Monaco GP: Hamilton clings on but Mercedes' one-two run ends

Contact between Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas cost Mercedes a one-two, but Lewis Hamilton fought for victory in Monaco.

Lewis Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix to take a 17-point lead at the top of the standings.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton displayed tremendous tyre management to triumph at the Monaco Grand Prix, but Mercedes' one-two streak ended due to pit-lane contact between Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Pole-sitter Hamilton pitted under the safety car on lap 11 and somehow managed the medium compound until the end of the race to open up a 17-point lead over team-mate Bottas at the top of the Formula One drivers' standings as the anticipated rain held off.

Bottas sustained a puncture and rim damage when Verstappen was released into him in the pits and had to return for hard tyres, which the Red Bull driver – who received a five-second time penalty – and Sebastian Vettel were running on.

Verstappen's sanction meant he missed out on the podium despite keeping the pressure on Hamilton throughout, with Vettel and Bottas taking second and third respectively as Mercedes failed to register a record-breaking sixth one-two.

In his desperation to perform at his home circuit, Charles Leclerc paid the price for trying to overtake Nico Hulkenberg at La Rascasse, spinning out and bringing out the safety car before retiring.

Bottas started second but his collision with Verstappen forced him into an unplanned pit stop and he was unable to make headway after slipping to fourth.

Just five seconds separated the leading quartet at the midway point and Hamilton frequently made known his displeasure with the deterioration of his tyres over team radio. The championship leader managed to negotiate his way past backmarkers and still keep Verstappen at bay as the race went on, but stated his team was "hoping for a miracle" by keeping him out.

Verstappen was granted more power for the final 10 laps and he made contact with Hamilton when looking to go down the inside at the chicane with three laps remaining.

 

The incident was investigated by the race stewards as Hamilton took the chequered flag, having worked exceptionally hard to claim his fourth victory of the season and second in succession.

LAUDA REMEMBERED

Tributes were paid to Niki Lauda prior to the race starting, with the three-time F1 champion having passed away on Monday.

The drivers gathered around a helmet with one of Lauda's iconic designs and sported "Niki" caps during a minute's silence as they remembered an icon of the sport.

READ | Monaco GP: Lauda's red cap and klaxons to be used in pre-race tribute

Mercedes also ran a red halo inscribed with "Niki we miss you" in tribute to the Austrian, who convinced Hamilton to join the team in 2012.

"That one's for Niki," was the message from Mercedes after Hamilton somehow held on to win.

LECLERC'S NIGHTMARE WEEKEND

There was plenty of buzz and expectation around Leclerc this weekend as he looked to put a spanner in Mercedes' works with a win on home soil.

However, despite going fastest in FP3 on Saturday, a team miscalculation saw him fail to get out of Q1 and he started 15th due to a three-place grid penalty for Antonio Giovinazzi.

READ | Monaco GP: Frustrated Leclerc demands answers from Ferrari

Brilliant moves on Lando Norris at the hairpin and Romain Grosjean at La Rascasse saw him climb to 12th, but he failed to repeat his move on Haas driver Hulkenberg.

It gave him a rear-right puncture and brought out the safety car, and - after being held up following a collision between Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica and pitting again - he was forced to retire on lap 18.

RAIKKONEN 300

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen made his 300th grand prix entry in F1 and he was his same old self after twice colliding with Racing Point's Lance Stroll.

"Again, he just f****** drives into me," the Finn, who somehow managed 46 laps on soft tyres before making his first pit stop, fumed over team radio.

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