If the Monaco Grand Prix proves one thing, it’s that you do not need a lot of overtaking (or speed) to have an exciting race. Max Verstappen stayed on the tail of Lewis Hamilton for 66 laps at a pace of about 117, to give us arguably the most exciting race so far of the 2019 Formula One season.
“Probably the hardest race I’ve ever had.”
Hamilton ultimately wins the coveted first place prize in Monaco from pole position, but it was by no means an easy run. The #44 Mercedes found itself in a tricky situation after an early pit stop under a safety car saw him with medium tyres, while his competitors all put on hard compound. The questionable tyre strategy left an openly frustrated Hamilton struggling along, with Verstappen ready to overtake him at the slightest lapse in vigilance.
“I just tried to put the pressure on.”
Although the Red Bull driver did not make it on to the podium, due to a 5-second penalty for an unsafe release, he was never more than a ½ second behind the limping Mercedes. As Hamilton was forced to protect his crumbling medium tyres for almost the entire race, Verstappen with the hard compound did not let up. The young Dutch driver even made a lunge with only two laps left to the finish line.
In the end, it was two Mercedes and a Ferrari on the podium. However, one can argue that Max’s heroics, coupled with Sebastian Vettel’s tactical driving, put an end to the Mercedes one-two run that has dominated this season.
Next stop, the Canadian GP – my home Grand Prix. I can’t wait to see what drama this track will bring.