Hamilton resists pressure to score Monte Carlo victory

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton resisted huge pressure and a late contact with Max Verstappen to take victory in Formula 1’s most glamorous race, the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver kept focus despite tyre graining. Lewis resisted more than 60 laps of pressure from Max to hold on to win despite having to manage softer tyres than his pursuers.

As Verstappen was not able to get past the Mercedes and edge clear – despite a late dive at the chicane two laps from the end – he fell from second to fourth at the flag because of a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen picked that up for an unsafe release in the pits that had got him ahead of Bottas, who he made light contact with and forced into the wall.

Verstappen fell behind both Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari and Bottas, who completed the podium despite needing to make a second pitstop under the safety car after his brush with the wall caused a puncture.

Poleman Hamilton retained his advantage at the start ahead of Bottas, despite Verstappen having a look inside Bottas the Sainte Devote on the first lap.

The leaders held station for the opening stint, which was cut short by a safety car after Charles Leclerc – who started in P15 following Ferrari’s qualifying error – littered the track with debris from a dramatic puncture.

Leclerc hit the inside wall at Rascasse and half-spun after trying to pass Nico Hulkenberg for P11.

He tried to continue but picked up a puncture and scattered a large amount of debris as the rubber fell apart around the rest of the lap.

Mercedes opted to pit both its cars under the safety car period and Bottas dropped back behind Hamilton to try to give enough of a gap to avoid losing time.

When they stopped, Verstappen was released just as Bottas was coming past, and though Verstappen was a nose ahead a small amount of contact forced Bottas to kiss the wall on the right-hand side.

The incident damaged Bottas’s wheel rim and caused a slow puncture, but with the safety car still deployed he only dropped behind Vettel to fourth – and eventually Verstappen was awarded a five-second penalty for the unsafe release.

Once the race resumed, Verstappen hounded Hamilton for more than 60 laps, but only got close enough to start attacking the five-time world champion in the final ten.

He had a brief look to the outside of the hairpin on lap 70 but was not close enough on the exit of Portier to get a proper run at Hamilton into the chicane.

On lap 76 he lunged Hamilton, but Hamilton moved across. Verstappen locked up and they made minor wheel-to-wheel contact – Verstappen’s right-front to Hamilton’s left-rear – and Hamilton took to the escape road, but both continued without damage.

Hamilton’s win extended his championship lead over Bottas to 17 points, while Vettel and Bottas were slightly adrift but within five seconds, significent enough to drop Verstappen down to fourth.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly finished in fifth, his best result since his move to the senior team, and earned fastest lap after building enough of a gap to make a late, free pitstop for fresh tyres.

Behind, Carlos Sainz earned his best result for McLaren in sixth place after opting not to pit under the early safety car.

That strategy was replicated by Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon, who used it to great effect to finish seventh and eighth for Toro Rosso.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth, the lead midfield runner who did pit under the safety car.

Romain Grosjean, who opted for the same strategy as Sainz/Kvyat/Albon, completed the points scorers for Haas.

Leclerc was the only retirement from the Monaco Grand Prix. A big shame for the home hero.

There was a separate Rascasse incident shortly after the safety car, when Antonio Giovinazzi hit Robert Kubica and spun the Williams.

The track was briefly blocked, holding up a few cars, but Kubica was able to reverse and get out of the way quickly, which avoided anything worse than localised yellow flags.

So an entertaining Monaco Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton relieved to take the chequered flag after big pressure from Max Verstappen and graining tyres. Unfortunate for Charles Leclerc. A poor weekend for the Ferrari driver in his home race. Better luck next year.

