The fifth Grand Prix of this year's Formula 1 Championship - and second this month - got underway in Monaco over the weekend. With all the happenings from the track side and other developments, TrackDays brings you our latest news roundup…
The 'Hamilton vs Verstappen' battle continues to run unabated, taking a dramatic twist at Monaco as Max Verstappen, racing for Team Red Bull, won his second race of the season.
With a final lap time of 1:38:56, it now means that, by the narrowest of margins, he edges ahead of his erstwhile rival Lewis Hamilton by four points to place at the top of the overall Championship for the season so far.
It was a disappointing result indeed for Hamilton, who finished way outside the top 3, with a dismal seventh place finish. Even his Mercedes team mate Lando Norris couldn't prove a challenge, finishing in third, whilst a very respectable second place went to Carlos Sainz Jr, racing for Team Ferrari.
There was also a surprising turnaround of fortunes for Sebastian Vettel on Team Aston Martin. Qualifying in 8th, they made their first top 5 finish of the season, inching them up to just outside the top 10 on the overall Championship leaderboard for this year to date in the process.
Whilst on the one hand Verstappen and Red Bull must be delighted with this welcome boost to their rankings, the lacklustre performance of Hamilton and Mercedes has thus caused a common topic in the debating chamber regarding the Monaco Grand Prix to rear its head once again, after a year away from the F1 calendar. Chiefly; is it as exciting as it's cracked up to be?
Indeed, Lewis himself remarked in the build up to the weekend that "It is the most beautiful place we get to race, but you already know it is never exciting for the fans." Indeed, one recurring argument seems to be that, for all its opulent wealth and exclusivity, the narrow streets of Monte Carlo where the GP takes place don't offer much in the way of excitement.
By that of course, the possibility of wheel locking or overtaking as we see at other legs of the Championship - at least, not without serious repercussions for those involved - is eliminated, sometimes running the risk of the race turning into nothing than a slightly more glamorous relay race where the lead is dictated from the start.
But that's not to say it's completely devoid of action; Hamilton himself memorably won the 2008 GP there despite his tyre bursting on contact with a wall, or even back in 1970 when Jack Brabham, racing for Brabham-Ford crashed out the running for victory in the last lap. We dare say that the victory lap Verstappen has enjoyed this year will doubtless go down in history as one of Monaco's more surprising F1 moments.
One brighter bit of news relating to Lewis Hamilton came this last week, however, as a rare opportunity to own a car he previously drove to victory is up for auction with Sotheby's. His McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25A, that he drove in the 2010 Formula 1 Championships, will be sold off on Saturday, 17th July - on the very same weekend that Silverstone will host this year's British Grand Prix.
This will be the first time ever that one of his F1 race cars - and a winning one at that - will be up for sale. However, with a current auction estimate of between £2.8 - 4.9 million, it certainly won't be without a hefty price tag for whoever the new lucky owner happens to be. In another ground-breaking first, it will be auctioned off to registered bidders - both in person and online/over the phone - whilst the very same McLaren-Mercedes No. 1 chassis is roaring off around the track at top speeds of around 150 mph!
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