Monaco GP: Heroic Hamilton holds off Verstappen to win
Lewis Hamilton took arguably one of the finest wins of his career at the Monaco GP, fending off the ever tenacious Max Verstappen and extend his championship lead.
In a drive that evoked Senna vs Mansell, Hamilton held on after a strategic mistake from the Mercedes team meant that the Brit was on the wrong compound of tyre for 58 laps. While his rival queued up behind him including Vettel and Bottas, Hamilton repeatedly lamented the error over the radio to his team, arguing that he needed new tyres. The response was one of motivation, urging Hamilton that he was the only driver who could produce such a feat and so it proved. An exhaustive yet flawless defensive display saw Hamilton take the top step.
For Max Verstappen it may be a question of what if for the Dutch driver. One overtake attempt down at the chicane for the lead proved fruitless and thankfully both drivers remained unscathed from the minor collision. Verstappen earlier in the race received a 5 second penalty for a dangerous unsafe release and collision with Bottas, who had to pit a lap later to change tyres thanks to a damaged rim.
The 5 second penalty added another string to the bow of drama. Would Verstappen overtake? And if so could he pull out a 5 second lead. The ever maturing Red Bull driver twisted and turn, bit but couldn't bite with enough conviction and had to settle for what was in retrospect a disappointing 4th.
For Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel 2nd place should be seen as fantastic damage limitation on a weekend where more mistakes occurred and even more questions were asked of the Scuderia. After hitting the barrier twice during qualifying, Vettel produced a calm, composed display of driving, quietly sitting back behind Hamilton and Verstappen to see what drama would unfold.
While the German didn't get the victory he was hoping, a 2nd place and vital points towards the championship has to be seen as a success. The Ferrari is struggling badly in the slower corners thanks to a design philosophy that struggles with such characteristics. 2nd place and 18 points alleviates a little pressure and allows the Italian team time to find a solution to their woes.
Further down the field it was another fine driver by Carlos Sainz who produced the overtake of the day with a stunning double overtake around Turn 2 to ensure an excellent 6th place.
7th and 8th were taken by the Toro Rosso of Kvyat and Albon who demonstrated that the sister team to Red Bull do have mature and emerging talents waiting in the wings. It capped a fine display for the team and allowed them to take 10 points for the ever important constructors title.
A word for Ricciardo who closed up over 30 seconds on Grosjean to take 9th place by just over 0.1 seconds. The Renault driver who on course to take a solitary point but thanks to a fine 2nd stint and a penalty for Grosjean it was the Aussie who pipped a point away from the Frenchman.
While there wasn't a plethora of overtakes, as is always the case at the tight, twisty Monaco, the tension, the drama was palpable and made for what was a fine Monaco GP