Hamilton wins Monaco street fight qualifying from Bottas

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton denied his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the final seconds of qualifying to snatch pole position in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Bottas had the advantage of 0.231 seconds over Hamilton after the first runs in Q3 but was unable to improve on his second set of Pirellis softs.

Hamilton then put in a lap of one minute, 10.166 seconds to outpace Bottas by 0.086 seconds, with his impressive pace through the first sector crucial to sealing the pole.

Bottas held on to second position as Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was also unable to improve and stayed in third postition, 0.475 seconds down.

Sebastian Vettel made a promising start to his lap and looked set to improve, but kissed the wall at the exit of the Tabac right-hander and had to settle for fourth based on his first-run time.

Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly was fifth, 0.875 seconds off the pace, but faces a post-session investigation for impeding Haas driver Romain Grosjean during Q2.

Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest in sixth position and was the only driver outside the top three teams to still have enough tyres for two runs using fresh Pirelli softs.

Having taking sixth position on his first run, he then briefly lost it to Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, before reclaiming it on the second run.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was eighth fastest, a tenth and a half quicker than McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

Teammate Alex Albon made Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career, but had to settle for tenth and 1.487 seconds off the pace.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was bumped out of the top ten in the final moments of Q2 when Magnussen, who had struggled on his first run after locking up and clipping the inside wall at Mirabeau, improved.

Lando Norris was half-a-tenth behind Hulkenberg in P12 and 0.3 seconds quicker than Grosjean – who complained about traffic over the radio at the end of the session after being impeded by Gasly.

Alfa Romeo pairing Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were P14 and P15 respectively, with just 0.070 seconds separating the pair.

Leclerc was the quickest of those to fall in Q1 in P16 after completing just one single run and failing to make the top 15 by 0.052 seconds despite being only 0.715 seconds off the pace in the session.

Leclerc had posted a best time of one minute, 12.149 seconds but was not sent back out despite picking up a flat spot on his soft Pirellis during that run as Ferrari felt he was safe to get through.

Leclerc also initially missed the weighbridge when he returned after his run, although was pushed back by the Ferrari team before entering the garage and confirmed he had enough fuel and time to have completed a second run after the time lost to this.

However, the end result was that Ferrari screwed up the situation and the home race hero Leclerc will start the race in P16.

Albon, Hulkenberg and teammate Vettel then ahead of him on their final laps of Q1 to ensure he didn’t make the cut.

Vettel himself had not set a strong enough time on his first run having abandoned the final quick lap on his first run after kissing the wall at the exit of the first left/right at Swimming Pool.

This meant he was among those at risk of elimination before improving on the only fast lap he had time for on his second set of tyres.

Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were P17 and P18, with 0.613 seconds separating the pair.

George Russell prevailed in the battle of the Williams drivers to take P19, with Robert Kubica bringing up the back end after lapping 0.274 seconds slower.

So a dramatic and exciting Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton in a happy mood after scoring that all-important pole from his teammate. As overtaking is near impossible on this street circuit, Hamilton is looking strong for the race victory.

As for Charles Leclerc, this was a disappointing result to get knocked out in the first segment of qualifying. Fingers crossed Ferrari can devise a strategy in helping Leclerc to move up the order and score a championship point in the race.

Monaco Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m10.166s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m10.252s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m10.641s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.947s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m11.041s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m11.109s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m11.218s
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m11.271s
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m11.417s
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m11.653s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m11.670s
12 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m11.724s
13 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.027s
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.115s
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.185s
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m12.149s
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m12.233s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m12.846s
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m13.477s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m13.751s

6 thoughts to “Hamilton wins Monaco street fight qualifying from Bottas”

  1. Monaco Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton secured what was only his second-ever pole position around the streets of Monaco on Saturday to qualify ahead of Valtteri Bottas and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    Hamilton’s lap of 1m 10.166s established a new track record around Monte Carlo, although Bottas’ effort was just 0.086s slower, the world champion qualifying ahead of his team mate for the first time since Bahrain and securing Mercedes’ fourth front row lock-out in a row.

    Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fourth, after clouting the barrier at Tabac on his final effort, finishing ahead of the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly in fifth.

    Behind, Kevin Magnussen occupied P6 for Haas after impressing throughout qualifying to finish ahead of Monaco specialist Daniel Ricciardo, seventh in the Renault, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and the second Toro Rosso of Alex Albon rounding out the top 10.

