2019 Monaco Grand Prix – Race Reaction
The Monaco Grand Prix is a race which never fails to provide us with action and entertainment and today – it was no exception.
The race started off with all the drivers getting away – Lewis Hamilton retaining the lead position closely followed by Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel.
Right from the beginning of the race, we could see that Max Verstappen had pace – staying close to Bottas and ultimately putting the pressure on both the Merc drivers. Sebastian Vettel was right behind in P4.
As the race progressed, we had plenty of battles throughout including Leclerc who was steadily making his way through the grid with some bold moves however – it seemed like he was getting carried away slightly with some moves proving too much. Just coming into contact with Grosjean and then hitting the barrier on another move.
In the end, this resulted in the Scuderia Ferrari driver retiring from the race – this was all compromised from the qualifying session yesterday however the driver did get slightly carried away with his overtaking.
Fast forward to the Safety Car making an appearance due to debris on track from the damage on Leclerc’s car and this is where most teams took advantage of the pit stop.
Hamilton going onto the medium tyres whilst most of the other teams going on the hard tyre – despite there being a threat of rain.
In the pits, Bottas got caught up in an incident with Max Verstappen – this was an unsafe release from Red Bull Racing in my opinion, resulting in Bottas having to re-pit and change his tyres again. For this, Max Verstappen received a 5-second penalty however he was out on the track in P2.
Whilst Max Verstappen was looking extremely strong, he started closing the gap to Lewis Hamilton who was in the lead – looking strong, he put the pressure on the Mercedes drivers who had started struggling on his tyres. Remember, his tyres were medium whereas Verstappen and Vettel were both on the hard compound tyre.
With more and more pressure on the Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton was constantly talking to his team questioning the tyres, the weather and notifying the team of how his tyres felt.
Fast forward to the latter part of the race and it was very, very tense for the Mercedes driver who ended up saying “my front left tyre is dead” however the team didn’t bring him in – if they had, he would have lost the race.
With Max Verstappen now getting frustrated, he tried to make a move on Hamilton and the two came together – luckily it didn’t compromise their races however they could have been left in worse places.
In the meantime, we have Sebastian Vettel up in P3 – sitting pretty. He managed his whole race in a collected, calm and mature way. He didn’t make any mistakes and managed everything perfectly with his car.
Due to Max Verstappen’s timed penalty – he may have ‘finished’ in P2 however he dropped back to P4.
Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix with Vettel in P2 and Bottas in P3 – a great result for the drivers who all drover a great race and managed their cars in a great way. Bottas deserved the podium following the incident with Verstappen so a great result for the three of them.
Take a look at what the drivers and team members had to say below. You’ll also be able to see photos from the paddock this week.
RACE REACTION AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2019 MONACO GRAND PRIX
Lewis Hamilton: “Today was one of the hardest races of my career, it was so intense. With 20 laps left I thought there was no way I was going to make it to the end. I thought I was going to crash, I was battling so much with the car. There was absolutely nothing left in the tyres and it was so tough to keep the car on the track. I thought to myself, ‘what would Niki do’. I was trying my hardest – giving everything I had. I just tried to stay focused and make no mistakes. I know he was watching me today, but with Niki by my side we managed to do it. I wore his helmet colours today and I didn’t want to let him down. He was close to my heart, I really wanted to deliver for him this weekend and I was determined not to crack under the pressure. Today belongs to Niki.”
Valtteri Bottas: “My race was decided in the pits. We did a double-stacked pit stop under the Safety Car, Lewis first, then me. Vettel and Verstappen came in as well and when I left the pits, Max was released at the same time and was side-by-side with me. We touched, I hit the wall because there’s no space to go and I got a right-front puncture. So I had to do another pit stop the following lap. At that point, I thought I’d be at the end of the field, but I only lost a couple of places, so I guess I was unlucky but lucky at the same time. It’s always disappointing if you finish the race lower than you qualified; however, my pace was really good all weekend long and I still scored valuable points for me and the team. One of my first thoughts this morning was that I wanted to drive well for Niki, I wanted to win for him. Ultimately, I didn’t, but Lewis did, so I’m sure Niki would be proud right now.”
Toto Wolff: “That result means a lot. It was a World Champions’ drive for a World Champion that isn’t among us anymore. It couldn’t have been a more dramatic race, so I am relieved it is over. Lewis did an incredible job out there, it was a really hard-fought race with Max. We know the tyre choice, in hindsight, was wrong with Lewis and we should’ve taken the Hard tyre at his stop. But, these things happen and at the time we thought the Medium was the right call. It was the driver who made the difference and managed the race. Valtteri had a tougher time, losing ground with the pit stops and the clash with Verstappen in the pit lane, but he did a great job and will be determined to fight back. This one was a really hard-fought victory and now we have a couple of days that are going to be difficult with Niki’s funeral in Vienna before we set sail for Canada.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was a tough race today but, in the end, second is a great result and I am happy for the team that we got a podium finish on such an iconic track as Monaco. We were also able to benefit from mistakes of other people today, but that’s part of this game. When I was following Lewis, who was struggling with his tyres, and Max chasing him very closely, I saw that they touched and for a brief moment I even kidded myself I might win it! We know we have a lot of work to do so today we are happy, but not entirely happy”
Charles Leclerc: “Our performance was there but unfortunately the result wasn’t. I gave it my all today, knowing that I had to do something different and take a lot of risks to fight my way forward after starting in 15th position. I enjoyed the beginning of the race and it was going quite well. While overtaking Nico on lap 9, I clipped the rear on the wall and our cars touched which damaged my rear tyre and the floor. We tried to continue racing on a new set of tyres but we were just lacking too much downforce after the incident and had to retire. A difficult weekend overall, but I am already fully focused on the next race in Canada and will do my best to bounce back there.”
