Lewis Hamilton has taken his first victory of the season in a thrilling Monaco Grand Prix after a horror pit-stop from Red Bull thwarted Daniel Ricciardo’s chance of a victory and the Australian had to settle for second.
In what was predicted to a dramatic and exciting race on the streets of Monte Carlo, it lived up to expectation as Lewis Hamilton claimed his first victory of the season to get his season back on track and his first since 2008 where he started in the same position as he did in his second season in Formula 1, third on the grid and in the same conditions.
The Briton had a tough challenge as he tried to defend from a hard-charging Daniel Ricciardo since the first round of pit-stops.
Ricciardo finished a close second for Red Bull but would have no doubtedly won if it weren’t for a disastrous second pit stop when his tyres were not ready for him when he arrived in his pit-box. The Perth-born Australian was absolutely dejected on the podium and said his victory chances had been “screwed” for the second consecutive race.
Force India’s Sergio Perez, one of the field’s most established opportunists drove an incredible race to claim third place and his sixth career podium to give the Silverstone-based outfit their first podium of the season.
The Mexican held off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who showed brilliant flashes of pace but had to settle for fourth and ahead of Fernando Alonso who finished a completed the top five for McLaren which equalled their best result since reforming their partnership with Honda.
Following heavy-early downpours in Monte Carlo, the 78 lap race took place under Safety Car conditions.
Once the race finally went green, Ricciardo made an excellent getaway from the Mercedes duo, opening up a 14-second gap over Rosberg, who’s W07-Hybrid had brake temperature troubles.
With Rosberg’s struggles, Mercedes eventually decided to tell him to let Hamilton through, with the reigning world champion getting away at over a second a lap and then claiming the lead when Ricciardo put on intermediate tyres as the circuit started to dry.
But instead of reacting immediately to pit themselves, Hamilton and Mercedes went for a different strategy, staying out until the circuit was dry enough for slicks.
Although The Australian had caught the Briton quickly by then and Hamilton made the first move by pitting, Mercedes stayed in the lead when Ricciardo lost a massive nine seconds after a miscommunication between the Red Bull pit-wall and garage during his pit-stop meant that the Australian’s red-marked super-soft compounds weren’t ready for him.
After losing the lead, Ricciardo once again got close to Hamilton on his return to the 3.334km track and was furious when the Silver Arrow cut back in front of him at the Nouvelle chicane after the Briton got his braking point wrong. The race officials had a look into the incident but no action was taken.
“A big congratulations to Daniel, he drove phenomenally all weekend,” explained Hamilton. “He’s one of the best drivers I’ve driven against. I’m looking forward to many more battles with him, he should be proud of the way he drove.”
Mercedes have won the Monaco GP four times in a row, but the driver who gave the Brackley-squad the first three of those victories, Rosberg, endured a disappointing afternoon and the German’s championship lead slips to 24 points.
After letting Hamilton through in the early stages, the German fell from third to sixth at the pit-stops for slicks after Mercedes held his W07-Hybrid at the box.
Running behind Alonso’s MP4-31 racer, Rosberg could not find a way past the Spaniard and his weekend then suffered a little sucker punch at the end as the other Force India of Nico Hulkenberg grabbed sixth place off him just before the line as it started to rain again.
Rosberg later said he was “baffled” by the lack of pace in his Silver Arrow.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz finished in eighth place, with the second McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button in ninth and Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa completing top 10 at the end of the 78 lap race which saw 15 out of the 22 drivers finish.
Red Bull’s Spanish Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen had a weekend to forget after crashing once again at Massenet, while meanwhile Renault pair Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen were both caught out during the slippery conditions.
Another driver who was caught out in the earlier wet conditions was the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen who crashed out at Loews Hairpin and made contact with the Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Sauber F1 Team also suffered a double retirement when both of their drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, collided upon entry into La Rascasse.
The Full Formula 1 Grand Prix De Monaco 2016 Results Classification:
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 78 laps
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, +7.3s
3. Sergio Perez, Force India F1 Team, +13.8s
4. Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari, +15.8s
5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, +85.1s
6. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India F1 Team, +93.0s
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1, +93.3s
8. Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Toro Rosso, +1 lap
9. Jenson Button, McLaren-Honda, +1 lap
10. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing, +1 lap
11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, +1 lap
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team, +1 lap
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1 Team, +2 laps
14. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing Team, +2 laps
15. Rio Haryanto, Manor Racing Team, +2 laps
DNF Marcus Ericsson, Sauber F1 Team
DNF Felipe Nasr, Sauber F1 Team
DNF Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
DNF Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1
DNF Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso
DNF Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari
DNF Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1
2016 World Driver’s Championship Standings – Top 5
- Nico Rosberg – 106 Points
- Lewis Hamilton – 82 Points
- Daniel Ricciardo – 66 Points
- Kimi Raikkonen – 61 Points
- Sebastian Vettel – 60 Points
2016 World Constructors Championship Standings
- Mercedes AMG F1 – 188 Points
- Scuderia Ferrari – 121 Points
- Red Bull Racing – 112 Points
- Williams Martini Racing – 66 Points
- Force India F1 Team – 37 Points
- Scuderia Toro Rosso – 30 Points
- McLaren-Honda – 24 Points
- Haas F1 Team – 22 Points
- Renault Sport F1 – 6 Points
- Sauber F1 Team – 0 Points
- Manor Racing Team – 0 Points
Round seven of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship returns to the Circuit De Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada for the Formula 1 Grand Prix Du Canada 2016 from June 10-12.
Written by Michael Terminello