Hamilton holds on in Monaco despite late Verstappen bump
Lewis Hamilton survived a late bump with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to win the Monaco Grand Prix - although Mercedes' run of one-two finishes ended after Valtteri Bottas failed to keep his end of the bargain.
The duo collided on the anti-penultimate lap at the iconic swimming pool section, but neither car sustained serious damage as they held their positions. However, Verstappen was demoted to fourth after being hit with a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in the pitlane on Lap 23.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Bottas were the beneficiaries, nudging the pair into second and third respectively. Meanwhile, Vettel's teammate Charles Leclerc’s miserable weekend was completed after a puncture ended his race.
Hamilton was able to hold onto the lead from the lights, as Bottas kept Verstappen’s early challenge at bay.
With the safety car out after Leclerc terminally damaged his car, Bottas, Vettel and Verstappen were all able to switch to hard tyres.
But Hamilton was on mediums, which was to prove a source of frustration and concern for the drive. That forced Verstappen to push Hamilton ahead of him, as the reigning champion struggled to maintain the integrity of his tyres with around 40 laps left of the race.
Vettel, then Verstappen, both struggled with the slow pace of the race and had to reduce their pace to keep their cars cool after bunching up against Hamilton, whose struggles threatened to hamper his rivals behind him.
Verstappen was given more power going into lap 70, which set up an intense finale, but the five-second penalty meant that his chance started to dwindle regardless of his final position, leading to his late, wild challenge that Hamilton was able to hold off. The Brit moves onto 122 points to extend his lead at the top.
Lewis Hamilton, Max VerstappenGetty Images
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Lewis Hamilton
A brilliant drive from Lewis Hamilton against a pack of racers who faded into mediocrity despite their own tire advantages. He raced for 67 laps on a set of medium tyres designed to last no more than 50, and he eked out every advantage he could to extend his lead at the top.
TALKING POINT - Is Verstappen ever going to learn?
The five-second penalty was not really his fault. The importance of safety made a punishment inevitable, but with three laps remaining he almost took himself and Hamilton out of the race with a daft attempt at the chicane. He has calmed his reckless instincts over the last two seasons but he needs to curb them further.
1/78 - Hamilton takes the initiative and retains the lead, and Bottas holds off an early charge from Verstappen on the first corner. Raikkonen and Stroll collide but appear to stay in working order. Leclerc is already agitating amongst the pack.
9/78 - Leclerc has lost two places, down into 11th, after he started to attack Hulkenberg, but couldn't squeeze past and clipped the barrier, forcing him into a spin.
23/78 - Verstappen has been given a five second penalty after he collides with Bottas in the pits.
44/78 - Vettel's car is overheating, which means that Vettel has to drop back to save his car's temperature regardless of the pace ahead of him.
49/78 - Verstappen has been told that there are problems with his brakes or engine, and he needs to cool things off in the chase with Hamilton.
76/78 - A little over two laps remaining, but Hamilton cuts the chicane as Verstappen makes contact just before it. He broke far too late, and in truth it was a daft and desperate error as is to be expected from him.