Monaco Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 1h43m28.437s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 2.602s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 78 3.162s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 78 5.537s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 78 9.946s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 78 53.454s
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 78 54.574s
8 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 78 55.200s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 78 1m00.894s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 78 1m01.034s
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 78 1m06.801s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 77 1 Lap
13 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 77 1 Lap
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 77 1 Lap
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 76 2 Laps
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari 16 Accident damage

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 137
2 Valtteri Bottas 120
3 Sebastian Vettel 82
4 Max Verstappen 78
5 Charles Leclerc 57
6 Pierre Gasly 32
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 18
8 Kevin Magnussen 14
9 Sergio Perez 13
10 Kimi Raikkonen 13
11 Lando Norris 12
12 Daniil Kvyat 9
13 Daniel Ricciardo 8
14 Alexander Albon 7
15 Nico Hulkenberg 6
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 257
2 Ferrari 139
3 Red Bull-Honda 110
4 McLaren-Renault 30
5 Racing Point-Mercedes 17
6 Haas-Ferrari 16
7 Toro Rosso-Honda 16
8 Renault 14
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 13
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

5 thoughts to “Hamilton resists pressure to score Monte Carlo victory”

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

    Lewis Hamilton endured a frantic afternoon in Monaco to secure the 77th win of his career, and his third in Monaco, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.

    Hamilton, wearing a special Niki Lauda tribute helmet, enjoyed a near race-long battle with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, as he struggled to extend the life of medium tyres put on during a Safety Car period caused by a puncture for Charles Leclerc that would eventually force Ferrari’s local driver intro retirement on Lap 18.

    Despite finishing just behind winner Hamilton on the road, Verstappen was eventually classified fourth, having been given a five second penalty for an unsafe release earlier in the race.

    Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly finished 10 second behind the front four in fifth, while McLaren’s Carlos Sainz drove a fantastic race to finish ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon, with 2018 Monaco winner Daniel Ricciardo and the Haas of Romain Grosjean completing the top 10.

    “A miracle” is what Lewis Hamilton was asking for in the last few laps of the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix – and while it’s questionable how miraculous his third win in Monte Carlo was, it certainly was tenacious.

    Hamilton enjoyed a fantastic launch off his pole position spot to lead into Turn 1, as behind, Max Verstappen tried and failed to nab second off Valtteri Bottas, who defiantly swung his Mercedes around the outside of Sainte Devote to hold the position. Lower down the order, the field filed through in a mostly polite fashion before Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen made light contact at the hairpin, dropping Raikkonen to 17th.

    In the first 10 laps, Charles Leclerc was, predictably, the driver on the move following his disastrous qualifying that saw him start the race in P15. He got Lando Norris for 13th with a smart move into the hairpin on Lap 2, while on Lap 7, he nipped past Haas’ Romain Grosjean with a sweet lunge into Rascasse. On Lap 9, however, he tried the same move on the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg while challenging for P11. Leclerc appeared to misjudge the space available, clipping the Armco with his right rear tyre and half spinning into the barriers. He got going again, but a right rear puncture saw his car’s floor flagellated by the delaminating Pirelli. It put enough debris across the track to force the Safety Car to be pulled on Lap 11 (Leclerc was eventually forced to retire on Lap 18, so destroyed was his car’s floor) with the front four of Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel all diving into the pits.

    Bottas was slow into his box, presumably to allow his mechanics time to get hold of another set of tyres after Hamilton’s stop. As he was released, however, that initial slowness into the pit lane saw Verstappen leave his box at the same time. Verstappen’s wheel tessellated with Bottas’ car and nerfed Bottas slightly into the wall.

    Verstappen had claimed P2 with that, but the stewards decided that Red Bull had committed an unsafe release, with Verstappen eventually handed a five-second race time penalty – while Bottas was forced to pit again the following lap with a suspected puncture, but was fortunate that the Safety Car allowed him to slot back into fourth, just behind Vettel.

    The race got going again on Lap 15, with Hamilton acing the restart, while Pierre Gasly, having been dropped to P8 on the grid for baulking Romain Grosjean in qualifying, was one of the main beneficiaries of that Safety Car period, having made it up to fifth place by staying out.

    Behind, though, Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi came together at Rascasse, and with a car park quickly forming as drivers behind arrived on the scene, it looked as though the Safety Car might have to head straight back out. But Kubica eventually managed to get his FW42 rotated and clear, while Giovinazzi was later handed a 10-second penalty for causing the incident.

