Monaco Hamilton’s ‘hardest race’
Lewis Hamilton says that Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix was one where he felt “immense” pressure to keep Max Verstappen behind him and take his third win in the Principality.
Hamilton who dedicated his win to Mercedes chairman and three times champion Niki Lauda who died last week. He described the race as “the hardest I’ve had” after completing around ninety per cent of the race on a tyre compound Mercedes admitted they had made a mistake in the fitting.
That left him to complete sixty-seven laps on the medium tyres, and with Verstappen on a harder compound stalking his Mercedes. He was annoyed with the call and questioned the decision with the 2017 race in his mind.
He told Sky Sports “It was probably the most intense race I’ve ever had. I’m not mad at that, honestly, that’s how racing should be.”
“It’s just difficult when you’re out on your own for so long and Bono can’t say anything, nothing he can say or anyone can say or do to help, it’s all down to me to really bring it home for the team and for Niki.” Although he admitted that it was the “worst memory” of his career.
Adding “I think it was the hardest race I’ve had. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of races in my entire career, even beyond Formula 1. The circumstances with Max behind, yeah it was the biggest challenge I think I’ve had.”
Monaco was an emotionally draining weekend for Hamilton and Mercedes, following Lauda’s death. Hamilton was particularly close to the triple world champion.
Given the circumstances, Hamilton said he was not going to wilt on F1’s narrowest and most unforgiving circuit. Saying “There was every opportunity to crack today particularly with that pressure, and I was just determined to not crack.”
“If you crack up here [points at head], you’re done. Everything’s done. On the positive side, I’m strong mentally and I think it’s fantastic for the team.”
Verstappen “fired up” to keep pushing
Max Verstappen says that he decided to fight for the win and fastest lap in the Monaco Grand Prix, rather than play it safe and targeting the fastest lap bonus point because was “fired up” by his time penalty.
The Dutchman was third but got past Valtteri Bottas when they collided in the pit lane gaining second. However, the stewards awarded him a five-second penalty, which he says fired his relentless attempt to pass Hamilton and build a big enough gap to win the race.
Though he was unsuccessful and thus fell to fourth, Verstappen said he was not demotivated by the penalty. Verstappen, told Motorsport.com, “No, it fired me up. As soon as I heard about the penalty I was just pushing Lewis hard because initially, he was driving so slow.
“I just kept pushing him and then he had to push otherwise I would attack and then he destroyed his tyres. That was my only way of trying to get by. I enjoyed it. Of course it’s a shame to finish fourth but I had a fun race.”
Overtaking in Monaco is difficult, an alternative strategy for Verstappen and Red Bull would have been to abort challenging Hamilton and going for the fastest lap instead.
But, he made the decision to risk fighting for the win rather than playing it safe. Verstappen added, “We had that discussion but I had a fair chance of maybe getting by and then you win the race.”
“At the end of the day, that’s one point. So be it. I had a more fun face being in second than trying to go for the fastest lap.” However, he was allowed one attempt to try and pass Hamilton, resulted in minor contact at the chicane with a couple of laps remaining.
He said “no one was to blame” for the incident, adding: “It was all fair, a fair chance of trying to get him.
Russell believed Williams was on course for points
George Russell believed during the Monaco Grand Prix at one point that he and his struggling Williams team were on course for points. The Englishman out-qualified teammate Robert Kubica before falling behind him in the race.
Russell then stopped for hard tyres at the same time as the leaders, when the safety car was deployed after a puncture for the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
After Antonio Giovinazzi tagged Kubica into a spin on lap 15, Russell slipped by them both to run behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault in a train of cars following in the wake of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
The slow pace of the front runners early on made Russell and the team believe briefly that points were possible. The slow pace of the frontrunners at this point, Russell’s engineers briefly thought a points finish might be possible before that hope evaporated as a gap created between the leaders and the rest of the pack.
He told Motorsport.com, “It could have turned out even better. One of the guys as bunching everybody up in the pack and holding us up, unfortunately, but there was one point where we thought we were going to be ahead of [Carlos] Sainz in P6.”
Russell says that the team “weren’t really fighting for anything in the final half of the race but I wanted to treat it like we were.” He believes that it was an opportunity for him to test himself, earning himself Williams best result of the season.
That was despite Kubica saying that Monaco highlighted the shortcomings of Williams’s troubled FW42, which proved to be “slower than we wanted, and maybe what we expected.”
Russel said that he was delighted with the teams’ performance but didn’t say the team over performed but maximised the job.
Ferrari drops Mission Winnow branding
Ferrari has confirmed that its to drop the Mission Winnow branding for the Canadian and French races, with it possible it won’t return until Singapore, and use a ninety-anniversary livery instead.
It is understood that the advertising of Mission Winnow breaks Canadian and EU rules on tobacco advertising. Earlier this year, Australian Department of Health was looking into whether the Ferrari backing was in breach of tobacco advertising bans.
Although the announcement is only for the next two races they cannot run the branding for North America and European races as the law bans the promotion of tobacco advertising. It was allowed to run the branding in Monaco as its not a member of the EU.
Ferrari’s official entry was also changed from Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow to simply Scuderia Ferrari. The entry returned to having Mission Winnow in the name from the next race in Bahrain and has been in place ever since.
The team reiterating that “Mission Winnow remains the title partner for Scuderia Ferrari in 2019”.
Renault need to stop “mistakes on strategy” – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo has called on his Renault team not to “make these mistakes on strategy” following poor decisions during the Monaco Grand Prix, which saw him tumble down the order.
The Australian was left frustrated after the team brought him under the safety car, while many of his rivals stayed out and benefitted from going for a long first stint and s ultimately benefitted by staying out and going for long first stints.
From sixth on the grid, Ricciardo had passed Kevin Magnussen at the start to claim an early fifth, only end up in a group of cars being held up by McLaren’s Lando Norris after his pitstop. He eventually went on to finish tenth on the road and inherited ninth due to Romain Grosjean’s time penalty.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ricciardo said “We just fell into cars that we didn’t need to fall behind. It was frustrating. I’ll sort it out with the team, obviously, we want to do better, and we can do better, and we need to start doing better.”
“Obviously Lando was going to hold us up, because Carlos [Sainz] was opening up a window. These are things which, I’m driving the car and with everything else going on, I see it so clearly, how can the others not see it? We can’t make these mistakes.”
Ricciardo says that the team discussed jumping Magnussen at the start, and we were overexcited handing the place back. He says that they both fought hard, but Renault could have done more to make sure he did not hand the position back.
Teammate Nico Hulkenberg dropped down the order having to make an early stop before the safety car, after contact with Charles Leclerc causing a puncture. He then lost more time following the tangle at Rascasse between Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica tangled.
Hulkenberg told Motorsport.com, “It went wrong where it could, basically. Quite frustrating because I feel from a car pace point of view we should be much more well ahead but frustrating not to get it done if the car can do it.”
F1 2 – 3 Ronaldo in Monaco football
The annual Monaco Grand Prix charity football match took place in Turin on Monday night, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
The game usually takes place on the Tuesday before the race and this year raised money for cancer research. The team made up of the two Ferrari drivers, reserve driver Mick Schumacher and Alfa Romeo’s Antoino Giovinazzi lost 2-3 to Ronaldo’s team, Campioni per la Ricerca, against rivals Nazionale Italiana Cantanti, captained by Gianluigi Buffon.
According to reports, Vettel hit the crossbar before Giovinazzi came on as a substitute to score one of the goals for Campioni per la Ricerca. Ronaldo put away the winning goal to ensure his team secured victory at the end of the night.