The defending world champion led from pole but had to survive his tyres deteriorating to hold off the surge of Max Verstappen
Here’s our snap report. Giles Richards’ piece will follow shortly.
Related: Lewis Hamilton holds Max Verstappen at bay to win Monaco Grand Prix
A couple of emails from the readers as the United Kingdom national anthem rings out as those on the podiums wear red caps.
First, Craig in Peru: “Hi John Your descriptions of Hamilton-Verstappen remind me of a Monaco GP from years ago when (I think) Senna held off Mansell who was all over the back of him, but couldn’t get past. Great racing spectacle.”
Next, James in NYC: “It’s obvious that Mercedes would rather die of thirst than allow Max “You Die If You Try To Pass” Verstappen to get in front of them at any point, in any race. There’s typically a very heavy mechanical price to pay whenever trying to pass Max.”
Lewis Hamilton speaks, starting with mention of Niki Lauda.
“I was fighting with the spirit of Niki. I know he’ll be looking down taking his hat off. I was trying to make him proud. We truly miss him…I have not driven on such empty tyres since Shanghai in 2007. I hope it wasn’t really boring. I was never going to come in. I learned the hard way here before. I was driving on nothing. This team has done an incredible job. What we have achieved in the first six races is remarkable. [On his late clash with Max Verstappen] It was a bit of a late dive. I saw him last minute. He wasn’t fully past. A light touch and move on.
Here’s the final standings after today.
RACE CLASSIFICATION: A superb effort from @LewisHamilton #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/hAZIjHSZy7
“This one’s for Niki,” says Bono in the garage. Hamilton is silent, and there are undoubtedly emotions for Niki Lauda. A red cap celebration can begin. That was gutsy drive from Hamilton, who was driving against himself and his belief in his car’s tyres for so long in the race. He could have let Verstappen go clear and still won due to that five-second penalty but is such a competitor that he wanted to take the chequered flag first.
Lap 78/78: OK, the last lap, after the last lap passed without incident. The stewards looking at that prang on lap 76. One last chance for Verstappen, but he is too far back. Hamilton speeds away, looking comfortable at last in the final straight. Vettel and Bottas come in, and the Verstappen time penalty will mean that Verstappen drops to fourth!
Lap 76/78: Oh! Contact! Verstappen chases down Hamilton, and lost control just at the moment Hamilton looked likely to falter. Both were struggling, but Hamilton held it together far better.
Lap 75/78: The hairpin again…Hamilton stamps on the throttle and gains control of the car enough to stay clear just when a gap opens up.
Lap 74/78: Verstappen goes at the hairpin again but is not close enough and almost lost it. Hamilton again held him off. This has been a brilliant battle between the two. Up ahead, Kevin Magnussen presents a potential roadblock.
Lap 72/78: Hamilton doing a great defensive job, and his rear tyres are keeping him in this. At the hairpin bend where Verstappen made his big move the gaps is too large for a move.
Lap 71/78: This time, Verstappen is a little closer but then gets his braking all wrong and loses the line completely. Great work from Max to steer away from the barrier but he has the power to catch up Hamilton again.
Lap 70/78: Verstappen has a go…but Hamilton comes across him expertly to close the gap, and then cuts back to stay ahead.
Lap 68/78: Vettel’s car is overheating, such that he is reduced to a watching brief to pick up the pieces of what is going on ahead. Meanwhile, the garages have been on the line, and Verstappen has been told he has more power than Hamilton, who responded rather sarcastically to the news.
Lap 66/78: Hamilton has 12 laps to go to win this, and he has stopped complaining to his team. It will be their fault if he loses, and if he pulls this off, it will be a miracle, to use his term. Gasly, as predicted, takes the fastest lap, and will take a point. Bottas is within 3.8 seconds of Verstappen and so will be third.
Lap 65/78: Verstappen and Hamilton as close as ever through the old Loews hairpin, and Max is trying to get close, so close that he makes an error. Bottas sets a fastest lap and will thus overtake Verstappen on the grid.
