Hamilton dominance belies more F1 drama in Monaco thriller

Lewis Hamilton might be dominant, but there has been no shortage of incident in F1 this year.

Mercedes' stunning streak of one-twos may have ended at the Monaco Grand Prix, but there looks to be no stopping defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton has finished each raceweek on the top two steps of the podium this season, recording his fourth win of 2019 in Monte Carlo to move 17 points clear in the drivers' championship.

Just six races into the campaign, Hamilton is already well on course for a third title in a row and the sixth of his career.

The 34-year-old is a dominant force in F1 and, given the gap to Ferrari this year, some fans might well wonder when this run will stop.

"I think it is more boring in a way, for sure," former Scuderia champion Jody Scheckter last week told Omnisport of the success of Hamilton and the Silver Arrows.

It is a common complaint - particularly on a track like Monaco's - that F1 races are dull and predictable, with Hamilton's talent and the Mercedes car certainly contributing factors.

But is that true? Or have the results disguised races that have often been chaotic.

There have not been shock wins like Pastor Maldonado's in Barcelona in the topsy-turvy start to the 2012 campaign, or Max Verstappen's breakthrough 2016 triumph in the same city, but there is still drama aplenty in 2019.

 

BAHRAIN ENGINE TROUBLE COSTS LECLERC

Charles Leclerc's misfortune has been one of the tales of the season and nowhere was it more evident than in Bahrain.

His Ferrari faltered with engine problems in the closing stages as he looked to be easing towards a first F1 victory, only hanging onto third and a place on the podium with the help of the safety car.

 

BOTTAS BEATS OUT HAMILTON IN BAKU

Leclerc's misery came in qualifying in Azerbaijan, as his phenomenal pace counted for little when he crashed out, again denting his hopes of a race win.

The Ferrari man managed to get back into the mix but, with Mercedes dominant early in the season, there was also excitement in the battle between team-mates Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton. With no team orders evident, the pair have been able to race one another in 2019 and did so from the off before Bottas prevailed.

SPAIN SEES MORE EARLY EXCITEMENT

Allowed to go wheel to wheel this year, Hamilton had seen Bottas edge in front in the drivers' championship early on. The Briton does not appear interested in playing a supporting role.

He again went after Bottas from the off in Barcelona and nudged ahead of his pole-sitting colleague at Turn 1 to set up victory. Given Mercedes' speed in qualifying, the early stretches of most races have thrilled.

 

MONACO POLE-SITTER HAMILTON HOLDS ON

Perhaps the race of the season so far came on Sunday at the usually cagey Monaco, with action throughout the grid.

Hamilton won from pole but had to hold off pressure from Verstappen, who actually ended up missing out on the podium due to a five-second time penalty as he clashed with Bottas in the pits. Meanwhile, Leclerc, at his home race, could not recover from Ferrari's qualifying mishap, spinning and then retiring. This certainly was not boring.