Daniel Ricciardo held on for a hard-earned Formula 1 victory in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, managing an irreperable issue on his Renault power unit to keep Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at bay and record his second win of the 2018 season.

Two years on from the pit error that denied him a sure-fire victory in Monaco, Ricciardo had redemption on his mind heading into Sunday's race, and had done his chances a world of good by putting himself on pole position in impressive fashion.

While he was able to retain his lead through the opening stint and through the pit stop cycle, an issue caused Ricciardo's times to quickly drop off, allowing Vettel to draw close and pile on the pressure as he looked to breathe fresh life into his title hopes with victory for Ferrari.

But Ricciardo was able to manage his car perfectly as well as dealing with heavily-worn Ultrasoft tyres to cross the line first and pick up his first win in Monaco, allowing Red Bull to celebrate its 250th grand prix weekend in style.

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STORY OF THE RACE

Starting from pole, Ricciardo managed to retain his lead despite coming under pressure from Vettel on the run down to the first corner, and quickly pulled out of DRS range at the front. The order at the front had remained relatively unchanged through the first stint, with Lewis Hamilton retaining third ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas, leaving all of the leading teams to battle on pit strategy.

Hamilton was the first of the leaders to pit, coming in at the end of Lap 12, moving onto the Ultrasoft tyre that would run to the end of the race. Running around four seconds off the lead, second-placed Vettel followed suit four laps later, attempting to get the undercut on Ricciardo at the front.

Red Bull covered Ferrari off by bringing Ricciardo in one lap later, allowing the Australian to retain his advantage. Raikkonen and Bottas also came in at the end of Lap 17, with the top four aiming to go to the end of the race on Ultrasofts. Bottas was the only driver to go a different way, fitting Supersofts for the second stint.

A pit stop had undone Ricciardo's hopes of Monaco victory two years ago, but with this now negotiated, his biggest pit fall seemed to have been negotiated. However, his Renault power unit seemed to have other ideas, with a sudden drop-off in pace allowing Vettel to close quickly, whittling the gap down from four seconds to just a few tenths.

Red Bull confirmed over the pit wall that Ricciardo had a problem, but said there was nothing he could do to rectify the issue except for driving smoothly and staying focused to keep Vettel back, even while running over 20 km/h slower in the final sector. Despite getting within DRS range, the Ferrari driver could not get close enough to pass initially, instead sitting around a second back as the race passed half distance.

All of the Ultrasoft runners were beginning to struggle with their tyres, prompting Hamilton to tell Mercedes: "I can't believe these tyres will do another 40 laps." However, Hamilton was able to up his pace and draw to near to the leading pair, turning up the pressure at the front. In the sister Mercedes, Bottas was sitting pretty on the Ultrasofts as Mercedes told him to "play a waiting game" in P5.

The pressure was cranked up once more on Ricciardo when Fernando Alonso was forced to retire from the race due to an issue on Lap 53 while running seventh, parking up at Sainte Devote and threatening to bring out a Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car. However, the marshals were able to clear the stricken McLaren quickly, ensuring the race could quickly return to green flag conditions.

Mercedes did briefly consider pitting Hamilton for a second time, only for Esteban Ocon's impressive pace in P6 to close the pit window and take the option away from the Silver Arrows. Instead, he had to back off, causing the battle at the front to boil down to Ricciardo and Vettel, with the gap hovering at around one second heading into the final 20 laps.

Ricciardo found himself treading a fine line between pushing hard enough to maintain his lead while not going too quickly so he didn't hit the lapped traffic, staying on-pace with Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin, the last active runners in the race.

Ricciardo managed to dodge past both without losing too much time before maintaining the gap once again, but a late twist was thrown into the equation when Charles Leclerc slammed into the back of Brendon Hartley at the exit of the tunnel with six laps to go, having suffered a front-left brake failure.

The smash resulted in a Virtual Safety Car period that slowed down the field, but Ricciardo was thrown a lifeline after Stoffel Vandoorne opted to pit and emerged ahead of Vettel on-track, giving the Australian an increased buffer when the race returned to green after just one lap. 

With more time in hand and his tyres up to temperature, Ricciardo was able to shoot clear, giving himself enough of an advantage to see him to the chequered flag as he recorded a famous victory for Red Bull, two years on from his heartbreaking defeat around the streets of Monaco.

Vettel was left to settle for second place, cutting just three points out of Hamilton's lead in the drivers' championship as the Mercedes driver took P3 ahead of Raikkonen and Bottas as none of the drivers managed to make any late gains.

Esteban Ocon emerged on top in the midfield fight for Force India, finishing just two seconds behind Bottas in sixth after a relatively lonely race. Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly recorded his second points finish in F1 following his maiden score in Bahrain, finishing seventh. Teammate Brendon Hartley was forced into a late retirement after being hit by Leclerc, having been on the fringes of the points for much of the race.

Nico Hulkenberg was able to make a reverse strategy work well to finish eighth for Renault, going long on the Ultrasfots before switching to Hypersofts for the second stint. Max Verstappen mirrored the Renault driver's strategy as he rose from last place on the grid to salvage two points for ninth, while Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the points in P10.

Marcus Ericsson led Sauber's charge in 11th ahead of Sergio Perez, while Kevin Magnussen ended a tough weekend for Haas in 13th. Vandoorne dropped to 14th after his late second stop, finishing ahead of Romain Grojsean and Sergey Sirotkin. Lance Stroll was the last classified finisher in 17th, two laps down following an early puncture.

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