    As the race settled into its rhythm, eyes turned to the sky to see whether race control’s warning of a 90% chance of rain would come to fruition. Sadly for some, it didn’t. Verstappen, on hard tyres and with that five-second penalty now hanging over him, was harassing Hamilton at the front, the five-time champ sounding edgy on team radio as he watched his front left medium tyre graining.

    As the laps passed, Hamilton sounded more and more concerned, and by Lap 50, he was reporting that his front left was “dead”. Verstappen, however, had failed to launch any sort of real challenge, while Vettel and Bottas were keeping a watching brief in third and fourth, as behind, Carlos Sainz was enjoying a mega race and lying sixth for McLaren, behind Gasly and ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon.

    By Lap 62, Hamilton was flustered enough to force Mercedes strategist James Vowles to take to team radio. “Lewis, it’s James, you can do this – we trust in it,” he was told. But while Hamilton’s hero Ayrton Senna famously managed to win around Monaco in 1992 by planting his McLaren confidently in the middle of the track to hold back Nigel Mansell despite its tyres being shot to pieces, with just over 15 laps to go, Hamilton didn’t seem to have Senna’s courage of conviction…

    On Lap 77 of 78, Verstappen, having spent so much time behind Hamilton, made his one serious move of the afternoon on the race leader, sending it down the inside of Hamilton into the seafront chicane. Hamilton shut the door, with Verstappen’s front right making light contact with Hamilton’s rear left. Verstappen was angry to have had his nose cut off by Hamilton, with the stewards deciding that the incident required closer scrutiny after the race before eventually deeming that it warranted no further action.

    Either way, Hamilton had done enough to hold his rival off, and he crossed the finish line to bring home a poignant win number 77 in a fitting tribute to the ’77 (and ’75 and ’84) champion Niki Lauda, whose helmet colours he proudly sported and pointed definitely to as he stood on top of his car.

    Verstappen crossed the line second but fell to fourth thanks to his penalty, despite having driven a brilliant race that earned him the Driver of the Day accolade. That meant that Vettel and Bottas – who’d both played bit parts to the action at the front during the race – got promoted up to second and third, Vettel thus effectively being the driver to end Mercedes’ five-race streak of one-two finishes.

    Gasly took useful points in fifth, plus an extra one for fastest lap, while Sainz held on to take sixth – maintaining his 100% points record in Monaco with a sensational drive – ahead of a fine showing for Toro Rosso, with Kvyat holding off Albon. A late surge for Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault, meanwhile, saw him benefit from a five-second penalty for Romain Grosjean for crossing the pit lane exit line, meaning that last year’s winner ended up in a strong ninth place, to claim just his second points finish of the year, as Grosjean came home 10th.

    Further back, meanwhile, George Russell drove a brilliant race to finish 15th for Williams, keeping the likes of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen at bay to give the Grove team something to cheer about.

    Hamilton now moves alongside Sirs Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss and his old team mate Nico Rosberg in the three-time Monaco winner category – but in what was an emotional day for both him and Mercedes, he’ll surely remember this victory as one of his most hard-fought.

  2. Monaco Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton says he was going to “crash or finish” nursing his severely worn tyres in the race, which he described as “the hardest I have had”.

    Hamilton led the way from pole but was forced into an early stop by a safety car for debris left by Charles Leclerc’s accident at La Rascasse.

    The reigning champion was equipped with medium tyres during his sole pitstop, which committed him to a 67-lap stint on the C4 compound – while his rivals behind had taken on fresh sets of hard rubber.

    Hamilton began to struggle with his tyres well before the end of the race, taking care of a very worn front-left tyre as he fought off Max Verstappen’s attacks until the chequered flag.

    But while he repeatedly expressed his discontent and worry over the strategy to his Mercedes team over the radio, and labelled the tyres as “dead” at one point, Hamilton confirmed after the race that he never entertained a second pitstop – having lost a Monaco win to then-teammate Nico Rosberg due to an extra pitstop in 2015.

