2019 Monaco Grand Prix report


Charles Leclerc makes his mark in Monaco — but not the way he wanted. The complete, in-depth report on the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix

2019 Monaco Grand Prix Loews hairpin

Motorsport Images

It was lap 11 when the inevitable Monaco safety car was deployed. To clear up the carbon fibre debris from the damaged floor of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, inflicted by him driving back to the pits on a punctured rear tyre. Inevitable really that it was Leclerc, given how he was starting 15th on his home track after Ferrari’s miscalculation during qualifying and that he’d decided he was going to have to “risk a crash” to make any progress from there.

It wasn’t the way Leclerc might have imagined he’d shape the race’s destiny. But he did. Because that lap 11 timing – triggering early tyre change stops for the two Mercedes, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel – was absolutely on the cusp of being just late enough to get the medium tyre to go to the end. Had it been earlier, they would all have been forced to fit the hard. As it was, Verstappen and Vettel did go for the hard – and only the Mercedes opted for the mediums (changed for hards a lap later on Valtteri Bottas’ car because of a puncture from a pit lane contact with Verstappen).

That guaranteed the race-leading Lewis Hamilton a super-stressful race, defending from Verstappen but on a much more delicate tyre that he was convinced was never going to last. It was much more delicate than the Mercedes pit wall had forecast and, in hindsight, they should have fitted Hamilton with the hards and given him a much easier victory than the one he eventually managed to grind out. 

But in the moment of the decision, there were several factors driving them towards the medium. For one, if they had fitted the slow-to-warm hards and those behind had gone for the mediums, there was every chance of being mugged on the restart. For another, there was a light shower forecast and the medium was much the better tyre for a wet track. Thirdly, it had looked the better tyre during Thursday practice, even if it did have a shorter range. Pirelli reckoned it would be good for 50 laps. Mercedes was reckoning that with some pace management by the driver it could comfortably last the 67 laps it was asking of it.

There was nothing comfortable about it, as it turned out. But Hamilton dealt with the situation masterfully, keeping himself out of range in the two overtaking spots and just making his car wide at all the places in which it was gripless and horrible – notably the hairpin where several times Verstappen was partly alongside, and with Vettel holding a watching brief only a couple of car lengths behind. Verstappen even tried a desperate late lunge down the inside into the chicane two laps from home, in which contact was made. But not enough to dislodge the victory from the Mercedes driver’s hands. “I think that was the hardest-won race I’ve ever had,” said a drained Hamilton afterwards.

Verstappen was taking a five-second penalty for the unsafe release that had led to the pitlane contact with Bottas and so in the official results was only fourth. Which put Vettel second and ensured that the two Niki Lauda tribute helmets – Hamilton’s 1984 replica and Vettel’s Ferrari-era version – took the first two places on a weekend where thoughts were never far from the loss of one of the greats.

The under-performance of the medium tyre also ended up forming the lower points placings, as those who’d pitted under the safety car were delayed by the blockage of Lando Norris’ long-running, pace-managed, medium-tyred McLaren – enabling most of those who’d stayed out to leapfrog past. In the other McLaren, Carlos Sainz took a superb sixth place as ‘best of the rest’ after coming out on top in a race-long battle with the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon.

<a class=Lewis Hamilton with Niki Lauda helmet design” src=”https://cdn.motorsportmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/24162816/2019_monaco_grand_prix_hamilton_lauda_helmet.jpg” style=”width: 100%;” />

Hamilton’s helmet design was based on one used by Niki Lauda Motorsport Images


2019 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

The way it played out was entertaining, with Ferrari jeopardy and a tick-tocking competitive pendulum between the Mercedes drivers. But the underlying competitive landscape was unchanged: Mercedes can now dominate even on the sort of slow corner tracks that were always its weakness in the past. Hamilton and Bottas locked out the front row, around 0.5sec clear of the field. It could’ve been more.

Right up until the moment he found himself in traffic on his final Q3 lap, Bottas looked to have a small but consistent edge. Up until then, Hamilton had been struggling to get tyre temperature on his first lap. On his first Q3 run he had even reverted to doing an additional preparation lap. Bottas was experiencing no such problems.

So just before they emerged for the final laps, it was poised at Bottas 1min 10.252sec, Hamilton 1min 10.483sec. Bottas knew he had a couple of tenths still to come and was super-confident. Hamilton – agreeing after arguing with his engineers that he was going to have to make it work on the first lap – was not even sure he could match the time Bottas had already done, let alone any improvement Valtteri might make. 

