Cory Mackey has finally finished a race on the top step of the podium this season after coming close on three previous occasions.
The Ferrari duo locked the front row with Ivan Georgiev obtaining yet another Pole Position beating his teammate by 49 thousands of a second with a blistering lap of 1:09.448. Ezequiel Montero came a close 3rd just 0.080 off the lead. Janos Magasrevy qualified in 4th a full 7 tenths off Georgiev's time. The third row was made by Richard Walcott and Otto Acosta. P7 went to "The Ghost" David Carney with Richard Haynie next to him on P8. Row 5 was made by Adam Freitas in P9 and Mat Harto in P10.
Outside the top 10, we had Sean Higgins in P11, missing out Q2 by a little less than two tenths. Darren Fisher in P12, Jacobo Cardozo in P13, Jeff Oppenheim in P14. John Cook saw his quali run cut short after hitting the barrier at the piscine and bringing the car back to the garage with no time set in Q1. The other McLaren driven by Steve Carney was disqualified after the race for breaching article 15.8.
With the 16-car grid set, it was time to start the race. The formation lap went on and the cars lined up for one of the most challenging race starts of the calendar. Fortunately, all cars made it through to turn 1 without incidents.
The 78-lap race started to unfold and it was clear that the plan was to go fast and change tires as many times as necessary. Mackey was one of the first drivers to stop on lap 11 and kept his strategy of pushing the softs to the max for about ten laps per stint. Eventually, he would pass his teammate and maintain the lead for 53 laps. Otto Acosta managed to finish the race in second when Ivan Georgiev started having brake problems with a mere 2 laps to go, he was overtaken as well by Janos Magasrevy who ended up in 3rd. Georgiev would manage to limp to the finish line in 4th with a close David Carney in 5th. Richard Haynie finished in 6th 1 minute behind the leader for the last driver to finish on the lead lap. P7 went to Darren Fisher in the other Renault. Jeff Oppenheim secured his first points of the 2019 season with an 8th place finish for Toro Rosso. Adam Freitas did the same in 9th bringing home 2 points for Haas.The last man to grab a point was Mat Harto, who had a rules misunderstanding after Q1 and thought he couldn't take part of Q2 after ESC'ing, he would finish in the same place that he started, 10th.
Moving on the retirements, the first one out of the race was Sean Higgins with an accident on lap 19. John Cook also suffered an accident on lap 26 forcing him to retire. The surprise of the night came from Ezequiel Montero, who after being with the lead group for the initial phase of the race, crashed out on lap 43. Monaco surely is no place for the Argentinian. Jacobo Cardozo was forced to retire with suspension damage on lap 69, and the last car to retire was Richard Walcott whose Ferrari engine on the Alfa Romeo Sauber blew up on lap 72.
We have now covered the first 6 races of the season before moving to Canada. The Drivers Championship fight is red hot with Cory Mackey 2 points ahead of his teammate and 4 points ahead of Argenis Riera. Ezequiel Montero sits a close 10 points behind the lead. The Teams Championship is also a close affair between Ferrari and Mercedes, with the Italians 12 points ahead of the Germans.
Next up is the Canadian Grand Prix with a new Pirelli spec aiming at better racing. Who will master the new tires better? Who will make it to the finish line with all four brakes? Stay tuned for more after this Thursday!