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6 hours ago, skalls said:

I was hoping for some rain to spice things up.  Bottas' race got compromised with that pit lane contact.  Good race on LH part nursing those tires till the end.

Indy 500 was such a better race today.

Agreed. Yea Lewis whined about the medium tires the whole race but in the end the team was right and he took the checkers. I was also hoping for rain, or anything to spice things up but it just didn't happen. I honestly wish that Max would have gotten a drive-thru so maybe Vettel could have possibly had a go at Lewis. I don't know if he would have had anything for him but I would have loved to witness it. A drive-thru is normally what they give for an unsafe release, but in F1 they make up the penalties on the fly...

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The race need some spicing up. Was hoping Bottas would have put more pressure on Vettel since his car was having over heating problems.

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MONACO GRAND PRIX: HAMILTON HOLDS OFF VERSTAPPEN IN STALEMATE

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the 66th running of the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

The reigning Formula 1 World Champion was made to work hard all afternoon as he was chased hard by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. But the Dutchman was never in it to win it after he was handed a five-second penalty for an unsafe release during his pitstop.

Verstappen’s penalty demoted him to fourth while promoting Sebastian Vettel to second and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas to third, the latter hampered by the unsafe release of the #33 Red Bull.

Wearing a bright red helmet in honour of the late F1 great Niki Lauda, Hamilton had to fend off a feisty Verstappen with softer tyres in very sore state by the time the flag waved to end the race.

He was made to work with everything he had by Verstappen who was on the harder white band tyres which lasted longer on the day. It was tense as Hamilton complained about the tyre choice, needing counselling from his race engineers to keep him on point.

In the end, the Briton did a top-notch job nursing the tyres to the end, never putting a wheel wrong despite the incessant pressure from behind but, as Monaco tends to be, this was a tense stalemate despite a late race lunge by Verstappen which forced the pair to cut the harbour chicane with no consequence.

After savouring his 77th Grand Prix victory, Hamilton said, “That was definitely the hardest race I’ve had but nonetheless I really was fighting with the spirit of Niki – he’s been such an influence in our team and I know he will be looking down and taking his hat off. I was trying to stay focused and make him proud that it’s been the goal all week and we truly miss him.

“I’ve not driven on empty tyres since 2009 when McLaren left me out in Shanghai for such a long time. It’s great crowds here and I hope it wasn’t boring.”

“It was intense I was never going to come in, I learnt the hard way, I wasn’t going to come in whether I crashed or finished. Ultimately it was the wrong tyre, if you look at my back tyre we touched at the chicane but the team has done an incredible job and I’m so proud to be a part of it and I hope I can continue to do well.”

“It was close, it was a late dive by Max, luckily I saw him last minute, I think his front wing was beside my rear wheel, I was scared that I had no tyres left,” added the championship leader.

Verstappen asked all the questions, throughout the race while Hamilton had all the answers despite the duress and his third win of the season.

The Dutchman reflected on his race, “It was shame to have a penalty but I gave it my all today to get by Lewis. I knew he had softer tyres he was taking it easy after the pitstop so I was pushing him and started attacking him all the time, but out of the tunnel you can’t get close enough.”

“I tried to put the pressure on. In the whole race I was following closely in the dirty air is not easy. I had a fun race and would’ve liked to have a podium,” added the Red Bull driver.

Vettel was gifted third by Bottas’ misfortune and later found himself in second thanks to Verstappen’s penalty. The German kept the Red Bull in his sights but never had a proper stab suggesting the Ferrari was maxed out and lacked firepower to make an impact.

It was a fortuitous second place, but much-needed confidence booster for the Reds in the wake of a torrid and disappointing weekend at the Principality for them.

Vettel said afterwards, “A tough race to manage, at Monaco, something always happens, Max must’ve had an incredible stop. I saw them [Verstappen and Bottas] touching in the pit lane.

“I thought there was a good chance we could capitalise on Valtteri’s puncture, which was a shame for him, and we tried to stay in range. I wanted to put some more pressure on, but I just struggled with my tyres, not as badly as Lewis and Max’s, but mine were just not getting hot.

“It was a bit tricky but a great result and we have a lot of work to do – we are not quick enough compared to these guys. Niki would be happy today, he will always be around, we will definitely miss him. He’s an icon in the past and in the future, my thoughts are with his family,” added the Ferrari driver.

Bottas looked set for second place but a Mercedes sixth one-two did not happen as Verstappen’s unsafe release forced the team to pit the Finn for a puncture suffered in the altercation while leaving the pits.

The Mercedes driver summed up, “It’s obviously disappointing for me, I think the speed was there and I was feeling good in the car. It was small margins yesterday and that made today difficult. Max got me in the pitlane and left me with no room and then I was stuck behind, it was like a Sunday drive.”

The early pitstops were triggered when local hero Charles Leclerc was charging through the field but got it wrong when trying to slip past the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, the move failed and the #16 Ferrari suffered a puncture.

Frustrated Leclerc – showing shades of Gilles Villeneuve – raced to the pits with a splattering rear tyre shredding carbon fibre and debris as it wrecked the floor and right- hand rear of the red car. This prompted the safety car and not long the team parked the car.

The Ferrari driver lamented,  “It was difficult and it was as I said before the race, I had to take a lot of risks but unfortunately it ended in disaster but that’s Monaco when you start 15th which isn’t our real pace position.”

Pierre Gasly in the other Red Bull had a lonely race to fifth, his gap to sixth allowed the team to give him a shot at the fastest lap point which he bagged with a late effort.

Carlos Sainz gave a solid performance, to finish sixth and best of the Renault powered brigade. He was followed by Toro Rosso duo Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon, in seventh and eighth respectively making it four Honda-powered cars in the top eight.

Daniel Ricciardo flew the flag for Renault to take ninth place, on a weekend in which he outshone his teammate Nico Hulkenberg who was only good for 14th. The Aussie looked good for Best of the Rest but a strategy error cost them more points.

While most pitted when the safety car came out after the Leclerc incident, Romain Grosjean stayed out and did a mega 50-lap first stint with the soft tyres to claim a point for Haas.

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FIA Blow-By-Blow Report

Early in the race Hamilton pitted for medium tyres during a Safety Car period sparked by local hero Leclerc shedding debris across the track following a puncture. With the cars directly behind targeting a long stint until the end of the race having taken on hard tyres, Hamilton was left to nurse his yellow-banded Pirellis until the end.

And despite relentless pressure from Verstappen, who was seeking to negate a time penalty for an unsafe release by passing the Briton, Hamilton managed to keep the tyres alive until the flag to take his 77thcareer win.

