THE MONACO GP THIS YEAR HAD its thunder stolen as Fernando Alonso was across the pond at the Indy 500 in an orange McLaren-Honda of a different kind. Former world champion and teammate Button was in the hot seat for the team. Also, with two Ferraris on the front row and Kimi Raikkonen on pole after almost a decade, it looked set to be a thriller. Hamilton had a woeful qualy after an incident prevented him from setting a time in Q2. Almost everyone started on the ultrasofts.
When the lights went out, it was a quick dash off the line for the Scuderia, whereas the Silver Arrows would find their rubber not hot enough to mount a real challenge. Further back, Hulkenberg suffered a gearbox failure, and Perez pitted for a wing replacement. By lap 27, Button was almost lapped.
Coming towards half distance, it was Verstappen who came in first, on lap 33, for supersofts, followed by Bottas on the next lap, and then Raikkonen. Vettel, however, stayed out. Not for one, or two, but for four laps, pushing hard to close the gap. When Kimi resumed, he was in P3 and his team-mate was leading. Vettel finally pitted at the end of lap 39, his crew taking a few tenths less than Raikkonen’s. Would that be enough? Vettel resumed still in the lead, just ahead of his team-mate as he snaked around the line leading t