In another tactical battle, with weather and tyres, Hamilton overcame another superb ride by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to take first spot.
The race began in poor conditions and with the aid of a safety car, Ricciardo quickly led the race around the tight streets of Monaco. He was followed by Rosberg, who was keen to collect more points and build an even bigger advantage over his Mercedes rival.
With an overwhelming lead Ricciardo had built up, team orders from Mercedes told Rosberg to allow Hamilton through on the basis that he stood a better chance to win the race due to tyre restrictions. Rosberg duly did and it allowed his title challenger to eat away at the Australian driver.
Further good fortune for Hamilton came 13 laps later, when on lap 31 the Red Bull driver was called into the pits for tyre changes. This allowed the world champion to slip into the lead after the Red Bull team failed to deal adequately with preparing the right tyre for their driver.
Hamilton’s gamble paid off of not changing tyres to suit the conditions on a wet day in Monaco, enhanced his chances of victory for the first since 2008 on the track. But the British driver also led the race for the next 30 laps to take victory and close the gap on Rosberg in the overall standings.
A truly emotional Hamilton was relieved he hit top spot on the podium: “I’m kind of lost for words. I prayed for a day like this and it came through, so I feel truly blessed. That was the longest run. It was crazy how long it was, to understand how much wheel spin you were allowed, because you don’t know how long the tyres are going to go.”
After winning his 44th race, Hamilton paid tribute to the runner-up. “Daniel drove phenomenally all weekend and it was a lot of pressure. I’m sure he’s not too happy but he should proud of the way he drove.”
For Ricciardo it was the second race in a row, where Red Bull made the decision that cost him a second race win. “Two weeks in a row now I have been screwed. It sucks. I didn’t make the call. I got called, so they should have been ready. It hurts.”