Vettel wins Monaco GP ahead of Ferrari teammate Raikkonen
MONACO (AP) — Sebastian Vettel beat his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen to win the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and comfortably extend his lead at the top of the standings to 25 points.
It was the four-time F1 champion's third win of the season and 45th of his career, as well as Ferrari's first in Monaco since Michael Schumacher — Vettel's childhood idol — in 2001.
"Unbelievable. It was a very tense race," Vettel said. "It's very, very special to win here. We're going to have a very fun night."
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished third, ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
It was a bad weekend for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton — who is second behind Vettel in the standings — finishing seventh after starting from 13th because of a poor qualifying session.
"Missing out on a Monaco podium is painful," Bottas said. "It's been a really tough weekend for us and we've just been missing pace. Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate."
Hamilton was left to take pride in his drive as he fell further behind Vettel.
"The strategists said 10th was probably the maximum today," he said. "It feels great to have beaten that target."
The real joy was for Ferrari, however.
Vettel let out a whoop of delight and thanked his team in Italian after crossing the finish line with bright sunshine gleaming off the famed red of Ferrari. As the German national anthem played, Vettel stood atop the podium with his eyes closed as he sang along.
"Monaco's always something special, a lot of attention, a lot of people, a lot of support," he said. "With the season we've had, the Ferrari fans and the Ferrari flags are increasing."
Some change from last year when Vettel didn't win a race.
"We had a lot of hard times this year, but this year it seems to be upside down (the other way around). We must make sure we keep the momentum up in the next couple of races," Vettel said. "When you see the guys singing the national anthem it's impossible not to get goosebumps."
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth, ahead of Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr.
Raikkonen started from pole position for the first time in nine years, with Vettel joining him on the front row.
Both made a clean start, with Vettel holding off Bottas heading into the first corner.
After Raikkonen and Bottas had come in for a tire change a few laps earlier, Vettel changed halfway through the 78-lap race.
When he came back out, Vettel was in front of Raikkonen while Ricciardo — second here last year — had jumped ahead of Bottas.
It seemed to be a case of the Ferrari team giving preferential treatment to Vettel with Raikkonen stop looking like it came too early.
"I got the bad end of the story today," Raikkonen said. "It's still second place but it doesn't count a lot in my books at least."
"I came out ahead of Kimi and I was surprised myself, but I'll take it," Vettel said. "''We get along well and I can understand Kimi's not totally happy today. I can understand why he's upset. Obviously it's a bad surprise when somebody comes out ahead."
Whatever the strategy was, Ferrari will not mind after securing maximum points and seeing Mercedes fail to make the podium.
"Something we've been waiting for a long time has finally come to pass, a race which will be part of our history," Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne said. "Not only a victory, but a one-two finish at a Grand Prix with a tradition as glorious as Monaco, where Ferrari last won with another one-two, delivered on that occasion by Schumacher and (Rubens) Barrichello. Today it was a really exciting race."
Not for everyone.
The race was held up for a few laps near the end after German driver Pascal Wehrlein crashed near the tunnel.
British driver Jenson Button — back for one race only — appeared to cause the clash, edging his McLaren too close to Wehrlein's Sauber as they turned toward the tunnel entry.
The impact flipped Wehrlein's car onto its side and up against the barrier. The German driver appeared unharmed and jumped out moments later.
With the drivers trundling behind the safety car, tire temperatures dropped dramatically and some could not cope. Marcus Ericsson crashed his Sauber and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne followed suit moments later.
Then, after the safety car came out again briefly with a handful of laps to go, Russian Daniil Kvyat became the latest to lose control of his car in a frantic finish.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.