Ricciardo misses out on a day of high drama

Duncraig F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo missed out on a dream repeat of his third place finish in 2014.
Duncraig F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo missed out on a dream repeat of his third place finish in 2014.

MONACO was oh so nearly a repeat of the Grand Prix of 2014 when Daniel Ricciardo finished third.

It would have been the Duncraig star�s best finish of the season so far, but the 2015 race on the streets of Monte Carlo ended up in a thriller that would have done Hollywood proud.

At the end of the 78 laps, Nico Rosberg was first for Mercedes, chased by Sebastien Vettel in a Ferrari and Mercedes� Lewis Hamilton third, with the Red Bull�s Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo fourth and fifth.

But it really was Lewis Hamilton�s race to win. He led from the start and was never challenged.

Behind him, teammate Rosberg, Vettel and Kvyat followed, with Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari�s Kimi Raikkonen next.

The 78-lap race on the sinewy city circuit became quite procession-like � until lap 67, when the hard-charging young Dutch driver, Max Verstappen, made a high speed error in his Toro Rosso and clipped the rear of Roman Grosjean�s Lotus.

It was a huge crash, with Verstappen�s car wedged into a safety barrier, although the driver was unhurt.

It brought out the safety car, and that turned the race around.

Mercedes management thought it would be a good time to bring race leader Hamilton in for a tyre change.

Big mistake. When he rejoined he was in third place, and with just a few laps left, he had no chance of catching Rosberg and Vettel.

Ricciardo, who had been languishing in fifth place for many laps, was suddenly fast closing on him and challenging for third place.

The WA-born driver was on fresh tyres and had overtaken Daniil Kvyat, who got past him at the start and stayed in there for 95 per cent of the race.

Ricciardo set the fastest lap in his pursuit of Hamilton, but when it was clear he would not get past on the final lap, the Red Bull team told him to give fourth spot back to his young Russian teammate.

Rosberg, a resident of Monte Carlo, was a popular winner and it was his third consecutive win there. He admitted luck was on his side, but Hamilton was clearly unhappy with his team and walked off the podium as soon as he could.

Commentator Alan Jones said Hamilton, who had just days ago signed a record $180 million three-year contract with Mercedes-Benz, would calm down as soon as he counted the zeroes on his contract.