Defending back-to-back world champion Lewis Hamilton raced to victory in the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday to claim his maiden win of the 2016 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Hamilton snatched the race advantage from leader and pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo when the Red Bull ace lost some crucial time in a botched pit-stop.
Hamilton did well to hold on to first place until the chequered flag, which he took in a winning time of one hour 59.29.133 seconds. The result earned him his second victory at the Monegasque street circuit and his 44th career victory in all.
Ricciardo had to settle for second place 7.252s behind, while Sergio Perez of Force India impressed with the final podium place 13.825s back.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was fifth, Perez’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg was sixth and current championship leader Nico Rosberg, who has won four of the six races so far this season, finished seventh.
It was an eventful race in Monaco, as action started off behind the safety car in wet conditions before drying up towards the end.
Hamilton, who made one less pit-stop than Ricciardo, commented post-race:
“This might be the best place ever to have win number 44 – it’s been eight years since I won here!
“What a special day... truly one of the hardest races I can ever remember having. To stay in the zone, not make any mistakes and come out on top is just unbelievable.
“It’s very unusual that I’m able to take any credit for a strategy decision, but when the team first asked me to box, I could see the track drying and my tyres still felt pretty good. So I told them all that and they said to stay out, which worked out great. I just carried on looking after the tyres, picking up the pace a bit when I saw what times people were starting to do on the intermediates as it dried out. I was matching their times at that stage so I thought, ‘I could actually hold onto this until it’s dry’. Staying in that window was really tricky, though, as the first two sectors were almost dry.
“When I came out on the slicks it was like driving on ice. It was tough knowing how hard to push and we came out very close together. If he hadn’t had a bad stop I wouldn’t have been ahead. But these things happen for a reason – and today the reason was that 44th win.”
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||7.252s|
|3||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||13.825s|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.999s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|9||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|11||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|14||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|15||Rio Haryanto||Manor/Mercedes||4 Laps|
|-||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||Spun off|
|-||Kevin Magnussen||Renault||Spun off|
|-||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||Collision|
|-||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||Spun off|
|-||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||Spun off|