Sebastian Vettel does his ‘Monaco move’. Picture: AFP
Sebastian Vettel does his ‘Monaco move’. Picture: AFP

Monaco -Sebastian Vettel stretched his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 25 points on Sunday after becoming the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2001 to win the Monaco Grand Prix.

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was on pole for the first time in nine years, lost out in the pit stops but secured a Ferrari one-two with Hamilton finishing seventh for Mercedes after starting 13th.

The German celebrated as jubilantly as his seven-time champion compatriot would have done, whooping over the radio and beaming from the podium as mechanics sang the Italian national anthem.

"It’s a great day for the team… great to get the points, great to get the win," said Vettel. As with Schumacher in his pomp, there was also a distinct whiff of "team orders", with Raikkonen pitting first and Vettel staying out for five more laps in a move that worked in his favour.

His 45th career win was the German’s third in six races but there was plenty of sympathy for Raikkonen, who last won with Lotus in 2013.

The Finn looked far from happy on the podium, staring fixedly ahead and taking gulps of the Champagne as Vettel sprayed his.

"It’s still second place, but it doesn’t feel awful good," he said. "It’s how it goes sometimes."

"I know how it feels, it’s not a good feeling," reigning champion Nico Rosberg, who retired at the end of last year after years of battling Hamilton at Mercedes, consoled him.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo took his second successive podium with third place for Red Bull. Late crashes ensured the safety car made its traditional Monaco appearance.

While Raikkonen led for the first 34 laps, the writing was on the wall at the pit stops with a consensus that had been emerging already before the start that Ferrari would favour the championship leader.

"It was a very tense race. I knew [staying out] was the chance to win.

"I was able to use that window and come out ahead. After that I was able to control the gap behind," said Vettel.

What had been a processional race, with the wider new cars making overtaking more difficult, turned into sudden drama with a collision between Jenson Button’s McLaren and Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber at the tunnel entrance. Wehrlein’s car was flipped on its side against the tyre wall and fence, with the German driver trapped inside and marshals unable to do anything. That was after Button had gone down the inside in what looked like a wildly optimistic attempt to pass.

Button parked his damaged car at the other end of the tunnel with the safety car deployed.

Wehrlein’s teammate Marcus Ericsson then ploughed straight on into the barriers at the first corner with 13 laps remaining in the race.

Ricciardo gained his place on strategy, with Dutch teammate Max Verstappen venting his fury over the radio with some pithy language after discovering he was behind his teammate despite starting in front.

Reuters

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