    One of the biggest shocks of the session occurred in Q1, however, when Charles Leclerc found himself out in the first part of qualifying after Ferrari neglected to put him back on track as others were improving, leaving the home hero – and one of the favourites for pole – down in 16th on the grid. Unsurprisingly, Leclerc was one very unhappy Monegasque as he headed into Saturday evening…

    Q1 – Local hero Leclerc knocked out by late Vettel lap

    He was the fastest man in Free Practice 3. But Charles Leclerc found himself knocked out in the first part of qualifying at his home race, after Ferrari failed to put him back on track at the tail end of Q1.

    The man who knocked him out, ironically, was his team mate Sebastian Vettel, who was forced to make a last-ditch effort to escape the elimination zone after touching the wall on the outside of the Swimming Pool complex and having to go again.

    Vettel’s last lap was a good one, though, and as he went top ahead of the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and with others improving, an angry Leclerc found himself punted down to P16 and out in Q1, along with the Racing Point pair of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll – Stroll failing to make it out of Q1 for the 10th race in a row – and the Williams of George Russell and Robert Kubica, Kubica out-qualified by the young Briton for the sixth time in as many races this year.

    Knocked out:

    Q2 – Both Toro Rossos into Q3 as Alfa pair drop out

    Alfa Romeo said on Thursday that they were aiming for Q3 after a strong Free Practice 1 and 2. But it wasn’t to be, with the team failing to convert their impressive pace on Saturday to end up P14 and P15, with Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

    They were joined in the drop zone by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in P11, McLaren’s Lando Norris in P12 and Haas’s Romain Grosjean in P13, all of whom had to watch on as their team mates progressed through to Q3 – Haas’s Kevin Magnussen doing so with a fantastic final effort that was just 0.745s slower than Max Verstappen’s leading time in the segment, putting him fifth.

    Grosjean had mitigating circumstances in his defence, however, appearing to be blocked by the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly going down to Mirabeau. It was a serious enough offence for the stewards to investigate it, while an expletive-laden radio message from Grosjean to his Haas team spoke volumes about his feelings on his compatriot’s actions…

    Knocked out:

    Q3 – Hamilton takes 85th pole despite scrappy final effort

    So into the final part of qualifying, and it seemed to be a four-way fight between the two Mercedes, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

    Vettel put himself out of that fight in the final moments of qualifying, with the Ferrari driver hitting the barriers on the outside of Tabac as he pushed hard, meaning that he failed to improve on his 1m 10.947s effort to end up fourth.

    With Hamilton on a last-ditch effort to unseat his team mate, Bottas having established a new track record with a 1m 10.252s, the onboard camera appeared to show Hamilton having a nightmare final sector of the lap, nearly hitting the barrier on the exit of the Swimming Pool before locking up and having to take two bites of the cherry to get around Rascasse. It seemed it was all over.

    And yet… and yet. Hamilton is the master of carrying speed through corners, even while locking up, and as he crossed the line, he shot to the top of the timing screens to secure pole number 85, and only his second in the Principality, improving the track record to a 1m 10.166s.

    Ultimately, the threat of a Red Bull or Ferrari pole failed to appear – and by quite some margin, too, with Verstappen’s third-placed effort a full 0.475s off Hamilton’s pace, while Vettel ended up 0.781s away.

    Behind, Magnussen was super impressive to finish within a second of the charging Mercedes, while Ricciardo, King of Monaco last year, has got a good grid spot with which to go after points on Sunday after finishing seventh. Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, extended to a four-race streak of starting in the top 10 in Monaco by going ninth for McLaren.

    But the day belonged to Hamilton, who looked delighted to have scored his first pole since the season-opener in Australia – and his first in Monaco since 2015. It was exactly what the Mercedes’s much-missed totem Niki Lauda would have wanted…

  2. This was a disappointing qualifying session for Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver says he questioned the Scuderia’s Q1 strategy. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Charles Leclerc says he questioned Ferrari’s decision not to send him out on track for the closing minutes of Q1 at Monaco, before his surprise exit.

    The Monegasque driver was knocked out of qualifying for his home event by a run of late improvements from rival drivers, including teammate Sebastian Vettel.

    Leclerc was unable to respond after Ferrari elected to keep him in the pits, and it is something that he said he did not understand.

    “I asked whether they were sure [we were in], they told me ‘we think we are’,” Leclerc told Sky. “I said shouldn’t we go and get out again?’ But there was no real answers. I didn’t have any explanations yet in detail. Very difficult one to take.”

    Although Leclerc lost some time in the session by missing a weighbridge call, which required him to be pulled back for the checks, he insists that was not a factor in him missing the slot to get back out on track.

    “Actually we had plenty of time even when we went out of the box to go out again…the weighbridge wasn’t the problem,” he explained. “We still have the fuel to go again and only change tyres. I need some explanations, I don’t know for now.”