    “I was never going to come in. A few years ago I was in the lead and then I’ve come in and learned the hard way as I lost the race,” Hamilton recalled.

    “I wasn’t going to come in. I was going to crash or finish. I was driving around on nothing, you can see how much understeer I had, the car wasn’t turning.

    “Ultimately it was the wrong tyre. Nonetheless this team has done an incredible job, what we have achieved in these first six races is remarkable.”

    Hamilton said the drive for his 77th Formula 1 win was as difficult as any he could remember, while dedicating the victory to the late Mercedes non-executive chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda.

    “Definitely for me the hardest race I think I have had – nonetheless I really was fighting with the spirit of Niki [within me].

    “Niki has been such an influential person in our team, helping us to get where we are, so I take my hat off today.

    “I was trying to stay focused and trying to make him proud. We truly miss him.”

    Verstappen attempted a late lunge down the inside of Hamilton at the chicane with two laps left to run, with the pair having what Hamilton described as “a light touch”.

    The incident was investigated by the stewards, but neither driver was summoned and a verdict of ‘no further action’ was soon confirmed.

    “It was close, a bit of a late dive, luckily I saw him last-minute,” Hamilton said of Verstappen.

    “But he wasn’t really… I think his front wing was alongside my rear wheel, so he wasn’t fully past.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. Monaco Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton commented that he “saved” the Mercedes team following the wrong tyre call. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Mercedes says Lewis Hamilton “saved” the team at the Monaco Grand Prix after admitting it made a mistake in switching to mediums during the early safety car period.

    The German car manufacturer went it alone in moving on to the medium compound during the early safety car that was called out to clear debris left on the track from Charles Leclerc’s flailing tyre.

    It decided against switching to hards as the pursuing Red Bull and Ferrari teams did because it was concerned that a slow warm-up could leave it vulnerable.

    But with Hamilton suffering graining of his fronts a few laps into his stint, it meant the reigning world champion had to manage his pace a lot and back up the cars behind him in a bid to ensure he could make it to the finish.

    Asked about the move to mediums, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted Mercedes got it wrong but was clear how much Hamilton’s driving had bailed the team out.

    “I’ve just had a chat with [strategist] James [Vowles] and obviously it was the wrong call,” said Wolff.

    “We thought the tyre would make it to the end but it didn’t. He saved us – his driving saved us. It’s something which we really need to analyse.”

    When Mercedes made the switch, it felt that it would not be too hard to get to the finish, but the graining that soon emerged on Hamilton’s front soon changed the mood in the pits.

    “What was calculated was that the medium would make it, if we were to change on lap 15 or 16, with the right management,” explained Wolff.

    “So being in the lead that was a pretty straight strategy. It didn’t even seem like a huge stretch, but we realised 20 laps into the race that on the left front some graining appeared and he started to complain about it, the understeer that resulted from the graining. It was clear that it would get very, very difficult to make it to the end.

    “So we had quite some discussions about the tyre lasting another 40 laps, and I was reminded that it was only 20 laps of a normal circuit so calm down a bit!

    “But everybody knew that it was going to be a huge stretch and even probably 20 laps from the end he had 0% rubber left on the tyre with massive understeer on the slow speed. You could see around Loews the car wouldn’t turn any more.”

  4. The most thrilling battle in the Monaco Grand Prix was Max Verstappen versus Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull driver commented that he was “really reserved” in Hamilton duel. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says Max Verstappen was “really reserved” in holding back and waiting for an opportunity to pass Lewis Hamilton in the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Verstappen finished second on the road after his attempt to pass Hamilton in the closing laps at the chicane saw contact made but the two drivers continue in the same positions.

    Verstappen has been carrying a five-second time penalty after an unsafe release into the path of Valtteri Bottas at his pitstop under the safety car, and when that was added, he dropped back to fourth behind Sebastian Vettel and Bottas, an outcome that Horner called “bitter.”

