Lewis Hamilton gets his first F1 victory of season at Monaco Grand Prix
MONACO, MAY 29: Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday to slash his team-mate Nico Rosbereg’s lead in the Formula One world championship from 43 points to 24.
It was Hamilton’s first win for seven months, since he won his third world championship with victory in Austin last October, and brought to an end a miserable run of luck and form this season. It was also his 44th victory – his favourite number.
Hamilton had to hold off a persistent challenge from Daniel Ricciardo and the Red Bull driver looked the quicker man at times. But the Australian paid the penalty for a bungled pit stop that cost him victory when his team did not appear ready for him to come in. He finished second but once again can consider himself unlucky in a difficult season for him – he also appeared to be blocked by Hamilton at the chicane but there was no penalty for the British driver.
The key to Hamilton’s win was the decision to keep him on wets for as long as possible before switching him on to slicks at the end of the 31st lap.
He said: “The tyres were falling off in the last lap. I prayed for a day like this and I feel blessed.” Ricciardo’s second stop put him on slower intermediate rubber but he was still able to put Hamilton under intense pressure.
An angry Ricciardo said afterwards: “It’s the second week in a row that I’ve been screwed. I got called in by the team, so they should have been ready. I don’t want to talk about the race.”
Rosberg had a poor race and was overtaken by Nico Hülkenberg just before the end. So he took only six points from the race to Hamilton’s 25.
Conditions appeared to worsen in the minutes leading up to the start and it seemed a wise move to start the action behind a safety car.
But the former champion Nigel Mansell and Hamilton were crying out for it to come in before it did, at the end of the seventh lap, when the race proper got under way.
The difficulty of the conditions was obvious straight away, when Jolyon Palmer lost control of his Renault and crashed out. Later Max Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat also crashed, as did the Sauber pair of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
Ricciardo, who was on pole, immediately started to pull away and Hamilton looked frustrated behind a slow Rosberg.
At the end of the 16th lap Hamilton finally got past Rosberg, but only after Mercedes had instructed the German to move over because he appeared to have trouble with his brake temperature.
Hamilton showed what he is capable of by pulling out two purple laps and after only four laps he was 10.3sec ahead of Rosberg. He deserved his win after such a difficult season – but it was hard not to feel sorry for Ricciardo. Sergio Pérez had a fine drive to finish third.