2019 Monaco Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, May 22, 2019.

  1. Swami

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    F1 heads to Monaco this week very much in a sombre mood with the sad passing of the great Niki Lauda, himself a previous winner round the streets of Monte Carlo.

    First practice kicks off on Thursday as per normal Monaco protocol.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

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    Monaco Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in practice
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    By Andrew Benson

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    Coverage of final practice is on Saturday from 10:55 BST via the BBC Sport App and online
    Lewis Hamilton pipped Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes dominated second practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.

    The world champion was just 0.081 seconds ahead of the Finn.

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen, second behind Hamilton in first practice, missed much of the second as a result of a water leak and ended up sixth.


    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was third fastest - but a massive 0.763secs off the pace. Team-mate Charles Leclerc was 10th, struggling with braking problems.

    Vettel also had a near-miss at Turn One, when he locked a wheel on entry and just managed to get the car stopped before hitting the barriers.

    There was even worse news for Ferrari on the race-simulation runs later in the session, when Vettel was on average more than a second slower than the Mercedes.

    Vettel said: "Tried a lot of things. They didn't really work, so not that productive. Struggling a bit. Lacking a bit of pace compared to Mercedes and struggling to get the tyres to really work, so a bit of work to do."

    The four-time champion is wearing a helmet paying tribute to the late Niki Lauda, who died on Monday. It is one of a number of tributes being paid by teams and drivers up and down the grid.

    Vettel added: "I would have preferred to do something a bit different here but with his passing it was a nice thing to do. I think it looks quite cool. It is based on his last Ferrari design. Maybe it is nice to take him around for some final laps around Monaco."

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    Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari helmet has a custom design in tribute to three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who died on 20th May
    Hamilton, who was excused from his media duties on Wednesday following the death of Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda, said: "It's the dream for every driver to come to Monaco and have a car that you can exploit and utilise your abilities with. I'm really proud of the team and naturally our goal is to try to do something really positive this weekend.

    "We've made some small tweaks over the two sessions and during the sessions as well, but I've been quite happy with the set-up.

    "Every year we come back here, it gets faster and you really notice it when you're going past the barriers. Coming into Turn 12 (Tabac), you carry so much speed into that corner, and then there's just the wall in front of you; going up the hill to Casino it's the same thing. It's incredibly intense out there and you have to be so focused."

    Verstappen had been within 0.1secs of the Mercedes in the first session, and split Hamilton and Bottas on the first runs in the afternoon. But after Red Bull discovered the leak he then spent nearly an hour in the garage.

    When the Dutchman got back out on track with about 10 minutes to go, he complained of a lack of grip and could not improve.

    His team-mate Pierre Gasly was fourth fastest, 0.820secs off the Mercedes, having been a second slower than Verstappen in the morning session.

    "In general, we look alright and the pace was pretty good," said Verstappen. "I got enough laps in to feel confident with the car, we tried lots of set-up changes in both sessions and I'm happy with what we have.

    "Mercedes is still very strong and I don't think we can fight them for pole, but there is a big gap between second and third which we should be able to fill in qualifying."

    Toro Rosso's Alexander Albon, the Anglo-Thai rookie, was an impressive fifth fastest, continuing his strong showing this season.

    "It was a good day for us, it's really fun out there and I like the track a lot," said Albon.

    "I think we got the car in the right window, now we just need to study what we've learnt from today, so we can fine-tune the car and get ready for Saturday.

    "We made a couple of adjustments for the afternoon session and I like how the car feels. We're cautious that other teams will improve for Saturday but finishing in the top five is a nice feeling."

    Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was seventh, ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen and Leclerc.

    The McLarens of British rookie Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were 12th and 13th, while the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo were a lowly 16th and 17th

    The other British driver, Williams's George Russell, was 19th, just 0.094secs ahead of team-mate Robert Kubica.

    Teams pay tribute to Lauda
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    "Thank you for being a bright light in my life." Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes will carry a single red star in memory of Lauda
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    Mercedes team members are wearing black arm bands in Monaco in tribute
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    Toro Rosso's tribute to Niki Lauda

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

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    Monaco Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to pole position as Ferrari struggle
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    By Andrew Benson

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    Lewis Hamilton snatched Monaco Grand Prix pole position from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with his last lap of the session.

    Hamilton, often on the back foot in qualifying, took pole by 0.086 seconds.

    But the story of the day was in many ways Ferrari's strategic error that saw Charles Leclerc knocked out in the first session.


    Ferrari elected not to send Leclerc out for a second run, and the Monegasque will start 15th for his home race.

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who was the man who knocked out Leclerc.

    What were Ferrari doing?
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    "Very difficult one to take," said Leclerc, who added he will need to take risks in Sunday's race
    Vettel was struggling after a poor first run in first qualifying and needed to go out again to get past the first session.

    But Ferrari did not see the danger facing Leclerc, despite the fact that his time at that stage was less than 0.2secs quicker than Vettel's.

    Leclerc was delayed when he missed the weigh bridge and had to be pushed back by his mechanics for the car to be checked, but he said that had not been the cause of the problem.

    A distraught Leclerc, who grew up in a flat just next to the main straight of the Monaco track, said: "I asked whether they were sure. They said we think we are. I said, 'Shouldn't we go again?' I didn't have any explanations yet in detail.

    "Very difficult one to take - we had plenty of time to go out again. The weigh bridge was not the problem. We had the fuel to go again, we just needed to put some tyres on. I need some explanations."

    Ferrari are yet to say what happened.

    Vettel, struggling all day after crashing in final practice, was 0.781secs off the pace, after hitting the wall at Tabac on his final run.

    The Mercedes battle
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    Hamilton is running with a red halo head-protection device on his car in tribute to Niki Lauda
    The Mercedes, sporting a red halo head-protection device in tribute to the late three-time champion Niki Lauda, their non-executive chairman, who died on Monday, were in a private battle for pole.

    Bottas had looked quick all weekend and the Finn was more than 0.2secs up on his team-mate after the first runs in the final session but when it mattered Hamilton managed to pull a lap out of the bag, while Bottas failed to improve on his final run.

    Hamilton said: "I love it here. It's my home. this is the race every driver dreams of. We've arrived with a great car, a great battle with Valtteri. He has been quick all weekend. The desire and the will to get this pole, it means so much to me.

    "I'm really grateful to my team. The lap was just beautiful."

    "The lap was hard. All of us drivers take our car, fast or slow, to the limit. And when you're at the limit, it's like wrestling a bull. I had an oversteer moment in the Rascasse, and I just held on. I don't know what the gap is, but I'll take it - it's perfect."

    It was Hamilton's 85th pole position of his career and the reigning world champion added: "This is definitely one of the best poles I can remember.

    "We have had lots of success over the years but I can't remember one that means as much as this one. It has been such a difficult week for the team. We have had a cloud over us all weekend and we have been trying to lift each other up."

    Bottas said he had been affected by traffic preparing for his final run.

    "I'm disappointed. The first lap, there was still plenty of places I could improve, on the out lap I had a lot of traffic and I couldn't get the tyres hot enough for the fast lap. I thought I had it today but it wasn't to be."

    A tribute to Lauda
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    In addition to the red Halo, there is also a red star in honour of Lauda on Hamilton's Mercedes
    Hamilton was given an exemption from media duties on Wednesday in the wake of Lauda's death, a decision that has received some criticism, and after qualifying he explained his feelings on the matter.

    "The other day I didn't feel I was ready," he said. "It wasn't the time to dig into our feelings.

    "I was really in touch with Niki a lot through this past eight months. We'd be sending videos back and forth to each other. It was always difficult because sometimes he looked good and was perky and said he would see us at this or that race, and others days when he didn't.

    "Ive always talked about how Ross [Brawn, former team boss] was the convincing element of me coming to the team but Niki was the one who phoned me up and said: 'Mercedes is where you should be.' I had never really spoken to him before that. He brought it to me and really got it across the line.

    "All these years he has been my partner in crime. He was such a racer. He was part of the process of changing my life.

    "If I hadn't had that call, I'd be a one-time champion now. I sit here as a five-time champion and I owe him a lot. It was really difficult earlier in the week and I don't feel I have to confirm to what everyone else thinks. Wednesday was not the time. But he will live on in all our memories."

    The rest
    Behind Vettel, Red Bull's Pierre Gasly took fifth but faces an investigation for impeding Haas driver Romain Grosjean

    Magnussen was sixth, ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, McLaren's Carlos Sainz and the second Toro Rosso of Anglo-Thai rookie Alexander Albon.

    British novice Lando Norris was 12th in the second McLaren, while George Russell kept up his clean sweep of Williams team-mate Robert Kubica in 19th place.

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

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    Monaco GP: Lewis Hamilton beats Max Verstappen
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    By Andrew Benson




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    Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen, and survived a late collision with the Red Bull driver, to win a nail-biting Monaco Grand Prix.

    The world champion was left struggling with the tyres on his Mercedes after fitting softer rubber than the Dutchman at pit stops during an early safety-car period.

