to change to soft tyres – Vettel tried to carry on racing into Turns 3 and 4 and lightly tagged Romain Grosjean’s Haas, although both continued.

At the same corner, Pierre Gasly lost the rear of his Toro Rosso and slid into the back of Esteban Ocon’s Force India, putting both French drivers out of their home Grand Prix on lap one.

That prompted a safety car, under which Hamilton led from Verstappen, who had taken to the run-off to avoid the Bottas-Vettel clash, and Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr, who swept around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 2 when the Red Bull ran deep into the first corner.

Hamilton started to build an immediate lead when racing resumed on lap five, with Verstappen a comfortable second as Ricciardo had to wait a few laps to reclaim third from Sainz.

The Renault slipped back further as Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a trip to the run-off to the avoid the first-corner mess.

He ran fifth for the next dozen laps or so before Vettel, who had switched to soft tyres and carved his way through the order after rejoining the tail of the field behind the safety car, made it back into the top five.

Vettel’s strong pace on fresh tyres briefly put him in a podium position when Ricciardo and Raikkonen stopped around mid-distance, but with his tyres fading away – and a five-second time penalty hanging over his head for the Bottas collision – he was a sitting duck.

After half a dozen laps Ricciardo, on softs, took back the podium spot by holding a tighter line through the fast double-right at Turns 10 and 11, and a further six laps later Raikkonen used fresh supersofts to clear his team-mate for fourth.

Raikkonen used his tyre advantage to arrow in on Ricciardo with seven laps remaining, then launched a couple of unsuccessful attacks at the outside of Turns 1 and then Turn 3.

He made the move stick by drafting the Red Bull down the back straight into the Turn 8 chicane to steal the final podium place.

Ricciardo finished half a minute clear of Vettel, who was struggling with tyres but gifted a free pitstop when Mercedes called in Bottas for an unknown reason.

That dropped Bottas down the order but he recovered back to seventh on fresh supersofts as Kevin Magnussen resisted late pressure to bag sixth for Haas.

Both drivers passed Sainz in the closing stages as he slowed with a reported loss of power, although he managed to hold onto eighth, one place ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg at Renault’s home race.

Qualifying star Charles Leclerc completed the point scorers for Sauber having run inside the top six after the first lap action.

Lance Stroll was a late non-finisher after his front-left tyre gave up at the high-speed Signes right-hander, having completed 47 laps following an early stop under the safety car.

Sergio Perez was the only other retiree, having challenged for the points before a suspected engine problem, though Fernando Alonso stopped on the final lap reporting a suspension issue while running last. He had earlier spun while being overtaken by Vettel.

So a perfect Sunday afternoon drive for Lewis Hamilton. Scoring victory at the sport’s return back to the French Grand Prix after 10 years. Can Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari strike back? The Austria and British races are next up. Game on.

French Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 53 1h30m11.385s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 53 7.090s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 53 25.888s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 53 34.736s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 53 1m01.935s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 53 1m19.364s
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 53 1m20.632s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 53 1m27.184s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 53 1m31.989s
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 53 1m33.873s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 52 1 Lap
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 52 1 Lap
14 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1 Lap
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 52 1 Lap
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 50 3 Laps
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 48 Tyre
– Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 27 Power Unit
– Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 0 Collision
– Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 0 Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 145
2 Sebastian Vettel 131
3 Daniel Ricciardo 96
4 Valtteri Bottas 92
5 Kimi Raikkonen 83
6 Max Verstappen 68
7 Nico Hulkenberg 34
8 Fernando Alonso 32
9 Carlos Sainz 28
10 Kevin Magnussen 27
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 11
14 Charles Leclerc 11
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 237
2 Ferrari 214
3 Red Bull-Renault 164
4 Renault 62
5 McLaren-Renault 40
6 Force India-Mercedes 28
7 Haas-Ferrari 27
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Sauber-Ferrari 13
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

Hamilton scores 75th career pole position

Lewis Hamilton achieved his 75th career pole position in Formula 1 by beating Valtteri Bottas by 0.118 seconds to lead a Mercedes one-two in qualifying for the French Grand Prix on the sport’s return to Paul Ricard.