    Leclerc said that starting from 16th on the grid meant his only option if things stayed dry on Sunday would be to adopt an aggressive approach.

    Asked for his hopes for the race, he said: “Hopefully rain and then there will be a bit of a lottery. If it’s dry it’s going to be boring. I’ll have to take a lot of risks I think, even risking to crash.

    “But in the end that’s the only thing we need to do now – to be extreme in our overtaking because this is a track where it’s basically impossible to overtake.”

  3. Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen both blamed too cold tyres for their failure to improve in the final shootout for pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix.

    While Lewis Hamilton managed to eke out his best lap of the weekend on his final run in Q3 to grab the top spot, both Bottas and Verstappen had to abort their runs after tyre temperature woes hit them.

    Both men had far from ideal out-laps as they had to work their way through traffic, and that meant their tyres were not in the ideal operating window for the start of their final runs.

    Bottas, who was pipped for pole by Mercedes teammate Hamilton, said: “My feelings at the moment are really, really disappointed with qualifying, I really felt I had the speed today.

    “I felt really good in the car all day. In the first run I felt there were two or three tenths I could improve, so I should have done a better job in the first run.

    “In the second run I had quite a lot of traffic on the out-lap so had to go off line in a few places, and the tyres just didn’t work in the second run. So disappointing.”

    As well as not being able to get his tyres up to the right temperature, Bottas said that going off line to overtake slower cars had put him on to dirty sections of the track – which further hampered their preparation.

    “The issue was for me the traffic on the out-lap,” added the Finn. “There were a couple of cars I was stuck behind and had to pass off line, and you get quite a bit of dust on the tyres. If you cannot get enough temperatures then on this track it is really critical.

    “Already at Turn 1, I felt the tyres were not there and every corner was slower and slower until I had a big snap at Turn 8. That was it.”

    Verstappen felt that at best he could have got within three tenths of pole position, but says any hopes of splitting the Mercedes cars were gone by the first corner of his final lap

    “When you look to the weekend we were just missing the two or three tenths in the end,” explained the Red Bull driver, who will start third. “Q2 was a very good lap, also the tyres were switched on, and here it makes quite a bit of difference.

    “In Q3, my first run going into Turn 1 the rear tyres were not gripping up, so I lost a bit of time there. The rest of the lap was pretty stable compared to Q2, so not bad.

    “Then my final run in Q3, I had a bit of traffic on the out-lap and when I started the lap they were just cold, and I was already two or three tenths down so I decided to abort.

    “In general we did a good job, coming into this weekend. I had a feeling we were not as strong as we last year here, but for me it was a good qualifying.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  4. After scoring the Monaco Grand Prix pole position, Lewis Hamilton scaled a catch fencing as a way of celebrating. The Mercedes driver thought the fence might collapse. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton thought his celebration after landing pole position for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix might go wrong as he scaled a fence to greet fans.

    Hamilton had led teammate Valtteri Bottas through Thursday practice, but trailed both the Finn and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on Saturday morning.

    He rebounded during the final segment of qualifying, turning the tables on provisional pole-sitter Bottas with a lap 0.086s faster.

    Hamilton had an emotional outburst over the radio on his slowing-down lap, and once he was out of his car he launched himself onto a fence to celebrate with fans.

    “I was just so super-hyped,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com to talk through that moment.

    “I just tried to hold it in but there’s a lot of Brits and a lot of British flags, and I don’t know, it was just a spur of the moment thing. I felt the fence was going to come over actually! Luckily it didn’t.”

    Hamilton said he wanted to let his feelings out because “great things happen and we don’t always celebrate them”.

    “I’ve won races and you go straight into meetings and then you go home and watch TV or do normal stuff,” he said. “You don’t capture the moment. I think it was just important for me to enjoy it.

    “You never know when that moment’s going to happen again so I’m just grateful for it.”

    This week, Hamilton has also been coping with the death of friend and mentor Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, last Monday.

    The world champion put his deficit to Bottas down to struggling to get enough heat into the Pirelli tyres to put in a complete lap at maximum pace.

    He said his emotion was heightened by how tense qualifying had been and not knowing if his “ragged edge” lap was enough.

    “I was waiting for a long, long time to find out,” he said. “I was like, ‘where the hell is Valtteri?’

    “Talk about sitting on the edge of your seat when you don’t know what’s happening… But when you get that call, whether it’s good or bad, it’s horrible, the wait.

    “Sometimes you get it and it wasn’t good enough and you start to reminisce the lap and think ‘I could have done better here’ but fortunately it was good.

