Monaco GP 2017
MAY 29, 2017
Race Report - Overcut: How Vettel won
By Dan Knutson in Monaco
POLE MEANS SECOND
Often pole position means victory at Monaco where it is so hard to pass. But as happened in 2016 with Daniel Ricciardo, 2017 pole winner Kimi Raikkonen finished second in the race.
WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN
Raikkonen jumped into the lead ahead of his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Ricciardo.
As so often happens at Monaco, the race quickly settled into a holding pattern with nobody able to pass anybody on the track. So, again as so often happens at Monaco, it became a case of waiting for something to happen such as a Safety Car period to jumble the order.
WHEN IT HAPPENED
When "it" happened, it was not a Safety Car but rather a decision by Ferrari to have Raikkonen pit at the end of lap 33. That gave the lead to Vettel.
This is when Vettel won the race. Using the overcut, pitting later rather than earlier, which is undercutting, Vettel had no traffic in front of him and was able to crank out some laps faster than he had gone in qualifying. Then he pitted, rejoined the race just in front of Raikkonen, and stayed in front to win.
"I had a couple of laps where the car was really, really good," Vettel said. "I pushed, everything I had, because I knew if there is a chance to win then that's it. So I was able to use that window and came out ahead, so at that point I could control the race."
THE NUMBER TWO DRIVER
"It's clear to me that Ferrari have chosen their number one driver," Lewis Hamilton said, "so they'll pushing everything to make sure Sebastian is maximized on all of his weekends.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Missing from the mix at the front was that Lewis Hamilton whose Mercedes was off the pace in qualifying. The car was back on the pace in the race, but by starting 13th he was too far back to have any influence on the front runners. He finished seventh.
WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN II
After everybody had pitted, the race again settled into a holding pattern with nobody able to pass anybody. So, again it became a case of waiting for something to happen such as a Safety Car period to mix things up. This time there was a Safety Car after Jenson Button's McLaren tipped Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber on its side and against the barriers.
NOTHING HAPPENED II
Nothing happened when the Safety Car pulled off, at least not amongst the front five drivers. Ricciardo did slap the wall, but held on to his third place while the leader Vettel eased away from second-placed Raikkonen.
"After the re-start it was really tricky with the cold tires," Vettel said. "I think every one of us was really struggling, Daniel said he brushed the wall in Turn 1 on the first lap. So it was really difficult, but after a couple of laps I was able again to control the gap to behind."
In the end, and actually from the beginning, Ferrari had the fastest car. It was a car that could swivel around the Monaco bends better than the Mercedes and get both its front and rear tires to work within the ideal operating temperature windows.
The story of the Monaco Grand Prix concluded with Sebastian Vettel a full 25 points ‘ a race victory ‘ ahead of championship rival Lewis Hamilton.