MONACO • Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won the Monaco Grand Prix yesterday with an exceptional drive in which he nursed a stricken car to the flag in front of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in second and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in third.
The Australian was overjoyed with his victory, which was a huge achievement against the odds and goes some way to making up for his disappointment when he missed an almost certain win here in 2016 after a pit-stop error by his team.
The result means Hamilton's lead over Vettel in the world championship has narrowed from 17 to 14 points.
Championship rivals Vettel and Hamilton had only praise for an immaculate showing by Ricciardo.
"A big congratulations to Red Bull and Daniel, they did a great job this weekend and were quickest all weekend," Hamilton said.
"It would have been nice to be second. I did everything I could. It was an interesting race."
Daniel Ricciardo has split the last four races with Lewis Hamilton, winning two each.
MONACO GRAND PRIX
1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1hr 42min 54.807sec
2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +7.336sec
3 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +17.013
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari +18.127
5 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes +18.822
6 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India +23.667
7 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso +24.331
8 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault +24.839
9 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull +25.317
10 Carlos Sainz (Esp) Renault +1:09.013
OVERALL STANDINGS DRIVERS
1 Hamilton 110pts
2 Vettel 96
3 Ricciardo 72
4 Bottas 68
5 Raikkonen 60
1 Mercedes 178
2 Ferrari 156
3 Red Bull 107
4 Renault 46
5 McLaren 40
Vettel added: "We had the pace, but it was a tricky race. Daniel had the answer at all times.
"First stint, I could follow him fairly easily and then he started to push as Lewis pitted. He was stronger there and I couldn't follow.
"He had a problem but, at the end, he picked up again and then on the restart, I didn't have confidence in the tyres so I lost quite a lot. It would have been nice to keep the pressure on to the end."
Ricciardo had earlier said in the week that he would have to "earn" a win here.
And, after 78 flawless laps under intense pressure from behind, there is absolutely no doubt he had done that, giving Red Bull a real reason to celebrate on the occasion of their 250th Grand Prix.
The race was, as is often the case, something of a procession on the narrow streets of Monaco but was far from straightforward for Ricciardo.
He had led from the off and looked to be fairly comfortable out front until he suffered a power problem on Lap 28.
The team were unable to resolve it, and he had to drive the remaining 50 laps with absolute perfection and on a tight line to ensure that Vettel had no way through, despite his power advantage.
Ricciardo did so with a brilliant display of nerveless driving, in which he went on to hold the lead and ensure he made his tyres last.
Vettel had pushed, as had Hamilton but with passing all but impossible, the 28-year-old knew if he could hold track position, the win he wanted so badly could still be gained and he held it with absolute authority.
It is Ricciardo's seventh career victory, his first in Monaco and after winning in China, his second this season.
Ricciardo was quickest across all three practice sessions and untouchable in qualifying where he was two-tenths up on Vettel and four-tenths on Hamilton.
By pulling off a mature and flawless drive to claim victory, he has reinforced his standing as one of the most bankable drivers on the grid.
For Red Bull, this marks what will be seen as a broadly very positive start to the season, despite the disappointment after their drivers took one another out in Baku, and Max Verstappen's crash in practice that forced him to start from the back of the grid, which he managed to convert into ninth place.