Lewis Hamilton heads into the Monaco Grand Prix - which former world champion Nico Rosberg has called "the most hard race of the year" - atop the rankings after his win in Barcelona earlier this month.
"I am so grateful, past year I was down 25 points at this point", he added.
The second Red Bull of Max Verstappen used a similar strategy to go from last on the grid to ninth at the finish, but he will still be ruing his accident in final practice, which damaged his vehicle beyond fix ahead of qualifying and forced him to start from the back of the grid.
Webber claimed Vettel was afforded preferential treatment by Red Bull's bosses, and although he has now patched up his relationship with the Ferrari driver, Webber rebuffed Vettel's claim that he would be keen to team up with Hamilton.
The Grand Prix's start went smoothly enough for Ricciardo, holding off pursuing Sebastian Vettel into the first corner, with a relative lack of drama in the race's opening lap, save for contact that damaged Brendon Hartley's front wing. That was entirely possible given the problems Ricciardo was facing, but despite being restricted to just six gears, the Red Bull driver held everything together.
A largely processional race - "boring" according to Hamilton, who said he would "have been asleep on the couch" if watching at home - saw a virtual safety vehicle needed in the closing laps. I felt power loss and I thought the race was done.
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"But when I needed to decide, I might decide Kimi, just because there is not any hazard or risk of any politics or misunderstandings".
"OK mate, we can see what's going on", his race engineer replied after a pause.
Vettel said it had been a tricky race and "Daniel had the answer at all times". "He's been quickest in every session; every qualifying piece and he's delivered two great laps that were capable of pole, so he's done an wonderful job".
Vettel had issues himself with a wearing tyre limiting his ability to really push. The display eventually came back, but the tyre problems persisted and it soon became clear that only a mistake from the vehicle in front would result in an overtaking opportunity. Meanwhile, McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne will be starting 12th after being the sixth fastest in the initial runs. All the top 10 drivers are expected to start on Pirelli's new hyper-soft tyres for what is likely to be a one-stop race.
"I have done everything I can so far, so let's finish the job. I was holding ground and I was catching Carlos [Sainz] at the end but I think Charles had a brake failure at the end".
Neither man could match the Australian's pace on the hypersoft tyres, with Vettel 0.229 seconds slower.
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