    “Unfortunately contact was made in the pits, and Max got the penalty,” said Horner. “Tough for him because he drove a mighty race, he drove with all his heart, but P4 feels a little bit bitter after such a great drive.

    “But it is what it is, the stewards made a decision that they thought was fair for them, and we have to accept that. His only chance was to pass Hamilton and pull out the five seconds.

    “He deserved to be on the podium today. The encouraging thing is that the performance is right there, he was pushing, pushing, pushing, he fought like a lion, tried to make the pass on Lewis, and it was worth a go.”

    Horner said Verstappen showed patience by waiting for the right opportunity.

    “I thought he was really reserved, he was building up, building up. That was really the only one big chance he had, and he went for it, which is Max.

    “Nonetheless, good to get both cars home on the top five. Pierre [Gasly] drove a great race today, after the penalty he had yesterday, P5 was a good result for him.”

    Honda F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe said the Japanese company was encouraged by earning second on the road with one of its cars on a day when all four finished in the points.

    “The result on paper is the result,” he told Motorsport.com. “So we’re a little disappointed. Max’s race today encouraged our engineers very much – not only engineers, but also some supporters. We’re happy to have a good race for all four Honda cars.

    “In Monaco, it is very difficult to evaluate the power unit performance. We’re still in the catch-up phase, we’re not better than Ferrari! But as a package, it’s still up and down. Up, down, up down. Mercedes is always up, up up, up. So we’ll see.”

  5. Nico Hulkenberg believes Formula 1 rival Charles Leclerc was “impatient” and “definitely too ambitious” in attempting the move that caused their Monaco Grand Prix clash.

    Leclerc, who had started 15th after a strategy error from Ferrari saw him eliminated in Q1 from Saturday, was on an early charge through the field and passed Romain Grosjean for 12th with an audacious move down the inside of La Rascasse before coming up on Hulkenberg.

    He tried to overtake Hulkenberg at the same right-hander a lap later, but ran out of space, clipping the wall on the right-hand side and spinning out into Hulkenberg.

    While both carried on, Leclerc retired with damage a couple of laps later, while Hulkenberg was forced into the pits with a puncture, which cost him track position and ultimately ended his chances of scoring any points.

    Asked whether Leclerc had been too aggressive, Hulkenberg said: “Yeah, he was. You know he came, first of all, from quite far back and then I didn’t leave much of a gap anyway and I saw that he launched and I played fair and opened the steering and tried to leave him some space, and tried to let us both lift.

    “He spun, he just kissed me – I didn’t hit the wall or anything but he sliced my rear tyre open. I think he was definitely too ambitious in that moment.”

    Hulkenberg said he had been informed that Leclerc had passed Grosjean at La Rascasse, and was thus anticipating a move.

    “I was aware of that, my engineer told me that, I could sense it coming but you’ve still got to weigh up your chances as a driver and know when it’s a real opportunity or when [it’s] not.

    “But I think he was a bit impatient there today, obviously frustrated after yesterday and wanted to get through the field – but it’s Monaco and it doesn’t work like that always.”

    Leclerc, for his part, believed he “had to take risks” given his starting position, and felt Hulkenberg hadn’t left him as much space as Grosjean.

    “I just said [to Hulkenberg] I think it was a racing incident, I don’t think he left much space,” Leclerc said.

    “I had to take a lot of risks, which we did – it was fun at the beginning, unfortunately it ended in disaster, but that’s a bit Monaco.

    “Unfortunately when we’re starting P15, which is not our real pace position… it was difficult to come back for today.”

    Grosjean, who had described Leclerc’s earlier pass at La Rascasse as a “kamikaze” move, picked up two positions when the Monegasque’s Hulkenberg attempt didn’t come off – and said he could see it coming.

    “Leclerc was very, very aggressive,” Grosjean said. “I opened the door just not to get contact but I knew someone would not do the same, and that happened the lap after, so we got two places there.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *