Grand Prix of Monaco – Race


Quite the entertaining Qualifying session, unless you’re a Ferrari fan maybe. Yet more strategy problems and a couple of mistakes from VET meant Red Bull were able to focus on challenging Mercedes for pole.
Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, GAS, MAG, RIC, KVY, SAI, ALB, HUL, NOR, GRO, RAI, GIO, LEC, PER, STR, RUS, KUB

Since Quali, there have been a couple of penalties: “Traffic management is often the biggest problem during Monaco qualifying – and two drivers falling foul of the stewards this year were Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, with both drivers receiving post-qualifying penalties for impeding their fellow drivers.” [FIA]
GIO and GAS were each given a 3-grid-spot penalty, and GAS was also dinged with a penalty point on his super-license.

Revised grid: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, MAG, RIC, KVY, GAS*, SAI, ALB, HUL, NOR, GRO, RAI, LEC, PER, STR, GIO*, RUS, KUB (*penalties applied)

Nice to see all the drivers wearing red caps in memory of Niki Lauda. And the Mercedes team too.

It’s funny how people say things like “Monaco is Monaco” instead of “it’s an outdated circuit where it’s impossible to pass”.

Forecast is 90% chance of rain during the race
Air temperature 22°C; track 33°C; humidity 54%

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
The top 10 have to start on their Q2 tyres (all softs); behind them, most are on the medium compound except RAI, GIO and GRO

01/78: HAM cleanly away
Good start from VER but BOT stays ahead
RAI tags STR in the hairpin

02: HAM, BOT, VER, VET, RIC, MAG, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, HUL, GRO, NOR, LEC, STR, PER, RAI, KUB, GIO, RUS
LEC takes P13 from NOR on
Race control: Turn 1 incidents noted (many people cut the corner at the start) but no investigation necessary

03: HAM fastest lap 1:17.129
DRS enabled

05/78: BOT f/lap 1:16
LEC almost pushing GRO round the hairpin

07: RIC 13secs behind VET – that’s a big gap

08: VET f/lap 1:16.278
LEC shoves his nose inside GRO at Rascasse and steals P12

09: LEC tries it again inside HUL; LEC part-spins but keeps going
LEC has a rear right puncture

10/78: BOT f/lap 1:16.146
LEC’s destroying his Ferrari’s bodywork because he’s trying to push back too quickly
LEC pits; mechanics don’t seem too concerned; rejoins P20 but he’s between P4 and P5, so he’ll get blue flags almost immediately

11: Safety Car deployed because of LEC’s debris
A lot of people pitting
Unsafe release of VER – hits BOT but they both continue down the pit lane
Radio from BOT – “he pushed me into the wall”

12[SC]: BOT pits again; hard tyres go on

13[SC]: SC ending
HAM backs everyone up, preparing for the restart
Still no mention of the stewards investigating VER hitting BOT in the pits

14: GIO inside KUB at Rascasse; GIO hits KUB, causes him to spin; blocks the corner as more cars arrive

17: Incident involving VER and BOT under investigation
LEC pits; soft tyres go on

18: LEC pits; retires

19: Incident involving GIO and KUB under investigation

20/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, NOR, STR, RAI, RIC, MAG, PER, HUL, RUS, KUB, GIO; retirements: LEC

22: Sky Sports report spots of rain
VER given 5sec time penalty for unsafe release

24: Radio for HAM – “light rain possible in about 5mins”

25/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, NOR
Radio from VER asking is everything is ok; told about the penalty

26: GIO given 10sec time penalty for the collision with KUB
Those penalties seem back to front

28: GAS pits; mediums go on; rejoins P9
Radio from SAI reporting rain

29: VER is pushing HAM to pick up his pace
HAM is concerned about his medium tyres; VER is on hard tyres

30/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, GAS, NOR

33: KVY pits from P6; mediums go on; rejoins P9
SAI f/lap 1:15.891

34: VER’s tyres are starting to degrade, so maybe the hard tyres won’t go to the end of the race after all

35/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, ALB, GRO, GAS, SAI, KVY, NOR

38: RAI inside STR at the hairpin but STR closes the door; contact; both continue but RAI complains over the radio

40/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, ALB, GRO, GAS, KVY, SAI, NOR
STR pits
Incident involving STR and RAI under investigation

41: ALB pits from P5; rejoins P9

43: VER still pushing HAM

44: ALB f/lap 1:15.607

45/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GRO, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, NOR

46: HAM catching up to the tail enders

48: STR gets 5sec penalty for cutting the chicane
HAM laps STR

49: Radio for VER telling him to lift and coast – presumably a problem with brake temps

50/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GRO, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, RIC
Radio from HAM – “We’re in trouble – front left is dead”; “We aren’t going to box now”

51: GRO makes his first stop; drops from P5 to P9
VET closing on VER

52: A few more spots of rain on the camera lens

53: KVY locks up; runs straight across the chicane

54: Incident involving PER and MAG under investigation

55/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, RIC
Radio from HAM complaining that the front tyres are completely done

59: Radio from HAM complaining about the tyres again

60/78: HAM, VER, VET, BOT, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, RIC, NOR, MAG, PER, HUL, RUS, STR, RAI, KUB, GIO; retirements: LEC

61: HAM visibly struggling to slow and turn in

63: GAS pits from P5; rejoins still P5, about 5sec clear of SAI

64: VER starting to put his nose alongside HAM’s rear wing

66: BOT f/lap 1:15.163

67: Surely HAM could let VER pass if he has to – that 5sec penalty should keep him P2 or P3 (he’s currently effectively P4 behind BOT)
GAS f/lap 1:14.567

69 = 10 laps left: VET falling back a bit from VER
Radio for VER telling him Mode 7 (extra power)
Radio for HAM telling him he can using more power too; HAM sounds totally unimpressed

70/78: VER looks for a way round at the hairpin; HAM defends well

71: VER lining up again for a move
VER cuts the chicane!

73: GAS f/lap 1:14.279

74 = 5 laps left: GRO given 5sec penalty for crossing the pit exit lane

75/78: HAM, VER, VET BOT, GAS, SAI, KVY, ALB, GRO, RIC

76: VER attacks into the chicane; hits HAM’s rear left; both cut the chicane
Looks like HAM and VER are undamaged

77: Incident involving HAM and VER under investigation

78 = last lap: VER is still harrying HAM

HAM takes the chequered flag

Provisional result: HAM, VET, BOT, VER, GAS*, SAI, KVY, ALB, RIC, GRO; NOR, MAG, PER, HUL, RUS, STR, RAI, KUB, GIO
DNF: LEC
*Fastest lap for GAS

HAM holds his tribute helmet up and points to Niki’s name on it

Interviews:
HAM – “hardest race”; “hope it wasn’t too boring”
VET – “a tough race to manage”; “struggled with my rear tyres”
BOT – “Max got me in the pit lane”; “a bit of a Sunday drive in the end”

All three drivers wearing Niki hats on the podium rather than the official sponsors caps
HAM leaves the podium and chases his team down the track