Hamilton’s tyre temperature struggle had generally made his runs less consistent. “I think practice one and practice two were good for me and then today the car didn’t feel anywhere near as good as it did on Thursday,” he revealed. “Valtteri did a great first Q3 lap. I was struggling to get the first lap time out on the tyres, so I did a prep lap for my first lap and the second one was not very good. So I pushed for that first lap at the end, and naturally I had to gain two-tenths because Valtteri was ahead and I thought Valtteri would be up, so I was just throwing the car around. I’m pretty sure I touched a couple of barriers along the way but there’s no better way of doing it around Monaco.” With Bottas’ out-lap traffic and resultant cold tyres, Hamilton’s lap of 1min 10.166sec snatched pole by 0.1sec from Bottas’ first run.

<a class=Lewis Hamilton qualifying for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix” src=”https://cdn.motorsportmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/24162832/lewis_hamilton_monaco_grand_prix_qualifying.jpg” style=”width: 100%;” />

Hamilton was “throwing the car around” during qualifying Motorsport Images

A little too much kerb on the exit of the swimming pool section, a pre-apex oversteer moment into Rascasse, beautifully rescued, meant it was less than technical perfection. But it was a thrilling high-octane, raggedly on-the-edge, old-school quali lap. The Mercedes was beautifully poised and balanced in a way a Mercedes has never been around here, getting rotation into the slow corners earlier than any other and riding the kerbs fantastically fluidly. It was visibly the best car. “This one’s for Niki,” Hamilton asserted, still one Monaco pole down to the Austrian legend. The 1974, ’75 and ’76 pole sitter here was very much on everyone’s minds

Bottas’ out-lap problems – “I had quite a bit of traffic on the out-lap so had to go off the line in a few places and the tyres just didn’t work,” – caused him to abandon the attack lap. “I knew I had two-, maybe three-tenths, in my pocket from the first run,” he lamented. In other words, the Mercedes’ 0.5sec advantage over the field could’ve been more.

Multiple dramas at Ferrari gave Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a clean run at best of the rest and his first run Q3 time secured him third on the grid. The RB15 was minus its usual nose hole here as the team prioritised front end downforce, and the car was generally nicely balanced. Just not quite as fluid, grippy or powerful as the Mercedes – and still struggling to generate the tyre temperatures. “In Q3 on my first run, I went into turn one and the rear tyres were still not gripping up fully,” he explained. “In my final run in Q3 I had a bit of traffic on my out-lap and when I started the lap, the tyres just felt cold, no grip and I was already 0.2sec above it so I decided to abort.”

Team-mate Pierre Gasly was 0.4sec behind, fifth fastest. It was his best-ever grid position but he’s still struggling to get close to Verstappen’s pace in what is quite a demanding car. “I wasn’t super satisfied with my lap and I struggled to put all the sectors together,” he admitted. “Things are getting better but there is still more performance to come. It’s all about continuing to work with the engineers to try and find a balance that helps me extract the maximum from myself.” Baulking Grosjean in Q2 cost him a three-place grid drop.

At Ferrari, team and drivers all contributed to what can reasonably be called a shambolic performance. From the moment Vettel crashed into the Ste Devote barriers on Saturday morning, driver errors began putting the team under a pressure to which it responded with overloaded errors of its own, which in turn triggered more driver errors. It was as if a whirlwind energy all its own swirled around the team. Vettel’s Saturday morning error triggered a virtual safety car (VSC) – and the only driver who fell foul of it was Charles Leclerc. This potentially made him vulnerable to a grid penalty but the stewards let him off with just a reprimand.

Into Q1 it continued to go wrong. Leclerc locked up into Rascasse, not only spoiling that lap but flat-spotting his tyres. The team was anxious not to run a second set of softs, so as to be able to do two runs each in Q2 and Q3. He stayed out and recorded a so-so lap on his flat-spotted set, good for P6 at that moment but still with lots of potential track improvement to come. He pitted – and promptly missed a weighbridge request. The team pushed him back there, without having worked on the car.