When the lights went out for the start, polesitter Hamilton got away well and held his advantage over fello front-rwo started Bottas, third-placed Verstappen and Vettel.

Further back Leclerc, starting in 15th, was on a march. The local hero quickly climbed to P13 and then began to chase down Grosjean. Going into Rascasse, the Haas left a small gap and Leclerc pouned, slipping down the inside of the Haas to steal the place.

Having succeeded once, the Monegasque driver decided to try the same passing manoeuvre on Hulkenberg. This time, though, the gap was too tight and Leclerc clipped the barrier with his rear right wheel.

He carried, passing the pit entry as he did so, but it became clear that he’s sustained a puncture. With the whole track to navigate before he could pit, his tyre quickly began to disintegrate. He pitted, taking on medium tyres, but with debris all over the track the Safety Car was deployed. With severe damage to the floor of his car, Leclerc would retire after 16 laps.

During the SC period Mercedes opted to pit. The champion team stacked their drivers and both took on mediums, with Hamilton first in. The delay to Bottas provided Max with an opportunity and he managed to get fitted with new hard tyres more swiftly than the Finn. It meant they met in the pit lan as they went to rejoin and there was contact.

Verstappen exited the pit lane ahead of Bottas in P2 but the incident was placed under investigation by the stewards. Bottas sustained a puncture in the coming together and pitted again at the end of the following lap for hard tyres. He dropped to P4 behind Vettel.

At the end of lap 22, the stewards returned a verdict on the incident and the Dutch driver was given a five-second time penalty. Looking for the most effective way of negating the penalty, Verstappen then began to apply pressure on Hamilton, who was now trying to nurse his medium tyres to the flag.

By lap 30 Verstappen was 0.5s behind the Mercedes driver and forcing the champion to stress his tyres more than he would have wished. But as he applied the pressure Verstappen too also began to work his tyres harder than he might have liked and by half distance he was experiencing some graining to his front-right tyre and could find no way past Hamilton.

Verstappen was now running out time. Behind him Vettel and Bottas were closing up and the Dutchman’s hopes of claiming a podium position began to fade as Bottas got well within the five seconds Verstappen would lose at the flag.

The only possibility of holding on to a podium place rested in getting past Hamilton. Versatappen tried to make the move two laps from home. He braked late into the Nouvelle Chicane, trying to get down the inside of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Max locked up, however, and pushed the leader across the chicane.

They both kept going but Hamilton was able to keep the chasing pack at bay over the final two laps and crossed the line to take his 77thcareer win.

He was followed by Max, but with the five-second penalty immediately applied, he dropped to fourth behind Vettel and Bottas.

Gasly followed to take an excellent fifth place, with the Frenchman also taking his second fastest lap point of the season following a late ‘free’ pit stop for soft tyres.

Behind Gasly, Sainz took sixth place for McLaren, while Toro Rosso enjoyed a profitable day with Kvyat seventh and Albon eighth, ahead of Ricciardo. The final point on offer was claimed by Grosjean.

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PEREZ: I NEARLY KILLED HIM

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Racing Point driver Sergio Perez expressed his relief after narrowly avoiding two marshals who ran across the track ahead of him during a safety car period in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mexican posted a video on Twitter showing him leaving the pitlane and driving between the two, one of whom had crossed to the barriers while the other stopped just in time to let the car pass.

“What was wrong with those marshals? I nearly killed him,” the startled Perez had said over the radio immediately after the incident.

“After this incident, I’m just very happy with the outcome of my day,” he said later on Twitter.

“That we all can go back home safe and sound with our families. For the safety of the marshals I hope it (such an incident) never happens again.”

Marshals had to go on track during the safety car period to sweep away debris left by a flailing rear tyre on Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.

Perez finished 12th in the race won by Mercedes’ five times world champion Lewis Hamilton, the Briton’s fourth victory of the season.

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LECLERC: I WANTED TO TAKE RISKS

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After his qualifying was messed up by his team on Saturday, Charles Leclerc had vowed to take risks in his home Monaco Grand Prix and the young Ferrari driver was at least true to his word on Sunday.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old, they did not bring the reward he had hoped for. Leclerc ended up as the only retirement of the race, his involvement over before the field had completed a quarter of the distance.

“I wanted to take risks… I obviously had to take risks,” the disappointed youngster, who had been fastest in Saturday’s final practise, told reporters after starting in 15th place.

The lowly grid position was a consequence of a Ferrari strategy blunder on Saturday, with the Italian team deciding not to send him out for one more lap in the first phase of qualifying.

With Prince Albert watching events unfold, Leclerc was left in the bottom five and with no realistic hope of matching the only Monegasque to have stood on his home podium, third-placed Louis Chiron in 1950.

He was still in a feisty mood early on, passing McLaren’s teenage rookie Lando Norris on the inside of the hairpin and then muscling past French veteran Romain Grosjean’s Haas at Rascasse.

When Leclerc then tried to do the same to Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, the German left him less room and the Ferrari clipped the wall on the right side and picked up a rear puncture.

The tyre shredded, leaving the Monegasque limping home on a rim and damaging the Ferrari while scattering debris on the track, bringing out the safety car.

“It was impossible to drive at a normal pace. I think the damage was too big,” Leclerc said. “We tried to do a change with the front wing to try and compensate for the lack of downforce we had because of the damage, but it was just not enough.”

Despite a boyhood longing to race around his home circuit, the streets have not been kind to him. He crashed out last year on his home debut with Sauber (now Alfa Romeo) and retired in Formula Two’s 2017 race while leading.

“We didn’t start where we wanted to start, we didn’t end up where we wanted to end up,” he said of a race that Ferrari salvaged by having Sebastian Vettel finish second behind Mercedes’ winner Lewis Hamilton.

Asked how he would cope with the disappointment, Leclerc remained stoical, “I just get on with it. At the end I cannot change it any more so it’s just how it is. It’s a shame it happens at home and especially on a track like Monaco.”

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ALFA ROMEO: OUR RACE WAS COMPROMISED ON SATURDAY

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Alfa Romeo report from the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “It was a difficult weekend for us and our race was effectively compromised on Saturday. At some stages, our cars were among the fastest on track, but Monaco being Monaco it meant there was no way to make up any ground.”

“Despite the difference in pace, overtaking here was nearly impossible and even with a different strategy we finished the race close to where we started. Leaving with no points after the promise we had shown in practice is disappointing, but hopefully we can get back to scoring ways next time around in Canada.”

Kimi Räikkönen: “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.”

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FERRARI: A RACE OF MIXED FORTUNES

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Sebastian Vettel finished second in the 66th Monaco Grand Prix, less than three seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, after driving a solid race during which he was always a front runner.