    “I’ve been with Bono [race engineer Peter Bonnington] seven years, it’s the longest relationship I’ve had with an engineer, so it’s really great to see his encouragement and his excitement as well.”

  5. “Poor guy” Pierre Gasly penalised for impeding Romain Grosjean during Q2. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Red Bull Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly has been penalised for impeding Romain Grosjean in the second segment of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Grosjean was baulked by Gasly in the closing stages of Q2 exiting the Casino right-hander, prompting an expletive-filled radio rant from the Haas driver, who complained: “Honestly, people don’t give a s**t”.

    The incident cost Grosjean a final chance to improve his laptime and left him consigned to 13th on the grid, as he was eliminated in Q2 while teammate Kevin Magnussen advanced to the final segment.

    Gasly had advanced too, and ended up qualifying in fifth place, one spot ahead of Magnussen. However, after hearing from Gasly, Grosjean and their respective team representatives, the stewards imposed a three-place grid penalty on the Red Bull driver, as well as awarding one penalty point on his license.

    “The driver of car 8 [Grosjean] had to brake hard to avoid colliding with car 10 [Gasly], which was clearly going slowly on a preparation lap, and was on the race line,” the stewards’ decision read.

    “At the time car 8 was clearly the only car on a fast lap in the area, and while the Stewards accepted that it was unlikely that the driver of car 10 had any opportunity in that sequence of turns to see car 8, the team admitted that they had failed to give any warning.”

    The penalty demotes Gasly to eighth on the grid, as he is moved behind Magnussen, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat from the sister Toro Rosso team.

    Asked about the Gasly incident after qualifying, Grosjean said: “Poor guy, he wasn’t told anything. It has got big, big consequences for me because I could’ve made it into Q3 and obviously I ended up in 13th.

    “I think Red Bull massively f**ked up that one. Pierre couldn’t do anything.”

    Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was another driver to incur a three-place grid penalty and one point on his license.

    Giovinazzi was judged to have “unnecessarily impeded” Nico Hulkenberg in the opening qualifying segment at La Rascasse.

    The stewards accepted that Giovinazzi was “warned exceptionally late” about Hulkenberg coming up behind him, but ruled that the Italian “had the opportunity to give more room regardless of whether he received a warning from the team”.

    Hulkenberg, for his part, largely absolved Giovinazzif blame for the run-in.

    “Of course, it was not ideal. I went to the stewards with that with Antonio,” Hulkenberg said.

    “Basically the team told him way too late, and as a driver, it’s not very forgiving that, because with these bends here you cannot see a car coming. It was not really his mistake, but it didn’t really help my Q1.”

    The incident happened early in Q1, with both drivers able to progress into the second segment. Giovinazzi ended up qualifying 15th, and will now be moved behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll on the grid on Sunday.

  6. Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have all escaped with a no further action verdict after missing weight checks during qualifying for the Monaco GP.

    All three drivers missed the call to stop for the weighbridge during qualifying, but in all three cases their teams did not work on the cars, which were quickly returned to the FIA weighbridge.

    In Azerbaijan, Pierre Gasly had to start from the pitlane because after missing the weighbridge call, his Red Bull team changed his tyres, which counts as working on the car.

    The FIA accepted that the convoluted pit entry in Monaco made it hard for drivers to see if they were being required to stop, and given the “exceptional circumstances,” there was no further penalty.

    All three drivers were handed an identical decision, which noted: “The Stewards reviewed video evidence both from the on-board cameras and the external CCTV. The driver failed to stop at the weigh bridge, however the driver stopped almost immediately afterwards and the Stewards confirmed that no work was done on the car.

    “Whilst the driver failed to stop, the Stewards saw from the on-board video that when the driver turned into pit lane the weigh-bridge boards were green, indicating that the driver could proceed without stopping. It was not until the driver was probably looking down pit lane that the boards changed to indicate the drivers number.

    “This was due to the exceptional layout of the pit entry at this circuit and how late it is clear that the cars have committed to pit lane. The Stewards therefore accept that under the exceptional circumstances and as no sporting advantage was gained, no further action is warranted.”

    Hulkenberg confirmed that it was hard to see the weighbridge light while coming into the pits.

    “As I came into the pitlane, you see the light quite late,” he said. “|I looked, it was green, and then I focussed back on the pitlane. And then they switched just after.

    “In all honesty I think they’re a bit late on the switch there. Here it’s very dynamic, you turn right, you turn left, so you have to kind of look where you’re going.

    “You just focus with your eyes – as soon as I could see the board I checked, it was green, I looked away. But one second after I checked they must have turned it. I didn’t even make it to my box, I stopped there and they pushed me back.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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