Gasly finishes season-best fifth, runs fastest lap of race All Honda-powered cars qualified in top 10 Toro Rosso Honda moves to sixth in team standings
Honda-powered cars continued advancing toward the sharp end of the Formula 1 grid Sunday in Monaco, putting all four cars in the top eight finishing positions for the first time since the 1991 British Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen led the way for the Honda contingent, battling eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton on a tight Monaco circuit and nearly making a pass for the lead with the three laps to go before crossing the line second in his Aston Martin Red Bull machine. Unfortunately, the Dutchman was given a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release from Pit Lane on his Lap 12 stop, relegating him to fourth in the final standings. The finish marked his sixth-consecutive top-four result to start the season, a feat unmatched by a Honda driver since Alain Prost’s seven-race streak began the 1988 campaign.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly had his best outing of the season, coming from eighth on the grid to finish a season-best fifth. The Frenchman ran in the top six for most of the day and as he did in China, built a wide gap to the sixth-place car late in the race, allowing him to stop for tires without losing a position. Gasly then used those new tires to run the fastest lap of the race and earn an extra championship point.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team had its best result of 2019 as Daniil Kvyat started and finished seventh while rookie Alex Albon climbed two spots from his starting position to earn a season-best eighth-place result. The finish marked the first time both Toro Rosso cars have scored points this year and moved them to within one point of fifth place in the team standings.
Both Honda-powered squads showed their strength early during F1’s crown-jewel weekend on the French Riviera, qualifying all four cars in the top 10 for the first time since the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix. Verstappen led the second qualifying session before being eclipsed in Q3 by the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, while Gasly ended up fifth in the final qualifying, but lost three grid positions due to a blocking penalty. Kvyat’s seventh-place starting spot marked his third consecutive appearance in Q3 while Albon’s top-10 place on the grid was the second of his young career.
The series will have a week off before coming to North America for the first time this year, journeying to Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the June 9 Canadian Grand Prix.
Technical Director, Honda F1
“A strong performance resulting in all four cars finishing in the points, in the top eight. However, it was a real shame that Max got a penalty. Both teams performed strongly all weekend and managed the race strategy very well. Now, we take a break from Europe and head to Montreal. The track there is very different to this one, so we will be working hard on our Power Unit development before going to Canada.”
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 3rd, Finish: 4th after five-second time penalty
“I gave it my all today and I had a fun race. I think we were very competitive and I enjoyed putting the pressure on and trying to go for the win. You know when you’re up against Lewis it’s going to be very hard but I kept pushing him and I tried to force him into a mistake. I made him use his tires a bit more than he wanted. At one point I could see his tires really dropping off and there were a few corners on the track where he was really slow which meant I could line up a move, but we just couldn’t get close enough. With a few laps to go, I thought I’m going to try it now and see what happens. We touched but luckily nothing came of it.
The penalty from the pit stop is unfortunate, but I don’t think the Team did anything wrong and it is impossible to see in that tight pit lane. When you look at our pace we were very strong and that’s the most important thing. Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium but I enjoyed the race and you win some, you lose some. It’s easy to say with a few more laps I would have got him but I tried my very best and that was all I could do. The Team did a mega job all weekend and we tried everything we could to get that win today.”
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 8th, Finish: 5th + fastest race lap
“It was a really positive day and we can be very pleased with fifth position after starting eighth in Monaco which is a difficult track to recover positions on. We had a very good strategy and a really great car to race. I enjoyed driving such a fast car on a track like this and to be able to push so hard at the end and put in some very quick laps and to finish within ten seconds of the leader after starting eighth. I’m really happy and now we need to keep working so we can deliver similar performances in the coming weekends.”
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 7th, Finish: 7th
“We had a very strong qualifying and capped it off with a strong race today, so it’s a nice feeling. I’m very happy because I it was a really strong race for us. We can be satisfied with the amount of points we brought home today – the teamwork was fantastic, the support I got from everyone was great! P7 is a great result in Monaco. We have been working hard over the past few weeks to see where we need to improve and what I need to go faster, and we found it. Now we just need to find it every weekend, so we can continue to score a good amount of points. The car is performing well so we have to keep developing it in the same direction.”
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 10th, Finish: 8th
“I’ve got to say a big thanks to the team because the strategy was fantastic! We knew there was the chance to get into the points today, and we did a good job to make it happen. It was tricky out there because you spend the whole race close behind other cars, you have to make sure you don’t brake late or lock up otherwise your race is over. The most difficult part of the day was managing the tires, as the Softs don’t really like to last that long, so they begin to degrade and vibrate. Still, it was good fun out there and great to have both cars finish in the points!”