A scruffy qualifying lap-time set with a partially-charged battery, forced Hamilton to settle for P2 on the grid behind Valtteri Bottas. The gap from the Finn, .634 seconds to the all-time-pole-positions leader seemed unreal. It was Bottas’ third consecutive pole position in 2019. The Briton has beaten to pole once again. But as we’ve seen in this season so far, pole position doesn’t guarantee victory. In fact, it doesn’t assure a good start either.
Hamilton got off the blocks faster than Bottas and by the Turn 1 braking point, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel from P3 was momentarily in the lead! Hamilton then went on to build up a solid lead from where he could trade fastest-laps with his team mate and control the race’s pace.A late race incident between McLaren’s Lando Norris and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll through the first corner sequence brought out the Safety Car and bunched up the field all over again.
All hopes of a dramatic restart were dashed when Hamilton timed his restart to perfection and once again set about building a sufficient buffer to Bottas. He even claimed the additional point for fastest lap of the race ensuring he stays ahead by seven points after Round 5.Behind the two dominant Mercedes W10s, Max Verstappen outraced the scarlet cars from Italy to complete the podium, again. A string of impressive performances from the Dutchman see him at P3 overall in the championship standings. His team mate Pierre Gasly came home in Behind him were Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Romain Grosjean to make up the top ten.
With the sort of results Mercedes are delivering this season can anyone stop them around the twisty street circuit of Monaco? Is this championship a fight between the two silver arrows only? Although Mercedes have dominated the turbo hybrid era the Principality has proven a difficult venue for their long-wheelbase chassis in recent years.
Daniel Ricciardo won last year in his Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel the year before for Ferrari. Starting position is key in Monaco as there are few opportunities to overtake on track. Expect the Mercedes drivers to take their fight for pole, to a different level on the streets.The writer is a motorsports enthusiast who will cover the 2019 FIA Formula One™ season exclusively for Indulge.