After having it relatively straightforward run in the the practice and the qualifying sessions, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had to endure a fighting Monaco Grand Prix to take his first win on the famous streets of Monte Carlo.
The Australian had a MGU-K failure early in the 78-lap race and had to get through more than 50 laps keeping behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. It was a heroic drive indeed putting Ricciardo among some of the Formula 1 greats.
In his blog, Ricciardo has since revealed about the troubles he had to face during those tense moments, where he thought the race was over for him and that the 2016 repeat was nearly on the cards.
“The race itself, you all know what happened when I had a power issue, and at that stage there were 50 laps until the end,” he stated. “I’m not someone who is superstitious, but the first thought that came into my head was ‘what do I have to do to win this thing?’
“I felt the power loss, and as soon as you feel something like that, you’re thinking it’s terminal and there’s no way back. Being in a good position in any race and have something go wrong sucks obviously, but the fact it was Monaco, I was in front like 2016, and it looked like ending badly, you’re not really analysing it, you’re just emotionally flat.
“The whole weekend had gone so well – quickest on Thursday like 2016, pole like 2016 – that I couldn’t get my head around it ending badly again. When I lost power in the race, it wasn’t some gradual build-up, it was instant.
“I felt it and I heard it, I put my foot down and the noise that came back to me wasn’t what I was expecting. It sounded sick, basically. I was around Turn 3, Turn 4, around the Casino Square area when it went. Not cool. But as you saw, we managed it.
“The team gave me the info that they could without telling the whole world and everyone behind me what the drama was (not easy!) and then it was up to me to make the adjustments, drive differently, keep things under control and keep that track position, which around there is so important.
“It was a long old 50 laps and I didn’t need that virtual safety car near the end when [Charles] Leclerc and Brendon [Hartley] had their accident, that got the heart rate up a bit. But we got it done. Explains why I felt a bit mentally fried, really.” he explained.
The win helped Ricciardo to move into third place in the standings, but in realistic terms he is still a win or two away from being a genuine title contender – especially since he has had multiple retirements when Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton haven’t.
More so, the Red Bull drive will get grid penalty in the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend after the team couldn’t salvage the stricken MGU-K. It could be a 10-place penalty for now, but if they opt to change the ES and CE, it may mean further 10 places.