This was Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s fourth podium of the season. Charles Leclerc had an unlucky race, forced to retire after 16 laps, following a collision with Nico Hulkenberg.

Start. At the start, Sebastian got away cleanly, running behind Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, maintaining fourth place. Charles had a strong start from 15th, immediately making up one place, setting off on his bid to move up the order. On the second lap at the hairpin, the Monegasque driver passed Lando Norris and closed on Romain Grosjean. Five laps later, he got alongside the Frenchman at Rascasse and then passed him.

At this point, Nico Hulkenberg was ahead of him. On lap 9, Charles tried a repeat of his Rascasse move but he hit the barrier and collided with the German, picking up a right rear tyre puncture. He had to complete a whole lap with the wheel dragging on the ground, thus damaging his floor.

He pitted for fresh tyres and got away again, but shortly afterwards he was called back in for one final attempt on Soft tyres and major set up changes to the front wing to try and balance the car that was lacking downforce following the incident. It was in vain, as the car was too badly damaged and it was deemed too dangerous to continue.

Safety Car. The lap he drove with the puncture left debris on the track and that brought out the Safety Car. The four leaders pitted and Sebastian took on Hard tyres, as did Bottas and Verstappen, these last two colliding in pit lane as they drove out.

The Finn picked up a puncture because of this and had to pit again. The Stewards declared that Verstappen had to take a five second penalty added to his final race time, for the unsafe release.

Restart. At the restart, Hamilton led from Verstappen and Sebastian, who was now a virtual second. The German thus played a waiting game, matching the pace of the two drivers in front of him, ready to make the most of any collision or mistake. But the positions remained the same to the flag, so that Sebastian made it to the second step of the podium.

Next race. Now the championship heads to Canada for the seventh round of the season, at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, on Sunday 9 June.

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. On the other side, it’s a pity for Charles. Not the best weekend for him.”

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 Team Principal: “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.”

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HONDA: FIRST TIME WE HAD FOUR CARS IN TOP EIGHT SINCE 1991

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A productive and tense Monaco Grand Prix saw all four Honda-powered cars finish in the top eight after a strong race performance.

Max started from third place and attacked for second on the opening lap, before a quick pit stop during a Safety Car period gave him the chance to get ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

The stewards deemed the release from the pit stop to be unsafe and Max was handed a five-second time penalty, but spent the rest of the race attacking Lewis Hamilton for victory. A big attempt with three laps remaining saw Max try and pass on the inside of the Nouvelle Chicane out of the tunnel, but light contact saw the two leaders continue in order, and with a close field at the chequered flag Max was relegated to fourth by his penalty.

Excellent strategy from both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso ensured the strong haul of points, as Pierre rose from eighth on the grid following a penalty in qualifying to finish fifth.

The Safety Car period happened on lap 10, and while the top six all opted to pit, Red Bull kept Pierre out on track, allowing him to rise to fifth and run at his true pace. After making his stop much later in the race, Pierre remained a comfortable fifth and opened up enough of a gap to pit for soft tyres with 16 laps remaining and secure the extra point for the fastest lap.

A similar strategy from Toro Rosso saw Daniil and Alex stay out during the Safety Car period and emerge in seventh and eighth respectively after their pit stops. Both appeared to have a pace advantage over Carlos Sainz in sixth but with overtaking so difficult in Monaco were unable to pass him, still picking up 10 points for the team.

This was the first time we had four cars in the top eight since the 1991 British GP, when only the top six scored points. We got all four cars into the points in the 1987 British GP, when Honda cars filled all four top places.

Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director: “A strong performance resulting in all four cars finishing in the points, in the top eight. However, it was a real shame that Max got a penalty. Both teams performed strongly all weekend and managed the race strategy very well.”

“Now, we take a break from Europe and head to Montreal. The track there is very different to this one, so we will be working hard on our PU development before going to Canada.”

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RED BULL: WE WERE VERY COMPETITIVE

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Red Bull report from the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

Max Verstappen: Finished 2nd on the road with a 5-second penalty applied as per Stewards’ decisions

“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, Team Principal: “Max drove the wheels off the car today. He got away in grid position and had a look at passing Bottas into turn one 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.”

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WILLIAMS: WE WERE ABLE TO COMPETE GENUINELY

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Williams report from the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “We had a busy race today, but it made for some enjoyable racing as we were able to compete genuinely with both Alfa Romeo and Racing Point. It was a rare Monaco Grand Prix with little incident or retirement and we were unable to score any points. However, both drivers were very good and produced measured and controlled races to make the one-stop strategy work.”

“The tyres were a challenge, especially as the light rain fell, but Robert and George were able to keep the tyres in a sensible window. Once again, the team in Monaco and Grove worked well together and delivered two strong strategies in difficult circumstances. It was a shame that Robert’s race was spoilt by the contact with Giovinazzi but unfortunately that is the nature of racing on the streets of Monte Carlo.”

George Russell: “It was a really enjoyable race and I pushed myself to the limit. Our pace was very strong, I got into the rhythm and my engineer came on the radio and said you are lapping the same pace as the leaders. We put in some good laps at the end and I was pleased with my performance.”

Robert Kubica: “It was quite a long Grand Prix to manage the tyres and it was an unlucky race for me, but that’s just Monaco. The race started pretty well for us, when the Safety Car was deployed I thought that I was coming in, but that was not the case. Giovinazzi hit me at Rascasse so I lost a lot of time there, but that’s just how it is.”

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HAAS: ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG, WENT WRONG

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Rich Energy Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean earned a second consecutive 10th-place result of 2019 while teammate Kevin Magnussen was placed 14th after a five-second penalty Sunday in the Monaco Grand Prix, the sixth round of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at Circuit de Monaco.

Grosjean and Magnussen started the 78-lap event around the 3.337-kilometer (2.074-mile), 19-turn street circuit on Pirelli P Zero Red soft tires – as did most of the rest of the field. At the drop of the green flag, Magnussen dropped a position from fifth to sixth as defending event-winner Daniel Ricciardo of Renault slipped past him in the first corner.

Grosjean, meanwhile, picked up a position to 12th when he got by McLaren driver Lando Norris on the opening lap. Grosjean held off Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc over the next seven laps before the determined local favorite finally got by Grosjean on lap eight, dropping the Haas F1 Team driver back to his original starting position of 13th.

Slight mayhem ensued less than two laps later when Leclerc tangled with the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, bringing out the safety car. Half the field opted to make their first pit stops, including Magnussen from the sixth position for a set of Yellow Medium tires. Grosjean stayed on track and resumed in ninth place when the race went back to green on lap 15 while Magnussen resumed in 14th with eight cars ahead of him that did not pit.