Mattia Binotto: “Given that he started fourth, Seb’s second place is definitely a good result on a track where it’s well known that overtaking is very difficult. He ran at a good pace throughout the race and did an excellent job of managing the tyres, which wasn’t an easy task today.”
“Charles had a strong start, knowing that he’d have to fight his way up the order after his race was compromised by what happened in yesterday’s qualifying. It was a good getaway, but being aggressive always carries a risk. He pulled off some nice passing moves, but on his last one, maybe he tried just a bit too hard. But that’s the right attitude. He proved that he is not the sort to ever give up or surrender. So it was a race of mixed fortunes and now we are already preparing for Canada.”
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen: “I gave it my all today and I had a fun race. I think we were very competitive and I enjoyed putting the pressure on and trying to go for the win. You know when you’re up against Lewis it’s going to be very hard but I kept pushing him and I tried to force him into a mistake. I made him use his tyres a bit more than he wanted which meant I could attack. At one point I could see his tyres really dropping off and there were a few corners on the track where he was really slow which meant I could line up a move, but we just couldn’t get close enough.”
“With a few laps to go, I thought I’m going to try it now and see what happens. We touched but luckily nothing came of it. The penalty from the pit stop is unfortunate, but I don’t think the Team did anything wrong and it is impossible to see in that tight pit lane. When you look at our pace we were very strong and that’s the most important thing. Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium but I enjoyed the race and you win some, you lose some. It’s easy to say with a few more laps I would have got him but I tried my very best and that was all I could do. The Team did a mega job all weekend and we tried everything we could to get that win today.”
Pierre Gasly: “It was a really positive day and we can be very pleased with fifth position after starting eighth in Monaco which is a difficult track to recover positions on. We had a very good strategy and a really great car to race. I enjoyed driving such a fast car on a track like this and to be able to push so hard at the end and put in some very quick laps and to finish within ten seconds of the leader after starting eighth. I’m really happy and now we need to keep working so we can deliver similar performances in the coming weekends.”
Christian Horner: “Max drove the wheels off the car today. He got away in grid position and had a look at passing Bottas into turn 1 but wasn’t quite far enough alongside. The mechanics did a great job with the pit stop and Max left the box before Bottas which, as per the rules, is fine. Unfortunately, it all got a bit too tight resulting in the Mercedes making contact with the barrier and the stewards issuing Max a five second penalty.”
“Max drove like a lion for the rest of the race and tried everything he could to pass Lewis. We had a better tyre strategy and there was only really one lap where he got close to making a move into the chicane. Finishing second on the road, but with the top four so close, he was denied a podium. Finishing fourth is tough for Max today after a drive like that but as always, he didn’t give up until the checkered flag.”
“Pierre really made a great recovery having got the penalty yesterday and starting in P8. He kept his head, was quick when he had clear track and managed to move up the order. With the benefit of the second pit stop, he smashed the fastest lap for that extra point which is important for the Team and was able to progress up to P5. A great job by him and the Team and also congratulations to Honda for having four Honda powered cars in the top eight.”
Carlos Sainz: “Yes! P6 today is a very good result and my third points finish in a row. An amazing first lap after passing both Toro Rossos around the outside at Turn Three. Definitely one of my best overtakes! After that, a good pit call to stay out under the Safety Car and some solid laps to earn P6.”
“Another fast pit-stop by our mechanics, a great lap to defend from the Kvyat stop and then it was just about managing the tyres and bringing it home. Important points on another track that really didn’t suit us much. We need to keep pushing to improve, but congrats to all the team for today.”
Lando Norris: “A long race and not a lot more I could’ve done. A couple of cars got past me in the opening laps – but both of those guys got punctures so it didn’t affect me too much. It was a fairly straightforward race from then on. I had to manage my tyres in the middle of the race which restricted my pace and actually helped out Carlos.”
“It was a good result at the end of the day for the team and that’s the positive thing. For myself maybe not great and perhaps I could’ve got a point, but I’m still happy.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “Nothing went our way today. We made a decent start, kept it clean off the line and then we suffered a puncture after Charles (Leclerc) sliced my tyre open. Luckily, I didn’t hit the wall, but the Safety Car meant everyone gained on me and from then, I was at the back of the train and it was difficult to recover from there. It’s hard to take as the results today don’t reflect the competitiveness level of Renault at the moment. With a clear track at the end, we showed very good pace. The car had more performance and potential than what the result showed. But, that’s racing sometimes and we need to make the most of the opportunities in Canada.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a very frustrating race, to be honest. We had a great start, jumped Kevin [Magnussen] on the outside for fifth and had a strong Turn 1. Then we pitted under the safety car, which is where we missed out. We definitely could have done better and got a great result as we had all the cards in our hand. Although we missed some points, the car was very good even though we couldn’t always use the speed we had. We’ll look at what happened and address it for future races.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “We didn’t expect this to be an easy weekend and unfortunately it turned out to be the case. It was quite a boring race and there was nowhere to pass: we finished where we were on lap one. Even though I had front wing damage, some issues before and after the stop and I was hit by Stroll, none of these things ultimately had any impact on our finishing position. Once you’re behind a car, you’re stuck there unless they have a massive issue – it’s just how it is in Monaco. We tried something different with the strategy as it made no sense to copy what those in front of us did, but in the end it didn’t make us move forward. The only thing that could have given us a chance was rain, but it didn’t come.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: “It was not a very entertaining race for us. I lost a position to a Williams in the first corner and, even though my pace was faster, I couldn’t find a way through. I tried a move at Rascasse but there was not enough space for two cars, we touched and I got stuck. It was really frustrating to stay behind slower cars, it ended up to be a fairly boring race for me.”
Take a look at some photos from the week.