Challenging weather conditions made for an exciting race
Lewis Hamilton managed to secure his first victory this season after an exciting 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, nabbing the victory from Daniel Ricciardo, while Sergio Perez took third place for Force India.
Exciting weather conditions made for plenty of action throughout the field with the race running just a tad under an hour.
Finishing fourth was Sebastian Vettel driving for Ferrari with the fifth spot secured by Fernando Alonso in his McLaren. Nico Hulkenberg took sixth place from Nico Rosberg in a final sprint to the finish line.
With heavy downpours throughout the day leading up to the start, it was expected that the FIA would start the race under Safety Car conditions. That is indeed what happened.
When the Safety Car was pulled from the track and the race was allowed to begin in lap eight, Ricciardo made a strong getaway, pulling out a second ahead of Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel.
Trouble was not far behind for others in the field as Jolyon Palmer lost control of his Renault at the start/finish straight, slamming into the outside barriers and entangling with the wall at Ste Devote. The Safety Car took to the track while officials cleared the track of debris.
When the race resumed after the track was cleaned, Kimi Raikkonen was up to crash understeering into the barriers at the Hotel Hairpin, breaking his front wing before crashing into Romain Grosjean at Portier, taking his Ferrari out of the race.
When the rain stopped falling, drivers towards the back of the field pitted to change their tires to an Intermediate compound, while those drivers leading the pack did continued driving wet compound tires to not risk losing precious minutes.
At this point, Ricciardo was now 13 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes-AMG and considerably faster than his teammate Nico Rosberg, who was ordered let the faster Hamilton pass. He reluctantly agreed by pulling over up the hill.
Rosberg was the first of the three race leaders to pit for a tire change, followed by Ricciardo. However, Hamilton wanted to push the envelope by continuing to race in his wet compound tires as long as he could.
Ricciardo eventually caught up with Hamilton putting on the pressure for the lead. By now, drivers were pitting to change their tires to dry compounds in order to take advantage of the dry track. Hamilton also pitted to switch from his wet compound tires to dry tires on Lap 31.
Seeing an opportunity, Ricciardo attempted to use his speed to jump Hamilton in the pits but a huge mistake by the pit crew ended up costing him the lead. Ricciardo’s pit crew had failed to prepare for his pit stop and no tires were to be found in the Red Bull box.
After retaking the lead, Hamilton resisted the pressure from Ricciardo almost giving up the lead when he missed the Chicane but was stongly rebuffed.
Max Verstappen had a weekend to forget by crashing at Mirabeau and the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr crashed at Rascasse.
Despite Ricciardo’s heroic efforts, he was unable to find a way to pass the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, enabling him to claim his first victory this season. Sergio Perez took claimed his sixth podium finish of his career with a third place finish, ahead of Vettel and Alonso.
By the last lap, it had started raining again and many drivers struggled to find grip on their final sprints to the finish line. Nico Rosberg was passed by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India as both battled for traction on the slippery track.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Jenson Button and Felipe Massa all rounded out the points paying positions.
Image Source: F1fanatic.co.uk