Grosjean did a masterful job of managing his soft tires, enabling him to reach fifth place by lap 40. He finally pitted – the last in the field to do so – on lap 50 when he stopped for a set of medium tires and rejoined the race in ninth with 28 laps to go.

Grosjean held position the rest of the way, but a five-second penalty for crossing the line at the exit of pit lane cost him a position, moving Ricciardo up to ninth and dropping Grosjean to 10th.

Magnussen, who crossed the finish line 12th, was assessed his five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage during a midrace battle with Racing Point driver Sergio Perez through the left-right-left combination of turns 10 through 11.

The Rich Energy Haas F1 Team maintained its sixth-place position but tied with Toro Rosso in the constructors’ standings with today’s results, one-point behind fifth-place Racing Point and two points ahead of eighth-place Renault.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, the polesitter for the second time this season, scored his second win in a row, his fourth of the season, the 76th of his career and his third at Monaco. He crossed the finish line 2.375 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, but a five-second penalty assessed to Verstappen for an unsafe release from his pit stop dropped him to fourth.

Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel moved from third to second, and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas moved from fourth to the final podium position of third.

Romain Grosjean: “It’s a better result than we were expecting – that’s for sure. It’s been a good race. We tried a different strategy. I think the Toro Rosso of Albon stayed out a bit too long in front of us, and by the time we cleared, our tires were well worn. We did our best, we tried.”

“It’s a shame I couldn’t end up in front of Sainz, because I think I’d have had much more pace at that time of the race. Then I got the penalty at the end. I’ll look at the footage. It’s close, I still think there’s a piece of my wheel touching the line, but I got the penalty. All-in-all though, it was yesterday that cost us good points today.”

Kevin Magnussen: “I don’t really know what happened, it wasn’t the race we were hoping for today. We’ve done a very good job together this weekend. It was a perfect weekend until the race. It’s a big shame but we’ll see what went wrong today and why it happened.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, “It was a challenging race for us, almost everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for us. It’s Monaco though, I think there were just circumstances that led us to only score one point here. I don’t even want to go into all that happened, otherwise you’d have to write a book about it.”

“Obviously, we’re not happy about it, but a lot of people would have been happy getting away with one point. We’re pretty upset about that. What we’re not upset about is the performance of our car, the team and our drivers.”

“Today we got into circumstances we didn’t want to be in, but we know the car is faster than it showed. That’s a good thing to look forward to, and I’m sure we’ll make up for it. Hopefully one day we won’t be unlucky, I’m not even demanding to be lucky – just not unlucky.”

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RENAULT: IT’S CLEARLY A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

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Daniel Ricciardo had started from sixth on the grid, however an early pit stop strategy did not play out and the Australian finished in tenth, which was converted to ninth following the application of post-race penalties.

Daniel made an excellent start and had gained a place to fifth. He pitted under an early safety car but came out in traffic. Backed up behind a slow-moving McLaren he lost valuable time, but once in clean air he closed on the ninth-placed Haas by around a second a lap. The strong pace was just enough to be moved into ninth once Romain Grosjean’s penalty had been added to his overall race time.

Nico passed the flag in P14 after an early incident involving Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver was racing from the back of grid but an ambitious move on Nico round the Rascasse clipped the back of the Renault and caused a right rear puncture. He pitted but got stuck behind a roadblock provoked by a spinning Williams and Alfa Romeo and then slower cars and was unable to make significant progress.

Nico Hülkenberg: “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.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: “After the good qualifying yesterday, we thought a big part of the job had been done. Unfortunately, the single most important decision of the day was to stop Daniel under the safety car.”

It turned out to be the wrong one, on the basis that it gave McLaren the opportunity to execute a smart team strategy with Norris and Sainz. A small positive is that we return into the points, but the bigger positive is that the car has demonstrated its potential, not just on the short runs yesterday, but on the longer runs today.”

“It’s clearly a missed opportunity that does not reward the hard work of the team and the drivers to improve the competitiveness of the package.”

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MCLAREN: GOOD REWARD FOR ALL OF THE HARD WORK

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McLaren report from the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, on the streets of Monte-Carlo.

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.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Thanks to the entire team for a clean and well-executed race. This result strengthens our fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, which is a good reward for all of the hard work by everyone trackside and back at the factory.

“Carlos gained a position on the first lap and the right call from the strategy team to stay out during the Safety Car period gained him another two places. This, plus the overall fastest pit-lane time of the entire field and Carlos producing a strong drive and managing to stay in front of Kyvat, all combined to earn him a well-deserved sixth place.

“Lando lost two positions in the opening laps. Thereafter he was into a strategy to help him manage his Medium compound tyres and go for a long first stint. While this compromised his own race it in turn helped Carlos’ race. Everyone stays ultra-focussed for Canada where our aim is to have both cars in the points after Lando missed out by one place on his Monaco Grand Prix debut.”

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Mercedes to keep Lauda red star on car "forever"

Mercedes to keep Lauda red star on car "forever"

Mercedes will keep its red star tribute to Niki Lauda on its cars "forever" so it never forgets the input that the three-time champion gave to the team.
Lauda died shortly before the Monaco Grand Prix, and Mercedes paid tribute with the red three-pointed star on its car's engine cover, a red halo and a facsimile autograph on the nose.

While the German car manufacturer has confirmed that the red halo is a one-off, team boss Toto Wolff says the red star will remain.

"We have done a few things," said Wolff. "I'm really happy how we started off this weekend with the red halo, and the little star – which is going to stay on the car forever – and the signature. It was nicely done.

"So beyond that, unless we find something which we really believe is worth Niki Lauda, then this is what we're doing."

Many other teams carried tributes to Lauda over the Monaco weekend, and F1 chiefs and the FIA have organised a minute's silence prior to the start of the race. Fans have also been asked to wear red caps in his honour.

As well as Monaco being an emotional weekend for Mercedes, it also managed to break another record with Hamilton's 59th pole for the outfit being the most a driver has earned for a single team.

It breaks the previous record of 58 poles that Michael Schumacher earned with Ferrari.

"I find it really amazing that after so many years we are still able to break some of the records," said Wolff.

"Complacency is a topic in any sports team, there are not many out there that have been able to maintain top performance over many years and stay motivated. So to beat those records is something that makes me very proud, very proud for the team. But as Niki would say it's all not worth anything if you don't win the championship."

