Ferrari dominated in Monaco in 2017 then Red Bull, in the form of Daniel Ricciardo, dominated last year and now Mercedes have dominated the Monaco Grand Prix weekend so far as they have locked out the front row for tomorrow’s main event.
While Mercedes dominate out front, Ferrari are having a nightmare of a weekend in Monaco. It started in the final practice session when Sebastian Vettel crashed into Sainte Devote, breaking his front-left suspension. The team was able to repair the car and be ready for qualifying.
Then came another disastrous strategic error from Ferrari when the team did not send him out for another run in Q1 despite obvious track evolution. It became evident during Vettel’s final run in Q1 that there was the possibility that he could knock out his teammate Charles Leclerc. Vettel did just that.
A frustrated Leclerc told Sky Sports’ Craig Slater what he thought of the situation. “I asked whether [the team] were sure [of not going out for another run]. They told me they think they were. I didn’t have any real explanations. We had plenty of time to go out again.”
Elsewhere in Q1, Racing Point’s qualifying woes continued as both Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were knocked out of qualifying with Stroll being eliminated in Q1 for the tenth time in a row.
Williams’ qualifying session was exactly the same as it has been in the previous five grands prix this season as they line up on the back row of the grid once again tomorrow afternoon.
Alfa Romeo also struggled in qualifying today like they did in Barcelona with Kimi Raikkonen qualifying 14th for the second race in a row and Antonio Giovinazzi qualifying 15th.
Romain Grosjean’s qualifying didn’t go well either as he was forced to make an emergency stop while on a flying lap in order to avoid running into the back of the slow-moving Pierre Gasly. The stewards decided to investigate this incident. Meanwhile, Grosjean’s teammate, Kevin Magnussen, had an excellent qualifying, finishing best of the rest in sixth.
Valtteri Bottas was quick out of the blocks in Q3, setting a 1:10.252 on his first lap and a 1:10.3 with his next lap. Both were quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s best lap.
However, the Brit managed to steal pole position off his teammate, setting a 1:10.166, which is the new Monaco track record. This was despite Hamilton getting oversteer through Rascasse but this seems to be how the Mercedes looks when it’s fast, as the car behaved similarly in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Vettel’s qualifying fell away in the closing minutes as he hit the barrier coming out of Tabac, being extremely lucky not to suffer serious damage. He lines up fourth on the grid tomorrow.
A disappointed Bottas said to Paul di Resta, “I felt I had it today but obviously not. There’s no point giving up after Saturday. I’ll try everything I can to get back [tomorrow].”
Max Verstappen, who qualified third, said to di Resta, “P3 was good because ten minutes before the session, the floor wasn’t even before the car. I’m very happy to be third.”
With Leclerc out of position and Max Verstappen lining up third on the grid with the potential to overhaul the Mercedes, tomorrow’s grand prix could be very exciting indeed. However, if it all turns into a procession, there’ll be the opportunity to sit back and enjoy watching twenty F1 cars do 78 laps of the beautiful Circuit de Monaco.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 25, 2019