Lewis Hamilton wins tense Monaco Grand Prix

Niki Lauda in a past race

The Briton, who now has 77 career wins and a 17-point lead over team mate Valtteri Bottas in the championship, had called for a miracle as Red Bull's Max Verstappen filled his car's mirrors, with the pair banging wheels late on.

Ferrari will hope they can get Vettel's vehicle fixed in time for qualifying, but it is far from ideal preperation for a team desperate to end Mercedes' early 2019 dominance.

The stewards ultimately deemed Red Bull to have carried out an unsafe release, with Verstappen hit with a five-second time penalty that would drop him from second to fourth at the flag.

"Obviously the aim is to do a good start and, as a team, we want to be one-two again and for me, it's going to be about waiting for opportunities in the race".

"I know he will be looking down and taking his hat off".

He also added "this one's for Niki", in reference to three-time world champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, who died earlier this week.

Mercedes' dominance and Verstappen comprehensively out-performing his teammate weren't the only 2019 themes that continued in the session - it also included some more strategic buffoonery from Ferrari. "I'm really proud of the team and naturally our goal is to try and do something really positive this weekend".

"I'm really disappointed, I had the speed today", Bottas said.

Mercedes' dominance of the season and then Thursday has made this weekend tricky for the value-hunters, of which regular readers will know I am one.

Hamilton: "We're going to lose this race Bono".

Formula One and the drivers all paid tribute to Lauda at the race and Hamilton confirmed he will attend Lauda's funeral in Vienna on Wednesday.

"That was an incredible drive".

Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto told reporters the team needed to take risks in the battle against Mercedes, had miscalculated the margin and assumed Leclerc was safe. "Niki would have loved it".

"It was very, very hard at the beginning of the week, everyone was posting pictures and I don't feel like I need to conform to how everyone operates", he explained.

Speaking of the blunder, he said: "I asked whether they were sure [he was safe]". "I was determined not to crack".

"I just tried to put the pressure on".

"So, I was throwing the auto around and I'm pretty sure I touched the barriers a few times - there's no other way of doing it here".

Leclerc hoped to be on the front row but instead starts his home race in a lowly 16th place on a street circuit where overtaking is notoriously hard. McLaren's Carlos Sainz lines up ninth, with Gasly eighth. Ferrari says a full explanation of the strategy will be issued later.

"But we also have to remember that Monaco is a unique circuit and it needs different kinds of things from the vehicle to be quick".

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