Mercedes looked strong during the practice sessions, and had the advantage throughout a qualifying hour during which rain threatened and fell lightly but never seriously impacted conditions.

Hamilton took control of the Q3 top ten shootout by posting a lap time of one minute, 30.222 seconds on ultrasofts on his first run, putting him a tenth ahead of Bottas and almost two tenths clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

That was before the session was stopped thanks to Haas driver Romain Grosjean crashing at the long Turn 4 left-hander.

Grosjean is not having a good season so far, so many crashes and incidents…

When the session restarted, Vettel was unable to improve on his earlier lap of one minute, 30.400 seconds, meaning it was a battle between the two Mercedes drivers.

Bottas, running ahead on track, jumped to top spot with a lap of one minute, 30.147 seconds, only for Hamilton to reclaim pole position for good with a one minute, 30.029 seconds.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth for Red Bull Racing, with the former almost seven tenths off pole, but ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Raikkonen posted his time of one minute, 31.057 seconds before the red flag, but when he headed out to improve had an oversteer moment into Turn 4 and was unable to improve.

Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo and Verstappen will all start the French Grand Prix using supersoft Pirellis, having used the slower tyres to set their Q2 times.

Ferrari, by contrast, ran in Q2 with the ultrasofts that were favoured by everyone else throughout qualifying on both Vettel and Raikkonen’s car.

Carlos Sainz Jr took best-of-the rest honours for Renault in seventh place, just over a second slower than Raikkonen.

Sauber rookie star Charles Leclerc reached Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career and beat Haas driver Kevin Magnussen to eighth place.

Grosjean was classified tenth after failing to set a time during Q3 thanks to the shunt on his first flying lap.

The Haas driver spun at the exit of the Turn 3 right-hander after the rear stepped out and slid nose-first into the Turn 4 barrier, reporting he was unable to engage reverse to recover.

Esteban Ocon was the fastest of those eliminated in Q2 amid some very light drizzle thanks to being bumped by Leclerc moments after jumping up into the top ten with his final flier.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was also eliminated despite his late improvement, ending up just six hundredths off the top ten despite what he described as “a very good lap”.

That put him ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez and Piere Gasly’s Toro Rosso.

Marcus Ericsson was P15 for Sauber and did well to reach Q3 having crashed during free practice session.

As a result, he missed second practice and then was limited to just three laps in final practice thanks to rain before qualifying.

McLaren produced its worst qualifying performance of the season, with both of its cars eliminated in Q1.

Fernando Alonso’s late lap was only good enough for P16, 0.027 seconds slower than Hulkenberg and half-a-tenth ahead of the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley.

Such a contrast to Alonso when racing in France. A week ago, scored pole position and won the famous endurance race Le Mans for Toyota in the WEC. As for Formula 1, it was back to reality. This was a real struggle for the McLaren driver.

Hartley will start at the back of the grid thanks to taking new engine components in the morning, and complained that wind, traffic and some spots of rain late in Q1 compromised his run.

Stoffel Vandoorne was P18 fastest in the second McLaren, ahead of Williams duo Sergey Sirotkin – who escaped action after an investigation for potentially impeding Hulkenberg – and Lance Stroll.

Stroll had an off-track moment at Turn 2 on his final run, reporting to the team that he hit the floor hard as he rattled over the kerbs.

So a return back to form for Mercedes. A front row starting position for Hamilton and Bottas. Championship leader Vettel is just third. The French Grand Prix should be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, French Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.029s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m30.147s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m30.400s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m30.705s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.895s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.057s
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m32.126s
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.635s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m32.930s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –
11 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m32.075s
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m32.115s
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m32.454s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m32.460s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.820s
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m32.976s
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m33.162s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m33.636s
19 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m33.729s
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m33.025s

Vettel victorious in Canada

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel scored his fifty Grand Prix victory with a commanding performance at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

By winning the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel now leads the drivers’ championship by a single point over his rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel led every lap of the race, quickly building a comfortable lead over Valtteri Bottas and controlling the gap from there.

