First and foremost is the sad story about the passing of the three times World Champion Niki Lauda. The 70 year old will be sadly missed by all. Not only did he make his mark as one of the all-time greats in Formula 1 between 1971-1979 & 1982-1985. From his 177 starts, he achieved 24 pole positions, 24 fastest laps, 54 podiums and 25 wins on his way to the 3 championships in ’75, ’77 & ’84. He came back fighting after just six weeks still showing the scars from the horrific accident at the German GP at the Nürburgring in 1976 when his Ferrari was engulfed in flames and a priest actually gave him his last rites.
Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2019.
Round 6. 78 laps @ 3.340km/2.075ml 260.520km/161.887ml.
Lap record 1m 14.260s held by M. Verstappen Red Bull in 2018.
The first-ever race to be held at the Principality was way back in 1929. It was initiated by cigarette manufacturer Anthony Noghés who also set up the Automobile Club de Monaco and under the auspices of Prince Louis 11 with Louis Chiron, the Monégasque driver at that time. 16 drivers competed for the prize of 100,000 French francs which went to eventual winner William Grover driving a Bugatti T35B. The reason for having a free day on Friday stems from 1929 when the Thursday of that weekend was Ascension Day and it was deemed that everyone should have the day off on the Friday and that tradition has remained in place even though the Easter and Ascension dates change every year.
Before the start of the race, the drivers gathered around a replica of Niki Lauda’s helmet wearing red caps emblazed with NIKI for a minute’s silence.
The race saw a 22ºC bright and sunny day and all drivers made it around T1. Ham kept his lead. Bot had a battle with Ver, but no major dramas and they retained their positions. Räi & Str touched during a tussle. Ric got the jump on Mag for 4th place. Lec gained some places, but then on an attempt a pass Hül, he clipped the barrier putting him into a spin and hit the Renault getting a puncture. On his way back to the pits, he left debris from his shredded tyre caused the safety car to be deployed on lap 11. The pit lane had a few minutes of bedlam as drivers poured in for a tyre change. Ver was released unsafely and hit Bot who had to pit again with a puncture from his clash with Ver. Racing again on lap 15, Lec retired from his home GP on lap 17 with damage to the floor. Gio & Kub had a coming together and caused a traffic jam by blocking the road. Räi & Str had another encounter causing the Alfa radio to get red hot. Ham got his 3rd win here. Vet & Bot joined him on the podium. Ver was handed a 5 second time penalty for an unsafe release dropping him to 4th. Str & Mag both got 5 second penalties for cutting the chicane and gaining an advantage. Gro got a 5 second penalty for crossing the pit lane line & Gio got 10 seconds for causing an accident.