• IN WORDS: Lewis and Valtteri's Monaco Debrief

Lewis and Valtteri talk three-way battles, tyres and damage limitation after the Monaco Grand Prix

'Grateful to not lose many points'

Lewis finished the Monaco GP where he started in P3, making his fifth podium appearance of the 2018 season.

"I'm really happy with this weekend and coming third in what was a difficult weekend for us," Lewis said.

"We were the third quickest team this weekend and we almost got second, so I'm really happy in that respect. I'm also really happy for Daniel. He is a great dude.

"We already knew that here and Singapore are our toughest races but hopefully our car is better at other races.

"I'm grateful that we didn't lose too many points. There has been some great work and effort from the team.

"We have taken good steps through the weekend from the work at the factory to the conference calls, so I'm really happy.

"I feel like it is the greatest working unit we have had ever before. I'm really happy with that."

'I couldn't do anything'

Valtteri lined up fifth on the grid and, while he lost touch with the leading group in the first stint, he was able to claw back ground on the SuperSoft tyre in the second half of the race.

However, with Monaco being such a tricky track to overtake on, there wasn't much more Valtteri could do and he crossed the line P5.

"I think strategy-wise it was the best we could do," Valtteri explained. "The HyperSoft degraded very quickly for me and Lewis.

"We saw on Thursday that the SuperSoft wasn't that good for our car but it was the best tyre to be on in the end.

"It was much more robust than any other tyre and the pace was there. I just couldn't do anything with the pace.

"Strategy-wise I wouldn't do anything differently. It's just when you are starting from P5 in Monaco you need to hope that something is going to happen in the race.

"At some points, I had a good pace and then the others started to struggle with the UltraSoft so we were really hoping that they needed to stop again. But, unfortunately it never happened."

'We just want to push'

Tyres played a pivotal role in the Monaco GP. While the race was a one-stop for most, drivers struggled with tyre graining - especially on the HyperSoft and UltraSoft.

"From the point of view of a racing driver we just want to push," Lewis admitted. "In the beginning you get a bit of a feeling but then you have to back off massively - particularly for us even more, because we were struggling with these tyres.

"It's insane how little I was pushing just trying to stop the fronts from graining. And even when I was not pushing, the tyre grained. It was an unusual race."

Valtteri avoided the UltraSoft, going to the SuperSoft at his pit stop. He believes it was the right call.

"The UltraSoft and the HyperSoft seemed very fragile, but with the SuperSoft we could really lean on the tyre and push it a bit more.

"I was happy to have that tyre in the end but obviously it didn't really help. The HyperSoft is a nice tyre for qualifying but for the race obviously it is very difficult to keep it alive and to avoid the graining."

'I'm loving the challenge'

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have each won two races this season. It's shaping up to be an incredible fight through the rest of the year and Lewis is relishing the battle.

"It's definitely a three-way fight," he said. "I think Ferrari still are the strongest, their car was quick here and was working well throughout the whole season so far.

"Red Bull potentially have an engine update coming at some stage that will be interesting to see. They will continue to get stronger through the year.

"Hopefully it's great for the fans to see this battle that we are having. We are doing everything we can to win.

"Red Bull wins, then Ferrari wins, then we win. It's great to have that, it's the biggest challenge that I have had with the team.

"But I'm loving that challenge - digging super deep into my technical knowledge, learning more, how I can communicate, how I can pick the right setup for the weekend. I'm enjoying that."