The most eventful part of Vettel’s race after that came at the start of the final lap, when the chequered flag was shown more than one lap early.

Vettel was aware enough of the error to complete the full distance at racing speed, although after he crossed the line at the end of the 70th and final lap, the race result was then based on positions at the end of lap 68.

Bottas’s main challenge from behind came at the start when a fast-starting Max Verstappen pulled alongside into Turn 1, but Bottas held onto the inside line for Turn 2 and forced the Red Bull driver to back out.

After that moment, which Verstappen was praised for by his team as he avoided getting caught up in an incident, the Red Bull driver was never able to mount another attack.

Bottas did have a minor scare with 15 laps to go, when he went wide at Turn 1 after lapping Carlos Sainz Jr’s Renault, and clipped the grass at Turn 2, briefly falling back behind the Renault.

Monaco Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo claimed fourth position, taking advantage of difficulties for Lewis Hamilton early in the race to jump the Mercedes during the pitstops.

While the Red Bulls pitted earlier than the other leading cars were scheduled to due to starting the race on the hypersoft tyre, Hamilton also came in around the same time despite being on ultrasofts that should have been able to last much longer.

But he was forced into an early stop so Mercedes could attempt to rectify an engine problem, with the reigning world champion having reported “drop outs of power” early in the race.

After falling behind Ricciardo during those pitstops, Hamilton was then vulnerable to Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari also getting ahead of him when The Iceman stopped much later in the race, but he hung on to fifth place as Raikkonen emerged from the pits just behind him at Turn 2.

Despite having tyres that were 16 laps fresher than Hamilton’s, Raikkonen couldn’t mount a challenge and gradually fell back from the Mercedes.

Mercedes offered Hamilton the option of turning down his engine in the closing laps, but he declined – instead pressuring Ricciardo and getting to within a second of the Red Bull.

Hamilton got close at the hairpin with four laps to go, but was unable to attempt a pass down the following straight after having a big slide in the middle of the corner, and he then lost further time on the following lap stuck behind Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams.

Behind the leading cars, Renault took a one-two finish in the ‘class B’ race, with Nico Hulkenberg leading home Sainz to claim seventh and eighth for the team.

Esteban Ocon, who was ahead of both Renaults early in the race, was the first car to make a scheduled pitstop, and he lost out to Hulkenberg and Sainz having been holding them up before he suffered a slow pitstop, which relegated him to ninth.

Ocon came back at the Renaults in the closing stages of the race, prompting Renault to ask Hulkenberg to pick up the pace to prevent Sainz coming under attack.

The final point went to Charles Leclerc, who inherited tenth when Fernando Alonso retired with an exhaust problem.

The Sauber driver headed Alonso early in the race but he lost out to the McLaren during the pitstops, only to reclaim the position when Alonso came into the pits again to retire.

This was a disappointing end for the double world champion. Fernando Alonso celebrated his 300th Grand Prix at Canada but after a difficult qualifying session – only P14 – this race was challenging for the McLaren driver. To drop out was pure heartbreak.

The only other drivers not to finish were Brendon Hartley and home driver Lance Stroll, who crashed in spectacular fashion at Turn 5 on the opening lap.

Stroll got out of shape through the fast right-hand kink, squeezing Hartley, who was on his left, between the Williams and the tyre barrier, briefly launching the Toro Rosso into the air.

After being examined at the medical centre, Hartley was then sent to hospital for further checks.

So not the most exciting Canadian Grand Prix with the most dramatic moment on lap one involving a crash between the Williams and Toro Rosso.

Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel in winning the race and claiming a Ferrari victory at Canada since 2004, when Michael Schumacher triumphed for the Scuderia.

There’s a single championship point separating Vettel and Hamilton as Formula 1 heads to a new event, the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard. Roll on the title fight.