63/78: Pierre Gasly pits for Red Bull. He will not lose a place and will stay in fifth. This looks like an attempt to set the fastest lap, which will be worth an extra point. Bottas meanwhile has dropped to over five seconds behind Verstappen, meaning he will not be third but fourth if the race stays as it is.
Lap 61/78: Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel is the order, as it has been since the safety car. Hamilton looking tentative now, not confident in his hard braking to get round the corners. Vettel, in figurative second place, with Verstappen on that five-second penalty, is looking the more comfortable.
Lap 59/78: Hamilton looks comfortable, despite his flood complaints. Verstappen has never quite been able to get close. “I don’t know what you are thinking with these tyres, man,” says the leader. I am hoping for a miracle.”
Lap 57/78: Hamilton’s strategy appears to be coming in, but the team want him to stay out. It’s high risk from them as only a win will with soothe him. He doesn’t like to be defensive.
Lap 55/78: Hamilton still yet to come in, no sign of a pit stop for him even he says their tyres are “dead”. Footage of Verstappen’s car shows how close they are. “I can’t keep the car behind, can’t you hear that?” The front right is looking grim now, too.
HAM: “I think I’m in trouble guys – the left front is dead”#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Z372Qav7y5
Lap 54/78: This is what Kimi was doing to the rest of the field until his pit stop.
#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/LPhGLRYuyb
Lap 52/78: Still only one man has abandoned, and that is Leclerc, who has been just been shown taking a walk down by trackside. The rain is yet to come, and may not come. That may change things. Hamilton’s front left tyre looks bad and Verstappen is getting closer, while Vettel backs off, his engine still giving him problems.
Lap 49/78: Sounds like Verstappen is being asked to stop his engine getting so hot. or the brakes. Vettel lies in wait for him. Hamilton just has tyres to worry about but says: “I think I am in big trouble, guys. I can’t feel the left front.”
“We aren’t going to box now,” says his man in the garage.
Lap 47/78: Kimi finally pits and his chasers can relax. “I’m in a mess,” says Hamilton. He really doesn’t fancy this car. How much longer can his team keep him out of the pits. He laps Lance Stroll, as do Verstappen and Vettel. But Bottas is not so lucky and gets snarled up in traffic behind Stroll.
Lap 45/78: Hamilton and Verstappen coming into heavy traffic with the backmarkers bunching up. Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Perez and Hulkenberg are concertinaed together, with Kimi blocking them off at 11.
Lap 43/78: Vettel trails the leading pair but the word from the garage is his car is overheating. Hamilton is sat prettier than he thinks: Verstappen is on five seconds of penalty and the next best can’t give his car the full gun.
Lap 41/78: Albon pits, as a few in midfield have done. Bottas is being trailed by Grosjean, Gasly, Sainz and Kvyat. Hamilton tells the team that he doesn’t fancy the tyres, while he is reassured that the likes of Grosjean are doing OK on the same tyres. Verstappen is within 0.8 seconds, and really piling it on.
Lap 38/78: This looks like being a battle of burning rubber. That is where the race will be won. Hamilton being told by his team that nobody fancies overtaking.
LAP 31/78: Lewis is worried about his tyres
“Left front is opening up”#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/5Di9vf79DL
Lap 36/78: Hamilton is informed over the radio that Verstappen’s tyres are worse than his, which may not be the case, but may keep him motivated. Vettel, meanwhile, is sitting pretty and seems to have bided his time to save his tyres.
Lap 34/78: Plenty of manoeuvre in the chasing pack but up at the front, Hamilton is holding on grimly, though seems to have a problem with his tyres. Verstappen’s tyres don’t look too much better, though. Both have opened up. It looks unlikely that they will last the distance.
Lap 32/78: A pic of that near pile-up that eventually did for Leclerc, though his goose was cooked anywhere, and some news on the consequences for those involved.
@Anto_Giovinazzi has been given a 10-second penalty by race stewards for colliding with Robert Kubica in this earlier incident at La Rascasse ⬇️#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Ws2UL6VV0O
Lap 30/78: Verstappen and Hamilton is becoming a real battle now. The leader has a fight on his hands, with the Dutchman on his tail. Verstappen needs to get past to open up the gap that would eat up his five-second penalty.
