Ricciardo channels Schumacher in Monaco GP win

Daniel Ricciardo has lived his own Apollo 13 moment to emerge triumphant from what could have been a Monaco Grand Prix nightmare.

If Formula One's showcase race was dull for rivals, with the top six finishing in the position they started, the Australian wrestled gremlins for more than 50 laps of the unforgiving street circuit.

"He could have been in Apollo 13, I tell you, the way he was dealing with the issues today," said team boss Christian Horner, referring to the troubled 1970 US lunar mission that ultimately got home safely.

Horner said Ricciardo's win was reminiscent of Michael Schumacher's famous Barcelona race when the German had to try and defend his lead with only five of his seven gears available.

"This is right up there with Schumacher in 1995," Horner said.

The Red Bull team boss also revealed that Ricciardo's problems ran deeper than first thought.

Ricciardo triumphed against the odds in Monaco. Pic: Getty

"Unbelievable, he was not going to give this race up this weekend," he said.

"He's been quickest in every session. We lose the MGU-K 17 or 18 laps into the race so he's giving up two-and-a-half seconds a lap.

"Then your brake temperatures go out of control, the fuel and tyre temperatures start going.

"Yet he managed it like he was on a Sunday afternoon drive.

"They're telling me on the intercom they'll have to retire the car in one or two laps. I said 'Look, we're in the lead of the Monaco GP, we're keeping going'.

"Moving the switches around, driving to save fuel, brakes, tyres, asking what's going on with Max's tyres. He drove an unbelievable race this weekend."

The Red Bull driver reported a loss of power on lap 28, an issue serious enough for the team to consider telling him to stop the car and save the engine.

"The engine guys could see from the data that the MGU-K had stopped completely," added Horner, referring to the part of the Renault power unit that recovers the energy generated while braking.

"At that point there was talk in the background of retiring the car... my position was, 'We're leading the Monaco Grand Prix, we'll run until this engine stops'."

The failure of the unit meant also the car's rear brakes were overheating and in danger of catching fire.

Informed over the radio the situation wouldn't improve, Ricciardo was told to wind the brake bias to the front of the car and lift off the accelerator in braking areas to generate cooling.

And with all that, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was only a second behind.

The Australian kept his calm and carried on, easing off but knowing also the tight and twisty Monaco layout made it hard for anyone to pass unless he slowed dramatically.

"It was an incredible performance from him. Just extremely mature. I'm super happy for him. He really deserved this result this weekend," Horner said.

The team boss congratulated Ricciardo over the team radio afterwards by referencing Michael Schumacher in 1995 - a remark he later said was actually referring to the German's drive in Spain in 1994 when he drove much of that race in fifth gear.

Ricciardo was simply relieved to get "payback" for Monaco 2016 - a race he also started on pole but that was wrecked by a botched pit stop.