F1 Monte Carlo - SUN - The Race - Absolute Victory for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes


Monte Carlo, Sunday 25th May 2008

Lewis Hamilton MP4-23 04

Heikki Kovalainen MP4-23 05

2008 MONACO GRAND PRIX (McLaren’s 15th Monaco victory)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix and took the lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship.

After 76 turbulent laps (253.840 kms) in changeable weather conditions and with two Safety Car periods, he took the chequered flag 3 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica and 4.8 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa. Lewis’ team mate Heikki Kovalainen came home eighth after he had stalled his car at the beginning of the formation lap and had to start from the pit lane behind the field. It is Lewis’ sixth Grand Prix victory and the second of the season after Australia. For McLaren it is the 15th victory in Monaco, and the sixth for the McLaren Mercedes partnership within 11 Grands Prix since Mika Häkkinen won in 1998. Lewis had to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap six (8.3 seconds) after he damaged his tyre hitting the barrier at the Tabac corner. The team consequently changed his strategy, and he made his refuelling stop on lap 54 (7 seconds). Heikki pitted on laps 34 (10.0 seconds) and 49 (7.4 seconds). After the sixth of 18 Grands Prix, Lewis took the lead in the drivers’ ranking with 38 points ahead of Kimi Räikkönen who was ninth today. Heikki is sixth overall with 15 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes moved up to second with 53 points; Ferrari leads with 69 points.


"I am absolutely over the moon. To win here in Monaco is the highlight of my career and an occasion I will always remember. I want to thank everybody in the team for their fantastic job, and also my family for their continuous support. It was a very eventful race. I started well and immediately overtook Kimi, and also saw a chance to attack Felipe, but then the rain got heavier and visibility worsened. At the Tabac corner, there was a lot of water on the track, and suddenly I had oversteer and hit the barrier. It was just a slight touch, but the tyre was damaged and I had to pit. Fortunately, the first Safety Car period helped me to close the gap to the front. We changed our strategy, and I had to make only one more stop. When I was about 40 seconds ahead the team told me over the radio to take it easy. The second Safety Car period brought more excitement, but I was able to control the race also after the second re-start. What a day and what a result !”


“An extremely difficult race with any chance of finishing in a top position already gone when I could not engage a gear at the start of the formation lap. Consequently I had to change the steering wheel in the pit lane from where I had to start my race. I tried to push as hard as I could, but could only go at my real pace when there was a gap. It is a pity, because my car was good and the speed was there. At least I scored one point at the end and now look forward to the next Grands Prix where I will go maximum attack to finish with good results.”


“Today was a great day – and a fantastic team performance. Our guys instigated a brilliant strategy change, under pressure, after Lewis touched the Tabac barrier and damaged his right rear tyre early in the race. Had Heikki not had a problem on the grid, we would have had the pace for a 1-2 finish. That was a disappointment for him and us, but he drove a fantastic race thereafter and his time will surely come. Lewis’s sensational win has taken him back to the lead of the Drivers’ World Championship - and we now go to Montreal, scene of his first grand prix win 12 months ago, in a strong position to continue our challenge for the Championships. A great victory for the team and all of our Partners.”


"Lewis was sensational and his performance was just terrific. We had the best strategy, the best speed and certainly a little luck as well. For me, this sixth victory in Monaco for McLaren and Mercedes and 54th in total together with McLaren is our greatest so far. Sorry for Heikki, without his problem in selecting first gear at the start of the formation lap he would have been a very strong contender for a podium finish – at least he scored one point. A big thank you to the whole team who worked so hard and to all our partners, particularly Vodafone for all their support. The fight for the championship is wide open, and we certainly want to go for it. "

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