Canadian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 68 1h28m31.377s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 68 7.376s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 68 8.360s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 68 20.892s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 68 21.559s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 68 27.184s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 67 1 Lap
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 67 1 Lap
9 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 67 1 Lap
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 67 1 Lap
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 67 1 Lap
12 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 67 1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 67 1 Lap
14 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 67 1 Lap
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 66 2 Laps
16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 66 2 Laps
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 66 2 Laps
– Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 40 Exhaust
– Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 0 Collision
– Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 0 Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1 Sebastian Vettel 121
2 Lewis Hamilton 120
3 Valtteri Bottas 86
4 Daniel Ricciardo 84
5 Kimi Raikkonen 68
6 Max Verstappen 50
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 32
9 Carlos Sainz 24
10 Kevin Magnussen 19
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 11
14 Charles Leclerc 10
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 206
2 Ferrari 189
3 Red Bull-Renault 134
4 Renault 56
5 McLaren-Renault 40
6 Force India-Mercedes 28
7 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
8 Haas-Ferrari 19
9 Sauber-Ferrari 12
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

Vettel records 54th career pole at Canada

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his 54th career pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, while his Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton was only fourth.

Vettel set the pace throughout the Q3 top ten shootout, posting a time of one minute, 10.776 seconds on his first run to take top spot.

He then shaved 0.012 seconds off that time on his second run using the hypersoft Pirellis to make sure of pole. By securing the prime position on the grid, this was Ferrari’s first pole since the great Michael Schumacher in 2001.

Valtteri Bottas was second fastest for Mercedes, but was unable to improve on his first-run lap having lost time in the first and second sectors.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen made it three different makes in the top three by jumping to third on his final lap, relegating Hamilton to fourth place – just over two tenths slower than Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen had been third after the first runs in Q3, but ran wide onto the grass exiting Turn 2 on his second set of hypersofts and was forced to abort the lap. The Iceman ended up shuffled down to fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, lapping just two-hundredths of a second off Raikkonen.

The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start the race on the ultrasoft Pirellis, having used that compound to set their fastest times in Q2, with Red Bull and the rest of the top ten using hypersofts.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took seventh place ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

The Renault and Force India pattern was repeated on the fifth row, with Carlos Sainz Jr comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was fastest of those eliminated in Q2, lapping two-tenths slower than Perez.

That was enough to put him 29 thousandths of a second ahead of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, which is running the upgraded Honda engine package.

Hartley complained about losing a couple of tenths in the final chicane on his quickest lap.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc was P13, with McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne never looking like a Q3 threat and ending up P14 and P15 – separated by just 0.009 seconds.

Alonso complained about poor drivability out of the hairpin on his last run, but Vandoorne suggested over the radio that this pace was representative of McLaren’s capability this weekend.

All five of those drivers had been in the drop zone after their first runs in Q2, but despite all finding time on their second set of hypersofts none were able to break into the top ten.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who had an engine change to the old-specification Honda after a problem in final practice, was knocked out in Q1 by last-minute improvements by Alonso and Vandoorne.

Gasly was unable to improve on the pace he set on his first Q1 run having been 11th at that stage, meaning he was shuffled down the order in the final minutes and ended up P16.

Williams duo Lance Stroll, who had an off-track moment at the final chicane on his last run, and Sergey Sirotkin were P17 and P18 respectively, effectively last of those not to hit trouble.

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson hit the wall exiting the Turn 8/9 chicane on his first run, and sustained damage that left him P19.

Haas-Ferrari driver Romain Grosjean was unable to run at all after suffering what appeared to be an engine failure as he headed towards the end of the pitlane billowing smoke at the beginning of the session.

So an exciting qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Title challenger Sebastian Vettel sets a new track record to take his 54th career pole. The lap times between the three cars – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – are very close. Roll on the Canadian Grand Prix.

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.776s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m10.857s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m11.096s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.227s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.095s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m11.281s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.038s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m12.084s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.238s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.671s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.606s
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m12.635s
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.661s
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m12.856s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m12.865s
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.047s
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m13.590s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m13.643-
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.593s
20 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –

Ricciardo victorious at Monaco

Daniel Ricciardo survived a reliability scare to hold off Sebastian Vettel to take his second victory of the 2018 Formula 1 season in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ricciardo was comfortably in charge early on before an apparent energy recovery systems problem took hold for the majority of the race.

