Lewis Hamilton takes masterful win as Red Bull makes costly mistake in Monaco
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 29, 2016 Updated: 1:13 PM
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took the first step in his championship campaign with a brilliant victory at the Monaco Grand Prix, continuing to show why he has become one of the most masterful drivers in wet conditions.
Lewis Hamilton repeated his 2008 performance, which also saw him win in the wet and from 3rd place on the grid. Hamilton’s victory breaks his eight race winless streak and moves him to within 24 points of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the championship.
“Yeah, I’m massively overwhelmed. It’s been a long time coming to get this win, not only in this season but to get the grand prix win here. This is one the toughest, if not the toughest, races of the year. But as soon as it rained it just opened up all the doors of opportunity. Fortunately I was quick enough in the wet, as I usually am here,” said Hamilton.
Nico Rosberg struggled with pace throughout the race before eventually losing sixth place to Nico Hulkenberg coming out of the final corner on the final lap. Hamilton's key to victory was his call to switch from full wet tires to ultra-softs around lap 31 and lap 32, and Red Bull’s communication mix up, which resulted in a 13.6s pit stop for Ricciardo, putting him behind Hamilton where he was unable to regain first position.
The mix up would result in Daniel Ricciardo having to settle for second having missed an opportunity to give Red Bull their second victory of the season.
“On the extremes (wet tires) in the beginning we were quick and I did everything I had to. I asked a couple of times how the people on inters were doing but they said that my pace was really good on the extremes (wet tires) so we stayed out and that was no problem. And then they said “box this lap”. We put the inters on and then we came out behind Lewis. Then when Lewis pitted we tried to pit the lap later to overcut him. It was all prepared and then I came into the pits and there were no tyres.
"I got a podium in Monaco. I should be extremely happy, grateful and thankful. I’ve been fast now for two races and that’s the positive,” said Ricciardo.
Sergio Perez turned out a very impressive result to take third place for Force India, closing on the lead two drivers in the final laps of the race while keeping Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in his mirrors.
“A podium in Monaco is a very special moment. It’s one of my best ever races, especially when you see how difficult the conditions were today: you had to concentrate so hard and it was easy to make a mistake. The key to my race was the strategy and we got things just about perfect today,” said Perez.
Fernando Alonso also had an impressive result finishing fifth for McLaren ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in sixth and Nico Rosberg in seventh. Carlos Sainz, Jenson Button, and Felipe Massa finished out the final point scoring positions.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a difficult weekend in Monaco by crashing at Massenet after mounting a charge for a points finish from a pitlane start, while the Renaults of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen were also claimed by the streets of Monaco as they both resulted in a DNF.
“Disappointed in myself and disappointed for the team, because they worked very hard to get the car ready and I didn’t give them the result they deserved today. We were in a good way, we were in the points and to start from the pit lane and end in the points would have been very good, but I learned from this and hopefully we can come back stronger in Canada,” said Verstappen.
Sauber also saw a double DNF after Marcus Ericsson was instructed to overtake his team-mate Felipe Nasr. The two collided at Rascasse, and Nasr was later handed a three-place grid penalty for Canada for causing the accident.