Sebastian Vettel qualifying for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix

The Ferrari was prone to locking-up at Monaco Motorsport Images

Meanwhile… Vettel had done an almost carbon copy lock-up error into Rascasse (the Ferrari was prone to inside front-locking all weekend) and had recorded a time that was very clearly not going to be good enough for Q2. But – courtesy of his practice accident – he had an additional set of softs available so came straight in to have them fitted. In the midst of the Leclerc weighbridge drama and the seconds ticking down, it was all getting somewhat fraught as Vettel went out with just a few seconds margin to get to the line in time to begin the lap. Ferrari’s strategy software insisted that Leclerc’s original time would be enough – and didn’t send him back out. But those whose heads were not in the virtual world could see the track grip was ramping up considerably and several slower cars were already doing better sector times than Leclerc. It was time to leave the virtual world and enter the real one, but they seemed trapped within the matrix. As Leclerc sat stationary in the car, his name tumbled down the timing screens – and the final one who knocked him down to 16th and out was… Vettel, who duly went P1. The ironies were falling over themselves, like a stream over the rocks.

Vettel was truly spectacular in taking the car by the scruff of the neck but it wasn’t working with him. He clattered the guardrail at the swimming pool exit in Q2, but got through ok. He hit the guardrail square-on on the exit of Tabac on his final Q3 run. It all left him fourth.

Kevin Magnussen was flying in the Haas and managed to get within a couple of tenths of Vettel to go sixth. Team-mate Romain Grosjean didn’t seem to have quite the same confidence in the car between the walls but the reason he failed to graduate from Q2, 13th-fastest, was his being baulked by an inattentive Gasly down to Mirabeau. “It’s not his fault,” said Romain after he’d calmed down. “We can’t see anything with these mirrors, we rely on the radio – and I don’t think he was warned on the radio by Red Bull. The same happened to me in Bahrain with Lando Norris.”

The Renault was not a great Monaco car and Daniel Ricciardo’s lap to put it seventh, just 0.1sec off Magnussen’s Haas, was a pretty special one. He’d made a bold gamble on set-up direction after Thursday and made it work. Nico Hulkenberg didn’t quite clear Q2 in the sister car, a few lock-ups here and there all that made the difference as he went 11th. Both drivers were thankful of the engine’s newly-liberated qualifying mode.

Kevin Magnussen qualifying for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix

Kevin Magnussen came close to matching Vettel’s pace in qualifying Motorsport Images

The Toro Rossos were generally working very nicely and both Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon made it through to Q3 comfortably. But on their single new tyre runs, neither put in perfect laps there and were somewhat short of their potential in eighth and 10th respectively.

Carlos Sainz was McLaren’s only Q3 representative, the car’s somewhat reluctant front end and iffy traction not doing it any favours here, although it was wearing absolutely the correct orange. On his first visit to Monaco, Lando Norris was 0.1sec slower in Q2, leaving him 12th. “We struggled in FP3,” he said, “after going slightly the wrong direction, so for qualifying I went back to what we had on Thursday.”

The Alfa-Romeo proved highly sensitive to changes in track grip – and went from a P6 car in that morning’s practice to one in which Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi could manage no better than 14th and 15th in qualifying. “I don’t really know what happened,” said the Italian. “The grip just was not there and we don’t know why.” He was penalised three places for baulking.

The Racing Points were struggling badly with unresponsive front ends, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll separated by 0.6sec in 17th and 18th and ahead only of the two Williams, where George Russell eclipsed Robert Kubica only after the latter was caught in traffic on his final out-lap. Up until that point, he’d been regularly ahead.


The race

2019 Monaco Grand Prix race start

Hamilton leads from pole at the race start Motorsport Images

Unless something was badly wrong, polesitter Hamilton was always going to retain the lead in the short run down to Ste Devote, and so it proved. Second into there was rather more closely-fought  With the respective 2018 versions of Bottas and Verstappen, things might have been different. As it was, Verstappen appeared to understand that Bottas was taking no prisoners and chose not to fight it out as the Mercedes hung on around the outside even after the Red Bull appeared to have claimed the corner from the inside. There was never a moment’s hesitation from ‘Bottas 2.0’ and he duly chased his team-mate up the hill, leaving Verstappen to fend off Vettel. Ricciardo went around the outside of Magnussen at Ste Devote to take up fifth, with the pack following on in the order of Gasly, Kvyat, Albon, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Norris, Grosjean, Stroll, Leclerc, Perez, Räikkönen, Kubica, Giovinazzi and Russell.

Sainz was superb in taking both Toro Rossos around the outside of Massenet into Casino, the foundation of a great drive. Grosjean braved his way ahead of Norris up the hill, a crucial move as it would later turn out, for Norris would struggle on the medium tyre. Leclerc, Hulkenberg, the Racing Points and the Williams were the others to start on this tyre rather than the soft. After taking to the turn one escape lane, Leclerc was quickly on the move, with an incisive move down the inside of Stroll into Mirabeau and a round-the-outside attempt on Norris at the hairpin that only just failed and which he would pull off down the inside on the next lap.