The honey badger managed that loss of power to the end to clinch his seventh Grand Prix victory, with Vettel dropping back in second late on and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes a distant third.

Ricciardo covered Vettel into Ste Devote and had built a lead of 3.6 seconds before the leaders pitted to shed their used hypersofts from qualifying.

Vettel stopped on lap 16 of 78 with Ricciardo staying out a lap later and rejoining with a lead still above three seconds.

Ricciardo then started to report a loss of power and Vettel closed in.

Red Bull indicated the problem would not get worse and Ricciardo was able to maintain the lead, albeit at a reduced pace.

That allowed Vettel to run just over a second behind him, with Hamilton gradually closing in and putting the top three within three seconds of each other.

Hamilton was complaining more about the state of his tyres and gradually slipped back to a lonely third position.

Ricciardo’s loss of pace meant Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas threatened to stop privately duelling over fourth and join the lead train, but never quite managed to do so.

Bottas had briefly threatened to be a dark horse after taking supersofts at his only pitstop while the top four went on ultrasofts, and was considerably faster in clean air.

His charge ended as soon as he caught Raikkonen and found himself stuck behind the Ferrari, and although they closed right up on Hamilton at the end they held position.

Esteban Ocon just held on to finish best-of-the-rest for Force India.

Ocon pitted later than most frontrunners but not as late as Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg, who ran exceptionally long opening stints and had fierce pace in the second half of the race.

Toro Rosso driver Gasly had supersofts to the hypersofts on Hulkenberg’s Renault, but just about managed to keep seventh place as Ocon kept the pair at bay.

Max Verstappen scored points after his crash on Saturday condemned him to a back-of-the-grid start.

The Red Bull drove gradually rose up the order and finished ninth after wresting the place from Carlos Sainz Jr with a forceful move at the Nouvelle chicane.

Sainz survived one attack there by cutting the chicane, but a lap later Verstappen made it stick on the outside – he ran slightly deep into the corner and half-cut it, half-clobbered the kerb on the first right-hand apex, but kept the place.

A late conclusion to the race was interrupted by Charles Leclerc rear-ending Brendon Hartley under braking for the Nouvelle chicane with seven laps to go.

Hartley was running P11 with Leclerc just behind when the Sauber rookie smashed into the rear of the Toro Rosso shortly after exiting the tunnel.

Leclerc, who reported “no brakes” immediately afterwards, skated down the escape road with the front of his car deranged, while Hartley limped back to retire in the pits with a broken rear wing.

That triggered a virtual safety car, but with so little time remaining the frontrunners did not risk pitting and the order remained the same, albeit with Vettel falling further back from Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso was the race’s other retiree. The Spaniard was on course to finish seventh until he was forced to retire his McLaren, which was smoking at the rear as he came to a halt on the exit of Ste Devote with 25 laps left.

So a masterclass performance from Daniel Ricciardo. Fastest in all the sessions and to take victory with a power issue is incredible. Well done honey badger on this Monaco Grand Prix triumph. That was redemption and payback.

Monaco Grand Prix, race results:
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 78 1h42m54.807s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 7.336s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 17.013s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 78 18.127s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 78 18.822s
6 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 78 23.667s
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 78 24.331s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 78 24.839s
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 78 25.317s
10 Carlos Sainz Renault 78 1m09.013s
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 78 1m09.864s
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 78 1m10.461s
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 78 1m14.823s
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 77 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 77 1 Lap
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 76 2 Laps
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 70 Collision
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 70 Collision
– Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 52 Gearbox

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 110
2 Sebastian Vettel 96
3 Daniel Ricciardo 72
4 Valtteri Bottas 68
5 Kimi Raikkonen 60
6 Max Verstappen 35
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 26
9 Carlos Sainz 20
10 Kevin Magnussen 19
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 9
14 Charles Leclerc 9
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 178
2 Ferrari 156
3 Red Bull-Renault 107
4 Renault 46
5 McLaren-Renault 40
6 Force India-Mercedes 26
7 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
8 Haas-Ferrari 19
9 Sauber-Ferrari 11
10 Williams-Mercedes 4