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Monaco Grand Prix

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Result: Lewis Hamilton hangs on for thrilling Monaco Grand Prix victory

:Headline: Result: Lewis Hamilton hangs on for thrilling Monaco Grand Prix victory:
The Mercedes driver secured his third success on the street circuit in the week of Niki Lauda's death.
PA | 22d

Lewis Hamilton survived a late collision with Max Verstappen to deliver the perfect tribute to Niki Lauda by winning an eventful Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton, sporting a one-off red helmet in tribute to the Mercedes non-executive chairman who died on Monday, tiptoed his way to the chequered flag on shot tyres, claiming a nail-biting victory – his third on Monte Carlo's famous streets.

With three laps remaining, Verstappen delivered a gung-ho move for glory on the high-speed exit of the tunnel and into the chicane – his right-front wheel hitting Hamilton's rear left in a flurry of sparks.

Verstappen was demoted to fourth after he was hit with a five-second penalty following an earlier collision in the pit lane with Valtteri Bottas. That promoted Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to second with Bottas completing the podium places.

Hamilton is now 17 points clear of Bottas in his quest for a sixth world title.

"That was the hardest race I have had," said Hamilton. "I was fighting with the spirit of Niki. He has been an influential person in the team. I know he was looking down.

"I wanted to stay focused and make him proud. We truly miss him."

Drivers gather round to pay tribute to Niki Lauda ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix (Andrej Isakovic/AP)

On Mercedes' strategy, he added: "I wasn't going to come in to the pits again. I was either going to crash or finish. I was on the wrong tyre."

Hamilton's team wore red caps as a mark of respect to Lauda, whose death cast a shadow over the build-up to Sunday's famous race. A one-minute silence was also staged on the grid.

Hamilton blasted away from his marks to keep team-mate Bottas at bay and the fast-starting Verstappen, too.

Down the field, Charles Leclerc was a man on a mission – the Monegasque having started a lowly 15th after a Ferrari miscalculation in qualifying ensured he was eliminated in Q1.

Leclerc had made up three places by lap nine, executing a marvellous move on Romain Grosjean at Rascasse.

But just one lap later, his race was over. The young Ferrari driver attempted the same overtake at the impossibly tight right-hander, but slammed into Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and sustained a right-rear puncture. He would retire from the resulting damage.

"I feel like I have the wrong tyre on. I'm definitely in a bad way. I think I'm in trouble guys, the left front is dead.

"We're going to lose this race. I can't look after these tyres. I can't keep the car behind.

"I don't know what you're thinking, keeping these tyres on, man. You need to hope for a miracle."

With 15 laps left, Vowles came over the radio to reassure Hamilton. And despite his late coming together with Verstappen, Hamilton took the win to extend his championship lead.

"Incredible drive," said Vowles.

"There was nobody else that could have done that."



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