Hamilton screeched by unchallenged at the end of the opening lap, Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel equidistant behind, everyone already just managing the pace. Ricciardo, having got to head ‘Class B’ was more extreme in this, feeling no compunction to try keeping up with the Mercedes/Red Bull/Ferrari pace. This was having a disastrous effect on Gasly’s race. He was stuck at Ricciardo/Magnussen pace as the big four escaped at up to 2sec per lap. His three-place grid penalty began to look very expensive.

Leclerc pulled off an audacious move on Grosjean for 12th into Rascasse, down the inside, kissing tyres as he exited. Next in his targets: Hulkenberg. It was a spectacular, adrenaline-filled performance, but it was never destined to end well. There was just too much frustration, too much forcing of the issue. Going for a repeat of the Grosjean move on Hulkenberg into Rascasse on lap eight, but from further back, he was nipped tight by the Renault, his right-rear clipping the inside wall and spinning him around. He rejoined but the incident had punctured the tyre which subsequently delaminated. He wasn’t up for bringing it back to the pits slowly and as it explosively let rip with its innards, it took out a huge chunk of the rear floor. His limping progress through the tunnel as tyre carcass and carbon fibre shredded all around, and others came by him at full tilt, was a little scary. He pitted, had a set of hards fitted and rejoined plum last with a heavily damaged car which would subsequently be retired.


Leclerc hit the barrier while trying to squeeze past Hulkenberg, resulting in a puncture and severe floor damage Motorsport Images

As it became apparent just how much debris was scattered around the track, the safety car was deployed on the 11th lap. By this time the top four had pulled out more than a pitstop’s-worth of time on fifth-placed Ricciardo and so were all poised to take advantage of the reduced time loss of a tyre change under the safety car. Hamilton headed them up the pitlane, having been around 1.5sec clear of Bottas who then backed off by around 5sec on the in-lap so as to delay those behind and thereby reduce the chances of them taking advantage of the small delay he might suffer being stacked. As it was, the stop was good. Just not quite as good as Verstappen’s. Red Bull got its man turned around in super-fast time and – its view obscured by the sea of Ferrari mechanics in the adjacent pits – released him into the pitlane marginally ahead of Bottas. As they squeezed each other, they touched – and Bottas’ right-front made contact with the pit wall. Verstappen emerged ahead, now up to second. Mercedes could see a steady pressure loss from that right-front and, still with a big gap to the safety car pack, brought him back in on the next lap for another tyre change. Hards were all that were available, and the previously fitted mediums were discarded. The stop dropped him a further place – to Vettel.

Mercedes favoured the medium tyre, partly because it was nervous of the restart performance of the harder-to-warm hard, partly because the radars were warning of a possible light rain shower. Red Bull and Ferrari favoured the greater durability of the hards. As it turned out, the hard was much the better tyre on the day.

Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas side-by-side in the pit-lane

Verstappen was penalised for an unsafe release — into the side of Bottas Motorsport Images

As the safety car was deployed, fifth-placed Ricciardo was almost 40sec adrift of the lead, and still Magnussen and Gasly were right with him. It was an easy decision for Red Bull to leave Gasly out there as Ricciardo and Magnussen pitted. The safety car was thus a great present for Gasly, wiping his big deficit to the top four and getting the slower Haas and Renault out of his way. Others to pit included Perez and Hulkenberg – the latter unluckily on the lap before the safety car, with a puncture from the Leclerc contact, dropping him down among the Williams and Giovinazzi. The Alfa driver still hadn’t found a way by Kubica who stayed out. Russell was brought in from the back and had his mediums replaced by hards.

Ricciardo and Magnussen emerged from their stops to join the safety car queue behind a Norris/Stroll/ Räikkönen train which would prove very slow as Norris struggled to make his mediums last for a very long stint. This effectively took erstwhile ‘Class B’ leaders Ricciardo and Magnussen out of the picture – and they were replaced by Sainz whose sixth place remained under pressure from the Toro Rossos of Kvyat and Albon, with Grosjean right there too. Only then came the Norris train.

Just how strictly Hamilton was controlling the pace was evident after Kubica rejoined to lap as fast as the leaders, albeit at the back.

