Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix after a thrilling race through the streets of Monte Carlo.
Hamilton held off a charge from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, despite suffering from tyre trouble throughout the race.
“I was fighting with the spirit of Niki,” Hamilton said after the race.
“I know he’ll be looking down taking his hat off. I was trying to make him proud.”
Luckless Leclerc Retires from Home Race
On Lap 11 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc hit the barrier at La Rascasse, after attempting a pass on the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
While making his way back to the pits Leclerc shredded his tyre and floor. This left debris all over the track and resulted in the appearance of the Safety Car.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 26, 2019
Leclerc, who was out of position after his collision, later retired from the race with major floor damage. During the Safety Car Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all pitted for fresh rubber.
Verstappen Push Hampered by Time Penalty
Bottas who was running in second place before Leclerc’s incident. Because of this, he backed up into Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel to avoid getting held up during his stop.
Verstappen was then given a five-second time penalty after he released into Bottas, and gave the Finn a puncture. Bottas then slipped behind Vettel after his stop for hard tyres, having originally put on the mediums like team-mate Hamilton.
Hamilton soon realised that the medium tyres were dropping off and was straight on the team-radio questioning the teams strategy call. The Brit soon came under pressure from Verstappen and Vettel behind, with both drivers on the harder tyre.
Verstappen tried a late move on Hamilton in the final handful of laps into the Nouvelle Chicane and the two banged wheels. Subsequently, the Mercedes driver was forced to cut the corner.
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) May 26, 2019
As they crossed the line Verstappen was demoted to fourth behind Vettel and Bottas, after his five-second penalty was added on.
After the race, Vettel discussed how the race unfolded from his perspective:
“When I saw them [Bottas and Verstappen] touching in the pit lane, I thought we might have a chance, but ultimately it’s a good result for us.”
“Today is about Niki [Lauda] really. He was an icon in the past and he will continue to be in the future.”
Gasly Best of the Rest
Pierre Gasly came home in a strong fifth for Red Bull, after a grid penalty dropped him to eighth on the grid.
The Frenchman also secured the fastest lap of the race, after he pitted late on for a fresh set of the soft tyres.
Carlos Sainz Jr. claimed his third consecutive points finish for McLaren en route to sixth place. The result was also the Spaniard’s best result of the season so far.
He finished marginally ahead of the Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon in seventh and eighth respectively.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean managed a phenomenal 51-lap stint on the soft tyres and came home in ninth for the American squad.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was up to fifth place before the safety car after a strong start. However, the Australian got stuck in traffic during his second stint left him way down the order.
Ricciardo could only manage tenth place at the chequered flag; a complete contrast to his victory at the Principality 12 months ago.
We will head to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next for the Canadian Grand Prix which takes place from the 7-9 of June.
R.I.P Niki Lauda
1949 – 2019