Lewis Hamilton took his 77th career victory today – his fourth of the 2019 season and his third at the Monaco Grand Prix.
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.
Valtteri Bottas finished the race in P3, his first-ever podium finish in Monte Carlo.
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.
Today was one of the hardest races of my career, it was so intense. With 20 laps left I thought there was no way I was going to make it to the end. I thought I was going to crash, I was battling so much with the car. There was absolutely nothing left in the tyres and it was so tough to keep the car on the track. I thought to myself, ‘what would Niki do’. I was trying my hardest – giving everything I had. I just tried to stay focused and make no mistakes. I know he was watching me today, but with Niki by my side we managed to do it. I wore his helmet colours today and I didn’t want to let him down. He was close to my heart, I really wanted to deliver for him this weekend and I was determined not to crack under the pressure. Today belongs to Niki.
“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.”