Monaco: Nico Rosberg took full advantage of one of Formula One’s greatest tactical errors on Sunday to land an unexpected victory and become only the fourth man to claim a hat-trick of consecutive wins in the Monaco Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old German who was winning his second successive race this season came home in his Mercedes ahead of compatriot Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari with long-time leader and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton third.
Rosberg, who reduced the gap between himself and Hamilton in the world championship standings to 10 points after six races, trailed his teammate for 63 laps until an accident prompted a Safety Car intervention that, in turn, led the team to call the Briton in for an unexpected and unnecessary pit-stop.
Obeying his team, Hamilton, who led by 21 seconds before he pitted, came out in third place and, after the race was re-started with eight laps remaining, found it impossible to pass Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, let alone Rosberg, to claim his fourth victory of the year.
“I’ve lost the race, haven’t I?” asked Hamilton on seeing his reversal of fortunes after exiting the pit lane.
Rosberg’s triumph enabled him to join Briton Graham Hill, Frenchman Alain Prost and Brazilian Ayrton Senna in completing a Monaco hat-trick“I know I got lucky. I will just enjoy the moment... Lewis drove brilliantly and would have deserved the win,” Rosberg said after the race.
Mercedes director Niki Lauda said bringing Hamilton in “was the wrong decision.”Team boss Toto Wolff said: “I apologise. It was a mistake.”