Following four wins by his team-mate Nico Rosberg and a DNF in Spain, Lewis Hamilton got his 2016 championship hopes back on track with a victory in Monaco.
Pole position went to Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday while Rosberg joined him on the front row of the grid. Hamilton had to settle for third with Sebastian Vettel joining him on the second row. On Sunday there was a safety car start due to heavy rain earlier in the day creating a very wet track. There were seven laps behind the safety car before racing could commence in anger.
As Ricciardo pulled away, Rosberg struggled with his car – brake problems being the official line – before he was asked by Mercedes to allow Hamilton through. The championship leader complied with his team’s request and Hamilton soon set off after Ricciardo. When the track conditions changed Ricciardo pitted for intermediates while Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track so that when he pitted it would be for slick tyres.
When Hamilton eventually pitted for the ultrasoft compound tyres, Red Bull pitted Ricciardo for the supersoft tyres to cover him off. Ricciardo was left waiting, however, when the tyres were not ready for his stop – costing him a lot of time. He rejoined the track just behind Hamilton and despite some pressure and getting close to passing, he eventually dropped off and finished seven seconds back.
Elsewhere there were a number of dramatic moments for other drivers. Jolyon Palmer crashed into the barriers into Ste. Devote when the safety car came in at the start, causing a Virtual Safety Car period. He lost it on the slippery white lines on the pit straight and was a passenger as he hit the barriers. Team-mate Kevin Magnussen also crashed, although later on in the race. He first of all was hit by Daniil Kvyat before the Dane ended up in the barriers himself.
Felipe Nasr defied team orders to allow his team-mate through, resulting in Marcus Ericsson attempting a move at Rascasse. The move failed and both drivers ended up in the barrier. The both managed to get going again however both ultimately retired. Ericsson has a three place grid drop for Canada.
Other retirements were Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Raikkonen lost his front wing and attempted to drive back to the pits but had to pull over on track due to the front wing getting lodged under his front tyres. Verstappen had his third accident of the weekend – following practice and qualifying incidents – ending his race early, a real case of hero to zero following his Spanish Grand Prix victory.
Behind the top two finishers Sergio Perez completed a strong race to finish in third place, holding off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso finished in fifth place for McLaren – their best finish so far this year – with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Rosberg seventh. Carlos Sainz finished in eighth place ahead of Jenson Button in ninth and Felipe Massa tenth.
The result has seen Hamilton close to within 24 points of his team-mate with Ricciardo now third. The Ferrari duo are now just separated by a point in fourth and fifth place – Raikkonen ahead of Vettel.