Lap 27/78: Verstappen is chasing down Hamilton at this point. This has not been comfortable for Hamilton with just under two-thirds of the race to come. With his tyres, the champion doesn’t want to have to push things too far.
Verstappen has been handed a 5-second penalty for an unsafe release in the pit lane earlier when the Dutchman and Bottas touched#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/PVymLecvJj
Lap 25/78: The rain coming down would help Hamilton rather than his four chasers, on harder tyres than him. There are a few spots coming down. It remains to be seen how much will come down and how that will affect tyre strategies. Verstappen is told by his team of his penalty. The advice is to overtake Hamilton and ride off into the sunset…
Lap 23/78: Max Verstappen gets a five-second penalty for that pit clash with Bottas. Seems like a significant amount of negotiating went on for a lenient penalty. He either accepts five seconds in the pits or has it taken off at the end. He is in second, and now must try to chase down Hamilton.
Lap 21/78: Lewis Hamilton is asking about his tyres, with the rest of the leaders on kinder tyres than him. His won’t last the distance if he has to go full throttle. Bottas seems to be feeling better on his tyres. Vettel is lying in wait.
Lap 19/78: It’s all over for Leclerc. It has been a dreadful weekend for him, from his team making a mess of qualifying, and then the prang he got involved in when risking all and then the one he couldn’t avoid that ended his day. He is disconsolate as he climbs out of his car, which will need a bit of work to be repaired. Having to drive on this didn’t help.
⚠️ SAFETY CAR ⚠️
Debris strewn across the track from Leclerc’s car #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/UA9nsNZ0Vi
Lap 18/78: Charles Leclerc has been in again. The floor of his car is wrecked. “The car is extremely difficult to drive,” he says. “I don’t want to give up but…” The end is surely coming for him.
Lap 16/58: A prang at Rassecasse. George Russell, Leclerc, Giovanazzi, Perez and Kubica all involved with Leclerc coming into the back of them. This is not Leclerc’s day at all. He ended up running into traffic. They get back underway before Hamilton et al catch them up.
Lap 15/78: Bottas has tyres that will take him to end and Verstappen surely has a stop penalty coming. The field is crawling through the track with the safety car in front of them, before they can begin again at the start of the next lap. Hamilton speeds into the lead. Leclerc is dead last.
Lap 13/78: Bottas is coming back into the pits, looks like running repairs might be needed but there is no sign of a puncture. Leclerc can be heard telling his team that the floor on his car has gone. The top four all pitted and are out the other side, with Verstappen and Vettel ahead of Bottas but Verstappen possibly facing a penalty.
Lap 12/78: Hamilton came in for a pit during the safety car lap, and then Verstappen and Bottas clash in the pits and touched. Verstappen comes out in front. The Mercedes had to double-stack and paid the price. That has cost them a place. Meanwhile, stewards are still cleaning up the track. Looks like Verstappen pulled an illegal move in coming out in front of Bottas. This is chaos.
Lap 11/78: Leclerc goes in and comes out in 20th place, having been lapped by the field. The car took a buffeting from his recklessness with a bad tyre. The floor came off his car and has made a mess on the track. A safety car is required to clear up the mess.
Lap 9/78: Oh no! Leclerc almost came off, but just as he was going to overtake Hulkenberg, his car hit the barrier and span. He has a puncture now. Is that his charge at at end? He drops down to 18th. His tyre is shredded and down to the bone. He has to come into the pits.
Lap 8/78: The top four are lapping at four seconds per lap faster. Leclerc’s charge is being slowed by Grosjean’s defensive tactics but this time he gets past to take 12th, at Rascasse corner. Fearless stuff from him. All the action with the local hero at the moment.
Charles Leclerc is on the move ⬆️
The Ferrari man gets past Lando Norris at the hairpin to move up to P13 #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/zIVj4OZtqH
Lap 6/78: The tight streets keeping this a tight race, as Leclerc is now in 13th, and looking at getting at Grosjean. He is on medium compound tyres which favour the rain. Up ahead, Ferrari teammate Vettel has lost five seconds on Hamilton in fourth. The real race is backed up behind Daniel Riccardo.