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Came across this interesting article about the Canadian Grand Prix

 

How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half-hour

We interviewed Roger Peart, a British-born engineer living in Canada at the heart of the circuit's beginnings.

by Nadine Filion  | 2 hours ago
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Canadian Grand Prix, October 1978. City of Montreal Archives
 

Thirty minutes: that’s the length of the decision-making process that would turn Montreal’s Île Notre-Dame into Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. 

Late 1977. Roger Peart, then in his mid-forties, receives a call from the president of the Fédération Automobile du Québec. The Labatt beer company, then the title sponsor for the Canadian Grand Prix held at Mosport near Toronto, Ontario, wants to know if Montreal can host a Formula One race.

“Great question,” says Peart, who then asks for a little time for reflection—30 minutes’ reflection to be precise.

“I first thought of Île Notre-Dame. Then, I looked at a route that would start and end at the Olympic Stadium, but that would have been devilishly complicated to implement. I had other options in mind, I even looked at building a track in Laval.”

grand prix du canada histoire 010 2 How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half hour

The best idea is always the first…

But “we did not have to go far down those roads,” says Peart. “The first idea was always going to be the best.”

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So, after 30 minutes, he confirmed that yes, Montreal could accommodate a full-fledged Grand Prix, and that the best venue was Île Notre-Dame – a man-made island originally built to host Expo 67 a decade earlier – if for no other reason than its excellent Metro access.

Coup de chance: Mayor Drapeau had just announced that the artificial island would be reserved for sporting events, while the neighbouring natural Île Sainte-Hélène would host cultural activities. In April 1978, Montreal’s city council accepted the idea of a racetrack—“on the express condition that it costs the taxpayers nothing,” recalls Peart.

While the snow was falling on Saint-Sauveur…

Engineer Roger Peart is well-known in the world of international racing. Over the past five decades, he has not only competed himself (largely in amateur races, driving in the Canadian Rally Championship until 1963 as well as in numerous ice races) but has also monitored and inspected racing circuits all over the world. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Now 85 years old, he was until last year – and for 38 years – president of the Canadian National Sports Authority (ASN Canada). Even more impressive: for almost 4 decades, he was the only F1 steward (sports commissioner) in our country recognized by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

Unsurprisingly, it was Peart who was given the mandate to design, on the Île Notre-Dame, a circuit that was going to meet Formula One’s rigid standards.

The Briton, who was then living in Montreal (he now calls Ontario home), still remembers the moment he went to first inspect what would become the famed racetrack.

Mother Nature had dropped a major snowfall on top of the island, which forced him to develop the initial drafts without even being able to inspect the actual ground he was surveying. “I remember those days at my chalet in Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians; when skiing conditions were poor, I drew up plans, plans and plans again.”

The challenge was even more than he expected. “First, I had to ignore the old pavilions of the Expo 67 scheduled for demolition. Then I had to deal with some elements – the lake and park in the center, the river on one side, the Olympic basin on the other – that were obviously there to stay.”

“There was not much space and I had to compress a circuit there, with straights and turns.”

parc montreal ile notre dame 001 4 How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half hour

 

Between boats and F1 cars

It was expected that the buildings to the east of the island, where the boathouse was situated and where the hairpin turn is still today, would be used as the pits.

One weekend a year, the boats would then give way to the F1 cars—“It was an economical solution,” recalls Peart. But because of the impracticality of this arrangement, new pits were subsequently built in their current location, to the west, just before the Senna turn.

Until last July, when the modernization work started on this same site for the new Paddocks requested by F1 (a condition for a 14-year extension of the agreement to stage the Grand Prix), it was the most significant change in the circuit’s four decades of history. What a testimony to the excellence of Peart’s original design.

Oh, by the way: Peart was never paid for his work. “Motorsport was my hobby, not my profession; it never occurred to me to charge for my services at the time,” he says. “All my expenses were paid, so I was happy with that.”

A circuit built as fast as it was born

The construction of the circuit that would later bear the name of Gilles Villeneuve (the change was made in 1982, after the death of Quebec’s most famous racing driver) was executed in record time. “It was a crazy time,” recalls Peart. “Everything was going too fast!”

After a winter spent developing the best possible layout, the British engineer travelled to Europe to attain approval for the plans by the FIA. By May 1978, after a meeting in Monaco, approval was granted and the construction began shortly thereafter, in July 1978.

The first F1 race would be held barely three months later.

“A little paradise” – Jackie Stewart

Sunday, October 8, 1978. The first of 39 Grand Prix of Canada races to be held on the new Circuit Île-Notre-Dame – it’s been held there every year since ’78, except in 1987, during a sponsorship dispute between Labatt and Molson, and in 2009, when event funding became an issue – unfolds like a fairy tale.

It feels like a fairy tale for Peart, who, serving as the race director, gets to hear firsthand from racers like Jackie Stewart that “his circuit” is “a little paradise in the middle of a great river.”

It feels like a fairy tale for the Quebec public, too, because – as if the gods of motor racing momentarily took Quebec racing fans into their heart – none other than Gilles Villeneuve wins that inaugural race in his Ferrari #12, in front of more than 72,000 excited spectators.

It’s his first win in 19 races, and he receives his much-deserved trophy from Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau.

For Ferrari, it is the company’s first success in eight years. But that wasn’t the first time Villeneuve’s path crossed with Peart’s…

circuit gilles villeneuve 003 4 How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half hour

“Gilles Villeneuve wanted to give me a five-dollar tip…” – Roger Peart

Early 1970s. Roger Peart is, at the time, chief instructor at the Fédération Automobile du Québec, when “a quiet little man from Berthierville comes to see me.”

“He wanted to drive race cars. I asked him about his experience, and he replied that he was racing, of all things, snowmobiles,” recalls Peart.

“As our race schools were finished for the year, I suggested he rent Sanair [Super Speedway], bring along a car and we would see what kind of automobile racer he would make.”

“The day he showed up with his brother’s Mustang, I had a business appointment. But I asked a fellow instructor to work with him and give me a report. Later in the day, the instructor called me, excitedly saying, ‘Hey, boss, we may have something here!’”

“In each and every lap, the young Gilles Villeneuve was faster than his instructor. Obviously, we gave him his racing license. But more than anything else, I remember that to thank me, he wanted to give me a five-dollar tip [about $30 today]…”

gilles villeneuve montreal grand prix gazette files How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half hour

40 years later: Peart still hasn’t missed a race

Even today, the Montreal racetrack is seen as a circuit made of long fast straights, interrupted by tight corners where the tires, brakes, engines and transmissions are strained to their limits. A technical track, then, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve requires full concentration at all times and leaves little room for error. Talk to those who kissed the Wall of Champions.

That said, “unlike so many other F1 racetracks,” says Peart, “Montreal has several opportunities for overtaking. That means the races are always exciting.”

