Several drivers staked a claim for BadgerGP’s TOP DOG title over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. Lewis Hamilton drove a sublime race on the back of a brilliant Mercedes strategy call. Fernando Alonso was superb holding off Nico Rosberg to grab McLaren’s best result of the year with fifth. Sergio Perez was ‘im-Perez-ive’ as he stepped onto the podium for Force India with a steady and measured drive. Our TOP DOG in Monte Carlo instead goes to…
Ricciardo was pretty much faultless the entire weekend. On Friday he topped the timesheets rather ominously from the battling Mercedes duo by a good 0.6s. People doubted he’d be able to carry that kind of form through to qualifying however.
The Honey Badger answered the doubts in stunning fashion as he stormed to his first ever career pole, two-tenths clear of the nearest car, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Monaco is the kind of track where the driver really can make the difference in lap time. While team-mate Verstappen, the previous race winner, would go on to crash three times over the Monaco weekend, Ricciardo flirted with the barriers in a wonderful flourishing tango.
After the safety car peeled in on lap seven Ricciardo held onto his lead with aplomb. A slow Woe-sberg in second allowed the Red Bull to build up a ten second gap before the first set of stops. The switch to intermediate tyres left Ricciardo behind a slower Lewis Hamilton, the Brit had chosen to stay out on worn wets.
Sadly for Ricciardo his fate had been sealed. For when Red Bull called him in for slicks, in an attempt to undercut Hamilton, the team were not ready for him. A last second call had been made to fit supersoft tyres to Ricciardo’s car. The delay left the Australian behind Hamilton’s Mercedes on a track where it’s more or less impossible to pass. Ricciardo continued to chase down Hamilton but it would be to no avail.
Despite the Red Bulls-up Ricciardo must leave Monaco knowing his was the quickest man all weekend. Sure he’ll hurt over the loss of the win for a while but with a long career ahead of him he’ll get other chances at winning F1’s most famous race.