Racing got underway again at the end of the 13th lap. Hamilton had to seriously control the pace now that his task was defined: another 65 laps on tyres not really up to lasting as long as that, all the while ensuring Max Verstappen stayed behind. This being Monaco, that wasn’t as impossible as it sounds – but it certainly wasn’t easy. Hamilton set a pace around 2.5/3sec slower than he’d been doing before – and it was notable that the gap to ‘Class B’ did not build anything like as quickly as during the first stint. There was the lightest sprinkling of rain for a few seconds, but nothing that significantly changed the track’s grip, and the raincloud moved on without any disruption to the race. Just how strictly Hamilton was controlling the pace was evident after Kubica made his stop on lap 21 and rejoined on fresh hards to lap as fast as the leaders, albeit at the back.

Prior to that, Kubica had been delayed by Giovinazzi making a clumsy passing attempt at Rascasse, resulting in the Williams and Alfa spinning in unison. As Perez, Hulkenberg, Russell and the soon-to-retire Leclerc arrived on the scene there was a temporary blockage. Perez, Hulkenberg and Russell were able to thread their way through before Kubica and Giovinazzi (who would be penalised 10sec for the incident) could get going again. Handed this break, Perez was able to steadily close down on Magnussen at the tail of the Norris-led train. He’d be with him soon enough. Within that train, Stroll made contact with Räikkönen as the latter tried to pass.

By lap 20, just seven laps after the restart Hamilton was already asking, “Am I in trouble with these tyres? I’m having to go really slow.” He later gave more detail. “I was super slow through Turn 1 [Ste Devote] but Turn 3 (Massenet] my right-side tyres were OK and once you got downforce on they would work but then once I got to Turn 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, [Casino down to Portier] I had nothing. Moving the brake balance rearwards, engine braking, opening up diffs, trying to get this car turned. I could see Max barrelling a lot of speed in. Obviously the harder tyre was a lot more resilient.”

Well, only up to a point. As Verstappen tried to force Hamilton to up the pace, so even the hard tyres on the Red Bull began to grain at the front, almost as much as Hamilton’s mediums. Every now and then Vettel would up the pace and catch right up with them, but the Ferrari was suffering with slightly excessive engine temperature and Seb would then have to lift-and-coast the readings back into a less worrying place. But if his engine was sometimes too hot, his tyres were usually too cold. There’s no question that Ferrari is struggling more than Mercedes in getting the thin-gauge rubber into the correct temperature window. But at least Vettel’s hards were staying in good shape, unlike Verstappen’s.

Hamilton tyre graining at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix

Hamilton and Verstappen suffered from tyre graining Motorsport Images

“I could see them opening up on Max’s car and I was like, ‘OK, hopefully it’s going to run out of tyres at some stage, as I am,’ but it didn’t. I kept thinking Turn 6 [the hairpin] is probably where he’s going to try to dive up the inside, because I was just waiting to get the car turned. So I was just trying to cover that whole area, tip-toeing and positioning myself so I could get a good exit. It was really one of the most strategic drives that I think I have ever had to do in terms of finding that balance around the track to try and keep that gap. I’m sure we touched multiple times and I definitely touched the barrier a lot of time throughout the laps but luckily kept the car in one piece.”

The Mercedes’ traction out of Portier looked better than the Red Bull’s and this was denying Verstappen a run on Hamilton into the chicane. Similarly he could always keep himself out of Verstappen’s range into Ste Devote. It was high speed stalemate. So long as Hamilton could keep his nerve and so long as the front left could be kept alive.

By the 27th lap, there was a nice gap for fifth placed Gasly to drop into after stopping and he rejoined now on tyres (mediums) 16 laps newer than those of the top four. In clear air he quickly made up most of the time loss the pitstop had cost him, and as Sainz and the Toro Rossos eventually pitted, so he was within a few seconds of Bottas. Circumstances had forced the latter into ‘a Sunday drive’, staying with Vettel who in turn was not allowing Verstappen to overcome the 5sec penalty. But with just slightly different luck on Saturday it could have been Bottas dominating this race.  


Sainz stayed ahead of the Toro Rossos and Grosjean throughout. The latter had a 5sec penalty for crossing over the white line as he left the pits after his stop but seemed safe from this having any effect on his position, given the gap behind as Norris continued to hold up a train until pitting on lap 48. Once released from this, Ricciardo was able to steadily gain on the Haas.

By the 46th lap Perez had caught up with Magnussen and made a move down the inside into the chicane. K Mag had to cut the kerb to avoid a collision, but then missed out the next kerb entirely to emerge well ahead of the Racing Point. It was adjudged that he had gained an unfair advantage in this and he would have 5sec added to his time. Stroll would be similarly penalised in his long-running fight with Räikkönen further back.

