26 May 2019

Seven hours after the race...

In the days leading up to the Monaco Grand Prix, Niki Lauda passed away. The Austrian was a larger-than-life character, with a long and varied history in the sport, as a driver and as a team leader. His most recent role was as chairman of the Mercedes F1 team. Lewis Hamilton and the crew wanted to deliver a great result in homage to the great Austrian racer. And what a show it was! Hamilton fought all afternoon with Max Verstappen, while the pair were shadowed by Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen's aggression during the pit stops resulted in him pushing Valtteri Bottas into the pit wall. This resulted in a five-second time penalty for the Dutchman. Unable to pass Lewis, he had no chance to defend his seciond place and by the end both Vettel and Bottas were close enough to push Max down to fourth place. For Lauda fans this was the best possible result as both Hamilton and Vettel were racing with Niki Lauda helmets... and so the day ended with a Lauda 1-2.

It was a tense and exciting race from start to finish with the Mercedes unable to break away from its challengers. A switch to medium tyres meant that Hamilton found himself trying to hold off Verstappen and Vettel, who had both switched on to the harder tyres. The mediums were a big mistake and Lewis was left to fight all the way, which he did with great aplomb. Verstappen edged closer than ever in the closing laps and on lap 75 of 78 he tried to dive down the inside of the Mercedes at the chicane. It didn't work and the two cars hit, fortunately without too much damage. 

Further back Pierre Gasly was a solid fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz, who had the two Toro Rossos nipping at his heels all afternoon, while Daniel Ricciardo gave Renault a ninth place after Romain Grosjean was given a time penalty for crossing the white line at the pit exit and lost a place as a result. Local hero Charles Leclerc started in the midfield after disasters in qualifying and tried to work his way through the field, but it did not last long as he tangled with Nico Hulkenberg and punctured his right rear tyre. By the time he got round the pits, the car was damaged and he retired after 16 laps.

- We look Nika Lauda's life and achievements

- Mike Doodson and Daniele Audetto reveal some secrets about Lauda's life

- DT praises the amazing Billy Monger

- JS enjoys Monaco

- The Hack ruminates on helmets and on McLaren's IndyCar adventure

- Peter Nygaard and his team pla

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