Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Vettel shines in Monaco

Published:Monday | May 29, 2017 | 5:00 AM
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco yesterday.

MONACO (AP):

Sebastian Vettel stood out last season for his furious rants more than his slick driving. Six races into the new campaign, the Ferrari driver is no longer Formula One's Mr Angry, moving 25 points clear of Lewis Hamilton and in serious contention for a fifth title.

The title race took a further swing Ferrari's way after yesterday's Monaco Grand Prix, with Vettel winning ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton finished seventh and behind his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who was fourth.

Ferrari did not even win a race last year, but the Italian manufacturer has turned the tables on Mercedes. Faster and so far more reliable, with a calm and confident Vettel behind the wheel, the Prancing Horse is galloping away.

Vettel's third win this season was the 45th of his career and Ferrari's first here since Michael Schumacher in 2001. That was during Ferrari's dominant era. Early suggestions are that Ferrari could be on the verge of a new one.

"It's very, very special to win here," Vettel said. "With the season we've had, the Ferrari fans and the Ferrari flags are increasing."

There are few better places to celebrate than glitzy Monaco, and Vettel seemed keen to make the most of it.

"We're going to have a very fun night," he said.

It was a much different story last year, when Vettel was swearing and cursing on team radio, aiming expletives and broadsides at other drivers and even F1 officials.

"We had a lot of hard times last year, but this year it seems to be (the other way around)," Vettel said. "We must make sure we keep the momentum up in the next couple of races."

Vettel has been all smiles and compliments this year, emotionally praising his team in Italian after Sunday's win.

Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel's teammate during a dismal season at Red Bull in 2014, finished third to make it an even worse day for Mercedes.

"We've just been missing pace," Bottas said. "Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate."

Vettel let out a whoop of delight after crossing the finish line with bright sunshine gleaming off the famed red of Ferrari. As the German national anthem played, he stood atop the podium with his eyes closed.