The Race to Silverstone: Monaco and Canadian GP Review
With our eyes and thoughts on the British Grand Prix, we have one question: who will be leading the drivers’ and constructors’ table when we reach Silverstone?
The answer is not as obvious as we first thought and is explored in Part 3 of our series ‘The Race to Silverstone’.
Red Bull Disrupts Prancing Horse
So, after the beginning of the season where Mercedes and Ferrari were head-to-head, with only the occasional interjection from Red Bull, and then Mercedes began to pull ahead by quite a margin over the last two races, all eyes were on Ferrari to perform in the lead-up to Monaco, to keep their heads above water in the Constructors’ Championship and keep Vettel on track behind Hamilton in the Drivers’.
However, what actually happened at Monaco was a miracle of an altogether different kind. Daniel Ricciardo, the spunky and talented Australian who, along with his teammate Max Verstappen, has already managed to throw some spanners in the works for the leaders despite the underpowered Red Bull cars, was the undisputed star of the show.
Not So Full Metal Gear
Having qualified at pole and leading out from the front in a very linear track, it looked like it would be an easy ride home for him, defeating his demons from two years ago when he lost the lead to a fumbled pit stop on this very track.
After his pit stop, though, the Red Bull malfunctioned and Ricciardo was reduced to using only six gears, having lost 25% of his engine power. The team didn’t tell him anything over the radio, not wanting the other teams to hear what the problem was, but just that the issue wouldn’t improve by the end of the race.
With a determined Sebastian Vettel hot on his heels and fearing he would once again be ousted from the lead by a mistake that wasn’t his, Ricciardo put his foot down and remarkably managed to steer the car home.
Vettel was forced to drop back five laps before the end because the soft tyres chosen by all the teams that weekend were reaching a breaking point, and he couldn’t keep putting pressure on them for fear of a puncture.
— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) 28 May 2018
The Red Bull bosses congratulated Ricciardo on his victory, saying they didn’t have a clue how he managed it and comparing it to Schumacher’s achievement in 1994 when he came in second for Benetton with only fifth gear.
He was followed onto the podium by Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Bottas in that order, but despite great showings from both Mercedes and Ferrari, people had been reminded of the Australian’s talent and determination and began to see Red Bull as a real competitor once again.
Ferrari Aren’t Flagging in Canada
Coming into Canada everyone expected an entirely different race, given that the track is much more prone to overtakes than Monaco’s narrow circuit. However, as it turned out, Sebastian Vettel led a very processional race from qualifying to finish, coming from pole to take a comfortable win.
There was almost a disaster as the chequered flag was shown a lap early, but thankfully Vettel was aware enough to continue at racing speed until the actual end.
The race result was subsequently rolled back to lap 68 in sight of the error, but it didn’t change the order of the top 10. Behind Vettel came Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes, but he never got close enough to mount a challenge and in fact was constantly aware himself of the two Red Bulls behind him, Max Verstappen hungry for the overtake.
In the end, while he managed to keep second place, he finished not even a full second ahead of his pursuer and completely out of fuel, so once again Red Bull have proven that they have the capability of racing with the two best teams. The Constructors’ Championship could definitely still shape up to be a three-horse race.
— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) 10 June 2018
Hamilton Needs To Push For Silverstone
Hamilton, the star of the show in previous races, again failed to show up, this time due to an engine failure which caused him to have an early pit stop. He struggled into fifth place, pushing himself at the end to manage a finish just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, but following a lacklustre performance at Monaco this finish meant that Vettel has pushed him out of the top spot in the Drivers’ Championship, taking the lead by a single point.
One thing is for sure: in the lead up to Silverstone, with only two races left to go beforehand, Hamilton will be desperate to reclaim his top spot, Vettel equally as keen to defend it, and with the Red Bulls now showing up to race, it’s clear that it has the potential to be anyone’s game.
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