    Britain's Hamilton repeatedly complained that he was not going to be able to make the tyres last to the end but by careful management held on to take his fourth win of 2019.


    Verstappen dropped from second on the road to fourth in the results because of a five-second penalty, promoting Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to second and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to third.

    Verstappen's punishment was for an unsafe release in the pits when all the leaders pitted on lap 12 as a safety car was deployed to clear up debris laid by Charles Leclerc's Ferrari.

    Although Mercedes' run of consecutive victories at the start of this season continued, their sequence of one-twos is over as a result of Bottas' bad luck.

    And Hamilton now holds a 17-point lead over his team-mate in the championship.

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    Hamilton went for fall back technique for his victory jump into the swimming pool
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    Leclerc's bravery trying to make up places at the start cost him - but it led to a safety car and an entertaining race
    The defining moment of the race
    Wearing a helmet painted in a design used by Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman who died on Monday, Hamilton was controlling the race, ahead of Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel, after converting his pole position into a lead a the first corner.

    But the race came to life when Leclerc suffered a puncture when he spun trying to pass Nico Hulkenberg's Renault for 11th place on lap eight.

    Leclerc had been making up ground after Ferrari's farcical strategic error in qualifying on Saturday meant he failed to progress beyond the first session.

    The Monegasque had passed Romain Grosjean's Haas for 12th place with a brave move at Rascasse on the previous lap. He tried the same on Hulkenberg but the German left him less room.

    They rounded the corner together but Leclerc's rear wheel caught the inside barrier, pitching him into a spin and puncturing the tyre.

    He got going again, losing only two places, but his tyre began to deconstruct around the next lap and tore chunks out of his rear bodywork as he returned to the pits.

    When the safety car was deployed, Hamilton led the leaders into the pits, as Bottas backed up Verstappen and Vettel to give Mercedes time to service both cars.

    Red Bull pulled off a super-quick stop and released Verstappen into Bottas' path, and the two cars touched as the Finn was forced into the pit wall on the outside.

    It gave Verstappen second place on the road, and caused Bottas a puncture that meant he had to stop again the next time around, losing a place to German Vettel. But ultimately it cost him more than it gained him - and he was given two penalty points on his licence as well as the time penalty.

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    Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for this impact with Bottas in the pitlane
    Why was Hamilton struggling so much?
    Hamilton's problem was that Mercedes had fitted medium tyres to his car, while Verstappen and Vettel were given hards - which Bottas was also switched to when he pitted for the second time.

    It meant Hamilton had to do 66 laps on a set of mediums, when they were only projected to last 50.

    It is unclear why Mercedes chose the medium, and the decision gave Hamilton a tough afternoon, spent controlling his pace and fending off Verstappen.

    Passing is difficult at Monaco, but regardless it meant Hamilton could not afford to make a mistake despite fading grip, which was no easy task.

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    His concern was plain as he repeatedly complained over the radio that he was not going to make it and would not be able to hold Verstappen off.

    At one point, he even said it was going to take a "miracle" to win it.

    In the end, with about 10 laps to go, Mercedes' chief strategist James Vowles came on the radio and said: "You can make it if you trust it."

    Verstappen went for it at the chicane with two laps to go, but he was too far back and locked a wheel, and they touched as Hamilton came across him.

    Hamilton took to the escape road and carried on, as Verstappen complained: "He just turned in. I was trying to overtake."

    That was the last drama and Hamilton hung on for the remaining two laps.

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    "You'll be alright mate." Cristiano Ronaldo paid a visit to Hamilton in the garages across the weekend
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    "Cristiano who?" Hamilton now has three Monaco wins to his name: drawing him level with old adversary Nico Rosberg, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart, second left, with five-time winner Graham Hill. Neither Britt Eklund or Peters Sellers have won at Monaco. Source: Forix
    Driver of the day
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    Hamilton gets this. As Daniel Ricciardo proved last year with a loss of engine power - and Ayrton Senna did against Nigel Mansell in 1992 - it is possible to hold cars off at Monaco but that does not make it easy
    What happens next?
    Canada in two weeks' time. Mercedes will start as favourites, but the long straights might give Ferrari their first chance to be competitive since Baku two races ago.

    What they said
    Hamilton: "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."

    Vettel: "A tough race to manage, at Monaco something always happens, Max must have had an incredible stop, I saw them (Verstappen and Bottas) touching in the pit lane. I wanted to put some more pressure on, I just struggled with my tyres, not as badly as Lewis and Max's, but mine were just not getting hot."

    Bottas: "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."

    Swami
     

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