A surprisingly exciting Monaco GP sees Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari claim a strategy-driven second place. Disaster hits Charles Leclerc, as he ends the race in the pits after a collision with Nico Hulkenberg. Lewis Hamilton claims yet another race win and extends his Championship advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas (P3).
Monaco GP: a weekend of two sides for Ferrari
The Maranello team arrived in Monaco with the awareness of not being able to compete with their rivals on such an aero-driven, twisty track. Power and straight line speed, the main strenghts of the SF90, are of little use in the streets of Montecarlo. A disastrous qualifying left local hero Charles Leclerc P15 on the starting grid.
However, the future seems a little brighter today in Monaco. After a good start, Sebastian Vettel is able to hold his P4. Charles Leclerc seems very eager to charge through the field to get as close to his teammate as possible. In Montecarlo, overtaking is notoriously impossible, so commentators all around the world were shocked while narrating the Monegasque’s racecraft. Leclerc passed two cars respectively at the Grand Hotel Hairpin and at the Rascasse, something very few drivers ever attempted to do.
The turning point of the race
Playing with fire, nonetheless, might leave you burnt. While trying to get past Nico Hulkenbegr at the Rascasse again, a collision left Leclerc with a punctured tyre and subsequent heavy floor damage. The incident also prompted the Safety Car which proved fundamental to Vettel’s success. The chaos ensuing in the pits caused Red Bull to unsafely release Max Verstappen, going wheel to wheel with Valtteri Bottas. The move ruined the Finn’s race, but helped Vettel by prompting a 5-second time penalty for the Dutch. In the meantime, leclerc had retired after dropping back to P20. At the opposite end of the queue, Lewis Hamilton did a splendid job in managing old Medium tyres and nurturing them to the chequered flag, despite Verstappen’s best efforts.
The true winner of today’s race, however, was Niki Lauda. The German legend was profusely commemorated throughout the whole weekend, and both Vettel and Hamilton were the only ones wearing special helmets for him. I’d like to think that their podium, today, was not a coincidence.