Verstappen was piling the pressure onto Hamilton by now, often partly overlapping him as they ran through the hairpin, but still Hamilton placed his car perfectly, its savage acceleration very evident and leaving the Honda gasping a little on corner exits. Such were the gaps to the rest that it would have been possible for Red Bull to have pitted Verstappen for a second time, got him onto new rubber, been allowed a free pass on Gasly and then charged back up for another, newer-tyred assault. But that would still have involved not easy passes on Bottas and Vettel, let alone Hamilton. The complication of course is that being stuck behind Hamilton would not allow him to pull out his 5sec penalty on the closely-following Vettel and Bottas. Besides, Hamilton’s tyres were surely going to force a crucial lock up somewhere. Surely? Actually, it was Verstappen who made the error, taking to the run off on the exit of the swimming pool as he charged on. He’d then back off for a while, lifting and coasting to bring the temperatures under control. So it ebbed and flowed like this.

Bottas had set the fastest lap at this point but eventually Red Bull took advantage of the gap behind Gasly to give him a free second pit stop, for a set of softs to be fitted on lap 62 without losing his fifth place. With these, he blitzed the record and thereby took the extra point.

Hamilton several times voiced serious doubts that his tyres could possibly last the distance. But he was constantly assured that they would, so long as he just kept doing what he was doing. “Can’t you see I’m not going to be able to keep him behind me?” he asked. A lot of the challenge of this race from the Mercedes pit wall was in keeping Hamilton calm and his mind clear.


Verstappen knocked Hamilton while trying to lunge down the inside at the harbour chicane Motorsport Images

Ten laps from the end, Red Bull gave permission for Verstappen to run a higher engine mode (mode 7) to the end. Mercedes gave Hamilton more power in response. The final stages of the chase played out. With two laps to go Verstappen made a late lunge down the inside into the harbour chicane. Hamilton was already turning in but was able to open out the steering just enough to minimise the hit. He was forced to miss the track but stayed ahead. That was the last of it. Two laps later Hamilton was able to dedicate his 77th grand prix win to Niki Lauda and to meet a different Prince and Princess to those who greeted Lauda after his 1975 and ’76 victories here.

Verstappen never was able to get those 5sec on Vettel and Bottas and thus took an official fourth, scant reward for such a swashbuckling performance. His team-mate Gasly was one place behind, almost a minute clear of ‘best of the rest’ Sainz, taking McLaren’s best result of the season to date after a great drive under pressure from Kvyat and Albon. Grosjean and Haas seemed unaware in the closing laps of the vast speed difference between them and the charging Ricciardo. The Renault wiped out much of what had been a 16sec gap, eventually getting under 10sec behind on the last lap – and therefore being officially classified ahead of Grosjean, in ninth, after the latter’s time penalty was applied.

George Russell drove a great race and although he benefitted from the delays to those caught in the earlier Norris queue, he beat one Racing Point (Stroll) and both Alfas. Giovinazzi never did get by Kubica and came home last. Kubica was disappointed he’d not been given the safety car pit stop, as the Williams ahead at the time. Thus he was denied the opportunity that Russell later took.   

Not fitting the hard tyres on Hamilton had made life difficult for him, but more entertaining for us. “If it hadn’t been for the safety car,” he said, “it would have been a much, much easier race for us. I think I would have got to lap 20-22 and stuck on another set of tyres and probably cruised to the finish in a more relaxed environment.”

Position Driver Team


1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1hr 43min 28.437sec 25
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +2.602sec 18
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +3.162sec 15
4 Max Verstappen** Red Bull +5.537sec 12
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull +9.946sec 11*
6 Carlos Sainz McLaren +53.454sec 8
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +54.574sec 6
8 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso +55.200sec 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +60.894sec 2
10 Romain Grosjean** Haas +61.034sec 1
11 Lando Norris McLaren +66.801sec 0
12 Sergio Perez Racing Point +1 lap 0
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1 lap 0
14 Kevin Magnussen** Haas +1 lap 0
15 George Russell Williams +1 lap 0
16 Lance Stroll** Racing Point +1 lap 0
17 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo +1 lap 0
18 Robert Kubica Williams +1 lap 0
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +2 laps 0
RET Charles Leclerc Ferrari   0

*Includes point for fastest lap
** Five-second penalty applied


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