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26 | 05 | 2019 GP MonacoSebastian Vettel finished second in the 66th Monaco Grand Prix, less than three seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, after driving a solid race during which he was always a front runner. This was Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow’s fourth podium of the season. Charles Leclerc had an unlucky race, forced to retire after 16 laps, following a collision with Nico Hulkenberg.

Start. At the start, Sebastian got away cleanly, running behind Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, maintaining fourth place. Charles had a strong start from 15th, immediately making up one place, setting off on his bid to move up the order. On the second lap at the hairpin, the Monegasque driver passed Lando Norris and closed on Romain Grosjean. Five laps later, he got alongside the Frenchman at Rascasse and then passed him. At this point, Nico Hulkenberg was ahead of him. On lap 9, Charles tried a repeat of his Rascasse move but he hit the barrier and collided with the German, picking up a right rear tyre puncture. He had to complete a whole lap with the wheel dragging on the ground, thus damaging his floor. He pitted for fresh tyres and got away again, but shortly afterwards he was called back in for one final attempt on Soft tyres and major set up changes to the front wing to try and balance the car that was lacking downforce following the incident. It was in vain, as the car was too badly damaged and it was deemed too dangerous to continue.

Safety Car. The lap he drove with the puncture left debris on the track and that brought out the Safety Car. The four leaders pitted and Sebastian took on Hard tyres, as did Bottas and Verstappen, these last two colliding in pit lane as they drove out. The Finn picked up a puncture because of this and had to pit again. The Stewards declared that Verstappen had to take a five second penalty added to his final race time, for the unsafe release.

Restart. At the restart, Hamilton led from Verstappen and Sebastian, who was now a virtual second. The German thus played a waiting game, matching the pace of the two drivers in front of him, ready to make the most of any collision or mistake. But the positions remained the same to the flag, so that Sebastian made it to the second step of the podium.

Next race. Now the championship heads to Canada for the seventh round of the season, at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, on Sunday 9 June.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“It was a tough race today but, in the end, second is a great result and I am happy for the team that we got a podium finish on such an iconic track as Monaco. We were also able to benefit from mistakes of other people today, but that’s part of this game. When I was following Lewis, who was struggling with his tyres, and Max chasing him very closely, I saw that they touched and for a brief moment I even kidded myself I might win it!
We know we have a lot of work to do so today we are happy, but not entirely happy. On the other side, it’s a pity for Charles. Not the best weekend for him”.

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Photo © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

25 | 05 | 2019 GP MonacoQualifying for the 66th Monaco Grand Prix proved to be very difficult for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow. Sebastian Vettel will start from the second row, having set the fourth fastest time. Charles Leclerc will start from sixteenth on the grid, as he failed to make the cut out of the first part of the session.

Q1. Sebastian went out on track immediately to check his SF90, which had required repairs after hitting the barrier in the third free practice session. He started off with a lap in 1’16”624, before getting down to 1’13”188 and 1’12’601, finally posting a 1’12”335. As for Charles, he did a 1’12”825 on his first run, getting down to 1’12”149, despite encountering traffic. At this point, Sebastian was in danger of being excluded, so he went back out with a new set of tyres to get into Q2 with a time of 1’11”434. Leclerc was kept in the garage to save a set of tyres, which proved to be the wrong decision as track conditions evolved and times steadily improved. This meant that several drivers were able to improve, which left the Monegasque driver unable to make the cut to Q2.

Q2 and Q3. Sebastian started off Q2 with a 1’11”922, getting down to a 1’11”227 on his second quick lap, thus making it comfortably into the final part. In the top ten shoot-out Sebastian immediately posted a 1’10”947 but was unable to improve on his second attempt. The German will therefore start behind Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Race. The 66th Monaco Grand Prix, with this year being the 90th anniversary of the first one, starts tomorrow at 15.10 over a distance of 78 laps.

