British driver Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, a victory threatened by a possible penalty due to a crash in the final laps with Max Verstappen (Red Bull). The Dutchman finished second on the track but was 4th at the end due to a 5-second penalty he received during the race. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) moved to 2nd place and Finn Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) completed the podium, breaking the German team’s streak of five consecutive doubles. «It was my toughest race,» declared Hamilton at the end, stating that he had ridden «with the spirit of Niki» Lauda, the three-time Austrian world champion who died on Monday at age 70 and was very close to him. Spanish driver Carlos Sainz (McLaren) finished in a creditable sixth position, while Mexican Sergio Pérez (Racing Point) was left out of the points, finishing in 13th place. It was the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) who encouraged the first moments of the test, causing a lot of mishaps. Starting from 15th position after a poor qualifying run, he had to abandon on the 18th lap after colliding with the Renault of German Nico Hülkenberg while trying to overtake him. A puncture caused by this accident forced him to go through the pits on three wheels, damaging his car too much to continue. But on that return to the pits with his tire ripped off, Leclerc filled the track with chunks of carbon, forcing the safety vehicle out to clean it.
All the drivers took the opportunity to change tires and it was here that Verstappen received his five-second penalty for nearly causing a collision with Bottas just outside the pits. The Red Bull Dutchman picked up the cheerleading baton left by Leclerc and put pressure on leader Hamilton for several dozen laps while Bottas had to stop again to change a broken tire in his collision with Verstappen, taking to the track in fourth place, behind Vettel. On the penultimate lap Verstappen tried a desperate move to pass Hamilton, without success, as they ended up colliding and the Briton was embroiled in an investigation that could eventually cast doubt on his triumph.
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