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"I got home just using six gears", Ricciardo told reporters later.

Sebastian Vettel - who won the race a year ago - crossed the line in second place while championship leader Lewis Hamilton was one place behind him as the gap at the top closed by three points.

A late-race virtual safety auto after Charles Leclerc's Sauber wiped out the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley caused heart rates to skyrocket on the Red Bull pit wall, but McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne emerged from the pits under VSC conditions to slot in between Ricciardo and Vettel on track, and the Ferrari's struggles with regaining tyre temperature when the race resumed saw Ricciardo bolt to what was, in the end, a comfortable win by 7.336secs.

A fan interrupted Hamilton's post-race interview by shouting: "Most boring race ever". I could see Seb catching me and I thought 'what do I have to win here?' "When it finished, I was like, "thank goodness". The pace had been slowed down to such an extent that Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas had all caught up.

One man who was celebrating, and not complaining of boredom either, was Ricciardo.

Ricciardo took the lead right from the start of the race, and around the tight corners of Monte Carlo, Vettel was unable to pass Ricciardo as the Australian held a gap of 2.1 seconds by lap 25. "Give Prince Albert a shoey", he added.

"It is definitely a three-way fight", Hamilton said. Their auto has worked well all season so far.

But Hamilton, tacitly confirming he expects to stay with Mercedes despite having less than a year remaining on his own deal with the Silver Arrows, believes Ricciardo will remain at Red Bull for at least another season. I think I did everything within a certain margin.

"I lost three points to Sebastian and to only have that and not more, I'm grateful". Naturally, Ferrari found out and Vettel went on the attack.

"It is very early still and a long way to go".

Unlike Hamilton and Vettel, Ricciardo has suffered two race retirements so far and he still trails Hamilton by 38 points - the equivalent of a race win and podium finish.

Starting on the pink-striped tyre proved the downfall of Carlos Sainz as the Spaniard was left having to let his teammate by before eventually completing the points in 10th.

"Daniel did a great job today, so I am super happy for him, but our engines were all turned down to make sure we got to the end. It's not impossible but not really at the forefront of my mind yet", Ricciardo said. "There was a few doubts that came in mid-race, but we won Monaco - it feels good".

The Dutchman picked off the two Haas cars at the start and then showed what he can with a ideal combination of patience and aggression with some nice moves at Mirabeau and into the chicane.