Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton resisted huge pressure and a late contact with Max Verstappen to take victory in Formula 1’s most glamorous race, the Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver kept focus despite tyre graining. Lewis resisted more than 60 laps of pressure from Max to hold on to win despite having to manage softer tyres than his pursuers.
As Verstappen was not able to get past the Mercedes and edge clear – despite a late dive at the chicane two laps from the end – he fell from second to fourth at the flag because of a five-second time penalty.
Verstappen picked that up for an unsafe release in the pits that had got him ahead of Bottas, who he made light contact with and forced into the wall.
Verstappen fell behind both Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari and Bottas, who completed the podium despite needing to make a second pitstop under the safety car after his brush with the wall caused a puncture.
Poleman Hamilton retained his advantage at the start ahead of Bottas, despite Verstappen having a look inside Bottas the Sainte Devote on the first lap.
The leaders held station for the opening stint, which was cut short by a safety car after Charles Leclerc – who started in P15 following Ferrari’s qualifying error – littered the track with debris from a dramatic puncture.
Leclerc hit the inside wall at Rascasse and half-spun after trying to pass Nico Hulkenberg for P11.
He tried to continue but picked up a puncture and scattered a large amount of debris as the rubber fell apart around the rest of the lap.
Mercedes opted to pit both its cars under the safety car period and Bottas dropped back behind Hamilton to try to give enough of a gap to avoid losing time.
When they stopped, Verstappen was released just as Bottas was coming past, and though Verstappen was a nose ahead a small amount of contact forced Bottas to kiss the wall on the right-hand side.
The incident damaged Bottas’s wheel rim and caused a slow puncture, but with the safety car still deployed he only dropped behind Vettel to fourth – and eventually Verstappen was awarded a five-second penalty for the unsafe release.
Once the race resumed, Verstappen hounded Hamilton for more than 60 laps, but only got close enough to start attacking the five-time world champion in the final ten.
He had a brief look to the outside of the hairpin on lap 70 but was not close enough on the exit of Portier to get a proper run at Hamilton into the chicane.
On lap 76 he lunged Hamilton, but Hamilton moved across. Verstappen locked up and they made minor wheel-to-wheel contact – Verstappen’s right-front to Hamilton’s left-rear – and Hamilton took to the escape road, but both continued without damage.
Hamilton’s win extended his championship lead over Bottas to 17 points, while Vettel and Bottas were slightly adrift but within five seconds, significent enough to drop Verstappen down to fourth.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Pierre Gasly finished in fifth, his best result since his move to the senior team, and earned fastest lap after building enough of a gap to make a late, free pitstop for fresh tyres.
Behind, Carlos Sainz earned his best result for McLaren in sixth place after opting not to pit under the early safety car.
That strategy was replicated by Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon, who used it to great effect to finish seventh and eighth for Toro Rosso.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth, the lead midfield runner who did pit under the safety car.
Romain Grosjean, who opted for the same strategy as Sainz/Kvyat/Albon, completed the points scorers for Haas.
Leclerc was the only retirement from the Monaco Grand Prix. A big shame for the home hero.
There was a separate Rascasse incident shortly after the safety car, when Antonio Giovinazzi hit Robert Kubica and spun the Williams.
The track was briefly blocked, holding up a few cars, but Kubica was able to reverse and get out of the way quickly, which avoided anything worse than localised yellow flags.
So an entertaining Monaco Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton relieved to take the chequered flag after big pressure from Max Verstappen and graining tyres. Unfortunate for Charles Leclerc. A poor weekend for the Ferrari driver in his home race. Better luck next year.
Monaco Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 78 1h43m28.437s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 78 2.602s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 78 3.162s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 78 5.537s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 78 9.946s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 78 53.454s
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 78 54.574s
8 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 78 55.200s
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 78 1m00.894s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 78 1m01.034s
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 78 1m06.801s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 77 1 Lap
13 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 77 1 Lap
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
16 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 77 1 Lap
18 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 77 1 Lap
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 76 2 Laps
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari 16 Accident damage
1 Lewis Hamilton 137
2 Valtteri Bottas 120
3 Sebastian Vettel 82
4 Max Verstappen 78
5 Charles Leclerc 57
6 Pierre Gasly 32
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 18
8 Kevin Magnussen 14
9 Sergio Perez 13
10 Kimi Raikkonen 13
11 Lando Norris 12
12 Daniil Kvyat 9
13 Daniel Ricciardo 8
14 Alexander Albon 7
15 Nico Hulkenberg 6
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0
1 Mercedes 257
2 Ferrari 139
3 Red Bull-Honda 110
4 McLaren-Renault 30
5 Racing Point-Mercedes 17
6 Haas-Ferrari 16
7 Toro Rosso-Honda 16
8 Renault 14
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 13
10 Williams-Mercedes 0