And Peart has never missed a Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. He has always attended from the control tower, as one of the three sports commissioners delegated by the FIA. He attended every one of those races, except in 2014, when he delegated his position to another steward. Oh, and last year, when he stepped down – with great tribute from FIA – from ASN Canada presidency and F1 stewardship.

But even without an “official” role, Roger Peart was there. And if you happened upon him and ask if, after all these years, he would change anything about his original design — he will tell you that, to this day, he still has never found, seen, or witnessed, anywhere in the world, a circuit that could be claimed to be perfect.

grand prix montreal f1 011 2 How Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was born in a half hour
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WINDS OF CHANGE BLOW THROUGH MARANELLO

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Reports in Italy confirm that winds of change are blowing through Maranello as Ferrari restructure their engineering department amid a hugely disappointing start to the season, which has turned into a Mercedes walkover with the Reds powerless to reel them in.

Post-Barcelona testing the Scuderia were upbeat until reality sank at the season opener in which they were soundly trounced. Ditto the next four rounds.

Granted in Monaco, Sebastian Vettel broke the Mercedes streak of one-twos, but it was a fortuitous podium, and only as a result of the pitlane clash between Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

With turmoil on track, it appears upheavals are also taking place behind the scenes as performance engineers Alessandro Cinelli (aero) and Giacomo Tortora (chassis and tyres) are no longer in the posts they once held. Who will replace them is unknown at this point. Watch this space…

Team boss Mattia Binotto is on record saying that the Ferrari he leads is a new team, still growing into the role as title challengers. Hence more changes can be expected as the new man in charge lays the foundations for the future of the team.

“We need to optimise our performance, both on and off the track. I don’t fool myself, the situation is not easy but, I believe it is possible to catch Mercedes. I say we are not far away from our goal. The gap is not as big as it looks between victory and defeat.”

“The problem is not just to identify the problems, but to find a solution,” ventured the team chief.

Prior to their golden era in the noughties, Ferrari also went through a rebuilding process, which Binotto acknowledged, “I recognise parallels to the time around 1995-1996. That was before Ferrari became so successful.”

“At the time we also had to go through a learning and development process. Like today. There was the super package we all know about, but not yet.”

“It’s like today. Stability is important. Understanding the car and its technology. It was a maturing process. That gives me and everyone else at Ferrari hope for the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ferrari bosses John Elkann and Louis Camilleri have approved an extra budget to completely redesign the front suspension of the SF90, bearing in mind that little has changed on their system for a couple of seasons while Red Bull and Mercedes have evolved their suspension systems.

The Monaco result flattered the Reds, but Binotto was big enough to admit, “The updates we brought were not enough.”

Meanwhile, after six rounds the stats are stark for Ferrari and their tifosi: no wins this season; they trail Mercedes by 118 points; Hamilton leads Vettel in the standings by 55 points – time is fast running out on their campaign.

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BROWN: WE DIDN’T EXPECT CARLOS TO BE THAT FAST SO EARLY

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The bond between McLaren and their new driver Carlos Sainz tightened further after the Spaniard delivered an impressive performance to claim a well-deserved sixth place in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

When he was told he had finished sixth after a tense race on the ‘mean streets’ of Monte Carlo, he Spaniard roared: “What a team!”

The feeling was clearly mutual as his stellar opening lap triggered a tweet of admiration from his boss, McLaren CEO Zak Brown who was at the Principality possibly escape his Indianapolis 500 debacle.

Indeed Sainz gave the team reason to smile in the wake of a painful week, and Brown admitted to El Confidencial afterwards, “To be honest, we didn’t expect Carlos to be that fast so early, from the first day he has surprised us with his speed and professionalism.”

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WOLFF: HAMILTON’S DRIVING SAVED US

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Team chief Toto Wolff credited Lewis Hamilton’s individual ability ‘saved’ Mercedes and delivered the team’s emotional tribute victory to Niki Lauda at Sunday’s dramatic Monaco Grand Prix.

Without his “performance of a champion” drive on badly-worn and incorrectly-chosen medium compound tyres, in which he resisted near-incessant pressure from Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, the Silver Arrows’ season-opening winning streak may have been over.

“Obviously, it was the wrong call,” admitted Wolff, referring to the decision to fit Pirelli mediums instead of the hards during Hamilton’s pit-stop after only 10 laps. We thought the tyre would make it to the end.

“But, of course, it didn’t. He saved us. His driving saved us. It is something that we really need to analyse now. We calculated that the medium would make it, if we changed on lap 15 or 16, with the right management. It seemed a straightforward strategy.”

“It didn’t seem like a huge stretch, but then we realised 20 laps into it that some graining was appearing on the front left – and he started to complain. Under-steer resulted from the graining and it was clear it would be very, very difficult to make it to the end.”

“Everybody knew it would be a huge stretch and, probably 20 laps from the end, he had nought percent rubber left and with massive under-steer at slow speeds.”

“You could see that around the Loews hairpin – the car wouldn’t turn anymore… We were close to losing and if it was a normal track – like in Montreal – you lose that race.”

“At the end, the driver made the difference and won us the race. Lewis did an incredible job out there. It was a really hard-fought race with Max,” added Wolff.

Hamilton secured his third Monaco victory career 77th by resisting every attack from Verstappen, behind him on hard tyres, with one of the greatest stints of defensive racing ever seen on the unforgiving streets of the Mediterranean circuit.

His agitated radio exchanges with engineer Pete Bonnington punctuated the contest and allowed him relief from his concentration during what he later described as the hardest race of his life.

“It’s just difficult when you’re out on your own for so long and Bono can’t say anything,” said Hamilton. “Nothing he can say, or anyone can say, or do to help – it was all down to me to bring it home for the team and for Niki. That just felt immense.”

Three-time world champion Austrian Lauda, Mercedes non-executive chairman, died last Monday, aged 70.

It was a measure of his achievement that Hamilton's former team-mate and rival Nico Rosberg gave him unstinting praise.

“Even in qualifying, he wasn’t the fastest guy, but he got the pole,” said the 2016 champion. “Today, he was massively struggling out there, but Lewis just managed it in a world champion’s manner and even fended off that challenge from Max Verstappen in a proper way.”

Hamilton celebrated by leaping into the harbour swimming pool and later promised himself a rare glass of wine after extending his lead in the drivers’ championship to 20 points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn finished third behind Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after Verstappen was dropped to fourth with a five-second penalty for his pit-lane brush with Bottas after an unsafe release by Red Bull.

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HAMILTON: NIKI BROUGHT MERCEDES TO ME

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Lewis Hamilton has clarified the role played by Niki Lauda in luring him to Mercedes in 2013, a tale often downplayed by the Briton prior to the death of the Formula 1 icon last week.

