Anton Andres / FIA | May 28, 2018 11:58
Daniel Ricciardo gives Red Bull Racing the top step of the podium in Monaco
It was a special day for Red Bull Racing during the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Not only was it the team's 250th start, Daniel Riccardo made it extra sweet by getting the win for the team. Besides that, Ricciardo crossed the line first despite engine issues that would have easily ruined his chances for the win.
Red Bull Racing started off dominant during the race weekend, clocking in the fastest times in practice and qualifying, with Ricciardo grabbing pole. Off the line, he showed a clean pair of heels to Sebastian Vettel, building up a significant lead from the pack during the first half of the race. It was starting to look like a lights to flag victory for Ricciardo right up until the 28th lap.
In that lap, his Red Bull Racing car suffered a powertrain issue. His car's hybrid system failed catastrophically so not only was it not regenerating power and boost, the stored energy that was remaining in the car couldn't provide extra horsepower. With about 50 laps remaining, the Australian's substantial lead had evaporated and Vettel Ferrari was soon close to the rear wing of the Red Bull. The team estimates that Ricciardo's car was only running 75 percent of its maximum output.
News of Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing's issues quickly spread through the field. With no hybrid system, that meant Ricciardo lost about 225 horsepower, effectively making him a sitting duck on the tight streets of Monaco. Despite that, the Australian refused to give up even as the hybrid system threatened to damage the other parts of the engine. He had to nurse the car all the way to the finish if he wanted to at least gather up some points.
What happened next was, in the team's words, a masterclass in vehicle management. Ricciardo was 9 seconds slower during his qualifying pace but he was making a lot of time in the corners, coasting when it was possible to preserve the engine. Still, Ricciardo was still pulling away from Vettel and, by the time Ricciardo had crossed the line, he was 9 seconds ahead of the Ferrari.
With that, Ricciardo completed redemption in Monaco following a pit stop problem a few years back when the crew only brought out three tires to change. He takes the top step on the podium with Vettel in second and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in third.