Lap 4/78: Bottas and Hamilton are at close quarters. Watching a replay of Leclerc taking over Norris, and good news for him is that he will not face a penalty for his transgression at the start when cutting a corner on Grosjean. That he dropped back meant he didn’t get a penalty.
Lap 2/78: Hamilton starts to open up a lead. On that opening lap, Riccardo got past Magnussen to claim fifth. Lando Norris lost places on that lap, too.
Hamilton gets away well, and Bottas and Verstappen tangle but the Finn stays in second. Leclerc took the inside lane, which is not allowed. Kimi Räikkönen and Lance Stroll clash but seem to OK.
The practice lap is off, with Lewis Hamilton on his 85th pole position, but only his second at Monaco; this is the sixth time Mercedes have had 1-2 on the starting grid. Leclerc has gone for hard tyres from the start, he is going for it from the start, it would seem.
Who’s got which tyres available?@pirellisport have the answers…#MonacoGP #Pirelli pic.twitter.com/EfBDKgZJGb
The word is that there is a 90 percent chance of rain. That may add a bit of excitement: Mercedes are going for their sixth successive 1-2 here.
Liam “Ser Davos” Cunningham has just done a Game of Thrones/F1 interstitial. He strayed into Geordie even though he is now actually allowed to be Irish again.
Max Verstappen speaks at a chaotic start. His Honda team have their first top three grid position since the 2006 Chinese GP: “It is part of Formula One. You just get in the car and try to do your thing. It is hard to overtake but we will do our best.”
There may be rain ahead. It’s come down in London…
So far, it’s dry…#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Wd8n0Lh4bR
A minute’s silence is held for Niki Lauda, as images of him in his prime, in his later years as one of the fathers of the sport and of his famous headphones in their box flash by. It ends with polite applause before the Monégasque anthem rings out, with Prince Albert in attendance.
All thoughts turn to Niki #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/4rl1lo1cS8
Respect for a racing legend ❤️
A minute’s silence for Niki Lauda #ForNiki #F1 pic.twitter.com/DkTCXLeGGW
The pit lane is a sea of red caps, all in tribute to Niki Lauda. It is overcrowded down there. “Mercedes has to win,” says Jackie Stewart, adorned by red cap. “If you are driving well, it is difficult to overtake.”
Packed grid, tension building #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/v8dvpxicRH
Thirty years ago, Ayrton Senna won at Monaco with two gears, after learning a harsh lesson the year before.
Related: When Ayrton Senna proved he was only too human at 1988 Monaco Grand Prix | Giles Richards
Niki Lauda in pictures.
Related: Niki Lauda: the three-time Formula One world champion’s life – in pictures
And an interview with Charles Leclerc, whose push for home glory will have to wait until next year, probably. If it doesn’t, this would be one of the greatest drives of all.
Related: Charles Leclerc: ‘I lost my father quite early. It changes you forever’
Here’s Giles Richards’ story of Saturday’s emotional qualifying session.
Related: ‘For Niki’: Lewis Hamilton dedicates Monaco GP pole to Lauda
For many of the drivers, this is a drive around a neighbourhood that offers them tax benefits, a nice sea view and ready access to France or Italy. To the rest of us in the lumpen proletariat, it is a whistle-stop tour through unimaginable opulence, a whiff of James Bond and yachts beyond the wildest dreams of all but Charles Freer in Howard’s Way.
Monaco is the most famous grand prix of all, one in which the recipe for success is getting in front and staying there, usually from qualifying. Lewis Hamilton is on pole, which gives him a great chance of repeating his success in the Spanish Grand Prix, and extending his leadership at the top of the drivers’ championship.
That he is unlikely to be chased down by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is a pity. The only Monégasque in the field had a nightmare in qualifying and begins 15th on the grid.
This renewal, meanwhile, will be a celebration of the three-times world champion Niki Lauda, who passed away this week, a winner of the race in 1975 and 1976, and someone associated with Ferrari, McLaren and latterly Mercedes, of whom he was part-owner of the team, and a constant presence in the pit lane, garage and back rooms of the sport.
Here are the grid positions.
The top 10 starters #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/jQ4lq6QI8q
Source: Formula 1