At the time, many questioned Hamilton’s decision to depart McLaren, the team that had groomed him from his karting days and went on to help him to his first F1 world title. But he took the risk and the rest is history.

At the time Michael Schumacher was driving for the team and it was clear he was still a mega-star but the results were not forthcoming meanwhile, Mercedes – led by Toto Wolff, Ross Brawn and Niki Lauda at the time – saw Hamilton as a better prospect for the future.

At the end of 2012, Schumacher was out and Hamilton stepped into the silver garage alongside his mate (at the time) Nico Rosberg.

Now, seven years later, after winning the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, Hamilton revealed, “I remember getting a call from Niki in 2012 and we had never really spoken. So he’s on the phone and he’s like: No, you should come to Mercedes. This is where you need to be.”

“I had always talked about how Ross was the convincing element in me coming to the team, because when I went and sat down with him, he explained what the team were doing, where they were going, their plans. Mercedes and I truly believed in that vision.”

“But Niki was the one who brought it to me and got it across the line. And in all of these years, he’s kind of been my partner in crime,” maintained the 34-year-old.

“Ultimately, he was part of the process of changing my life. If I hadn’t had the call all that time ago, I would be a one-time world champion now and probably 22 wins whatever it was when I was at McLaren and I sit here a five-time world champion and I definitely feel like I owe him a lot.”

Lauda had a lung transplant in the summer of last year after which he was in and out of the hospital as he suffered a series of setbacks. According to doctors, his condition was always terminal but by the beginning of this year it appears the end was near.

Hamilton added, “I was really in touch with Niki a lot through this past eight months. We would be sending videos back and forth to each other. It was always difficult because some days he looked good and was really perky and ‘I’m coming back, I’m coming strong and I’ll be at this race’. And then there’s other days where he had immediately lost a lot of weight.”

The funeral for triple F1 World Champion and racing legend Andreas Nikolaus Lauda – Niki – will take place in Vienna on Wednesday.

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VETTEL: IF YOU FIND THE GRIP GUY GIVE HIM MY NUMBER

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Half a dozen races into the season and the consensus among the ‘wise folks’ in the paddock is that Ferrari have the better engine package but their aero is suspect while, of course, Mercedes have a strong engine package with the W10 strong on the slow stuff, the medium stuff and the fast stuff.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was left lamenting the lack of grip in a tense and tough Monaco Grand Prix where he and his team flattered with second place but, in truth, it was inherited.

During the race, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen touched while leaving the pits which forced the Finn to make an extra pitstop to sort out a puncture while the Dutchman was slapped with a five seconds penalty for the mistake made by his crew.

Hence Vettel was gifted second and he knows it.

Speaking after the race in Monte Carlo, the German told reporters, “It was not the luckiest race for us as a team, but I think the lesson from here is that we are not yet where we want to be, the pace isn’t there. I think today we sort of tumbled into second place.”

“So we did everything we could but certainly we didn’t have the pace to put the pressure on and go for a bit more. It’s just because overall we are lacking downforce, a weakness that we know.”

“I don’t think the car is as bad as it looks. The results should be better here and there but it’s very difficult for us to get the car in the window where it is happy. Certainly, when we get it in there we’re more competitive but still a way from where we want to be. That’s really the key lesson: we need to focus on trying to get the car short-term more in that window.”

“I’ve had some difficult moments this year where I’m fighting the car, I’m not really entering yet to the level where I feel a lot more comfortable and I feel comfortable to squeeze out more performance from the car but I think it’s linked to the fact that we struggle to put our car in the right window.”

“Once it is there, it is feeling better and you’re able to build-up on that but it doesn’t happen very often but it’s a combination of things. I think first we are lacking overall performance and that overall performance would help us probably to put the tyres more often in the window they would like to be in.”

“I think it’s not a secret, by now, after six races that these tyres this year seem a bit more critical to get exactly into that window…”

While ending the incredible Mercedes one-two streak is a huge feat, the reality is that Ferrari are lagging behind Mercedes and possibly even Red Bull and their ever-improving Honda package.

Looking ahead to the next rounds, starting with Canada in a couple of weeks, Vettel said, “Looking forward for the next three, four, five races, obviously make sure we improve the car, put more grip onto the car so that we can go faster, simple as that.”

“But that guy seems to hide fairly well. I don’t know exactly where he is right now, so if you find him, or if you’ve got his number, that grip guy, but we’ve been looking for him for a while. I don’t think there are any secrets we will be able to unveil.”

“We need to work hard and pay a lot of attention to small things, to details in order to get closer and once we are matched I think we can put a lot more pressure on them. I will have a lot closer races but currently, we are sitting too far away behind Mercedes and probably a match on average with Red Bull is not where we want to be,” added Vettel.

The four-time F1 World Champion lies third in the championship standings, trailing Monaco winner and championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 55 points. Ferrari are 118 points adrift of Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.

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HORNER: VERSTAPPEN DROVE LIKE A LION

hamilton vs verstappen monaco 2019

Max Verstappen was deservedly voted Driver of the Day for his performance during Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, the Dutchman crossed the finish line in second place but five-second penalty demoted him to fourth in the standings after a drive that clearly impressed his Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen was top value during the race through the impassable streets of Monte-Carlo as he relentlessly pursued the Mercedes of leader and eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton.

While the World Champion struggled on fast degrading Medium tyres, Verstappen was comfortable with his tyres and an expected overtake of the ‘ailing’ Merc was expected but never happened.

Nevertheless, Horner was impressed, “Max drove the wheels off the car today. He got away in grid position and had a look at passing Bottas into turn one 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.”

While Hamilton complained bitterly over the radio about the wrong choice of tyres and his struggle to stay ahead, Verstappen had no answer because it later emerged that he left the pits in the wrong mode, having forgotten to activate the more effective mode as he left the pits. Once on track he was unable to revert to the ‘quicker’ mode which cost him substantial power loss according to Honda.

Verstappen explained, “Once on track you’re stuck with it and we only did one stop. Normally I would always go back, but of course with the touch, looking in the mirror all the time, and then I think the team were also a little bit shocked with the whole thing, they were also checking for damage.”

“Normally they remind me but obviously it’s my job to still do it. I also forgot with all the hectic scenarios,” added Verstappen after the race, confirming his oversight.

While fourth was an unkind reward for his efforts, the penalty he received was not his fault – he was released blindly into Bottas’ path –  furthermore, his dogged chase of Hamilton, rattling the Mercedes driver as the Red Bull stayed planted within striking distance was top notch.

