Monaco GP 2019
MAY 25, 2019
Qualifying Report - That’s what I’m talking about!
By Dan Knutson in Monaco
“That’s what I’m talking about!” Lewis Hamilton said after grabbing the pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix in the final seconds of qualifying. He was using saying often uttered by Sebastian Vettel when things were going well for him. But things had not gone all that well for Vettel who would start fourth behind Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc; Red Bull TAG Heuer –Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly; Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris; Racing Point Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Toro Rosso Honda – Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Robert Kubica.
Leclerc had gone fastest in FP3 with a time of 1:11.265. Bottas was the runner-up – 0.053 of a second slower.
Russell was out first in Q1 which would last 18 minutes. And soon all 20 drivers were on track, so that meant plenty of traffic.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Centigrade).
Leclerc was fastest soonest with a time of 1:12.825. But he quickly fell down the order, and now Verstappen was on top with his 1:11.725.
All 20 drivers were lapping, and the order behind Verstappen, now down to a 1:11.597, changed constantly.
Halfway through Q1, Norris was 15th and on the cutoff line with Giovinazzi 14th and Hulkenberg 16th. At the front it was Verstappen, Gasly, Magnussen, Bottas, Hamilton and Leclerc.
Now some of the drivers pitted for a refresh, but not Bottas who went ahead after turning a 1:11.562.
With two minutes remaining, Vettel was 17th! But at the last moment he grabbed first with a 1:11.434. But now Leclerc was 16th!
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Leclerc, Perez, Stroll, Russell and Kubica.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Kvyat, Gasly, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Norris, Magnussen, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Albon and Hulkenberg.
The Mercedes drivers lined up to be first out in Q2. Everybody followed them on to the circuit.
Hamilton posted a 1:11.124, Bottas a 1:10.701. Then Verstappen sneaked between them by turning a 1:11.059.
Ricciardo grabbed fourth ahead of Gasly, Vettel and Kvyat. Hamilton improved but stayed second.
With seven minutes left in the 15-minute session, Albon was tenth and on the bubble, with Vettel ninth and Norris 11th. And all 15 drivers were now in the pits preparing for the next laps.
At three minutes to go, all 15 drivers were back out there. Verstappen clocked a 1:10.618 to jump ahead.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Hulkenberg, Norris, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Magnussen, Kvyat, Albon, Gasly, Ricciardo and Sainz.
And now it came down to 12 minutes to decide the most important pole position of the year.
Bottas got out ahead of Vettel. Ricciardo tarried in the pits.
Bottas clocked a 1:10.252, and Vettel a 1:10.947. Next, Verstappen split them with his 1:10.641.
Hamilton hit traffic and had to go again. He got up to second by turning a 1:10.483.
So Vettel was now fourth ahead of Gasly, Magnussen, Kvyat, Sainz and Albon.
Ricciardo had yet to go out, but he finally did with five minutes remaining. He had a relatively clear track and jumped up to sixth.
All 10 drivers were on the circuit with two minutes to go.
Hamilton jumped on to the pole with a 1:10.166.
Bottas did not improve but stayed second ahead of Verstappen, Vettel and Gasly.
Ricciardo, Kvyat, Sainz and Albon rounded out the top 10.