From there, Vettel drove away from Raikkonen easily, taking Ferrari’s first win in the principality since Michael Schumacher’s triumph in 2001.
Starting 13th – also for the first time since that 2008 race in France – Hamilton was one of the few to make up places, getting up the inside of Stoffel Vandoorne off the line.
“Obviously, this is what we got today”.
Kimi Raikkonen, P2: “Nothing to say really”.
Vettel went on to claim his 45th win in F1 and third of the season, with Raikkonen following home in second, but the doubt in the legitimacy of the tactics came in the timing of Raikkonen’s pit stop. “Valtteri is doing a great job and I don’t now feel that we have to have a No.1”. For his part, Vettel also insists he just got better pace out of his vehicle.
He added: “This has been the most hard weekend I have had for a while”.
Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m trying to figure out something that is impossible to know right now, at least from my side”.
The 2009 world champion started from the pits after McLaren made a decision to change his auto set-up after qualifying because he was starting from the back after engine penalties.
Valtteri Bottas: “Missing out on a first Monaco podium is painful”.
Jenson Button, making a one-off appearance in Monaco following Fernando Alonso’s participation at the Indianapolis 500, provided the biggest incident of the race after he flipped Pascal Wehrlein at Portier following an over-exuberant overtaking manoeuvre.
“We’ve definitely got to improve the understanding of the auto we have and see if we can do a better job”, he added.
Weirdly during the safety vehicle Marcus Ericsson’s race ended at the first corner and as soon as the cars were released Stoffel Vandoorne crashed in the same place.
However the day belonged to Vettel who was unbeatable from the moment he came out of the pits ahead of his teammate.
Jenson Button retired on lap 58 after sustaining suspension damage during a botched attempted overtake of Pascal Wehrlein at Portier that saw the latter’s vehicle flipped sideways into the barrier. “But bit by bit we’ll try and chip away at it”.
“That is why I just had to let my guys know we are not going to give up“.
Toro Rosso will surely take heart from this, as their auto has looked decent at most of the tracks we have visited this year, and with Force India dropping points this weekend after failing to score, the small Italian outfit will hope this can mark the start of a fightback in the all important battle for 4/5th/6th in the constructors’ standings.