And when he did make his move late in the race, it was optimistic but there was no collision.

It is clear Verstappen has matured and become a far wiser racer than he was a year ago. Right now he is up there with Hamilton as one of the two drivers who are the class of the grid this season.

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Valtteri Bottas disappointed by race regression

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton after the Monaco Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas expressed disappointment at his Monaco Grand Prix result, as he lost further ground to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1’s title fight.

Bottas missed out on pole position by just 0.086s, pinning a scruffy final Q3 effort on out-lap traffic that hurt his tyre preparation, but maintained second at the start.

However, the Finn was involved in an incident with Max Verstappen in the pit lane, with the Dutchman unsafely released into Bottas’ path.

Verstappen was sanctioned for the incident but Mercedes feared that Bottas’ brush with the pit wall had resulted in a puncture and brought him in for a precautionary change.

That dropped him behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, and while Verstappen’s penalty promoted Bottas from an on-the-road fourth to third, he slipped 17 points behind Hamilton in the standings.

“We had a bit of a gap between us for the stop but I don’t know, for some reason my stop was a bit slow,” said Bottas.

Bottas: Verstappen "kept drifting to the right" in pitlane incident

“Max got alongside me on the pit lane, even though he was behind before and in the pit lane he was slightly ahead but we were side-by-side.

“I kept my line, he kept drifting to the right. We touched, I also touched a wall because there was no space.

“I got a puncture for that, but honestly, I thought that when I got the puncture and had to stop again, that I was going to be at the back of the grid but luckily only lost a couple of places.

“So, unlucky but lucky at the same time. Could have been a lot worse. Still, important points, obviously disappointing going backwards from where you start from – sometimes it goes like this.”

Bottas felt that he had sufficient performance in hand throughout the race but had to settle for third.

“Definitely there was a lot of pace left and I was kind of trying to see if I could get anywhere close to the fastest lap but a lot of pace,” he said

“Honestly the whole race felt like a Sunday drive around Monaco. It was a bit of a shame but that’s how it is sometimes.”

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Nico Hulkenberg: Impatient Charles Leclerc was way too aggressive

Nico Hulkenberg leads Charles Leclerc at the Monaco Grand Prix

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg believes Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was overly optimistic in the overtake attempt that scuppered both of their races in Monaco.

Leclerc, having started from 15th in the wake of Ferrari’s Q1 calamity, passed Lando Norris into the hairpin and Romain Grosjean into Rascasse during the early stages of the race.

But when he tried to pass Hulkenberg at the same spot he made contact with the Renault driver and also clipped the inside barrier.

Hulkenberg had to pit for repairs, and eventually came home outside of the points, while Leclerc sustained a puncture that led to substantial floor damage and his eventual retirement.

“He came first of all from quite far back and then I didn’t leave much of a gap anyway and saw that he launched,” said Hulkenberg.

“I played fair, I opened the steering, and tried to let him some space, tried to let us both live, I think he spun into his own axis, he just kissed me but sliced my rear tyre open and that’s where basically it all started to go wrong.

“But I think he was definitely too ambitious in that moment.

“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 and when not.

“But I think he was a bit impatient and frustrated after [qualifying], but that’s Monaco, doesn’t work like that always.”

It marked Hulkenberg’s fifth straight race outside of the points as his and Renault’s difficult run continued.

“On my out lap the Safety Car was deployed and it gave everyone else 10 seconds, so I lost a couple of positions with that,” he said.

“Then there was the pile-up with [Robert] Kubica, it was going from bad to worse. It went wrong where it could.

“It’s quite frustrating as I think from car pace point of view we should be ahead.

“It’s frustrating not to get it done if the car can do it, the racing circumstances prevented that. But yeah we need to find new fresh traction for Canada.”

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Four starts, four DNFs, as Charles Leclerc’s dismal record goes on

Leclerc with a delaminated tyre in the Monaco Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc labelled his Ferrari SF90 as “undriveable” in the wake of his clash with Nico Hulkenberg, as his dismal home record in Monaco continued.

Leclerc started from 15th on the grid and made early progress by passing Lando Norris and Romain Grosjean, but came to grief when he clashed with Hulkenberg through Rascasse.

Leclerc sustained a right-rear puncture and in trying to recover to the pit lane the flailing rubber destroyed the floor of his car, and he was retired by Ferrari.

“I think the engineers didn’t see it because it was on the right side and they were looking at the left side,” Leclerc said on why he was initially kept out.

“The left side was actually not that damaged but the right side was just completed gone.

“Of course I never give up, but this time it was just not realistic to still go because we lost like I think 75 points.

“To normal people, that’s maybe not a number they hear often but it’s like 80 per cent of downforce we have on the car so it was just undriveable.”

Leclerc has retired from all four races that he has started in Monaco.

He failed to finish either the Formula 2 Feature Race or Sprint Race in 2017, owing to a suspension issue and a collision, while last season a brake failure pitched him into the back of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley.

“I think since I came here I never ended a race in my home grand prix,” he said.

“Race one and race two in Formula 2 I stopped. Last year I stopped. This year I stopped.

“So it’s a shame. It’s very disappointing because obviously 15th was not our starting position.

“I tried, I knew I had to take risks, and unfortunately we didn’t end the race with a crash in Rascasse, but before that it was still a fun race for me doing some overtakes.”

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Frustrated Magnussen was hoping "engine would blow up"

Frustrated Magnussen was hoping "engine would blow up"

Kevin Magnussen was so frustrated with his disappointing Monaco GP that he was "hoping that the engine would blow up".
Magnussen started fifth and best of the rest in Monaco, but lost a place to Daniel Ricciardo at the start.

However, along with Ricciardo and others, he then fell down the order when he pitted under the early safety car, while rivals stayed out.

He eventually crossed the line in 12th, but lost two further places for gaining an advantage while battling with Sergio Perez.

Magnussen realised soon after the safety car that he was in trouble and resigned to a long slog to a finish outside the points.

"I wanted the engine to blow up," the Dane told Motorsport.com. "It's disappointing to have a result like today when we've been so strong all weekend and the team has done an amazing job.

"They provided me with exactly the tools I needed to perform. We've just been really good this weekend.

"I feel very sorry for everyone. I don't want to draw any conclusions over what happened – I just feel sorry for everyone, and I'm very disappointed for myself."

Magnussen said it's not easy for teams to always make the right calls in race conditions.

"It's very easy to draw conclusions. Things are happening very quickly, you have to take decisions in split seconds, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it goes wrong.

"You've got to give it to the guys, they're under a lot of pressure, and I don't want to blame anyone. It's a disappointing one, for sure."

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