Verstappen had crashed his auto in a practice session and had to sit out of qualifying, since the team could not put the vehicle together in time.
Ricciardo's knuckle gripping race of extraordinary tension began, not from his pole position start and race to the first corner, but on lap 28 of the 78-lap race.
"Because it's a tight circuit, you're able to take the piss a little bit with going slow", he said. All smiles from the Australian though! "Let's finish this job tomorrow. I'm pumped, it's been a good few days".
Vettel had no response for Ricciardo's time despite improving on his second attempt in Q3 to move ahead of championship leader Hamilton, who did not improve on his second flying lap.More news: Subtropical Storm Alberto Heads Toward Gulf Coast
Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top three, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton was not alone in his view, with Fernando Alonso, a former victor at Monte Carlo and double world champion, also taking aim at Sunday's spectacle. Maybe after losing points to Hamilton for three consecutive races, he was just pleased to cut into his deficit.
"There was a point where l was ten seconds behind and l was conflicted because in my heart l was "I still want to win the race" and they were like "no, just bring it home".
"I would imagine his future is there (Red Bull)", said Hamilton after Sunday's race. I gave it all I could.More news: Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
The session began in flawless conditions with a track temperature of 49 degrees Celsius and an air temperature of 25, the warmest of the weekend. And he did it in a stricken Red Bull auto, somehow managing to keep his calm as he lost power. And to prove how small the margins are at this circuit, it was that very same section of track where teammate Verstappen had his disastrous crash in final practice. Picture: Claude Paris / AP Photo. He will start from the back of the grid, or the pit lane.
It can not be denied that the on-track action was lacking something. Still, he fought on, and when he finally did cross the line to take victory, he stopped his vehicle on the track and waited for medical assistance.
He was joined by New Zealander Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso, Marcus Ericsson of Sauber, Lance Stroll of Williams and Kevin Magnussen of Haas. Vettel is second with 96 points and Ricciardo is third with 72 points. "Despite this, after changing tyres and front wing, Alonso returned to the race and lapped faster than team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne on all but a handful of laps".
Hamilton stopped as early as lap 12 and had to manage a set of ultrasofts for the remaining 66 laps. The gamble had failed.More news: Suspect in Custody After Shooting at Indiana Middle School
Holding on to first place was a battle too far for Schumacher as Damon Hill's Williams picked off the wounded Benetton, but Schumacher still managed to take a hugely impressive second.
- Twitter Went Wild Over Rockets-Warriors Game 5
- US Navy conducting Sunday morning maneuvers in the South China Sea
- Mike D'Antoni Says Chris Paul Is 'Doubtful' to Play Game 7
- Chelsea owner Abramovich immigrates to Israel, becomes country's richest citizen
- LeBron, Cavs facing win-or-else Game 6 vs Celtics
- Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape, criminal sex act charges
- Trudeau to Trump: Auto tariffs would hit U.S. just as hard
- Team Penske to give Helio Indy 500 ride in '19
- Europe must make press freedom in Iran a priority
- As Europe's Data Law Takes Effect, Watchdogs Go After Tech Companies