Monaco GP 2019: Hamilton takes hard fought victory
Hamilton wins in Monaco (Photo credit - Andrej Isakovic, Getty images)

In a race where track position is key, Lewis Hamilton was able to hold off a fast charging Max Verstappen for the majority of the race after a poor strategy call from the Mercedes team.

However, a five second penalty for Verstappen due to an unsafe release saw Sebastian Vettel take second, with Valtteri Bottas behind in third.

How did Mercedes win

After Mercedes locked out the front row in a dominant qualifying for the silver arrows, both drivers got off to a good start, fending off a fast starting Verstappen in third.

However, Hamilton and Bottas were able to pull away from their rivals behind, whilst Charles Leclerc started to make up ground after starting in 15th.

Despite pulling off a bold move on Romain Grosjean into Rascasse, his second attempt at the move on Daniel Ricciardo resulted in the Monegasque getting a puncture after hitting the barrier.

With debris left scattered on the circuit from Leclerc’s tyre, a safety car was eventually called and resulted in the top four pitting for fresh tyres.

However, Mercedes opted to put their drivers onto medium tyres, whilst Red Bull and Ferrari  went for hard tyres.

But an unsafe release from Red Bull in trying to jump Verstappen ahead of Bottas in the pits resulted in the Dutchman receiving a five second time penalty.

Bottas’ race was also compromised after contact between the two drivers in the pits, which saw the Finn pit again behind the safety car for hard tyres.

With over 50 laps to go on the restart, Hamilton had to nurse his tyres to the end of the race, whilst drivers behind on more durable tyres were able to push.

It resulted in a fascinating battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, with the Dutchman attempting every trick in the book to pass the Brit.

However, Vertsappen saw his opportunity towards the end of the race by attempting a late lunge down the inside after exiting the tunnel, which resulted in contact between the two drivers.

But no driver suffered damage and Vertsappen was unable to find another opportunity to pass Hamilton.

With his five second time penalty, Verstappen finished fourth, behind Vettel and Bottas.

Despite Vettel looking like he could challenge the front two, issues with his rear tyres meant he could not consistently match the pace of the two cars in front, whilst Bottas had a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Pierre Gasly rounded off the top five after starting in eight and took the fastest lap point award.

Midfield teams impress

Carlos Sainz had an impressive race to finish sixth for McLaren, with both Toro Rosso drivers also driving a good race to finish seventh and eight.

Daniel Ricciardo was able to pick up much needed points in ninth for Renault, whilst Romain Grosjean drove a solid race to round off the top 10.

Following his earlier incident, Leclerc was the only retirement from the race after trying to continue following the safety car restart.