Monaco GP: Mercedes error costs Lewis Hamilton race victory

A pitstop blunder by Mercedes robbed Lewis Hamilton of a guaranteed victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, handing the win on a platter to Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg

Monaco GP: Mercedes error costs Lewis Hamilton race victory

For 64 of the 78 laps the race around the tight, twisty streets of the Principality was processional, with reigning champion Hamilton unruffled from the moment the five red lights disappeared to signal the start.

But then Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen careered into the rear-right wheel of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean at Sainte Devote, immediately turning the grand prix on its head.

What followed from Mercedes was unnecessary, for although the safety car was ultimately brought into play - after the 'virtual safety car' sign was displayed for the first time in F1 but soon withdrawn - Hamilton had a 21-second lead at that stage.

Hamilton was then called in by Mercedes to take on a set of super-soft compound tyres, yet as he emerged back on track, Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastien Vettel passed him.

From a virtually impregnable position Mercedes had contrived to deny Hamilton what should have been the 37th win of his F1 career.

Despite being on much faster rubber over the final eight laps after the withdrawal of the safety car, Hamilton could find no way past Vettel, never mind find himself in a position to catch Rosberg.

It was an astonishing end to an otherwise relatively unremarkable race, with lap one naturally frenetic, particularly through the opening turn at Ste Devote.

Come the sweep through Mirabeau double world champion Fernando Alonso was involved in a collision with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, sending the German into a barrier, resulting in the loss of his front wing.

The incident forced the stewards into an immediate investigation, with the blame pinned on McLaren star Alonso as he was handed a five-second time penalty.

Such was Alonso's pace, however, throughout the opening 30 laps that by the time he pitted to take on a set of soft tyres, switching from the opening stint super-softs, the additional penalty proved redundant.

Alonso, though, did not last too long after his stop, pulling his car off track at Ste Devote with a gearbox issue caused by rising temperatures a day after an MGU-H problem brought an early end to the Spaniard's qualifying session.

Behind the leading trio Daniil Kvyat scored the highest finish of his career with fourth, followed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Kvyat was ordered to let Ricciardo through in the closing stages, but the Red Bulls swapped back on the final lap once it became clear that Ricciardo could not make any progress against Hamilton.

Force India's Sergio Perez clinched seventh, Force India's best result of the year, with Jenson Button claiming McLaren's first points this season with eighth.

Sauber's Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz in the second Toro Rosso completed the top 10.

In a wretched race for Williams, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa - who suffered a lap-one puncture - were 14th and 15th.

RESULT

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 78 1h49m18.420s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 4.486s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 6.053s
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 78 11.965s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 78 13.608s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 78 14.345s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 78 15.013s
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 78 16.063s
9 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 78 23.626s
10 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 78 25.056s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 78 26.232s
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 78 28.415s
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 78 31.159s
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 78 45.789s
15 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 77 1 Lap
16 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 76 2 Laps
17 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 76 2 Laps
- Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 62 Collision
- Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 41 Overheating
- Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 5 Brakes

STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 126
2 Nico Rosberg 116
3 Sebastian Vettel 98
4 Kimi Raikkonen 60
5 Valtteri Bottas 42
6 Felipe Massa 39
7 Daniel Ricciardo 35
8 Daniil Kvyat 17
9 Felipe Nasr 16
10 Romain Grosjean 16
11 Sergio Perez 11
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. 9
13 Nico Hulkenberg 6
14 Max Verstappen 6
15 Marcus Ericsson 5
16 Jenson Button 4
17 Fernando Alonso 0
18 Roberto Merhi 0
19 Will Stevens 0
20 Pastor Maldonado 0
Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 242
2 Ferrari 158
3 Williams/Mercedes 81
4 Red Bull/Renault 52
5 Sauber/Ferrari 21
6 Force India/Mercedes 17
7 Lotus/Mercedes 16
8 Toro Rosso/Renault 15
9 McLaren/Honda 4
10 Marussia/Ferrari 0
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