Sebastian Vettel #5 “It was a difficult day for the whole team. I ended up in the barrier in the third free practice session, but the guys did a great job to fix the car and get me out for qualifying. Unfortunately, we struggled to get the tyres to work properly in Q1 and that meant I had to use an extra set. I managed to get through, but Charles didn’t while he was in 15thplace, which would have been good enough. Unfortunately, these things can happen in Monaco, if you don’t have a margin, you have to take risks and it doesn’t always go the way you want. We were not as competitive as we would have liked to be in qualifying, but the race is a different matter and in Monaco, anything can happen.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

23 | 05 | 2019 GP MonacoScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow racked up 145 laps of the Monaco track over the three hours of free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel stuck to the softest compound tyre all day.

In memory of Lauda. The Maranello team paid tribute to Niki Lauda with a sticker on the car celebrating the life of the Austrian champion and former Ferrari driver, who passed away last Monday. Sebastian also paid tribute, wearing a helmet featuring a design similar to the red helmet Lauda used for almost his entire career.

FP1. In the morning, both drivers worked on car set-up, while completing plenty of laps to get to grips with the specific demands of this circuit, where brushing the barriers but not hitting them, is vital to get a quick laptime. Charles did 25 laps, the best in 1’12”467 and Sebastian did eleven more, stopping the clocks in 1’12”823.

FP2. In the afternoon, both men did 42 laps each, running various fuel levels to simulate different parts of the race. The German’s fastest time was a 1’11”881, the third best of the day, while his Monegasque team-mate unfortunately ran into traffic on his quick laps and ended up tenth with a lap in 1’12”350.

Qualifying on Saturday. As usual at this event, there is no Formula 1 track action tomorrow. The 20 drivers in the championship will be back on track at noon on Saturday for the third and final free practice, followed by qualifying at 3pm. The race is on Sunday at 3.10pm.

Sebastian Vettel #5 “I decided to use a helmet dedicated to Niki. Being a tribute to him, as a person and to his career, the design is based on his last Ferrari helmet. I thought that maybe it was nice to take him along for a final couple of laps around Monaco.
Talking about our performance we are struggling a bit, we are lacking some pace compared to our main rivals. We are still not happy with how the tyres work. I think we have a bit of work ahead of us.
In terms of balance we can still improve on everything. We will work in order to have a car that is more predictable. I am sure on Saturday the situation should improve and maybe it will be also warmer, which could help us.”

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

22 | 05 | 2019 GP MonacoThe loss of Niki Lauda and expectations for the weekend on track were the central themes when Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel met the media on the Wednesday of the Monaco Grand Prix. For this event, practice starts on Thursday rather than the usual Friday.

Home-grown talent. The centre of attention is clearly Charles, who was in today’s official FIA Press Conference. The Monegasque driver spoke of Lauda, recalling his “availability and how humble he was, given how successful he had been as a Formula 1 driver. He was one of the greats and everyone will miss him.” Then the questioning switched to this Grand Prix. “This is undoubtedly a special race for me and I am very proud to be racing here in Monaco as a Scuderia Ferrari driver. I will do my utmost to get a great result. Our season did not get off to the start we would have wanted”, admitted Charles. “But day by day our level of understanding of the SF90 increases. This is a very unusual track, but I think that all the kilometres of testing we did in Barcelona can be useful even here. The atmosphere in the team is calm and that is proof that we are going in the right direction. As a team, we just have to work a lot.”

A determined Seb. Later in the afternoon, Vettel spoke to the press in the team hospitality unit. He too spoke first of Lauda: “I was fortunate to know Niki and usually we had a chat, which was a real privilege for me. He was always honest in his opinions and I am sure no one can fill the gap that he leaves in our sport”. As for the Monaco weekend, Sebastian said he was ready for this very special race. “Here, anything can happen, because there are so many variables to take into consideration: traffic, barriers, the weather, they can all affect the result somehow. And I have to say we deserve a good result here. We have worked very hard and we still are, but we have not managed to get the results we should have done. We know we still have work to do to improve to reach the level of competitiveness that we were expecting at the start of the season.”

On track. Track action starts tomorrow morning with the first free practice session at 11 and the second at 3pm. On Friday, as usual there is no F1 track activity. Qualifying is at 3pm on Saturday and the 66th Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix starts at 15.10 on Sunday, although this is actually the 90th anniversary of the first race.

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Foto © www.motorsportpics.de | Jerry Andre

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